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2002 Toyota Celica - Paint peeling

My 2002 Red Toyota Celica GT which is in mint condition, is currently in the process of loosing all the paint from top to bottom. Starting with the gel coat. A beautiful car is now becoming a depressing night mare .The entire car is loosing its paint. Is there a paint recall or defect on this particular vehicle



My dad’s Celica was also red and also awesome. It also lost its paint, but from the sunny areas first.

17 year old vehicle, no chance of any type of help from any manufacturer


Gel coat is used on fiberglass bodied cars.

You mean the clear coat.

How often do you wax the car?


On a 17-18 year old car? The car has already outlived its planned lifespan.


You just have to figure on repainting a car every 15-20 years as a maintenance item.


If the paint’s already peeling off not much can be done other than a new paint job. One you get it repainted, the paint will last longer if you hose the dust off once a week, give it a thorough washing when it’s really dirty, and apply wax a couple times a year. Parking in the shade when possible is helpful too.

If you think a car with peeling paint is “mint condition”. What’s “fair condition” ? Blown engine?
The only financial help you will get is if the paint shop offers a discount.


I think there’s some tsb’s about paint for that car. Nothing overly serious though. OP might want to look those up for information sake if nothing else.

The car is 17 years old . There is no recall . They havent even made that model in many years.

I’m sorry to read that it is losing its paint, but… a recall for an alleged paint defect, after 17 years? Surely you can’t be serious.

Use a high pressure washer to remove most of the flaking clearcoat then sand smooth to feather in the old paint with the new.Clean the car with a pre-paint solvent before painting.You can use acrylic lacquer automotive spray paint like dupli-color that matches your car paint to repaint the areas.Use clearcoat for the final step.

Or just spend a few hundred for a quick re-paint from the MAACO or similar folks. It’ll last five years which is all you need.


Well, sad to say that, after further research of the paint issue, both the Toyota Dealer and a highly recommended custom auto painter agrees that some cars will have this issue, even if its well maintained. My 1979 Datsun 280ZX has no paint issues. All garage kept and clean. The Toyota collision specialist advised me that on certain cars especially the 2002 Celica GT , the company did use a different formula for that year model to lower their costs. Basically a cheaper clear coat was used. I’m not sure if this is the truth but in any case I’ll have to simply get the car repainted. I just received a Customer notification from Toyota on 10/1/2019 in regards to my 2015 Camry .Toyota’s Customer Support Program 1-888-270-9371 , has issued a defect on some factory painted vehicles (Blizzard Pearl and Super White Paint ). But so far the white paint on my Camry has no issues, I guess that’s batting a pretty good average.

watched a wheeler dealers show on the celica. they pronounce it CE-LEAK-A. sounds funny

Acrylic will not last long… better use urethane paint., and not necessarily you have to use clear-coat, there are one-coat paints what are quite decent.

also, it is always an option to go with a paint-roller and Rust-Oleum :slight_smile:
this is old car and if you polish it in the end, the paint will outlive the car.

Back around 1975 or so, I knew a guy who bought a Celica, and he also pronounced it as “Ce-LEAK-a”. Hopefully he later learned the correct pronunciation for the model that he drove.

My DIL has a Tiguan. I had to ask her how to pronounce the dang thing. Tig-wan, twan, tie-gwan? What does it mean anyway? German? You should never name a product with a name that is hard to pronounce, or for that matter get lazy and just give it a number. In my corner of the world anyway.

Many car manufacturers changed their paint formula to reduce the amount of air pollutants their paints were emitting. I don’t know if that applies to the 2002 Celica, but something to consider.