Using and managing solvents

Solvent limits in vehicle refinishing products


If you place vehicle refinishing products on the market that contain organic solvents (volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) you must ensure that they comply with the relevant limit value. These restrict the amount of solvent that the ready-to-use product can contain.

Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, including businesses that only mix paint, must check the VOC content of their products.

The table below shows the maximum VOC content limit values for vehicle refinishing products. These limit values do not apply to the:

  • original coating of vehicles using refinishing materials
  • coating of trailers or semi-trailers
  • coating of vintage or historic vehicles
  • use of vehicle refinishing products in an installation with a pollution prevention and control permit

The limit values are stated in grams per litre (g/l) when the product is ready to use. Except for preparatory and cleaning products, do not include any water content of the ready-to-use product in your calculations.

Maximum VOC content limit values for paints and varnishes

Product* Coating type Limit value (g/l)
Preparatory and cleaning Preparatory 850
Pre-cleaner 200
Bodyfiller/stopper All types 250
Primer Surface/filler and general (metal) primer 540
Wash primer 780
Topcoat All types 420
Special finishes All types 840

*For a more detailed definition of the products covered, read schedule 1 of the Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2005.