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Automotive Refinish Coatings

On The Road Again

In 2020, there were nearly 280 million registered vehicles on the road in the US.  This number is expected to increase to over 290 million by 2022.  In addition, the average age of these vehicles is growing due to improved technology and a slow down in new vehicle purchases.  This increase in traffic and vehicle age is driving increased demand for high quality automotive refinish coatings.

Automotive Refinish Coatings

As more vehicles crowd the roads and the number of miles traveled increases there is a greater likelihood of a vehicle being damaged either through wear & tear or a collision.  Automotive refinish coatings play a large role in returning damaged vehicles to their former glory and ensuring automobiles remain looking as good as new.  While the market for automotive refinish coatings is expected to grow, there are some key challenges & trends repair shops and coating manufacturers are faced with that must be addressed.

Challenges & Trends

Multi-Substrate Surfaces

Vehicles today are composed of many types of materials.  As OEMs incorporate more sensors into the vehicle body and move to lighter weight parts, refinish coatings must adapt in order to perform on multi-substrate surfaces without interfering with vehicle performance.

Long Term Performance

As mentioned above, the average age of vehicles on the road is on the rise.  Automotive refinish coatings must be able to withstand years of exposure to UV, rain, and extreme temperatures without discoloring, scratching, or failing.

VOCs & Sustainability

Many automotive manufacturers have set forth initiatives in compliance with new regulations  to reduce VOC's and improve sustainability of automotive manufacturing.  In order to remain compliant and competitive, refinish coating manufacturers must meet many of these new standards while maintaining optimal coating performance.

Automotive Refinish Coating Formulation

An important factor for automotive refinish that never changes is customer satisfaction.  One way to ensure satisfaction is with a high quality, fully optimized coating product, and manufacturing a high quality coating starts with the formulation.   Most automotive coating systems consist of three parts: primer, base coat, and top coat.


Many of the lightweight plastics used in automobiles today are notoriously difficult to adhere to.  Primers are used to prepare a surface for a coating to ensure adequate adhesion. These formulations typically consist of a binder resin, a solvent, and additives to improve wetting & surface area.  The binder resin in a primer system must be able to bond to low energy surfaces and improve surface energy for subsequent coatings.


When most people think of automotive paint they are thinking of a basecoat.  The basecoat is what provides the color to an automotive coating system.  A basecoat formulation consists of a binder resin, pigments or pigment dispersion, solvent, and additives to improve wetting & leveling.  Ensuring maximum pigment wetting and proper pigment orientation is critical to manufacturing a high quality basecoat.


Once the basecoat is applied that beautiful paint job needs to be protected; this is where the topcoat comes into play.  Topcoats or lacquers are applied over a basecoat and are typically hard, glossy coatings that are resistant to moisture, chemicals, UV, abrasion, and temperature.  A typical topcoat formulation consists again of a binder resin, solvent, and wetting / leveling aids.  It is incredibly important that the binder resin for a topcoat provide optimal durability to ensure a long lasting automotive refinish coating system.

Formulating an Automotive Coating?  ChemPoint Can Help

ChemPoint offers a wide range of raw materials useful in automotive refinish coating formulations.  From acrylic binder resins, wetting aids, adhesion promoters, and leveling agents ChemPoint has you covered with a wide range of solutions and knowledgeable product specialists to help guide you.  Contact us today to discuss your next automotive refinish formulation or check our some starting point formulations to get started on your next project.

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