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2023 Chevy Colorado frame is painted, not wax coated


New owners of the 2023 Chevy Colorado are noticing their frames are painted, not wax coated like the fullsize Silverado. This has created a debate on why GM would offer truck frames with two different corrosion coatings.

The all-new 2023 Chevy Colorado has a new powertrain, off-road goodies and a completely new design inside and out. It also carries on the painted frame coating from the prior-generation.  Internet research points to GM changing to a painted frame when the Colorado replaced the S-10 while keeping the fullsize trucks and fullsize SUVs (Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban, etc…) with a wax coating for rust corrosion.

2023 Chevy Colorado frame

Brendon Young picked up his new Chevy Colorado and noticed the change in frame coating. He shared it on a Facebook group and sent me pictures confirming the change.

You can see painted frame in this pictures.

2023 Chevy Colorado frame

2023 Chevy Colorado frame

2023 Chevy Colorado frame

This is a big switch from the wax coating typically applied to GM trucks.

Anisha Sredzinski, Chevrolet Trucks & FSSUVs, Communications Manager Communications, confirmed the frame is painted and not wax.

Wax vs e-coating (paint)

For years, GM has been the only full-size truck brand to put a wax coating on their trucks and not just using e-coating aka painting them like their competitors.

Through various conversations with GM engineers, they have defended the wax coating as being superior to painted frames since the wax will “grow back” over any scratches on the frame unlike a painted frame. If you put a scratch on a painted frame, you could expose the frame to rust. With the wax frame, the scratch goes away over time as the wax fills it in.

Truck owners have criticized the wax for falling off especially in areas that use salt on roads. They say the frame is now not protected at all and would prefer it just to be an e-coat or paint.

For the e-coating, it is an immersion wet paint finishing process that uses electrical current to attract the paint product to a metal surface. Basically, they charge the paint and the frame with either a negative or positive charge and then they apply the paint. This electrical charge pulls in the paint, even into tiny spaces, reduces overspray and creates an even paint application. It is widely used in automotive like how Bilstein paints their shocks.

I can confirm the Chevy Silverado 1500 still has a wax frame after I crawled underneath and checked our long-term test model.

2023 Chevy Colorado frame

2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 frame

I’ve reached out to GMC on the 2023 Canyon and Patrick Sullivan, GMC Senior Manager, Product & Brand Communications, confirmed it was painted. When I asked him further on why GM does an e-coat as well as a wax, he had this to say.

“The difference in coating between the Sierra and the Canyon is based on engineering decisions when the respective architectures were being developed,” Sullivan said. “Both solutions – waxed coating for Sierra and painted coating for the Canyon – meet our high standards for corrosion.”

Since Chevrolet and GMC are similar trucks, the explanation applies to both.

The bottom line

This is a curious piece of news and raises a lot of questions on why GM is offering two different coatings. Why didn’t they make the change universal on all their trucks and what is the future for GM truck frames – wax or paint? This decision creates confusion and doubt for many customers and is just plain odd.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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  1. Craig C April 23, 2023

    I would prefer a E-Coat with wax over it. That would be best!

  2. Paul April 24, 2023

    My 04 trailblazer was e-coated as well. The older frame wax was much better it seems then the new stuff. The new wax is more waxy. The old stuff was firmer for sure. But it seems the mid size body on frame platforms have been e coated for the last 20 years. My 19 colorado is coated not waxed as well.

  3. Tom April 29, 2023

    I think GM is locked into a long-term contract with the frame vender for the full size trucks and SUV’s. The vendor is Magna Industries in St.Thomas, Ontario. They wax the frames there as well. So GM full size truck buyers are stuck with a waxed frame for the foreseeable future.

  4. DieselDrax July 13, 2023

    FYI, the 2nd gen Colorado/Canyon frames were also e-coated so this is actually nothing new for the mid-size GM trucks.

  5. Jack August 28, 2023

    I am a red seal journeyman mechanic working for a municipality in alantic Canada..Also I have a 2014 gmc sierra with only 99,000 kms on it and my chassis no longer has any wax remaining on it and is completely covered in rust. During the last ten years I have to say the gm waxed chassis is the worst in the automotive business.When working on new gm trucks the coating even gets onto my skin and clothing.It’s funny how my 2014 sierra leaf springs are still nicely coated in paint while the chassis is brown with corrosion.I always find myself taking notice of the chassis condition on other trucks when working under them. I was once a very strong supporter of the gm product, but this has dwindled since my 2014 sierra chassis has rotted away and I get to work on trucks with e-coated chassis’s in excellent shape.


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