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How do I find my GM paint code by VIN?


Finding your GM paint code by VIN is a straightforward process that only requires your vehicle’s VIN number. The VIN contains all the key information about your GM vehicle including the paint color code used when it left the factory. With this simple guide, you’ll learn where to find your VIN, how to decipher the paint code, and how to use online resources or speak to your dealership to get an exact paint code match for your make and model. Read on to find out everything you need to know about locating your GM paint color formula from your unique VIN.

What is a GM paint code?

GM paint codes are two or three digit codes used by General Motors to identify the specific paint color and paint type used on their vehicles when they leave the factory.

For example, a code like “WA8655” would tell you the paint is a metallic dark blue color. The “WA” references a blue paint family, while “8655” is the precise paint variant in that family matching the original factory color.

GM records these paint codes along with other key vehicle information like make, model, year, and options in their manufacturing system. The paint code gets linked to each vehicle’s VIN so it can be looked up later.

Having the correct original paint code makes repairing body damage or ordering touch up paint for your GM vehicle quick and easy. You’ll get an exact color match every time.

Where to Find Your GM VIN Number

Your VIN or Vehicle Identification Number contains the GM paint code you need. Here are the two places to locate your VIN:

Driver’s Side Dashboard

Look through the lower left corner of your windshield on the driver’s side. You’ll find your 17-character VIN printed on a metallic plate attached to the dashboard.

Driver’s Side Door Jamb

Open your driver’s side door and look for your VIN on a sticker inside the door jamb. It will be prominently displayed on either the front vertical face or horizontal door lip.

Write down or take a photo of the full VIN to reference later.

How to Decode GM VIN Paint Codes

GM uses the 10th digit of the VIN to identify the vehicle’s original paint color code.

Here is how to find and interpret this code:

  1. Locate the 10th character in your 17-digit VIN.
  2. This will be a letter or number.
  3. Refer to a VIN decoder guide to match that character to GM’s color code system.
  4. The corresponding code reveals your vehicle’s original factory paint color.

For example, if the 10th character is “P”, that stands for a GM paint code starting with “WA” for a blue metallic color.

You’ll then need to look up the full “WAXXXX” code to get the precise blue variant.

Using GM Part Number Resources

The quickest way to track down your exact GM paint code by VIN is to use a GM part number lookup tool.

Here are two websites that have databases to decode your VIN:

GM Part Number Lookup

GM’s own website has a Part Number Search tool you can use if you have your VIN handy.

Just enter your full VIN, then the page will display the GM paint code used on your vehicle under the “Paint Information” section.

This website has a GM VIN Decoder that works similarly to the official search on GM’s website.

Plug in your VIN and it will return details like year, make, model and critically the factory paint code.

These online tools provide the most direct way to uncover your exact GM paint color formula.

Contacting Your GM Dealership

Your local GM dealership can also provide factory paint code information tied to your VIN.

Call the parts department and give them your VIN. Ask them to look up the original paint color code in their system.

The dealership will have access to GM’s proprietary manufacturing records to match your vehicle to its paint code.

This is handy if you want to order touch up paint from the dealer and get it perfectly matched to your existing factory paint.

Third Party GM VIN Decoding Resources

If the online GM part number lookups don’t provide the paint info you need, there are several other VIN decoding services you can try:


Input your VIN on CarMD’s free decoding tool and it will provide your color code under the “VIN Information” section.

VinDecoderz can decode your GM VIN for free and includes exterior color code in its detailed report.

National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)

The NICB offers a free VINCheck tool that may provide your GM paint code once you input your full VIN.

These third party services cast a wide net into various vehicle databases to get VIN-related specifics like colors.

Finding the GM Paint Code by Inspection

If online VIN lookups and dealership contacts don’t retrieve your color code, there are still options:

Check Existing Model Paint Code Charts

There are compiled tables that cross-reference GM models and model years with their original paint codes. Review resources like to see if your vehicle’s color is there.

Inspect the Vehicle Tags & Labels

Carefully check all tags and stickers under the hood and inside door jambs and the glove box. One may state the paint color.

Compare Underside Colors

Look under the vehicle at undercarriage parts not exposed to sunlight. Compare their color to standard GM paint swatches.

Consult GM Build Sheet

Study the original GM build sheet if you have it. Paint codes are sometimes documented here.

Analyze Paint Color Chips

Bring paint chips from concealed areas of your car to a paint specialist. They may identify the color by eye or use a spectrophotometer.

With some persistence using these tips, you can ultimately track down the elusive GM paint code for your ride.

Matching the GM Paint Code

Once you secure your two or three digit GM paint code, you can get a perfect match for body repairs, custom touch-ups, or paint jobs.

Here’s how to complete the color matching process:

Touch Up Paint

Order touch up paint from the dealer or an auto paint store using the precise code. This will match the original color.

Larger Repairs

Give the code to your body shop. They can use it to blend the new paint for seamless repairs.

Full Paint Job

Provide your painter the factory color code to mix up fresh paint if you want an original look.

Matching your GM paint code ensures your vehicle stays its original shade for years to come.

GM Paint Code FAQs

These common questions provide more detail on finding and using GM paint codes:

Where is the GM paint code located on the vehicle?

GM does not physically print or label the paint code on the vehicle itself. It is recorded in their databases and linked only to your VIN.

Can I determine the code from the RPO sticker?

No, the RPO or Regular Production Order sticker contains many options codes but not the paint color code.

How do I find the code if the VIN plate is missing?

Trace the VIN in another location like the inside door jamb or use the options above to uncover the color code.

What if GM uses the same code on different models?

Some codes are repeated across makes, models, and years. Always verify your exact make, model, and model year to get the right color.

How do I get the code for a custom color?

Custom paint colors ordered from the factory will have a unique code documented at the time. Chat with a dealership to investigate.

Decoding GM VIN Paint Codes Made Easy

Finding your unique GM paint code is simplified when you know where to check your VIN and how to translate the paint code digit. Tap into GM’s own tools online or the experts at your dealership to link your VIN to the correct code. Then enjoy keeping your ride its original eye-catching color for years to come.

VIN Digit Paint Code Series Meaning
A Blue
B Green
C Silver
D Gray
E White
F Red
G Orange
H Gold
J Brown
K Beige
L Yellow
M Purple

This table shows how to interpret the 10th VIN digit as a pointer to GM color code series. For example “A” represents a blue paint family.