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Auto & Truck Paint Thickness Meter & Gauge Information

Elcometer Paint Thickness Meters & Gauges


For the last 10 years, Elcometer, Inc has made meters & gauges to measure the paint thickness on vehicles. They were the original designers of equipment to measure the coating thickness and paint thickness on steel panels. The Elcometer paint meter & gauge work from a principle of magnetic induction. They create and electronic magnetic field and then send out a signal to reflect from the substrate the thickness of the paint on the panels.

Two years ago, Elcometer, again the originator and industry leader, brought out a meter & gauge to measure paint thickness on aluminum, in addition to steel. The Elcometer meters & gauges are called the 311 Basic to measure paint thickness on steel panels only and the 311 Highline to measure paint thickness on both steel and aluminum panels. The Elcometer 311 Highline meter & gauge automatically recognizes the substrates and switches from steel to aluminum in a second to gauge paint thickness on both.

The Elcometer 311 paint meters & gauges measure in mils, which is a U.S. painting term. It means that the thickness of the paint is 1,000th of an inch thick. This is very finite and their accuracy is second to none. They measure by ½ mil increments, so if you are reading the paint thickness meter or gauge on a car, it will read 4.0, then 4.5, then 5.0 and so on. You do not need to read any finer than in mil increments. I have bought a few thousand cars at auctions with these Elcometer meters & gauges and they tell you all that you need. They will even find bondo under the paint, so while we call them Elcometer paint meters & gauges, they are also bondo locators, too.

Auto Auctions

When you are buying cars at the auto auctions, your job is vehicle valuation in very short periods of time. With the Elcometer paint meter or gauge, you can pick the cars apart. Using a paint thickness gauges & meters, I can get around a car in about 15 seconds without opening a door. Without Elcometer paint meter & gauge, it takes me about 3 or 4 minutes to look at a car or truck, with most of that time spent looking at the outside skin of the car, for paint work. How long does it take to open the door and check for mileage and interior equipment and smell for smoke, just a few seconds. And then I would probably only bid on one out of 4 or 5 cars, as the others would have new paint on fenders or doors or have been repainted. With the Elcometer paint meter or gauge, I can tell you 95% sure if the paint thickness is the factory paint thickness or new paint. A few times a body shop can spray on the original thickness of the paint and the meters tell you little. But most of the time the Elcometer paint gauges & meters will show you instantly the differences between the factory paint and the aftermarket paint work and thereby you can determine whether the car is intact or reworked and then decide if you want to bid on it or not.

Many of the auctions use the Elcometer paint meter or gauge for inspection of the cars for their condition reports. They have to check in so many cars that time and accuracy is a must. Elcometer has by far the majority of the meter sales in the car and truck business. Their paint thickness gauges & meters are renowned for accuracy, repeatability and durability.

With the amount of online sales that the auctions are going to now, they are primarily using the Elcometer paint meter to gauge the cars. This way they can call out the thickness of the paint with Elcometer equipment that is respected throughout the industry for representing the paint thickness readings. When you are selling cars over the internet, they need this tool.

Meter & Gauge Paint Thickness: Why?

It is very important to measure or gauge the paint thickness on vehicles to find out if the car has been in an accident, has refinishing of rusted areas or other repairs. Repaired body panels do not always have the same wear rating and durability of the factory paint work, so using a Elcometer paint gauge or meter is an extremely valuable tool in discovery.

If the car has been repaired or repainted, it will normally show in time that the life of the paint is not nearly as long lasting as the factory paint work. When you use the Elcometer paint meters and gauges, you can find out the actual condition of the vehicle and protect yourself from the decreased value of a vehicle upon resale, thereby retaining your profits.

Also, if the car is not represented properly on resale it will damage your reputation or in some cases cause lawsuits, as some states require that you disclose prior paint work. The Elcometer paint thickness meter or gauge will protect you from this. They are an accurate and almost irrefutable way to gauge the paint thickness and show it to the customers or buyers.

How to use the Elcometer Paint Meter & Gauge

The paint thickness gauges & meters are fast and easy to use. You are looking for differences or discrepancies in the thickness of paint. For instance, I have found that on most German and Japanese cars, the paint thickness, using the Elcometer paint thickness gauge or meter is between 4 to 5 mils. I go around the car quickly the first time, just putting the paint meters & gauges on each panel one time. Then I can check the paint thickness on the whole vehicle. This is good as you want to get an idea of the whole car, so then you can see when the gauge or meter moves up or down, signifying a panel that has been worked on. So, as an example, let's say I start at a rear quarter panel. I put the Elcometer paint meter or gauge on the left rear of a Japanese car. The paint meter reads 4.0 mils. Then I go to the rear door and the meter reads 4.5 mils. Then the driver's door reads 5.0 mils with the paint gauge. That is within normal factory paint run out. We know this as Elcometer paint thickness meters & gauges are the preferred and almost exclusively used paint meters or gauges in the automobile factories around the world. Next I go to the left front fender and the paint meter shows 3.0 mils. That panel is 1 mil thinner than the rest of the car and has most likely been replaced. Then I put the Elcometer paint gauge or meter on the hood and it reads 6 or 7 mils or more and that panel has been replaced or painted again.

The Elcometer paint meters & gauges will even find bondo under the paint. The paint meter or gauge will read up to 20 mils thick. Since all the car factory paints normally run between 4 to 6 mils or 6 to 8 mils, when you get up to 11 mils and above the paint is either very thick or then have bondo underneath. When the Elcometer paint meter or gauge shows tow straight horizontal lines ( -- ), it is showing that it has found the metal underneath the paint, but it cannot read it as it is over 20 mils thick. Thus showing bondo.

Who is our Primary market?

The main buyers of the Elcometer paint thickness meters & gauges are the used car managers and the buyers for stores that sell used cars. Also, automotive wholesalers, inspection service and insurance companies buy the Elcometer paint gauges & meters. In addition, body shops and detail shops love the paint gauge or meter as they can tell them much about what they have to work with. If you have a scratch on the paint of the car, a paint meter or gauge is much better to use than the old "thumbnail test". If you can measure the thickness of the paint, most of the time, you will have an idea if you have enough top coat of paint on the panel to be able to sand it down without going through to the color or prime coats of the paint. Elcometer paint meters & gauges are an invaluable tool to all these companies.

Weather and other Conditions of Vehicles when buying

I have used the Elcometer paint thickness meter or gauge in all weather conditions. I have used the paint gauges & meters in the rain, when the cars are soaking wet and they will tell me what I need to know. I have used the gauges & meters on dusty and dirty cars and they will read the paint thickness without removing the dust or cleaning the car. I have used them in temperatures to at least 5 below zero and they work well, though the Elcometer paint meter or gauge will read a little slower. I have used them in Florida and at the auctions out west when the air temperatures are 100 degrees or more and the blacktop surface temperature is probably over 120 degrees F and the Elcometer paint meter & gauge has worked well in all those conditions.

How to Buy the Elcometer Paint thickness Meters & Gauges

The Elcometer paint thickness meter & gauge is sold by phone usually 7 days per week. We have a toll free phone number in the USA which is 1-800-974-2492. We are working from 9am until at least 6pm Eastern standard time. We take credit cards from Visa, Master Card and American Express. We ship the Elcometer paint meters or gauges everyday from Monday until Friday, except for holidays.

The Elcometer paint meter or gauge is the best tool that you can buy in the car business. For the cost of a few hundred dollars, you can gauge & meter the paint thickness in seconds, find out much more than you can with only your sight and touch and properly assess the value and resaleability of the vehicle.

With and Elcometer paint meters & gauges you can pay for the meter with one car. One car that would save a mistake on. One car that you bought quickly at the auction that you would not have otherwise bid on, as without a paint gauge or meter, you would not have had the time to look at the car to bid on it.

The Elcometer paint thickness meters & gauges.. The best tools in the business.