Best aerosol spray paint 2020

Which spray paint can will fix the scratches on your car?

Minor scrapes can immediately make a car look scruffy, and all the elbow grease in the world won’t make a difference if the paint is damaged. To make the car look new again will usually mean a costly trip to the bodyshop, but sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it for a small part like a rubbing strip, sill cover or mirror case. 

If you’re brave and patient enough, it’s easy to carry out the job yourself. After carefully preparing the area and making sure the part is either removed, or the rest of the car is masked off, you can get a decent finish using aerosol cans bought online or on the high street. Even rarer shades can be matched to the factory paint code by using the car’s chassis number. We tried six paints to see which can could put the shine back into our car.

Verdict

The Ford original paint is the one we’d choose if we wanted to make sure that we got the best match to the existing factory colour. It also had a decent finish straight from the can. 

The Hycote gave an impressive colour match, too, and it proved a bit tougher than the Ford paint in our damage tests. But the price of these products could be a blocker, especially if you’re looking to cover a bigger area of repair. 

As a result, they both finished our test with recommended rosettes, while the Halfords paint took the Best Buy award for being a decent all-round package.

  1. Halfords Spray Paint
  2. Ford Service Spray Paint
  3. Hycote Double Acrylic

Reviews

Halfords Spray Paint

Halfords branches carry a decent range of paints to cover the most common makes and models. Be warned, though, the firm’s in-store range only seems to cover cars that are now around a decade old, so you’ll have to get a special order for something newer. 

However, if you are lucky enough to find your shade on the shelf, the paint is an excellent all-rounder. It might not match the original shade as well as the Ford or Hycote, and it needed a polish to make it really shine, but it had the toughest shell we tested, and is decent value too.

Ford Service Spray Paint 

We are always told that genuine parts are best, and at this price we’d want them to be. The Ford paint costs £25 for a can, and it isn’t huge, either, at just 250ml. But the quality shines through, with the best finish and colour match straight from the can, even without rubbing down between layers. 

The nozzle helps you to get the most out of the precious paint, too, with a fan-type spray pattern that makes it easier to aim for the bits you want to cover. Our only worry was that the finish seemed a little soft in our scratch test.

Hycote Double Acrylic

Hycote is one of the most commonly available aerosol paints, and it’s likely to be this brand you stumble across in many high street accessory shops. It’s not cheap, though; ours cost £8.40 online for a tiny 150ml can that’s just about enough to cover one door mirror with three coats. 

The colour match was decent, though, with just a very slight yellow tinge that pushed it behind the Ford in the shade stakes. The ‘Double Acrylic’ finish was tough, too. A decent paint that could have been in the top spot if it had offered better value.

Holts Auto Spray Paint

Holts is another familiar brand that you’re likely to find in a high street shop, and it seems good value at under seven quid for a 300ml can; that undercuts even the Halfords own-brand paint. 

This had more glittery sparkle than the others here, which looked attractive on our sample, but didn’t actually match the size of metal flakes in the original factory paint. The final finish was quite soft, too. It would probably be possible to get a decent result with greater preparation between coats and longer curing times, but rivals are easier to use.

Hammerite Smooth Metal Paint

It was perhaps unreasonable to include the Hammerite spray in our test, because it does not claim to be a perfect colour match. But it looked as though it could be near enough, and it has the massive advantage that you can skimp on preparation, and even spray it directly onto rust with no undercoat. 

The colour turned out to be reasonably close to the original in our case, but it was far from the shiniest finish, and wasn’t as tough as we expected, either. It would be perfect for less visible areas that would be difficult to prepare, such as sills, floors and inner wheelarches.

U-POL Aerosol Spray Paint

U-POL paint is mixed to order, so it can be matched to the code of your car, no matter how rare. Ford Moondust Silver is common, though, so the longer delivery time and cost of a paint like this won’t make sense if you can find it on the shelf from other sellers.

Like the Ford paint, the can has a fan-pattern aerosol nozzle that made accurate spraying much easier. The finish was disappointing, though, with a blue tinge to the shade, and a flat appearance that could only be brought to a shine with a lot of polishing between coats.

Most Popular

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review
Porsche Macan prototype - front
Porsche Macan

New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review

We get behind the wheel of a prototype version of the facelifted Porsche Macan SUV
13 Jun 2021
Illegal car modification hotspots revealed
Volkswagen Polo exhaust
News

Illegal car modification hotspots revealed

Gloucestershire has the highest proportion of illegal car modifications, with altered number plates the most common breach
14 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland
Nissan Qashqai - front static
News

New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland

Nissan will offer every school child in the North East of England a place on the Nissan Skills Foundation course to mark 35 years of manufacturing in …
14 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development

The Land Rover Defender FCEV prototype will be assessed for off-road and long-range zero-emission motoring
14 Jun 2021
SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector
SsangYong J100 electric SUV
SsangYong

SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector

The tough looking electric mid-size SUV is slated for production next year and will be joined by a pick-up model
15 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021