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Standox car painting tips: how to successfully repair white pearl paintwork

Many experienced car painters will know that white pearlescent paintwork presents a real challenge when it is repaired. Unless car painters are very precise, it is easy to end up with a visible difference to the original effect. Harald Klöckner, Standox Training Manager Europe, Middle East and Africa, explains how to get it right.

In the last ten years, white has become increasingly popular as a car colour, as it can represent contemporary style and environmental awareness. As part of this trend, many car manufacturers have launched special effect white colours. These pearlescent paints, such as Mineral White by BMW or Mystic White by Mercedes, consist of two basecoat layers and give the vehicle a shimmering colour effect if viewed from certain angles. Refinishing them requires a complex, multi-coat application process. To support their car body shop partners, Standox has developed specific refinish guidelines.

Tip 1: Preparing a spray-out card is vital
“The critical factor for white pearlescent paints is the effect coat,” says Klöckner. “As far as it is concerned, you will achieve the closest match to the original if you use spray-out cards.” He recommends producing three spray-out cards using the base colour before starting the application process. The spraying of each of the three cards should be different - one, two and three effect spray passes respectively. Due to the different number of paint layers on each spray-out card, the pearl effect will vary and refinishers can then determine the best match with the original.

Tip 2: Mark spray-out cards carefully
A seemingly simple step, but one that should not be forgotten when preparing spray-out cards. “Note the number of effect spray passes on the back of each spray-out card,” says Klöckner. “Otherwise you’ll quickly lose track of things.”

Tip 3: Always paint body parts together
For the actual repair, refinishers should first apply the base colour to the damaged area until they achieve good coverage and then blend it into adjacent areas. “Matching the colour of adjoining areas or car parts is essential,” says Klöckner. “In addition, when refinishing tri-coat colours, you should never paint body parts separately, always together.” Before applying the effect coat, dust and overspray should be removed carefully as the subsequent basecoat will show up all impurities.

Tip 4: The number of spray passes is critical for achieving a good match
“When applying the effect coat, you should paint from the outermost area inwards. Use the area available and don’t restrict yourself,” Klöckner advises. “It is critical that you apply exactly the same number of spray passes as on the spray-out card that best matched the original. That will help you to achieve impeccable results when refinishing white pearls.”

In 60 Standox Information Centres around the world, Standox regularly runs seminars about special effect paints. Interested bodyshops will find course dates under “Service & Training” on the Standox homepage at



About Standox
Standox, one of the global refinish coating brands from Axalta Coating Systems, supports its customers with premium product quality and in-depth consultancy to help obtain the best results. As a leading European automotive refinish brand based in Wuppertal, Germany, it delivers innovative product systems, and superior colour-match accuracy and paint technology. Approvals from major car manufacturers reflect the brand’s position as a leading partner to the automotive industry. Standox helps professional refinishers achieve right-first-time results.

Pearlescent paints give the vehicle a shimmering colour effect if viewed from certain angles.

Many experienced car painters will know that white pearlescent paintwork presents a real challenge when it is repaired.