GM’s Different Types Of Paint Explained22
GM offers various types of paint on its vehicles to achieve different visual effects to appeal to a wide range of customers. While a color’s primary purpose is aesthetic, The General puts considerable resources into color forecasting, studying trends in customer preferences often years in advance of the colors appearing on available models.
Currently, at least six different types of paint see use on GM vehicles, including solid colors, tintcoats, iridescents, metallics, tricoats, as well as matte finishes.
Solid colors are the everyday, ordinary paints with no unusual visual effects. A good example of a solid paint is Summit White (color code GAZ), the most common paint color on Chevy vehicles.
Since white was the most common car color sold worldwide in 2022 and for the previous 12 consecutive years, it is unsurprising Chevrolet’s most frequently used paint color is both white and an ordinary solid paint type.
Examples of solid GM paints offered currently (with color codes in parentheses) include:
- Summit White (GAZ)
- Red Hot (G7C)
- Black (GBA)
- Arctic White (G8G)
- Rapid Blue (GMO)
- Torch Red (GKZ)
Tintcoat paints are a type of finish with multiple layers providing greater depth of color, somewhat similar to custom “candy” paint finishes. A tintcoat consists of a base paint color with a tinted clearcoat applied over it. The tintcoat creates a richer, deeper color, and can be combined with either solid or metallic paints.
Examples of tintcoats used on recent models include:
- Radiant Red Tintcoat (GNT)
- Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat (GPH)
- Amplify Orange Tintcoat (GC5)
Metallic paints provide a reflection similar to polished metal, often achieved by introducing aluminum flakes or powder into the paint. Metallic paints provide a shifting reflection as the automobile finished in them or the light source moves, highlighting the shape of the vehicle.
GM uses a wide range of metallic paints, with the following examples offered on 2023 model year Chevy vehicles:
- Dark Ash Metallic (G6M)
- Northsky Blue Metallic (GA0)
- Glacier Blue Metallic (GLT)
- Sand Dune Metallic (GTL)
- Sterling Gray Metallic (GXD)
- Harvest Bronze Metallic (GXN)
- Nitro Yellow Metallic (GCP)
- Cooper Bronze Metallic (GLY)
- Mosaic Black Metallic (GB8)
Iridescent paints use a combination of pigments to give a shimmering effect. They may appear to change color slightly when viewed from different angles and when reflecting different lights.
Iridescent paints can have a prismatic effect and may have greater visual depth than metallics. This paint type usually uses ceramic crystals to achieve its visual effects rather than aluminum powder used for metallic colors.
Tricoat paint is a premium paint type with, as its name suggests, three layers of paint for maximum depth and richness of color, with higher concentrations of metallic pigments than standard metallics. A tricoat is applied starting with a base coat, followed by a middle paint layer and a clearcoat finish on top. Additionally, tricoats are also very durable.
Tricoat is usually combined with other effects, as in Iridescent Pearl Tricoat (G1W) and White Pearl Metallic Tricoat (G1W).
These two tricoats also illustrate how GM uses the same paint color on models from different brands. Though the color name differs, the G1W color code is the same. To wit, Iridescent Pearl is the paint’s name on 2023 Chevy Silverado models, while White Pearl is the name for the same color on the 2023 Chevy Corvette models.
Matte paint, otherwise known as Frost in the GM world, has a satin matte finish and requires special care, including using only touchless car washes, wiping rather than rubbing during hand cleaning, and avoidance of waxes and polishes.
GM has mostly used matte or frost finishes for green or black paints, and mostly on Cadillac vehicles, though the GMC Hummer EV is also getting a matte paint choice for the 2024 model year.
Examples of mattes or frost paints include:
- Dark Emerald Frost (G7W): this paint was offered on 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing in very limited quantities.
- Maverick Noir Frost (GMW): GM offered this color in very limited quantities on 2023 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. It was also used on the 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing Sebring IMSA Edition.
- Moonshot Green Matte (G7W): a satin-matte paint offered exclusively on the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Edition 1.
The GMC Hummer EV Pickup has been available for some time, but GM will soon launch the SUV body style. The use of Moonshot Green Matte on the exclusive Hummer EV SUV Edition 1 trim underlines how The General appears to reserve matte and frost paint mostly to very limited issue, range-topping trims.
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All the money and research into paint for gen x y z and millennials but won’t build me a long bed pick up that I can work out of
This! 1000 times this!!
GM needs to get out of their design studio, and talk to people who actually use trucks. Folks who need an 8′ box more than artisan paint or new optional rims.
Buy you can buy a long-box pick up, they do build them.
I recently discovered the 2022 Encore GX I purchased has White Friost Tricote Paint. I have learned on this site that the paint requires special care. How can I best care for that paint?
That color is actually a metallic and only has “Frost” in the name. No special care required.
The ones that need special care are mattes (sometimes have Frost in the name, typically at the end of the name) – exclusive to a handful of Cadillac models. GMA linked the care instructions for those models in the article, but here it is again:
Good luck matching all those non-solid colors if you ever need a repair…I always prefer a solid color (not just for easier repair – because I like the look better), and as a result, I usually have very limited choices.
Growing up in the car business, I have seen talented guys that can match metallics perfectly after playing around with it a bit…but I haven’t seen that same artistic talent in 30+ years.
We are still here. 30 years ago was mainly single stage and panel painting. Base coat/ clear coat lets us blend perfectly into the next panel. Tinted clearcoat is crap on newer cars. Try wetsanding a scratch in the panel. Removing a minor amount to remove a scratch results in a color shifted splotch in the panel. Easy enough to shoot same color in 3 stage style with clear coat on top, but manufacturers are looking for the quickest cheapest way out.
Yep. I had a 1992 chevy pickup 1500 with the bright blue and it was scratched so the body shop had to match, problem is they used too much metallic and once you were out in the lighted areas or daytime you saw it noticeably but not so much in darker shadows which explains why he had me check out his work in his not so very lit shop on the side done. Lesson learned!
We would like to have a SnugTop camper shell put on our 2022 GMC Sierra 2500 Crew Cab AT4. The window label says: Exterior: Cayenne Red Tintcoat. Is there anything else I need to know about the color to get a perfect match. We’ve had Snug Top camper shells put on before, that was NOT a perfect match.
I would suggest that you stop by a reputable body shop (or two) to get some more info on this. And remember, you get what you pay for.
You will never get a perfect match just by painting a camper shell. When they do body repairs, they blend or paint into the surrounding panels to make any color transition less obvious. Unless you want them to repaint 3 sides of your new truck, it will always look different.
Nice that GM has so many paint colours. Now please explain why it falls off and the GM vehicles rust so quickly.
My 22 Colorado color is bright blue. They couldn’t even name it. So I go to a parts store looking for bright blue. Funny
Talk about taking care of your paint, most vehicles today are coming from the factory and no one is mentioning u are supposed to wait some amount of time before u wax your vehicle.
EXACTLY. You need to leave at least 4 weeks, 6 weeks in cooler climates before adding and type of paint protection. It takes this long for the gasses to release that allows the paint to pond. Waxing will seal in these gasses and over time your paint will fade and have a hazy finish that you cant correct. Yes I know what I am talking about, I was in the Industry for 35 years.
It’s because you don’t have to. Factory applied paint process is different than a body repair. Waterborne paints like the Acrylic polyurethane enamels used to paint cars from factory are pretty much completely cured coming out the back door of the factory, and by nature have have less outgassing to deal with . If nothing else it still takes weeks to find its way to a dealer much less be sold and picked up.
I just checked the colors on the 2023 Cadillac XT4: Radiant Red Tintcoat and Crystal White Tricoat are $1225 options. The rest are Metallics at $625. But there is one color that comes at no extra cost: Argent Silver Metallic. At least I saw no cost posted on the ‘Build & Price’ under the Exterior Color Tab.
It is ‘no cost extra’. But be advised that it’s not silver in color. It’ a medium gray. It’s nice looking. I have one now in my garage .-) But it’s just not what one would call ‘silver’.
all these colors and you can only get AT4 in 5 colors
My 2011 is Steel Green Metallic- I bought the truck for this color (stupidly, because it has wimpy 3.08 gears).
That being said, a few years back, I was rear-ended and the whole box and part of the cab got repainted. I was very pleased with the quality of the paintwork. Nobody can tell that it was repainted.
About a year ago, I started using a ceramic spray on when washing it, and it makes the paint look so much deeper. I hope the ceramic spray works as well on my High Country with the iridescent pearl Tricoat when it gets here. (Hopefully this week)
I had to ask several people to get the answer at my local Chevy dealer and they said don’t wax for 60 from date of manufacture build on the door jam. I ordered and got my my Colorado in less than 2 months. Upstate N.Y. I must have timed it right. So be Careful with paint treatments.I’ll take my dealerships advice, being a top Chevy dealer in upstate NY.
Good to know edutainment.
Anyhow, I generally keep my vehicles for a long time till the wheels fall off and I clay down and wax my vehicles thoroughly. The vehicle still looks new after many years if you are willing to spend time on weekends once or twice a year caring for the automobile. But understandably, life passes by and most people don’t have time and/or don’t understand the proper care of exterior paints.