Paints and primers that protect your truck for the long haul

Paints and primers that protect your truck for the long haul

People judge a book by a cover. It happens. First impressions matter and the same goes for fleets: Customers may judge your service based on your trucks’ finishes. Beyond that, corrosion is a big culprit in undermining the longevity of your equipment. So let’s start at the finish.

“There are two reasons to refinish a truck in a fleet,” began Dan Szczepanik, commercial segments director of marketing for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. “First and foremost is safety: Making certain the truck is in good condition to meet DOT regulations. The second reason is brand identity. A fleet of trucks represent your brand: logo, color, overall condition. Your fleet is a rolling billboard for your brand and you want the best possible impression on everyone who views your fleet. When your truck is on the road there are thousands of impression made and opportunities to promote the brand.”

Image and durability can both play a role in determining when to refinish the vehicle.

“If the paint finish is marred by stone chips and scratches leaving bare metal exposed, it’s critical to repair those areas before corrosion takes hold,” said JJ Wirth, PPG brand manager, Fleet Segment. “From an image point of view, timing is more subjective. Here the decision maker must visually inspect the vehicle and weigh the condition of the paint finish and its impact on the company’s image against cost considerations for refinishing.”

Primed time

Christopher Papa, Axalta Coating Systems’ commercial transportation marketing manager, explained that it’s time to consider refinishing trucks when the appearance of the fleet no longer adequately represents the brand that your organization is attempting to portray in the marketplace. At that point, it’s starting to think about your coating selection.

PPG Painter
A PPG painter in action.

“When choosing a coating system for your fleet, you should definitely consider the route that the units will run,” Papa said. “Trucks running routes off road or that will be spending time around job sites could be exposed to more harmful debris that could potentially damage the coating and substrate. Axalta’s recommendation to combat these more severe conditions would be to specify a basecoat/clearcoat system when ordering your trucks from the OEM or during repaint scenarios. The additional layer of clearcoat will not only help provide shine and luster that is designed to outlive the life of the truck, but also provides your fleet with an additional layer of protection to defend against the harmful debris that your assets may be exposed to.”

“In the north where you have snow and salt, corrosion occurs more often you may select to use a higher solids epoxy as an undercoat. In the south where you have rain and sun, you can be a little more liberal—a DTM primer would work fine,” added Douglas Markovich, technical consultant with ChemSpec. “In these areas, a single stage urethane may be adequate for top coat. In the west where you have sand storms, hot temperatures and intense sun, I would recommend a high-solids clear-coat for added durability.”

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