SCRS Offers Documentation on Tinting to a Blendable Match

In feedback received from membership, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has become aware of a growing number of instances where insurance carriers have made determinations to limit claims settlements for either “tinting” or “blending” individually, but not reimbursing for the operations mutually. The initial notification came from membership in the Northeast that indicated that several large-size carriers had made the determination within a relatively short time period of one another, and had begun to implement the ‘tint or blend’ approach within the marketplace. Upon polling other markets, SCRS became aware that the practice is growing in application across the country, and that collision repair facilities are in need of clearly stated documentation to substantiate the processes they undertake to perform proper and undetectable refinish repairs.

“In our refinish department it is not unusual to both tint and blend the paint to achieve a proper color match,” shared Head Painter at Dingman’s Collision Center, Shannon Chambers. “In talking with our estimators, I know that they are getting more and more pressure to reduce the estimate costs, but these are operations that I have to perform to live up to our customer’s expactations of our shop. In addition to the tinting and blending, I have more time spent than ever researching the color tools and indexes that we have; these are steps that I have to go through if I want to do repairs the right way.”

To offer the industry beneficial and substantive information, SCRS contacted each major paint manufacturer with four questions intended to clarify what processes and procedures are recommended and supported by the manufacturer’s training. The questions were:

  1. Is blending the basecoat recommended by your company to achieve proper color match between panels?
  2. Is tinting the basecoat material a recommended procedure to achieve a proper color match to the vehicle’s existing refinish?
  3. Are procedures such as tinting and blending commonly performed in conjunction with each other, or are they redundant processes?
  4. Does your company recommend performing one, or both, of these processes to achieve a proper color match on the repaired vehicle?

While each manufacturer’s response was put into their own language, the overall conclusions from the responses were consistent with SCRS’ position on this issue.

Collision repair professionals have a wide variety of tools and resources available to assist in determining and producing proper color application. Research of the color code and existing variations provided by the refinish manufacturer and blending of the color coat are both recommended operations to perform an acceptable match; if the refinish technician performing the repair determines that the color variance requires adjustment, it is a consistent recommendation to tint to a blendable match. When tinting is necessary for color adjustment, it is always done in conjunction with blending.

SCRS has posted the responses from each refinish manufacturer on our website, and can be found by clicking here.

“The insurance companies that aren’t willing to pay for the necessary operations like these are trying to lower the industry standard simply because it adds to their bottom line. If they were interested in raising the standard, they would spend more time listening to the craftsmen in our industry without the need for all this additional labor and documentation,” states Kye Yeung, Owner and Head Painter for European Motor Car Works in Santa Ana, California. “The key element that we are dealing with is that you have a “recipe” to make a certain color rendition. “All the manufacturers have different raw materials, and you often have to adjust to compensate for minor differences in those raw materials. Especially in areas where we are now painting with water and working on vehicles originally painted with solvent, it is important to understand about the materials, how they react to one another, and about the processes we need to undergo to achieve that color match.”

“For 20 years operations like this weren’t an issue, and yet suddenly you get insurance adjusters coming in stating they aren’t allowed to pay for it anymore, even though they could yesterday. Customers today are far more particular about their vehicle, with the majority of them being concerned about the color matching after the repair. The refinish work is one of the primary results of our labor that they can actually see. In my mind, color tinting and blending are necessary operations that can’t be arbitrarily dismissed,” Yeung concluded.

For Further Information:
Aaron Schulenburg, SCRS Executive Director
Phone: (302) 423-3537 or Email: aaron@scrs.com

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