Why Would You Paint Your Car Matte Black?

Wrapped Audi TT

The SEMA show is chock-full of cars painted in matte finishes of all colors. There is no accounting for bad taste. Although some people think these cars look keen, there is of course the maintenance problem.

When asked about the pros and cons of matte black, one forum member (niky) responded: “Matte black paint looks awesome when it’s new and kept clean… but give it a few weeks, let it get dirty, and no matter how you clean it, it looks old and crappy.”

I think such owners want to make their cars look stealthy, like the B-2 Bomber with its radar-absorbing paint. They don’t realize their cars may become just as obsolete.

You can’t use wax on it, scratches are impossible to get rid of, special detergents and frequent washing are required, and a matte paint sealant is a good idea. Every defect will show (primer paint is flat—remember?—to show defects).

If you want to make a statement with your car, vinyl wraps (see the camo TT above) are a much better idea.

But unless you’re on a tight budget, give the wrap job to a pro, since the application process is really difficult. You’ll save a lot of money doing it yourself but will curse the creases and bubbles that result. Truly, you have to be a little nuts to go the cut-and-paste route.

That said, here are some of the many variations on a theme that appeared at SEMA last year. Turn off the wretched sound and check out these matte and wrapped cars, a few of which do look great, I must say.

Vinyl is a lot more durable than any matte finish; it comes in all kinds of patterns, colors and finishes; and you can remove it to get the original paint back when you sell the car. More information here.

Are you, or have you ever been, tempted to go the matte or vinyl route with your wheels?


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  1. Flat paint/primer does not show flaws more. Anyone who has ever painted a car knows that you have to spray different colored paint on it and block sand it to see where the flaws are when you paint it with primer. It isn’t impossible to fix a scratch, it just becomes harder and you have to be good at blending in a non traditional manner.

    If it was bad enough you could polish the entire vehicle to fix the scratches and the matte paint would polish to a little shine(semi-gloss) and fix the scratch and allow you polish it out. You could also respray matte clear coat over it or regular gloss clear coat if you were tired of it being matte without repainting the vehicle. You could spray your glossy paint with matte clear coat to make it less shiny.

    • My truck is matte black they just painted the front end a few days ago and now it’s a shade darker than the rest of the vehicle, will it fade to match over time or is there anything to do to lighten it up. It’s not noticeable until you get right up on it.

  2. I painted my car matte black so when i try to get away from the cops after street racing, they can’t see me parked in a driveway or in a parking lot. they drive right by.
    It worked several times now to avoid a hefty fine and impounding of my vehicle which has happened to many of my friends. they are thinking of painting their car matte black now too.

  3. That is a great paint job and very thorough and carefully done with a basic setup too.
    one to be proud of.?

  4. I looked at a f100 , painted Matt black but the finish was like sand paper . and this finish was every where. Was this a wrap or spray painted??? Also how do you was this finish? Help someone. I just may buy it..

    • I’d imagine this f100 has been sprayed with bedliner. More durable than paint but fades faster without protection. Did you end up getting it?

  5. First of all i have a sl65 black series i matte pearl white and its the most beautiful color i have seen and i own 4 super cars in rare colors from candy red lamborghini to black pearl hummer h1 .and ots so easy to clean just watwr and soap and it always looks perfect .

  6. Well I must say, I am quite a tasteful person and as much I agree with you that yo don’t need huge exhausts etc, I can assure you my land rover will look really nice in Matt black. #justsauing. DF@ Randy

  7. I’m just gonna take the wild guess that you’re one of those “I like sport cars so that means I’m a car guy” kinda person, although you have an interesting bad opinion, some people like that stuff, deal with, no need to insult, some people just like the rat rod look. Personally I think matte colors look ok, if you care about your car then it should be cleaned frequently no matter what.

    @ Randy

  8. Just another fad for the young lemmings to pi$$ their money away trying to impress each other with how bad their taste is. Face it, people with no class need rides too, hence all the highline spoilers, can mufflers and megastereos. Guys who like matte finish are probably also attracted to toothless women who drink too much. While there might be some advantage, mostly disadvantage.

    • Tell that to all of the people with Matte painted brand new Rolls Royces……. Matte is High Class…

      I happen to love the look… and the matte shimmer…..

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