Pros and Cons of Using Enamel Car Paint

Paint swatches in front of a red car.

Enamel car paint is applied to cars, trucks, and other vehicles because its hardness withstands many elements. Enamel car paint will also give your vehicles a finished and very clean look. Enamel car paint is just one kind you can choose from and when deciding if it's right for you, you will want to know all of the pros and cons first. Here are some of the pros and cons of using enamel car paint.

Pro: Changing Car Color

When you want to change the color of your car enamel paint may be a good choice. You can have the body of your car wet sanded. This can then be used to determine if the previous layer of paint had hardener in it. This is important because a paint with a hardener in it is the best paint to cover. Enamel car paint will be able to adhere better to this type of surface.

Pro: Acrylic Lacquer

If you do not want to bother with all of the hard work involved with painting your car, then enamel car paint with acrylic lacquer in it will suit your needs. With most car paints you will need to remove the top coat of paint to the metal, and then paint it with primer. If your vehicle was previously painted this type of enamel, car paint will adhere to the prior layer of paint. Other paint will slide off the body and the job would have to be done all over again.

Pro: Clear Coating

Enamel car paint will accept a clear coat without an issue, as it will adhere to nearly every surface. Some enamel car paints are below standards and clear coat will not properly adhere. If this is your situation, you can wet sand the surface and then add a clear coat.

Con: Mixing Clear Coat With Enamel Car Paint

All enamel car paint is not created equal and some brands will not accept a clear coat. If your car needs a new coat of paint you will have to have the car prepped. It is a good idea to check with the manufacturer of the enamel car paint you plan to use to make sure it can accept clear coat. This also applies to adding an acrylic enamel for an extra shine. You should also look for an enamel car paint with a hardener in it.

Con: Cost

There are many paint alternatives to enamel car paint that are cheaper to use. Enamel car paint on the lowest scale is inexpensive, but once hardener and other additives are added to it the price jumps higher.

Con: Drying Period

Enamel car paint, unlike most other car paint, does not dry well on its own. Enamel car paint needs to be baked onto the car.

Choosing whether or not to use enamel car paint just got easier. Now the real question is what color should you choose for your ride!

Enamel Car Paint FAQ

Is enamel paint good for a car?

Enamel paint dries with a very hard and durable finish. It has high chemical resistance and can withstand abrasive chemicals like oil, which makes enamel a good choice for vehicle paint.

Enamel also finishes with a pretty, glossy shine. It is durable and attractive and it's a popular choice in vehicle paints because of its strength and looks.

What is the disadvantage of enamel paint?

Enamel paint has its weaknesses and drawbacks. For one, it is slow to dry and may take a day or more to dry between coats.

Enamel is also not ideal for the environment. Many have protested against the use of enamel paint, in fact, and have lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to put regulations in place to control the use of this type of paint.

Water-based enamel paints have become more popular in recent years because they are less toxic. All enamel paints, however, do release toxic fumes while in wet form and emit a very strong odor during the painting and drying process.

Enamel paint is also notoriously difficult to remove and clean, so you want to make sure you get the paint only where you want it and you had better make sure it's the color you want when you paint because it is very difficult to remove once it has dried.

How long does enamel paint last on a car?

Enamel paint is very long-lasting and hard-wearing on vehicles and will last between five to 10 years before it needs any major touch-ups. Enamel dries very hard and it does not chip or wear away easily.

When should you use enamel paint?

Enamel paint can be used on a huge variety of materials. In addition to being used on vehicles, enamel is used to paint glass, wood, ceramics, and metals of all types.

You can also use enamel paint in home design. It can be used for exterior or interior home paint.

What is the longest lasting automotive paint?

Enamel paint is considered to be among the most durable paint types you can choose for a vehicle. In general, oil-based paints are also highly durable and long-lasting.

Urethane, enamel, and acrylic are considered to be the most durable and long-lasting types of paint for automobiles.