A Glance At Scratch Test In Automotive Paints

If you buy cheap, you will buy twice; this holds in virtually every product, more so in the automotive industry. As you drive around, scratches are likely to happen. Nonetheless, besides your driving habits, the scratch frequency is reliant on the paint. Manufacturers acknowledge this, and it is among the reasons for the rigorous scratch test to deliver quality paint. Manufacturers undertake strict scratch tests with top-leading services, ensuring that the paint holds despite the harsh exposure to weather conditions and other stressors throughout the car’s use.

What is a scratch test?

Scratch testing is a quality control process that involves exposing materials to simulated stress expected in everyday use. The laboratory setting accounts for various considerations like temperature changes and impact. The results give the manufacturer insight into the materials’ hardness, adhesive, and cohesive properties. This informs them that the paint can retain its functional qualities and decorative features.

Why scratch test?

In the recent past, OEMs relied on simple tests. This includes Crockmeter and Amtek-Kistler carwash. While somehow effective in establishing a clear coat’s resistance to mechanical stress and scratches, the tests do not account for many factors. The deviation means relatively subjective results. This makes it harder to improve the coat’s quality on an ongoing basis. That’s where scratch testing comes in. It provides a chance to simulate and expose materials to real-life mechanical damages and stress, as seen in automotives’ life.

Modern consumers demand better quality, a box that scratch tests help manufacturers mark. Scratch tests have proven effective in improving the final product. This continues to make it an essential quality control measure. It is more so keeping in mind that automotive paints serve both protective and aesthetic goals.

Protective layer

The paint’s bottom layer protects the underlying parts. This is mainly from corrosion and other damages. That’s the primary reason those old cars with barely any paint get damaged faster. The cars rust and start to break down, and you can see the metal losing its integrity. Scratch tests ensure that the paint’s harness, adhesive, and cohesive properties are at their best, offering such protection.


Automotives’ top layer features a vivid and eye-catching finish. The best paints strive to keep the visual appeal shining for an extended period. That smooth and glossy finish is made possible by two layers; the base and clear coat. The base coat offers color and visual effects. The clear coat delivers a glossy appearance. It also offers protection against mechanical and environmental concerns.

What the automotive paint scratch tests consider

The top considerations for the scratch test in the automotive paint industry are:

  • Mar resistance: This considers resistance to scratch, such as from a car wash brush. These are usually minor and only on the topcoats.
  • Micro-scratch: Elements like tree branches impact a larger size. They generate deeper scratches, falling under micro-scratch.
  • Macro-scratch resistance: The test considers elements such as keys. This can cause large and deep scratches, usually requiring the removal of the clear coat.

You would think twice before buying car paint that didn’t serve you long enough as a consumer. As manufacturers, scratch tests ensure that consumers love the brand and keep coming back whenever they need to spice up their automotives’ looks.

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