Why Your New Car’s Paint Sucks

Why Your New Car’s Paint Sucks

Scott Spector

But It’s New!?

Whether you shuffled off to your local dealer to buy new or found a new-enough car to suit, here are the dirty little secrets you’re probably not aware of. Dave’s neighbor recently bought a brand new Jaguar XJF. Everyone knows when someone buys a new car. It’s just one of those visual cues you pay attention to.  What’s not a surprise is their new car looks dull after a few weeks, because the finish has leveled. 3 reasons why your new car’s finish sucks and here’s the story…behind the music.

Life at The OEM. Regardless of price point, point of origin or the virgin elf hands that made your Bentley Arnage or VW Bug, your car’s paint is actually 1-, 3- even 6-months old…unless, you car is made-to-order. Even then, there will be issues to be sure. Across all manufacturers, paint is applied very early in the assembly process. Through the process of dipping, flashing, robotic applications and more, your new car’s paint was applied months ago (as seen here at BMW , Toyota and Porsche). Understand, the OEM applies the minimal amount of paint and clearcoat necessary – which is why we measure across all panels and inside door shuts so we know what we’re dealing with…you should, too!

Today’s cars are not like your dad’s oldsbmobile! Even with AI, paint application will contain errors, and these errors must be corrected by human hands. Hands with rotary polishers to smooth, denib and refine to pass electronic inspection measurements at factory. Unfortunately, hands will induce marring, buffer trails, pig tails and holograms. NOTE: I didn’t say visual inspection as that’s subjective and isn’t measurable.

Once the vehicle is through final assembly, it’s staged outside in the naked elements for weeks or even months prior to transport. Living in the center of the car manufacturing corridor of I-65, I’m surrounded by seven OEM’s and hundreds of Tier I, II suppliers where I see these cars up close daily. In some cases where exports are involved, cars can be staged at an 0ff-site location or near a rail yard for months prior to taking a slow boat overseas.

Life at The Dealer. The dealer isn’t immune to attacking your virgin elf paint either! Your dealer will prep your car upon arrival noting any visible transportation damage (we don’t have time to discuss that here). Before it’s entered into inventory, your new car is rinsed off by their valeters and parked waiting for you to buy it where it will sit for who knows how long (just look at the panel or the door shut for the VIN panel to read its date of manufacture). But wait, there’s more! These cars are driven by sales professionals or valet staff repositioned in stock as new product arrives and current stock sells. ‘Ok, so?’

Door dings, dents, bumper rash and the like are everyday occurrences at some stores regardless of franchise. They aren’t going to volunteer your brand new 2021 Audi A7 rubbed another car in the lot and they had to repaint a spot. We see blend marks often from paint work on new vehicles. Not that the work is poor mind you, but…they’ll feather in’n out paint aka blend mark…and not all blend marks are equal, either.

Chances are good your dealer’s $10/hr valet or a self-enclosed auto wash provides your new car with a quick clean. It’s complete with micro-marring, RIDS (random induced dealer scratches), buffer trails and holograms never addressed by dealer due to time and cost. They’re not professional detailers let alone craftsmen. Some of you have said, ‘well I expect that from my gently used or “certified used” car.’ Fancy that!

The Used Car. There’s a couple points to make here and I’ll be brief (too late). There’s an expectation your paint won’t be flawless here because it’s a used car. However, psychologically your eyes won’t see the hidden details of the paint as you’re evaluating the overall look, the fit and finish, of the car versus every minor detail. It’s human nature even with you OCD types as the endorphin rush is overtaking your cognitive abilities. The other dirty little secret is the Carfax. While I believe it’s a valuable service, it’s only as good as who and when it’s reported. There’s thousands of unreported damage that goes unlisted. Why? When there’s no police report, then there’s no Carfax entry. We live in a microwave, streaming, Amazon prime society of immediacy….deal ‘bro.

Ask questions. Ask the right questions and do some research! Information is at your fingertips if you’ll just use it. Sadly, very few of you will go deep enough to find out. I’ll ask you the snarky question, “Dave, did you buy the car new or used?” And you’ll answer “Used” of course. To which I respond, “Did you get a good deal Dave?” Dave says, heck yeah! Well Dave, that’s what you get for a good deal!

Consider having us partner with delivery of your car, new or used, and ask the dealer to not touch it. Don’t remove any plastics, foams or stickers of any kind so together, we can inspect it and see its true beauty, or not, scratches and all – naked!

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