Professional Carwashing & Detailing

What is a paint thickness gauge?

December 11, 2013

This is the second in a five-part series covering the repair process involved with acid rain and chemical etching. This first part covered the equipment needed.


What is a paint thickness gauge

Regardless of the repair system used, you should also obtain and use a digital paint thickness gauge. There are less expensive magnetic units available, but they are not as accurate. The paint thickness gauge is recommended for chemical etching of repair work because you must know how much of the clear coat you are removing in order to complete an effective and lasting repair. The gauge measures the total thickness of the entire film on the vehicle. Since the clear coat film is on top, you can easily determine how much of it you are removing during the repair process by simply subtracting subsequent measurements from the starting total. As mentioned previously, you should remove no more than .5 mils of clear coat during the repair. Without a paint thickness gauge you are buffing and sanding in the dark. The final repair might look great when it is done, but a few weeks or months later, the repaired paint may crack, peel or fade. The paint gauge will help you do the job right the first time.

Here is the other article in this series:

1. A car that's been hit by acid rain comes into your shop. Now what?