GM Paint Code By VIN

How To Find And Read A GM Car Paint Color Code By VIN?

A paint code informs you of the right color for your car. It is a three- to six-character code that makes it easy to establish color accuracy when touching up your car’s paint, restoring the paintwork, or repainting it. Thankfully, with General Motors vehicles, it’s pretty easy to find the precise paint color code for your GM car, without even using the VIN number.

A VIN (vehicle identification number) is a 17-character unique code you will find in every vehicle after manufacturing. The 17 characters consist of numbers and alphabets, but there is no intervening space between them. Also, you won’t find letters such as Q (q), O (o), and I (i) in VINs. The omission is to prevent confusion with 0 and 1.

The VIN gives you information about the car… The country it was made in, the factory that built it, the specific make and model, and the model year of the vehicle. If you want to retouch your GM car’s paint or re-paint your vehicle in a different GM color, knowing your car’s paint color code is essential to match it to the right color and hue.

What Is A Paint Color Code?

All cars have a color identification plate; locate yours, and everything becomes easy (in short, you don’t need to find the GM paint code by VIN alone). Your car color code is vital in selecting the right color for your car. You can find your car color code anywhere on your car, depending on the make and model. Common places you can find the color code include:

  • The radiator
  • Firewall or engine compartment
  • Glove box
  • Right-hand sun visor
  • Under driver seat
  • Drivers side door jamb
  • Trunk lid
  • Spare tire wheel well
  • The rear of the middle console

Also, you can find your car color code in your service history and your owner’s manual. Taking your time to write down your color code makes it easy to find the correct paint that will match your car correctly. If you have an Audi car, your color code will be under the deck lid, rear compartment, or in the spare tire compartment.

Bentley owners should find their color code under the hood, the door hinge, the door jamb, or inside the trunk. The color code of BMW is always in the wheel well or the firewall. Fords always have their color code in the driver’s side door jamb. Meanwhile, Mercedes Benz has its own in the engine compartment or the radiator support.

You can use the right color to cover up scratches on your car, and to know the right color, locate your color code or VIN, and you will get all the information you need. However, if you own a GM-made vehicle like a GMC, Chevy, Cadillac, or Buick, you can find your car’s color code without the VIN, just by finding the color identification plate.

GM Paint Code By VIN

How To Find A GM Paint Color Code?

To find your GM car’s paint code, locate the color identification plate. You will find the plate on the driver’s side door for most GM cars. Also, you can find the parts identification plate under the hood, near the windshield, or on the left side of the engine compartment. Other GM cars might also have this in the glove box.

Once you have located the color identification plate, understand the plate’s information. To know the exterior color of a GM car, find the number code combination that ends with L or U, where U signifies upper body color and L signifies lower body color. Another factor that determines a GM paint code is the year, make, and model of your vehicle.

A BC before the color code means base coat and a CC means clear coat. Some paint colors use two colors: an underlying color and a top color. You may find two sets of numbers, one with L before it to indicate lower color and the other with U before it to indicate upper color. To decode the GM paint color code, here’s a sample color code format: 51/WA316N

Quickly searching “GM color code 51/WA316N” on Google tells me that this is GM’s/Chevy’s “Gold Mist Metallic” paint. The complete code reads more like B/C 51/WA316N/GAO. The easiest way to go about this, given how complex GM’s paint color code is, is to simply Google the complete color code as is, rather than dissecting and decoding the code itself.

GM Paint Code By VIN

Can You Find The Paint Code By VIN?

Alternatively, you can also find the paint code on the VIN plate and the VIN on the dashboard (under the windshield, typically). However, you can only see the paint code through the VIN if the color on the vehicle is original. Once you find the VIN, call the dealership to help you check the paint color using the VIN. Or, you could use a VIN lookup tool or service.

Several reasons can require that you know the right color for your car; whatever the reasons, the most important thing is finding the exact color that will match your vehicle. To find the precise color, you will need your car’s paint code, a color number that makes finding the right color for your car easy. Every car has a paint code, just as every vehicle has a VIN.

Your car’s vehicle identification number serves as a fingerprint, containing specific information about your car, including your GM car’s paint color code. You can find your VIN on your insurance card, vehicle title, or dashboard. Your car’s VIN does not explicitly give information about your vehicle paint code. But, you can still use it to find your paint color.

Your VIN serves as your car fingerprint; then, you can use it to search for your paint color. Also, you can search for your paint code online using your VIN. Or, get in touch with your dealer and give them your VIN so they can help you find your paint code. You should understand that the VIN won’t give you the exact paint code for your car. But, it’s a tool you can use to find it.

Where To Find The Color Code For My Car?

For GM vehicles: You will find the paint color code of most GM vehicles on a sticker that says “Parts Identification”. At the front, you can find BC/CC, U, WA, or a four-digit number/letter. Most will have a sticker on the trunk lid, door jamb, and engine hood. Your VIN gives vital data about the car, but it won’t indicate the paint code.

For non-GM vehicles: Most car brands have a unique code format, where you will find the code on the car. Some color codes are easy to find, while some are in a highly complex location. Such as, under the carpet in a spare compartment. Below are the paint code locations for some popular cars (that aren’t made by General Motors, such as Chevy, etc.);

  • Acura: Driver’s door jamb
  • Audi: On a paper tag or in the spare tire compartment
  • BMW: Under the hood
  • Chrysler: At the top of the radiator support or driver’s door jamb
  • Ford: Driver’s door jamb
  • Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Lexus, Mitsubishi: Driver’s door jamb
  • Volvo: Under the hoof
  • Subaru: Under the hood

A Few More Tips, Tricks, And Considerations

  1. While most car manufacturers have similar locations for their paint codes, it can vary for some brands. Always refer to the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website if you have trouble finding it.
  2. Some vehicles have a separate code for the main body color and the trim color. Make sure to get both codes if necessary.
  3. If you cannot locate the paint color code on your vehicle, a local auto parts store or a dealership can usually help you find it.
  4. It is important to get the correct paint code. A slight variation in the code can lead to a different shade of color. As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to rely on finding the GM paint code by VIN alone, as finding the color code is easier and provides more accurate paint specs.
  5. Once you have the paint code, you can purchase touch-up paint from an auto parts store, a dealership, or online. Make sure to compare the code with the one on the product to ensure it is the correct color.

In conclusion, finding the GM paint code by VIN or otherwise on your vehicle is essential for touch-up jobs or full repaints. It ensures that the color matches perfectly with the original color of the vehicle. While the location of the paint code varies by manufacturer, it is usually found in the driver’s side door jamb, inside the engine compartment, or in the trunk.


  • Ray Bolinger, Jr. Says

    HELP !! I have a 1982 GMC PU vin# 1GTDC14C4CS526739 and I need the paint code. Can you help?

    • Hi Ray Bolinger, Jr.!

      Thank you for reaching out with your question about the paint code for your 1982 GMC PU. I understand that locating the paint code can sometimes be challenging, but I’ll do my best to assist you.

      To find the paint code for your vehicle, you typically have a few options. Firstly, you can check the vehicle’s owner’s manual, as the paint code might be listed there. If not, you can try looking on the inside of the glove box door or the driver’s side door jamb. Often, manufacturers place a sticker or label in one of these locations that includes important vehicle details, including the paint code.

      In the event that you can’t find the paint code in any of these places, another option is to contact a GMC dealership or a local automotive paint supplier. They should be able to provide you with the correct paint code based on your vehicle’s VIN number.

      I hope this information helps you locate the paint code for your 1982 GMC PU. If you have any further questions or need additional assistance, please let me know.

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