How to Measure Paint Thickness

by Marsanne Petty

When buying a used car, whether at an auction or from an individual, knowing the paint thickness can be beneficial. If the paint is more or less than 125 microns as read by a paint thickness meter, then the car could have been altered in the past. Those alterations take a number of forms, but the most popular is repainting the car or vehicular damage. Although a simple repainting may not be anything to worry about, previous damage to the vehicle could cause problems for you later on.


Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer for your paint thickness meter. Each model varies, so it is important to become familiar with your meter.


Examine the vehicle for differences and variations in color, gloss and texture. Test any area that appears to be different from the surrounding areas.


Look for the extremely small droplets of paint that signify overspray. This will generally be on the accessories, windows and fender wells, and are caused by the painter not taping the car properly before painting.


Investigate areas of the car that are often subject to damage from accidents, such as the bumpers, fenders and side doors. Although small dents do not necessarily mean that major damage has been done to the vehicle, they can be an indication that there has been damage.


Press your paint thickness meter against any of the areas of the car that seem suspect. The meter will provide a reading. If it is more or less than 125 microns, you may want to ask questions about what happened to the vehicle.

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About the Author

Marsanne Petty has been a writer and photographer for over ten years, and is currently pursuing the combination in tandem. She attended Madison Community College, receiving a degree in Administration. She has published several articles for magazines, including Jack Magazine, and the local newspaper, the Jasper News. Her latest creation, a pictoral history of Hamilton County, Florida, was published in early 2009 through Arcadia Publishing.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Barry Austin Photography/Photodisc/Getty Images