What Is the Meaning of the Term Flash Coat in Auto Painting?

by Tim McQuade

The term flash coat in auto painting has to do with the amount of time it takes for the solvents to evaporate before applying another coat of paint. The kind of paint you use, which type of paint job you want and the temperature all affect the duration of a flash coat.


When painting a car, it is important to know and allow for specific coats of paint to "flash-off," which means allowing the solvents within the paint to evaporate. Paint will not dry correctly if it is not given the recommended flash time.


If done incorrectly, an unsatisfactory flash-off can cause the paint to lose its shine and/or not dry correctly. When done correctly, a flash coat should give the paint a hazy finish.

Time Frame

A flash coat should, at a minimum, be on for five to 10 minutes. Which kind of paint job you are doing, which type of paint you are using and the temperature will all affect the duration of a flash coat. Also, the more coats that are used increases the length of flash time.

About the Author

Tim McQuade began writing in 1999. He has worked for two newspapers, including "The Ithaca Times," and has had a short story published. McQuade received a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Ithaca College.

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