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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

December, 2004

Paint Imperfections on Sports Car

Q. Inperfections all over flatspots on car. Toyota representative said out of warranty and suspect outside substance caused the defect. But the inperfections are all over the car also on door jams. Is this a Toyota paint defect or not?

Here is a generic answer that does not necessarily concern a particular automotive manufacturer. It is quite possible that the paint defect you are experiencing originated at the manufacturer, who should be held responsible. I say this without having seen your car, or even knowing what the defect looks like. I guess, what I'm trying to say is that some paint defects are, in fact caused during the application of the paint. We have worked on several legal cases in which we were able to prove that paint defects were inherent in the new car, and not caused as a result of contaminants that deposited on the vehicle after it was purchased.

Having said that, I will also admit that there are situations in which the latter is true, and that the owner has been negligent or has exposed the vehicle (knowingly or unwittingly) in a contaminated environment.

The only way to determine the cause of the problem is to conduct an inspection of the vehicle and possibly perform some analytical tests. Unfortunately, a private car owner often does not want to spend the type of money that is required to get to the bottom of the problem, and the automotive dealerships know this. Hence, often they blame the owner for the problem. It can be very difficult to determine the cause of a paint failures and in my professional experience most car salesmen do not have the knowledge or expertise of paint technology to make a determination by simple visual observation.

I don't have a simple or inexpensive solution for you other than to hire a coatings expert. You might need to speak to a lawyer to establish if it is worth your while to pursue this.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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