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Paint Code Locations

Vehicle Paint Codes

All vehicles mass produced over the past 20 years or more have had paint codes attached to them when they left the factory. The code is not part of the VIN which is normally on the cowl at the base of the windshield. Most codes are a sequence of 2,3,4 or 5 alpha-numeric characters. When the color code information is under the hood, as it frequently is, it is often on a stamped metal tag similar to a charge card. When it is located elsewhere on a vehicle, out of the weather, it is often printed on paper and covered with clear laminate.

The tag upon which the paint code is found typically has lots of other data encoded on it regarding the specifications of that particular vehicle. In many cases the paint code is not identified as such, it is just in a series of codes. If you need help with this you may tell us you have a 2000 Ford and it is yellow, for instance. We could ask you if you see a "BZ" or "B7".

Most codes can be found in one of 4 places, under the hood, driver's door or B pillar, inside the trunk or in the passenger area. When under the hood it may be on the cowl or firewall or on the radiator core support or on some vehicles it may be on the strut tower.

When around the driver's door it's apt to be on the B pillar, the post the lock striker is on.

When in the trunk it could be on the cover over the spare tire, in the well where the spare tire is or on the underside of the deck lid.

When a code is in the interior of a vehicle it is usually in the glove compartment or the underside of the center console arm rest.

If your vehicle is an OEM two-tone make a note of that. Obviously we need to know which of the colors you need, upper, lower or darker etc. Some manufacturers repeat the code twice to indicate "both" colors are the same. Some manufacturers display the two different codes. Others show a single code that is neither color but translates to the two different colors/codes. Bear in mind your car may have been two-toned in a shop after it was manufactured even though it looks original.

Another caution is there are rare cases of cars being "mis-coded". Older cars may have never been color coded since there was only one dark blue offered that year etc. In other cases the original code is missing due to age or previous repair.

Use the guides below to locate your paint code.

car and truck diagram of vehicle plate locations

Sample paint code tags used by GM, Ford and Chrysler for the past 20+ years are shown below. Some tags also show the date of vehicle manufacture. Disregard that date, we need the model year for color purposes. Since 1980 the model year is the 10th character from the left in the VIN. The legend to de-code that character is shown after the sample code tags.

General Motors Color Plate diagram Chrysler / Jeep Color Plate diagram Ford Color Plate diagram

(Click images to enlarge)

General Motors Color Plate diagram

Honda and Acura paint codes are more complex than most. An explanation of Honda and Acura color code logic follows if you are interested. Otherwise, you may contact us with the code on your car and VIN and will determine the best color position.

(Click image to enlarge)

Honda - Acura paint label description

Visit the DuPont Historical Color Chip Library for additional paint color information.

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