How to Read GM VIN Code Paint

by Mary Lougee

Each General Motors (GM) vehicle has a paint code for its color. The paint code is in a reference computer database that tells a painter what quantity of each color to mix for the final product. Touch-up paints from dealerships have paint codes to match to the original color when a car owner is repairing a small area. Collision experts rely on the paint code to do body work and repaint large portions of vehicles so they will match in color.


Locate the service parts identification sticker on the GM vehicle. The majority of vehicles have this sticker mounted in the glove box.


Read the bottom line in the series of numbers on the sticker.


Write down BC and the number following it. This is the base coat or undercoat color of the vehicle. Some cars and trucks have a different undercoat or base coat with a different color of topcoat to achieve depth in the final color.


Write down CC on a piece of paper to note that the vehicle has a top layer of clear coat paint to add a mirror-like image.


Write down U and the number following it. This is either the upper color of a vehicle or the main color code for the vehicle. Some cars and trucks have a different paint code on the roof, hood and truck that varies from the side of the body.


Write down the U and L, each with their own paint code. This is the upper and lower colors on a two-tone truck or the body color and the bumper color on a car.


  • check Other paint code locations on GM vehicles include on the left side of the driver seat, the passenger door face and the sidewall of a truck cab.
  • check Write down the entire bottom line on the service parts identification sticker to purchase touch-up paint.
  • check Touch-up paint is available at GM car dealerships in spray-on and brush-on types for covering small areas.


  • close Vehicles that are more than 5 years old may have a slightly different color of paint than when it was originally manufactured. Sunlight fades colors slightly over time when a vehicle is not kept in the garage or covered. GM dealerships can use the paint codes and add a chemical to age the paint so it will match the car or truck.

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About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

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