Automotive finishing and refinishing 574

17.1 History of automotive finishing 574

17.2 Glossary of terms used in spray painting 576

17.3 Basic composition of paint 577

17.4 Types of paint 577

17.5 Materials used in refinishing 579

17.6 Spray painting equipment 582

17.7 Types of spray gun 584

17.8 Basic parts of a standard spray gun 588

17.9 Spray gun maintenance and cleaning 590

17.10 Spray gun motion study 592

17.11 Spraying defects 595


17.12 Sanding and polishing machines 598

17.13 Preparation of a motor vehicle for repainting 600

17.14 Finishing and refinishing processes 602

17.15 Burnishing, polishing and final detail work 614

17.16 Rust-proofing 616

17.17 Comparison of hot and cold spraying 620

17.18 Movement of vehicle in the paint shop 621

17.19 Common spray painting defects 622

17.20 Colour mixing and matching 624

Questions 625

Index 627


Since 1914 the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association has been intimately involved in the history

and development of the motor vehicle and repair techniques. The onward march of technical progress

increases each year with vehicles becoming more complex and where the ancillary equipment, especially

the electrics, require delicate handling and treatment as part of the repair process.

It has never been more necessary to encourage young people into the industry, to equip them with the

necessary technical skills and tools plus an ability to work quickly, confidently and efficiently to maximize

profit whilst safeguarding their own and their colleagues’ health and safety.

Vehicle Body repair is both art and science. Repair of Vehicle Bodies addresses both sides of that equation.

Qualified technicians able and willing to apply themselves diligently and accurately to their task are a

scarce resource, commanding increasing respect and greater recognition than ever before.

Everyone has to begin somewhere. This book is an excellent starting point providing the basic essentials

as well as the more advanced skills and knowledge needed to equip students for a successful career in the

body repair industry.

Like all businesses, body repairers rely heavily on their most valuable asset, their staff, for survival

and success in their specialist field. Pride in the job is still very much in evidence but it is essential that

everyone involved in the repair process performs efficiently and consistently. This book underpins this

process and goes on to become a significant source of reference for the future.

Malcolm Tagg

Director General

Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association Limited

This Page is Intentionally Left Blank


This book is written for a wide range of students and professional practitioners in the field of vehicle

body repair and re-finishing. It is a text book and reference work which covers the concepts, principles

and skills needed to carry out effective vehicle body repair and re-finishing.

It will be useful for the professional practitioner whether working on current models or restoring vintage

or classic cars. The DIY enthusiast will find it easy to read and useful as a work-shop manual when

carrying out tasks, or projects, related to the vehicle body.

Students who are studying for NVQ, SNVQ, National Diploma, Higher National Diploma or Foundation

Degree qualifications in motor vehicle engineering will find the book an ideal text and reference book for

both the practical skills and the examinable content of those courses.

For NVQ/SNVQ students, Tables P1 and P2 will help in portfolio planning. Table P1 shows the

qualification framework for Vehicle and Body Paint Operations Units from Automotive Skills Limited.

Table P2 links the qualification framework with the contents of the book, showing which sections in the

book relate to specific units. This table will help guide readers who are using the book as a course text or

reference, with links to the underpinning knowledge and skills as well as to the material included in the

NVQ assessment.

The book deals with the craft techniques needed for working with ferrous, non-ferrous metals and

composite materials as well as with materials joining technologies and the use of body- and re-finishing

shop equipment and tools. It is written to be as comprehensive as possible. I hope that the reader will

enjoy it. If you have comments on this book, mail me at

Andrew Livesey


Table P1Automotive skills S/NVQ qualification framework: Vehicle body and paint operations


G1 Contribute to workplace good housekeeping M M M M M M

G2 Ensure your own actions, reduce risks to health and safety M M M M M M

G3 Maintain positive working relationships M M M M M M

BP01 Remove and fit basic Mechanical, Electrical and Trim M

(MET) components to vehicles

BP02 Remove and fit non-welded non-structural vehicle M M

body panels

BP03 Remove and fit non-welded non-structural

motorcycle body panels**

BP04 Remove, renew and refit Mechanical, Electrical and M

Trim (MET) units within vehicle systems

BP05 Remove and replace vehicle non-structural body panels M

BP06 Repair vehicle non-structural body panels M

BP07 Prepare vehicle panels to accept foundation and topcoats M

BP08 Prepare and apply foundation materials to vehicles M

BP09 Repair minor vehicle paint defects M

BP10 Carry out complete vehicle refinishing operations M

BP11 Mix and match vehicle paint colours M

BP12 Identify and rectify vehicle paint defects and faults M

BP13 Remove and replace vehicle body panels M

BP14 Repair vehicle body panels M

BP15 Remove and reinstate vehicle mechanical and

electrical systems and assemblies following M

accident damage

BP16 Remove and reinstate vehicle trim fitments following M

accident damage

BP17 Rectify vehicle misalignment M

BP18 Repair glass reinforced panels and vehicle bodies* A

MR06 Inspect vehicles M

MR09 Valet vehicles* A