How To Know What’s Under Your Car’s Paint Job

In this episode of PowerNation Extra, Truck Tech host Jeremy Bumpus shows us what to look for to know what you’re dealing with under the paint on your vehicle. Of course, when you go to buy a new car or truck you jump straight to making sure the mechanics are in working order. But what about the paint job? And even more importantly, what’s underneath that could be unsafe or cost you more money down the road. And of course, you just want your new ride to look good.

Even though the body panels may look great, there’s no way to tell if the vehicle’s been wrecked or painted just by looking. But here’s some ways you can tell before you buy. If you look straight down the body panel, does the paint finish have a consistent and even look? Are door gaps consistent and even as well? Tapping on the metal will give you a different sound if there’s body filler or rust underneath.

If you want a more accurate way, there’s an inexpensive way to check is a magnet. Cover it with fuzzy velcro to prevent from scratching the paint, and if it doesn’t stick you know there’s a lot of filler there and not a lot of metal to work with.

If you want to be even MORE in depth there’s an electronic thickness gauge you can buy that will tell you in mils how thick the panel is. Another cheaper option is a filler detective that will let you know how much material is on your panel.