A majority of the cars on the road today have some variation of a shiny, reflective paint finish, but recently, car enthusiasts and manufacturers alike have been turning to a different type of finish in order to stand out: matte paints.

Standing Out From the Crowd: Matte Paint

Matte paint is quite the opposite of the typical gloss paints that use a clear-coat finish and appear to be “shiny”. A matte finish uses a different coating that defuses light, providing its unique “flat” finish.

According to Automobile Magazine, BMW first introduced its Frozen matte paints for various special editions of the M3, and recently made Frozen Bronze Metallic a $3500 option on the new 6 Series Gran Coupe. Hyundai’s new Veloster Turbo can be optioned with matte gray paint for $1000.

However, the expensive price tag also means that these matte paint surfaces are more expensive to maintain and repair. Consumer Reports recently gave this product it’s “diva award” due to its cumbersome care requirements:

If a paint color/finish is more expensive to buy, chances are it’s more expensive to maintain and repair… The diva award in this category goes to the matte finish… Matte is also an expensive finish to doctor if it gets dinged. Even a small repair area might require fixing an entire car panel…” (Full article here.)

General Matte Maintenance

The key point is to avoid scratching or damaging the paint surface. Whereas small scratches in a typical gloss finish can be corrected with waxes or other methods, damage to a matte paint job is usually permanent.

For this reason, BMW, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz all recommend against automatic car washes. According to them, owners should wash by hand every time (Full article here). Although many matte cars have been successfully washed in professional car washes, we always recommend reviewing your owner’s manual prior to making any car washing decisions.

All in all, matte paint finishes aren’t any less durable than regular gloss finishes, but they simply need more attention to keep them looking new. That could dissuade some people from spending a few thousand dollars on the unique paint, unless of course they’ve got a strong desire to stand out from the crowd.