Paint Detective



- Home of the PD8 Coating & Paint Thickness Gauge
Tel: +44 (0)1789 293180




Why use a Paint/Coating Thickness Gauge?


Paint Gauges otherwise known as Coating Thickness Gauges are used
extensively in a number of Industries including all types of Engineering, Metal
Fabrication, Automotive and Motor Trade. Engineering and Fabrication
Business’s use gauges such as the PD8 for measuring the thickness of paint,
anodising, galvanising, zinc plating, chrome and/or powder coatings where as
businesses such as the AA, the RAC, most Leasing Companies, Bodyshops and
Vehicle Inspectors use gauges to appraise vehicles paint and bodywork.
Traditionally equipment similar in specification to the Paint Detective PD8 has
been more than twice the price however by cutting out middle men and having
our gauges manufactured by a long established high quality electronic
instrument manufacturer in the Far East we have been able to drive our price
down whilst maintaining quality and functionality. Our gauge is suitable for use in
all Industries listed above and below we have detailed how the PD8 Gauge can
be used to great effect by professionals involved with the purchase and
appraisal of vehicles.

Why should a Vehicle Buyer use a Paint Gauge?

The PD8 is a sophisticated yet simple to use tool that can enable the user to
quickly determine previous repairs that may have been carried out to a vehicles
bodywork (the gauge works on both steel and aluminium panels switching
between either mode automatically), often these repairs are not easily or quickly
identified when relying just on eyesight and/or fingers. Men and women with
years of experience appraising and buying vehicles will admit to making what can
often be expensive appraisal mistakes. With a little practice a Paint Detective
PD8 gauge user will become an expert in uncovering the history of any vehicles
bodywork therefore helping him or her to carry out accurate and fully informed

With such a quick, simple to use, highly accurate and inexpensive tool as the
PD8 now available why risk making a potentially expensive appraisal mistake
ever again?


Below is an extract from the PD8 user manual which details some of the
benefits of using a Paint Gauge whilst appraising a vehicle:

Once you have turned your PD8 on the gauge is ready to start measuring. To
achieve accurate readings make sure the gauge is flush to the surface. As soon
as the probe is placed on the paint surface it will take a reading and once
removed from the surface this reading is held until the gauge is pushed to the
paint surface again therefore enabling a number of readings to be taken in quick
succession. To get an idea of how readings vary across a vehicle it would be
beneficial to test a vehicle that you know hasn’t had paint since it left the factory
so you can get an idea of what you are likely to see when testing other vehicles.
As the PD8 is so accurate it is even common for paint thickness readings to vary
slightly across panels of a vehicle that haven’t been repaired. It is a fact that due
to production process’s some panels have slightly more paint applied to them
than others.

It is also not uncommon for aluminium panels to have less paint than steel panels
due to the difference in corrosion protection.
However thinner paint readings may also indicate a panel has been replaced as
it is often the case that a bodyshop does not apply as much paint as would have
been applied at the factory.
You may now be wondering how on earth the gauge will be of any use so let me
You should not necessarily be looking for the actual thickness of the paint as
different manufacturers apply differing amount of paint and factory finish can be
anything from 90 microns (3.5mils) to 180 microns (7Mils) and sometimes even
more. These differences from car to car can be because caused because
metallic colours are often thicker than flat colours and older factories often apply
more paint. What you are looking for is changes as you test across panels of the
same car. You are looking for consistency and on an unrepaired car the
changes in thickness will be small and there will be some consistency from side
to side for example near side rear wing compared to off side rear wing.

There should be consistency as you test across each individual panel with only
small variations in thickness. Once you are happy with the readings you are
getting on an unrepaired car then try the gauge on a vehicle that you know has
had paint. It will soon become clear what you are looking for. The gauge will also
highlight where a panel has been blended. Bodyshops often have to spray into
adjoining panels next to a repair so there is not a visible change of colour and
finish. The repaired panel will have more paint and even filler and the adjoining
panel / panels will often have thicker paint nearer to the previous damage on the
repaired panel / panels. This blending means the paint tends to get thinner the
further away from a repair. The gauge will highlight filler where dents or rust
have been repaired and also where panels have been welded in. For example if
a vehicle has had a new rear wing there is often filler on the ‘C’ pillar where the
join of old to new wing has been made. There is also another trick to uncovering
more serious repairs and this is to check the paint thickness in the doorjambs
and boot shuts as it is common for these areas to have anything from a half to
two thirds as much paint as an outside unrepaired panel from the same car.

If any one of these shut areas has had a lot of paint it could be an indication of
serious previous damage and subsequent repair.
For a thorough inspection it is good practice to check at the edges of each panel
to look for large discrepancies across each panel and compared to adjacent

Keep your PD8 with you all the time because with a little practice it really can
both save and make you money. The more you use it the more skilled you will
become at detecting previous repairs and deciding / negotiating the best price
for the cars you buy.

If you want to join a growing number of people who now routinely use a Paint
Detective PD8 when buying or appraising cars then just click on "Buy Now"

Please check this website regularly for more tips and how Paint Detective users
get the best out of their gauges.



Click to Enlarge