Automotive color charts are designed to help identify the car paint code of a specific color type. To use a color chart correctly, it must be brought as close as possible to the car surface under adequate lighting conditions to ensure the proper comparison of colors. When an exact color match is found, the corresponding code can then be used to identify the perfect color mix for the car.
The color of a car is seldom made up of only one color. For example, if the color of the car is white, the mixture is likely a combination of two or more colors and not just plain white paint. That's why automotive color charts are necessary to identify the exact color of a car through the car paint code.
Car paint codes are typically made up of alphanumeric characters. These codes differ with every car manufacturer, so it's imperative to use the color chart of the manufacturer of the car being painted for an exact match.
When a color paint code is obtained, it may then be brought to a car paint shop that can mix the color recipe. Many car paint shops have machines or computers that can create the perfect color using the car paint code. These tools often come with a weighing machine and a measuring glass that can be filled with the specific mix of paint according to the printout.
Many car manufacturers warn that their color charts are meant only for reference and not for final color matching, as a car's color can fade with use. For best results, the paint must first be tested on another surface for comparison before it's applied to the car.