How to Read GM VIN Code Paint: A Guide to Decoding Your Vehicle’s Color

Buying a used car? Found an old GM clunker in grandpa’s barn? Or maybe you’re just curious about the origins of your Chevy. Whatever the reason, decoding your GM vehicle’s VIN is the key to learning all kinds of useful information – including your car’s paint color.

Understanding GM VIN codes for paint can help you touch up scratches, order parts, or just settle debates with friends over the “official” color name. This guide will teach you everything you need to know to unlock the mystery of your GM ride’s color code using the VIN.

An Introduction to VINs

Let’s start with the basics. Every vehicle has a unique VIN or Vehicle Identification Number. This code contains information about where and when your car was made, its features, specifications, and yes – even the paint color.

Think of your VIN as your car’s fingerprint. No two will ever be exactly alike. VINs are comprised of 17 characters – both numbers and capital letters. This alphanumeric code acts as an identifier that sets your ride apart from every other car on the road.

Your VIN contains details about your GM vehicle known at the time it rolled off the assembly line – before any changes of ownership or customization. So for original factory specs like paint color, decoding the VIN provides authoritative info straight from the source.

While VINs may seem random at first glance, each character relays specific information if you know how to break it down. Let’s look at what the different positions indicate:

  • Characters 1-3: World Manufacturer Identifier – tells you the carmaker
  • Characters 4-8: Description of the vehicle – brand, body type, engine size
  • Character 9: Check digit used to validate the VIN
  • Character 10: Model year
  • Character 11: Assembly plant
  • Characters 12-17: Production sequence – think of it as the serial number

Seem complicated? Don’t worry, there are handy online tools that can decode your GM VIN for you in seconds. But learning a bit about the basics helps you understand what exactly you’re looking at.

Now that you know what a VIN is and what it contains, let’s get to the colorful part – using it to find your exact paint code!

Finding Your GM Paint Code

Unlike mysteries that stay unsolved for decades, decoding your GM paint color is actually quite easy if you know where to look. There are a few ways to find your unique paint code:

Check the Vehicle Information Sticker

This sticker is usually located on the driver’s side door jamb, but can also be found on the passenger door, in the trunk under the spare, or under the engine. It lists key details like the VIN, model, specs, and…drumroll please…the paint color code! This code may be split into separate values for the body and trim colors.

Use the VIN Lookup Tool

Your dealership can look up the GM factory paint code by searching the VIN in their database. You can also find VIN decoders online that will reveal your car’s color along with other data. Enter your VIN, make, model, and year and voila – no more mystery!

Consult GM Color Code Charts

Over the decades, GM has used an extensive list of paint names and codes. Helpful sites like have compiled charts of the codes for each year and model. With some sleuthing through the lists, you can match your VIN’s color ID to the official name.

Talk to the Experts

GM forums and enthusiast sites often have threads where members help each other identify ambiguous or long-forgotten paint colors. The collective knowledge of these GM devotees can be invaluable. Just provide your VIN, year, and any other clues, and they often can pinpoint that elusive paint code.

While every VIN contains the original color specs, sometimes there are discrepancies. Manufacturer paint labels are notorious for typos – so if your code doesn’t seem to match up, getting a second opinion from the pros can prove helpful.

Decoding Chevy Paint Codes

Once you’ve located your unique GM paint ID, it’s time to find out what color it corresponds to.

For Chevy vehicles – one of GM’s most iconic brands – color codes can sometimes be confusing. You may come across a code like “96/WA8867” in your research. What gives?

As it turns out, there are a few variations of Chevy paint codes to be aware of:

  • 96U: Refers to the upper body color
  • 96L: Refers to the lower body color
  • 8867: The “official” GM paint code

So if you find a mismatch, don’t worry! These different codes actually refer to the same color. I know, Chevy doesn’t make it easy for us.

Many Chevy owners over the years have spun their wheels trying to get a straight answer on their car’s paint name. After combing forums and websites, they find several different codes that seem to point to different colors.

Before you get frustrated trying to sort it out yourself, consult the experts. Groups like the Chevy Color Code Forum are full of enthusiasts happy to lend their expertise. Post your VIN, year, and any codes you’ve found, and they can provide the definitive answer on your car’s factory color.

Using GM VIN Tools to Find Paint Codes

Rather than scouring complex charts or asking on forums, the easiest way to identify your GM paint color is using an online VIN tool. These handy decoders have databases that match your VIN to the correct color code and name.

For GM vehicles, here are two of the top options:

GMPartsCenter VIN Decoder

The GMPartsCenter blog features an excellent VIN decoding tool specifically designed for GM vehicles. Simply enter your full 17-digit VIN, and it will generate a detailed report including the factory paint code.

It provides other data points like engine specs, transmission type, and country of origin. This decoder breaks down exactly what each VIN character signifies as well.

The tool even includes a diagram showing all the info contained within the VIN – very helpful for visual learners!

MotorVerso GM VIN Decoder

Another VIN decoder tailored to The General’s vehicles can be found on It’s easy to use – just plug in your VIN, make, model and year.

The tool scans for matches in its comprehensive database. Within seconds, it displays your paint color code. Like other GM-specific decoders, it also retrieves useful specs like engine, transmission, wheelbase, and other features.

Third-party VIN tools are helpful since they compile info on all of GM into a single search. The data comes directly from the manufacturer, so you can trust it’s accurate.

Real-World Examples of Decoding GM VIN Paint

Seeing some real-world examples can help drive home how to find your GM paint code using the VIN. Here are a few scenarios with the step-by-step process:

1970 Chevy Chevelle SS

VIN: 136370B144380

  1. Use a VIN decoder like GMPartsCenter and enter 136370B144380 along with 1970 Chevy Chevelle.
  2. The paint code in the report comes back as 7272 / Tuxedo Black.
  3. But to confirm, also search forums for the year, make and VIN.
  4. Members corroborate Tuxedo Black, citing variants like 72L and 72U.
  5. So the definitive answer is Tuxedo Black, code 72/7272.

1988 GMC Jimmy

VIN: 1GTBK34E3JFxxxxxx

  1. Enter the VIN, year, and model into the MotorVerso decoder.
  2. It returns paint code WA8555, which on 1988 GMCs decodes to Fire Red.
  3. Checking the hdpaintcode charts confirms WA8555 as the Fire Red code used for this year.
  4. No need to dig further – both tools match up, so Fire Red is verified.

2000 Chevy Silverado 1500

VIN: 1GCEK19T3YZxxxxxx

  1. Run the VIN through GMPartsCenter’s tool, along with 2000 and Silverado 1500.
  2. Two paint codes show up: U152 Medium Purple and L152 Medium Purple.
  3. Searching forums indicates U is upper body and L is lower.
  4. So for this truck, the upper portion is painted Medium Purple, while the lower is a different color.
  5. The VIN decoder paired with forums provided the full two-tone paint breakdown.

As you can see, decoding your GM VIN for paint codes takes a bit of digging – but multiple trusted sources help get to the bottom of it. Mix and match VIN tools, official color charts, and enthusiast forums to get all the details right.

Uncovering the Paint Code Reveals Your Car’s Origins

Like an archaeological dig, scraping away the layers of grit and grime on your old GM ride eventually reveals truths about its past. And your car’s unique paint code offers a direct link back to the GM assembly line where it all began.

Finding your original factory paint color using the VIN helps revive a piece of your car’s history. Maybe its bold ’90s teal paint was trendy at the time, but garish by today’s standards. Or possibly those wood panel decals hearkened back to the groovy ’70s era it was born in.

Either way, decoding the paint conveys details that bring its heritage to life. The color ignites nostalgia and lets you appreciate the era that shaped your GM vehicle.

So whether you’re looking to touch up scratches, order new parts, or simply get insight into your car’s roots – take the time to break down its VIN and uncover the stories hidden beneath the paint. What you find out may surprise you!

FAQs on GM VIN Paint Codes

If you’re struggling to decode your tricky GM VIN, chances are others have asked the same questions. Here are some common FAQs on unlocking paint secrets:

Q: Why does my Chevy have multiple, slightly different paint codes?

A: Often with Chevys, you’ll come across codes like 96U for the upper body and 96L for lower or 8867 as the “official” color. These codes all refer to the same factory paint – Chevy just oddly uses different designations.

Q: My GM’s paint code in the VIN tool doesn’t match the sticker under the hood. What should I trust?

A: Always go by what’s in the VIN, as that’s straight from GM’s assembly line specs. Sticker misprints are common, so the VIN decoder provides the definitive answer.

Q: If my GM was repainted, can I still find the original color using the VIN?

A: Yes! The VIN always refers to the factory paint job, not any aftermarket changes. So decoding it will get you the OEM specs, even if the current color differs.

Q: What’s the best way to look up my old GM’s paint color?

A: Use a VIN tool specific to GM, like the ones from GMPartsCenter or MotorVerso. It’s the fastest route straight to your car’s original color. Cross-check with code charts and forums.

Q: Where is the best place to find my GM’s paint code?

A: Check the sticker in the driver’s side door jamb first, as this usually lists the VIN and paint color codes together. The passenger door or under the engine also commonly have them.

Learning to decode your ride’s GM VIN empowers you to uncover its unique origins story. With a simple sequence of letters and numbers, you gain access to key insights into your vehicle’s background.

So whether you relish solving vehicular mysteries or just need to settle a debate on your Camaro’s factory paint name, mastering GM VIN color codes provides the answers you seek.

Unlocking Your GM’s Paint Secrets

Like wizards murmuring spells, car enthusiasts derive power from numbers and letters that are mysterious to outsiders. But with the right incantation – or rather, the right decoder tools – you too can harness the magic contained within your GM’s VIN.

With this simple string of characters, you can illuminate the hidden past of your GM vehicle. Learning to break down the VIN code provides the keys to your car’s creation story – and yes, its original paint color.

No longer baffled by fragments of stickers, stumped by ambiguous color names, or lost in forums, you’ll directly channel your ride’s origins. Your decoder ring gives you the power to conclusively settling paint color debates and wow your friends with obscure GM trivia.

So whether you’re a curious car owner, a restoration enthusiast, or a GM trivia buff, decoding VINs offers a glimpse under the steel skin of your vehicle. Peer into its mechanical soul, connect with its heritage, and bring the vibrant colors of its history to light!

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