Who Has the Best Car Paint ?
Who has it, who doesn't ?

I am asked this question many times within my travels in the world of professional auto detailing. I know you would like a simple answer from me; one that would be as simple as saying Porsche, Mercedes, Pontiac, or perhaps Chevy. But it is not that easy....

In order for me to answer this question, I will have to break this down into some specific areas of paint. This will probably frustrate you as well as enlighten you. The real answers of life are never really that simple and the subject of the best car paint is no exception.

Let Me Complicate the Question

best car paint

When someone asks me who has the best car paint, I have to ask the following questions:

  • Do you mean what manufacturer has the most durable paint?
  • Do you mean which manufacturer has the thickest paint?
  • Do you mean which manufacturer finishes their paint the best?
  • Or do you mean which paint color is the easiest to take care of?

As you can see, the question can become complicated quickly and each person asking the question has a different question in mind that is always expressed as an over-simplification. With that said, I will break down into the most common areas of concern or interest based on my  professional experience.

Who Has the Most Durable Paint

Unfortunately, no one can really say for sure. Most every car manufacturer has had problems with their paint quality and durability at some point in their history. From the early clear coats that would peel, or metallic's that would burn out, to some of the Chevy, Ford, or Chrysler products that would peel after a few years. All the detailing in the world would not have saved any of these problems; this is a case of poor materials, preparation, base coats, clear coats, etc.

Who Has the Thickest Paint?

Once again, this depends. Most every car comes as a two stage paint, which is what clear coat and base coat is all about. You get a thin layer of the color coat, which is followed by a thin layer of clear coat. So even if you were to measure the thickness with a paint gauge meter, how does one know how thick the actual clear coat is vs. the color, or base/primer coats; you wouldn't.

Which Manufacturer Finishes Their Paint Best?


This is an area we at least have a chance in answering, although it will still vary within a manufacturers product line. But overall I have an opinion based on an overall rule.

Orange Peel

This is a term that refers to paint texture. Imagine the skin of an orange and you will know what I am talking about here. The ideal paint surface is completely flat, smooth, and scratch free. The flatter and blemish free a paint surface is, the more the paint will look like a mirror. This picture to the left of this $100K Mercedes had one of the worst examples of Orange peel I have ever seen; and yes, this was original paint.

If you look at the picture closely, you can see the reflection of my detailing van and how the edges are wavy and uneven; this is due to the orange peel effect.


The paint on this BMW M3 was very close to perfect as far as paint texture goes. As the saying goes, you generally get what you pay for. Of course, exceptions always exist as was the case with the Mercedes from above. If I was forced to list the best car paint finish by manufacturer, it would go something like this:

Top Tier or A grade

  • Ferrari
  • Porsche
  • Lamborghini
  • Lexus
  • Acura

Second Tier or B grade

  • Jaguar
  • Chrysler
  • BMW/ Mini Cooper
  • Audi
  • Jeep
  • Hummer
  • Honda
  • Infinity/Nissan

Third Tier or C grade

  • Mercedes
  • Chevy/GMC
  • Range Rover

As you can see, I didn't include everyone on the list. The reality is that even within the manufacturers own line of cars, each model will have their own unique levels of orange peel.

Which Car Paint Color is the Easiest to Take Care Of?

This is a popular question I am asked often and is usually over simplified by the person by simply asking which is the best car paint. The answer is simple, the darker the paint, the more difficult it will be to maintain. Solid black will be the hardest, with champagne being the polar opposite, or easiest of car paint colors to take care of.

I know you probably thought white would be the easiest, but champagne, followed by silver, and then white. You see, white will show all the road dirt that gets kicked up onto the sides of your car from the road more than champagne or silver. And champagne and silver are closer to the color of natural dust, which is typically your biggest problem with a car looking dirty.

In Conclusion to Best Car Paint....

So you see, when someone asks which is the best car paint, it all depends; just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, the answer to this over simplified question lies in what a person actually means when asking which automotive paint is best.

And now that you are more informed regarding car paint and the many variables than 90% of the world, don't forget to check out my page on my choice as the best car wax to make whatever kind f car you happen to drive, the best it can possibly look!


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