I recently took my 2019 F-150 to a detailer to have a scratch touched up. The truck is plain white. When it comes back the place where the scratch was is clearly visible because the paint used by the detailer is more of a vanilla white and clearly has some yellow in it.

So, I ask the detailer if he used the truck's paint code which is "YZ" and he says yes, but says that the paint code is only "approximate" and that there is no way to get touch up paint that matches the actual color of the truck (other than doing a custom mix of paint by hand).

Is this guy full of shit, or is this true?

  • From my experience, some places are a lot better than others at mixing the paints.
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


The detailer is entirely correct. The paint code simply indicates the "mix" of colors and components to make that paint "color" for your vehicle. But one batch to another never match exactly. Paint coloring is more art than science.

An experienced paint shop should be able to come very close but it takes a very good eye and experience to match colors. Part of the problem is that paint changes color slightly as it cures so that needs to be factored in.

  • 1
    Correct - the paint code indicates the color mix when the vehicle was originally painted. Both curing and ageing from sun and weather exposure will change the actual painted surface. Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 14:17
  • Better body shops cut a sample ( if possible) and send it to the paint supplier to match with photo cell equipment. Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 14:38
  • Additionally, it's a 2019 truck and this is early 2022. The new paint could have been an exact match for the truck's original paint, but the truck's had 2 years to weather and fade, thus the original exact color won't match the current color.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 18:27

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