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  • John Norton

How Thick Is Factory Paint?

Do you know how thick your paint is?

The average factory paint job on a modern vehicle averages about 4-5 mils (thousandths of an inch) of total paint thickness, but some are closer to 3 mils. This usually is comprised of 4-5 different layers, with the top layer being the clear coat and accounting for roughly 1.5 mils. So, what does that mean in real life?


An average credit card is roughly 25-35 mils thick (6-9 times thicker).


The average business card is about 12-15 mils thick (3-4 times thicker).


A piece of copy paper is about 2.8 mils thick (about 1/2 as thick as your paint) and is almost twice as thick as the total clear coat on your car.


A sandwich bag is about 1mil thick (both sides combined).


Removal of more than 20% of the clear coat (roughly 0.4 mils or less than one side of that sandwich bag) will void the warranty and can lead to premature clear coat failure.


Scratches in your paint may appear small, but in relation to the paint thickness they are sometimes more significant than you realize.


Safely removing scratches and swirls requires skill, patience, and an understanding of the risks involved. A mistake of 1/1000 of an inch can lead to disaster.


Removal of 95% of scratches and swirls is considered exceptional. 98% removal is considered "perfect" and the time necessary to achieve that extra 3% can take as long as the other 95%.


It is important to understand the limitations and the work involved to achieve the results you desire.

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