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What are colour shade variants (and why are they important?)

Colour match car touch-up paints are brilliant for blending in tiny scratches and stone chips. For any damage bigger than a scratch or stone chip, exact colour match paint becomes more important because the area is more visible - even slight colour discrepancies become clearer. And so, you might also want to be aware of the topic of shade variants and learn how we help you get the finish you want.

What they are

Using an example, Moondust Silver is a single colour. However, Moondust Silver has more than 20 shade variants over the years it’s been produced! Some shade variants are slightly lighter, some are slightly darker.

  • A paint colour code can have many (very subtle) variants
  • The paint code remains the same

How shade variants come about

In an ideal world, every time colour match car paint is mixed, it is exactly the same as the original. While dispensing and paint mixing machines are super-accurate, there’s no way of an exact 100% colour match.

  • Shade variants are created during the vehicle manufacturing stage - vehicles and their bodies are built and painted at various plants across the world and shipped around; every plant will create a slight shade variant.
  • Shade variants can also be created when a manufacturer changes paint supplier to produce the same colour.

Manufacturers of the paints observe and register shade variants of matching car paint on their databases.

Why shade variants are important

Variants of a colour shade might look at first sight as if they are the same. As we said above, a scratch or a stone chip is a tiny area and the minor difference presented by a shade variant will be negligible.

However, if you paint a reasonable area of your car, the mismatch becomes more obvious - in which case you're in need of a shade variant. For example, you might have filled a hole by your door cill or in your bumper.

Or you might have replaced an entire panel with a brand new one straight from the car manufacturer, or salvaged. If it came off a different production line, or its original colour came from a different paint manufacturer, it might reveal a shade variant.

What happens if your colour match paint doesn’t… match?

  1. Blending - you need a bit of skill with a car paint aerosol for this to work. You can feather the colour and fade it out on a single panel. If you’ve fitted a new panel, you’ll need to blend across the joins. Get some practice using cardboard or scrap metal.
  2. Ask us for advice - we’re more than happy to investigate a mismatch. At Nuts HQ, we’ve installed a workshop with car parts that we use to run tests. These help us work out if there’s a shade variant we can send out as a replacement.

Known variants

Often, we already know if a paint code has a reputation for mismatching. Sometimes this is due to variants - but there are other reasons too.

A fact is that, for some colours, a shade variant performs better in 99% of cases, right off the starting line. If we judge this to be the case, we’ll send that to you instead.

How do we know? When we receive an order, we ask ourselves a series of due diligence questions to double check that what you’ve ordered is what you need. This is where our expertise comes in - we don’t just leave it up to a computer.

Experience is how we know that, for example, Nissan KAD/L is always applied too thickly and, as a result, looks darker than it should. We don’t know why this particular colour of car touch-up paint makes our customers want to apply it in thicker layers! What we ‘ve found is that it works well if we send out a lighter variant - full customer satisfaction, no messing around.

Ready to order?

Our car touch up paint is precision-measured and mixed to the highest specification. It’s bodyshop quality, durable and easy-to-use to achieve a good result. It’s available as a precision car touch up paint pen, bottle with brush, and car paint aerosol. We also supply it in larger 500ml/1 litre quantities to trade customers.

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