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Car Paint Finishes: Orange Peel vs. Factory Finish vs. Show Car

Car Paint Finishes

Navigating the world of car paint finishes can be overwhelming, but don’t worry; we're here to help! In this article, we'll explore the differences between orange peel paint, factory finish, and show car paint jobs.

So, buckle up, and let's dive right into it!

Understanding Orange Peel Paint

orange peel car

At its core, orange peel is a textured imperfection in a paint job. This bumpy, wavy surface can be spotted by the naked eye as it reflects light from various angles around the imperfections. It is often found on repainted panels, but in some cases, it may even come straight from the manufacturer.

So, what causes orange peel? In most instances, it boils down to human error.

Factors such as improper painting technique, premature evaporation of thinner, incorrect spray gun setup, spraying at the wrong angle, or applying excessive paint can all contribute to this undesirable outcome.

Fixing orange peel often involves wet sanding. Start with a medium-cut product to address the problem without being overly abrasive. If that doesn't work, progressively use more aggressive methods as needed. Wet sanding entails dampening the surface and the sandpaper, then diminishing the clear coat until the surface is smooth.

Follow this with a polishing procedure to further smooth out the scratches created by the sandpaper. However, this approach doesn't always restore the finish to factory quality or thickness.

To prevent getting a part or paint job with orange peel, it is recommended to seek out a reputable and professional paint shop like Painted OEM Parts.

What is a Factory Finish?

factory finish car

A factory finish refers to the clear coat application that closely resembles the original paint job done by the vehicle manufacturer. This smooth finish, with a slight texture from the paint sprayer, is the standard appearance of vehicles when they leave the factory. This type of finish helps the car maintain its original look while providing a protective layer and enhancing its visual appeal.

This is also an excellent solution for repainting damaged car parts or full exteriors.

Instead of repainting your whole car, you can get OEM or aftermarket parts custom painted to match your vehicle’s original paint while having a factory finish. No one can even tell that your vehicle has replacement parts.

Show Car Paint Job

show car finish
Source: Naples Auto Armour

Show car paint finish takes the factory finish to the next level by adding a touch of luxury and refinement. This process involves applying the clear coat similarly to a factory finish but then wet sanding and polishing the part to achieve a mirror-like finish. This extraordinary finish is typically reserved for show vehicles that have undergone high-end exterior detailing, making it a rarer sight on everyday cars.

Show car paint jobs stand out for their striking appearance and attention to detail.

These paint jobs are designed to impress onlookers and turn heads at car shows, where the finest examples of automotive artistry are displayed.

The auto-painting process for show car finishes requires skill and precision to create a flawless and highly reflective surface. This meticulous approach ensures that the vehicle's exterior is nothing short of perfection, setting it apart from other paint finishes and transforming the car into a dazzling masterpiece.

Frequently Asked Car Paint Finishes Questions

What is a clear coat?

A clear coat is a crucial component of your vehicle's paint job, consisting of three layers: primer, color, and clear coat. This transparent layer protects the underlying paint from UV rays, oxidation, and contaminants like acid rain, road tar, and bird droppings. Moreover, a high-gloss clear coat adds a touch of glassiness to your car's appearance. Without a clear coat, your vehicle would exhibit a dull or matte finish. Proper washing and waxing are essential to maintaining the clear coat, as neglect can lead to peeling and exposure of the base paint layer.

Do cars need a clear coat?


Understanding the various types of paint finishes for cars is essential when replacing a damaged part of your vehicle or considering a new paint job. If you need replacement parts for your car, look for paint professionals that can provide a factory finish to match your vehicle’s original paint.

At Painted OEM Parts, we're committed to offering high-quality factory-finish replacement parts to meet your automotive needs. So spend less time at the body shop and let us handle the rest.

Simply send us your car’s VIN and match your car's paint. No need to visit our shop--your new parts will be sent straight to your doorsteps.

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