How to Read GM VIN Code Paint

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Each General Motors (GM) vehicle has a paint code for its color. The paint code is in a reference computer database that tells a painter what quantity of each color to mix for the final product. Touch-up paints from dealerships have paint codes to match to the original color when a car owner is repairing a small area. Collision experts rely on the paint code to do body work and repaint large portions of vehicles so they will match in color.

Step 1

Locate the service parts identification sticker on the GM vehicle. The majority of vehicles have this sticker mounted in the glove box.

Step 2

Read the bottom line in the series of numbers on the sticker.

Step 3

Write down BC and the number following it. This is the base coat or undercoat color of the vehicle. Some cars and trucks have a different undercoat or base coat with a different color of topcoat to achieve depth in the final color.

Step 4

Write down CC on a piece of paper to note that the vehicle has a top layer of clear coat paint to add a mirror-like image.

Step 5

Write down U and the number following it. This is either the upper color of a vehicle or the main color code for the vehicle. Some cars and trucks have a different paint code on the roof, hood and truck that varies from the side of the body.

Step 6

Write down the U and L, each with their own paint code. This is the upper and lower colors on a two-tone truck or the body color and the bumper color on a car.


Other paint code locations on GM vehicles include on the left side of the driver seat, the passenger door face and the sidewall of a truck cab.

Write down the entire bottom line on the service parts identification sticker to purchase touch-up paint.

Touch-up paint is available at GM car dealerships in spray-on and brush-on types for covering small areas.


Vehicles that are more than 5 years old may have a slightly different color of paint than when it was originally manufactured. Sunlight fades colors slightly over time when a vehicle is not kept in the garage or covered. GM dealerships can use the paint codes and add a chemical to age the paint so it will match the car or truck.