Although both acrylic enamel paint and acrylic lacquer auto paint products offer specific benefits, they cannot be used together on car bodies due to their incompatibility with one another.
With surfaces properly prepared and under proper conditions, it wouldn't be a problem to spray acrylic enamel paint over acrylic lacquer auto paint; however applying acrylic lacquer auto paint over acrylic enamel paint will almost always result in wrinkling or other severe surface blemishes.
This is due to the solvent base in acrylic lacquer auto paint (lacquer thinner) being too potent for the soft materials used in acrylic enamel paint products.
Product compatibility is just as important today. This isn't confined to simply enamel, lacquer or urethane paints either.
Every product in an entire paint system must be compatible with the surface material to which it will be applied, as well as with every other product in the system.
This is very important to the success of any paint project.
For example, using a PPG reducer with a BASF hardener in a DuPont paint product is asking for real trouble.
The individual products were not designed as parts of a single compatible paint system and as a result, the color, adhesion and surface flow of that combination may well be adversely affected.
How to determine the type of paint currently on your vehicle.
Before you purchase paint for your car, you need to find out what type of paint material currently exists on the surface of your vehicle, whether it be enamel, lacquer or urethane paints.
In the case of newer vehicles, all factory paint jobs are going to be urethane based, as enamels and lacquers are quickly being done away with.
For your vehicle, it may be worth asking your local auto paint supply store member of staff for information on what kind of paint was applied at the factory.
To discover this for yourself, there should be a specific paint code listed on the vehicles ID tag.
In addition, you will also be able to determine the exact type of paint and color from the vehicle identification number (VIN) on older vehicles or from a separate paint and options tag on newer vehicles.
This all helps to easily identify materials when you are planning to match the existing paint.
If your vehicle has been repainted since it left the factory, you will need to obtain the paint code numbers from the paint can used during the repaint.
If this is not possible, contact the person who performed the repaint to attain the required information from them.
If you cannot determine the specific paint codes or information relating to the type of paint used on your car, you yourself will have to test a hidden spot on the vehicle using lacquer thinner, you could even possibly test an area already allocated for a repaint.
Take a clean white cloth, wet it with lacquer thinner and rub a spot of paint to test the reaction.
How to determine if your car is coated with clear coat.
To find out if the finish on your vehicle includes coats of clear paint over its base color, simply sand a hidden spot using 600-grit or finer sandpaper.
Before applying fresh paint on the vehicle, it is vitally important to find out exactly what type of paint is currently on the surface.
About the only exception to this rule is when a totally new paint system has to be taken into consideration after bringing the vehicle body down to its base metal.
If you are at all unsure about the type of paint on your car after this test, or if you have any other related questions or problems, our advice would be to consult a professional auto paint supply store member of staff.
Remember, applying mismatched coatings to an existing finish can potentially ruin your whole paint job.
Safety Disclaimer: Always follow the recommendations of your nearest auto paint supply store or by referring to the manufacturer's application guides and information sheets when dealing with any type of auto paint product or piece of equipment.
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