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#4436876 - 06/20/17 03:59 PM Paint Thickness gauge, worth buying?
Rolla07 Offline

Registered: 11/05/11
Posts: 4555
Hi all, I am considering the purchase of a paint thickness gauge. I would like to buy one for my weekend detailing and the future possibility of doing weekend detailing as a side gig. I want to try one on my own car prior to using a rotary, which I would also be looking into purchasing. For those who have experience in detailing, is this something that would be beneficial? I would like to ensure the paint thickness is of reasonable thickness prior to using a rotary for defect removal. Any recommendations for both a paint thickness gauge or rotary would be appreciated. I have been looking at the Eray
Sunray Digital Paint Coating Thickness Gauge Meter on Amazon and the DeWalt DWP849X. Thanks!

Edited by Rolla07 (06/20/17 03:59 PM)
2007 Corolla Red Pearl 151k miles
Castrol Magnatec 0w20 & Napa Proselect

#4436879 - 06/20/17 04:01 PM Re: Paint Thickness gauge, worth buying? [Re: Rolla07]
Reddy45 Offline

Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2522
Loc: USA
Worth having if you will be detailing cars with very old or non-factory paint. But if the bulk of your clients are buying Hondas, Chevys, Toyotas from the last 10 years then most will have more than enough paint thickness for it to not be an issue.

Carry good liability insurance!
2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 4X4

#4436912 - 06/20/17 04:50 PM Re: Paint Thickness gauge, worth buying? [Re: Rolla07]
L_Sludger Offline

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 3947
Loc: Ohio
I've known of car flippers who use the gauge to see if a car has been repainted in its past.
too many cars and oil combinations to list in 150 characters or less

#4436945 - 06/20/17 05:14 PM Re: Paint Thickness gauge, worth buying? [Re: Rolla07]
69GTX Offline

Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3680
Loc: Connecticut
I've used the very simple Year One Spot Rot "gauge" which at the time cost me $6-$8. It's helped me identify original paint vs. repaints/excess bondo on 1960's and 1970's cars. Even used it on an inspection of a 2000 Camaro SS at my local dealership...and found that the right quarter panel had been repainted. You could easily make your own for a few bucks, or just buy a thin, flat refrig magnet. My Year One Spot Rot gauge has probably saved me hundreds of dollars over the years....and $thousands for other people when I checked out their cars for them. It gives out readings from 0 to 10 based on how well and long the paint allows the magnet to adhere. 8-10 is usually indicative of orig paint. 4-7 typical of repaints or thick new paints. And anything lower is multiple issues though usually too much bondo used. I've always gotten readings of 8 or higher on original/un-messed with factory paints.

2002 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 81K mi /PPlat 5w30/FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs

#4436961 - 06/20/17 05:39 PM Re: Paint Thickness gauge, worth buying? [Re: Rolla07]
Ducked Offline

Registered: 10/25/12
Posts: 3813
Loc: Taiwan
I'd never heard of this before, (and I suppose I don't much care if I never do again) but I did a quick Google out of curiosity.

Amazon have an electric (electronic?) version for "only" 80US

#4436966 - 06/20/17 05:43 PM Re: Paint Thickness gauge, worth buying? [Re: Rolla07]
Trav Offline

Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 17749
Loc: MA,
They work well but there is an issue with these gauges. If the car or panel has be repainted it will give you a false reading. You have the OE e coat, primer, base and clear but if the panel has been repaired and the OE paint scuffed it will have additional sealer, primer, base/clear on top of that and you have no way to tell how thick that is.

Personally I hate buffing cars other than initial color sanding and orange peel removal, I have seen paint detailed to death where the primer or base coat was showing. When painting I usually put an extra thin coat of clear on just to sand and buff away but after that your into the real base coat and it only gets thinner.
If the scratch cant be removed with just a light finishing polishing compound I just leave it and consider it a battle scar rather than hitting it with a full on rubbing compound.
ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.

#4437125 - 06/20/17 09:24 PM Re: Paint Thickness gauge, worth buying? [Re: Rolla07]
Ethan1 Offline

Registered: 12/29/14
Posts: 1620
Loc: 'murica
A very nice Pro Gauge II is $60 but it doesn't tell you squat in regards to the thickness of the clearcoat, which is the only thing that matters. Like Trav said, some cars have been detailed to death. They will burn through as soon as you touch them.

#4437506 - 06/21/17 11:11 AM Re: Paint Thickness gauge, worth buying? [Re: Rolla07]
RTexasF Offline

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 2836
Loc: North TX
Starting off with a rotary polisher can be risky if you don't have experience. If you're going that route then a paint gauge is a must. This is a good one for the money: