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How Do I Find My Car's Paint Code?

How Do I Find My Car's Paint Code?

Whether you're ordering painted replacement parts or touch up paint, paint matching is essential. Choose the wrong color paint, and you could have a new part or painted area that sticks out like a sore thumb. But finding your vehicle's paint code can sometimes be tricky. In our guide, you'll find out where to look for your car's paint code, as well as the paint code format your vehicle make typically follows. This makes it easy to order accurately painted replacement parts and touch up paint knowing you've found the right shade.

Why it's Important to Find Your Car's Paint Code

It's never a good idea to simply guess the color of your car. A red car isn't just red. It's fire engine red, brick red, or even a candy paint red. That's why choosing "red" for your touch up paint just isn't going to cut it. With even a slightly different shade, you'll be able to plainly see the difference as soon as it's applied, and the poor matching job on your paint touch up may look worse than what you're trying to cover up in the first place.

Locating Your Car's Paint Code

Unlike information like your vehicle's VIN or tire pressure settings, there's no single predictable location to find your vehicle's paint code. Each manufacturer may do something different than the others, and it may not even be the same for each model. This means you may need to look in a few different places before you can successfully find your car's paint code. Try these spots first:

  • Driver door sticker: Often, you can find your paint code right where you find your tire pressure settings. This is the most common location for paint codes, so be sure to try it first. Another place to look on the driver's side door is in the hinge area, or in the passenger door, sometimes on the pillar. Makes that may use this location:: Acura, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedez Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volvo
  • Under the hood: Some will place the code above the strut towers, fender edges, or frame rail, or along the engine wall or fire wall just between the engine compartment and the interior. Others will have a sticker on top of hood deck lid or front of the radiator support. Makes that may use this location:: BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jeep, Mazda, Mercedez Benz, Mini, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki, Volvo
  • Inside the trunk: The sticker may be under the deck lid, inside the rear compartment, spare tire cover, or even on the wheel housing. Makes that may use this location:: Acura, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Volkswagen
  • In the glove box or middle console: Check inside the glove box or middle console, either on the door or inside the interior of the box, removing items if necessary. Makes that may use this location:: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Isuzu, Suzuki
  • Inside the wheel well: Look inside all wheel wells for a sticker. Some use the front passenger, others the rear driver's side, so it's best to check all of them. Makes that may use this location:: Buick, Cadillac
  • On the floor: This one's tricky, but you can check on the floor behind the back passenger's seat or under the front seats. Makes that may use this location:: Chevrolet, Chrysler, GMC

What You're Looking For

Will you know your paint code if you've found it? Typically, you're looking for a white or silver paper sticker. Just like locations, the paint code format for many vehicles is significantly different. Most related manufacturers, such as the General Motors group including Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC, will use the same format, which can make it easier to identify them. Paint code formats for selected models:

  • Acura: NH-XXXX
  • Audi: May be 2-4 numbers long and can include letters
  • BMW: Three numbers
  • Buick: Starts with WA, BC/CC, or U, may be prefaced by a three digit number and letter combination
  • Cadillac: Starts with WA, BC/CC, or U, may be prefaced by a three digit number and letter combination
  • Chevrolet: Starts with WA, BC/CC, or U, may be prefaced by a three digit number and letter combination
  • Chrysler: Starts with P, Q, G, or T, 3 digits with letters and numbers. May be prefaced by PNT.
  • Dodge: Starts with P, Q, G, or T, 3 digits with letters and numbers. May be prefaced by PNT.
  • Ford: Two digits with numbers and/or letters
  • GMC: Starts with WA, BC/CC, or U, may be prefaced by a three digit number and letter combination
  • Honda: NHXXXX or YRXXXXX
  • Hummer: Starts with WA, BC/CC, or U, may be prefaced by a three digit number and letter combination
  • Hyundai: Two digits with numbers and/or letters
  • Infiniti: Three digits with numbers and/or letters, may be fourth digit after a space
  • Isuzu: Three digits with numbers
  • Jeep: Starts with P, Q, G, or T, 3 digits with letters and numbers. May be prefaced by PNT. Older Jeeps may be two digits long.
  • Kia: Two digits with numbers and/or letters
  • Lexus: Three digits with numbers and/or letters, usually prefaced by CTR
  • Lincoln: Two digits with numbers and/or letters
  • Mazda: Two or three digits with numbers and/or letters
  • Mercedez Benz: DB-XXX
  • Mini: Three digits with numbers and/or letters
  • Mitsubishi: NH-XXXX
  • Nissan: Three digits with numbers and/or letters
  • Subaru: Three digits with numbers and/or letters
  • Suzuki: Three digits with numbers and/or letters
  • Toyota: Three digits with numbers and/or letters, usually prefaced by CTR
  • Volkswagen: Two to four digits with numbers and/or letters

If You Can't Find Your Paint Code

Even if you know where to look and what you're looking for, it's not always easy to locate your car's paint code. But you do have options.

First, check your owner's manual. Some manufacturers will explain in your manual where you can find the paint code. If that doesn't work, use your VIN. Your VIN is easy to find, located in the dash. If you write down this number, you can call a local dealership to ask them to find your color code based on the VIN.

Finding your car's paint code is sometimes tricky, but it's always worth it to get an exact match. With the right paint code, you'll have the perfect match for your painted replacement part or touch up paint.