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How do you read a Honda color code?

Honda uses a specific color coding system to identify the exterior paint colors used on their vehicles. Learning how to decipher a Honda color code can help you identify the exact color used on a specific Honda model. This guide will explain what the Honda color codes mean and provide tips for reading and understanding them.

Honda Color Code Format

Honda color codes consist of two letters followed by three or four numbers. For example:


The letters indicate the base color while the numbers identify the precise shade or variant. So this code breaks down as:

NH – Base color of Red
567 – Specific red paint variant
M – Special paint finish (metallic)

Some key things to note about Honda color codes:

– The letters will be either two or three characters for the base color
– The numbers are three or four digits long to denote the precise shade
– A letter at the end indicates a special finish:
M = Metallic
P = Pearlescent
C = Chromaflair
-Codes with a letter have four digits, codes without have three

So in the example NH567M:

– NH indicates a Red base color
– 567 specifies which variant of red
– M signifies a metallic finish

Honda Exterior Paint Base Color Codes

The first part of the Honda color code refers to the base exterior paint color. Here are the common letter codes along with the corresponding color:

Letter Code Base Color
NH Red
R Red
YR Yellow Red
Y Yellow
OY Orange Yellow
O Orange
LY Lime Yellow
G Green
BG Blue Green
B Blue
PB Purple Blue
P Purple
LP Lavender Purple
GB Gray Brown
G6 Silver Gray
N Black
W White

So if you see a code that starts with “NH” you know it’s a red base, “Y” would be a yellow, “B” is blue, etc.

Honda Color Variant Codes

The three or four numbers after the letters denote the precise variant of that base color. Honda has hundreds of minor shade variants for most of their colors.

Some examples for red:

– NH567M – A medium brightness metallic red
– R-55P – A bright pearlescent red
– R-134C – A dark red with a color shifting finish

For yellow:

– YR521M – A muted metallic gold
– Y-571M – A bright golden yellow
– Y-134C – A bold yellow with chromaflair

The variant codes can distinguish very fine differences between colors. So NH621M would be a different shade of red than NH567M, even if both are metallic reds.

The specific color shades for a code are not published. But you can distinguish if a color is bright, muted, light or dark based on the number values. Lower numbers like 121 denote darker or more muted shades. Higher numbers like 567 are brighter, more vivid colors.

Special Honda Color Finish Letters

The last letter in a Honda color code indicates a special paint finish:

– M = Metallic
– P = Pearlescent
– C = Chromaflair

Metallic paints contain metal flake to give a shimmering appearance. Pearlescent finishes have a translucent, pearly quality. Chromaflair is a color shifting finish that changes hue at different viewing angles.

Codes with a finish letter will have four variant digits instead of three. For example:

NH621M – Metallic red
R-134P – Pearlescent red
Y-577C – Yellow with chromaflair

So if you see a “P” that means a pearlescent paint, “M” is metallic, and “C” indicates a chromaflair finish.

Decoding Honda Color Code Examples

Let’s practice decoding some full Honda color codes:

– NH621M – Breaks down to NH (Red base) 621 (specific red variant) M (metallic finish)

– YR277M – YR (Yellow Red base) 277 (specific golden yellow variant) M (metallic)

– B-544P – B (Blue base) 544 (bright blue variant) P (pearlescent finish)

– PB131C – PB (Purple Blue base) 131 (dark purple blue) C (chromaflair)

Once you understand the letter color base codes and number variants, deciphering Honda color codes becomes straightforward.

Finding Honda Color Codes

Wondering where to find the color code for a specific Honda vehicle? There are a few places you can look:

– Car door jamb – Honda color codes are usually printed on a sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb

– Glove box – May also be a sticker with the color code inside the glove compartment

– Owner’s manual – Printed on the first page of the owner’s manual

– Dealer records – The selling dealer will have the color code in their records for that VIN

– Paint shop formula – Body shops can decode the Honda color name and formula from the code

So when trying to identify an unknown Honda color, check these locations on the car to find the code, then use this guide to interpret the letters and numbers.


Honda’s color coding system lets you pinpoint exactly which shade was used on a vehicle once you understand how to decipher the codes. The first letters indicate the exterior base color, the digits specify the precise variant, and a final letter shows any special finish. With this guide, you can now confidently read and interpret any Honda color code you come across. Knowing your color codes makes it easy to identify, match or replace any Honda exterior paint color.