Have you ever noticed that the color of the paint on your bumper seems to be different than the color of the paint on the rest of the vehicle? Here’s why:
First – some basic vehicle anatomy: for the vast majority of vehicles, the bumpers are made out of plastic and the rest of the vehicle is made out of metal.
When you lay the same paint on plastic vs metal, you get different results. There’s a couple different reasons why that is.
The first reason is because the heat dissipation on plastic is slower than it is on metal, which means that it’s going to take longer to dry. This gives the metal flakes in the paint more time to rearrange differently. Also, plastic holds more static electricity than metal panels do, which – again – allows for the metal particles to rearrange. Another consideration is the contour of the plastic panels. Bumpers typically have many more contour points than the more flat metal panels, and this can give the illusion that it’s a different shade or color depending on lighting.
The manufacturer attaches what’s called a paint code to each VIN so the exact same paint can be used each time. When you get your vehicle repaired, the body shop will use this paint code to mix paint to match the rest of the paint on your vehicle.
This color variation on bumpers isn’t just seen on vehicles that are repaired or repainted. Go to any new car dealership and you’ll see it there, too. It’s more obvious with some colors, especially metallic colors, and especially “pearl white” paint.