2010 Toyota Matrix- Paint story

I bought this car used in 2018 with 10k miles on it in Maryland. Only 1 previous owner. It is red. It currently has 75k miles. within a year after purchase, I noticed the clear coat begin to fail on the door panels just below the windows just on the right side. Shortly after I noticed the roof’s clear coat begin to fail. Fast forward to today, Dec 2021, the roof’s clear coat is almost entirely gone as well as the upper portion of the right side panels and back fender. The left side is starting to show slight signs of failure now.

I stored this vehicle outside in Virginia for the first few months, then between Southern Texas and Northern Florida for a couple years. It is now primarily stored in my garage in North Carolina. The problem has slowed since being stored in the garage.

I suspect before I owned it, the car was constantly stored outside where the sun beat down primarily on its right side and roof given that’s where it failed first. However, I have no proof of this, purely speculation. Overall, I’m not too upset since the car is now over a decade old and you can’t expect the paint to last in tough conditions for that long.

In summary, yes the clear coat is failing. However, I don’t blame the car, just the conditions it has been stored in. The car is very mechanically sound and gets me from point A to point B very reliably so if this is the worst issue I’ll be very pleased.

Glad to hear from someone who knows what matters. I used to drive a Chevrolet that had primer showing on the hood but it got me and my family to and from where I needed to go.


Sounds about right . . .

I live in Southern California and unless people are absolutely immaculate with washing, waxing, storing the car inside, the clearcoat often starts to suffer after less than 10 years

I’ve even seen several cars about 6 or 7 years old with bad clear coat

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Yes! Unlike the people who think that a vehicle mfr should do a recall of their old cars when the paint begins to look… not so good.

My favorite feature in Hemmings Classic Car magazine is the monthly Drivable Dream article. These are always cars that are 50-80 years old, and which look terrible, but are fully functional. Most of them are not daily drivers, but are driven on a regular basis. One owner stated that he enjoys being able to park his old car anywhere without worrying about parking lot dents and dings.

Due to the sunshine and heat here in OK peeling paint is a very common issue and I’ve seen it on may car makes that were only 5 or 6 years old.

Even a bit of the clear coat is failing on the right side (the sunny side up) of my Lincoln.

The guy who I occasionally hire as my tree surgeon has the same model Lincoln (Mark VIII), but I don’t know its model year, and the clear coat is pretty much gone all over the car. It doesn’t seem to bother him as the car is still reliable.

I’ve seen a number of Mark VIIIs with peeling paint. Considering the age (23 years) at the time mine started I can’t complain.
The Marks have been the most reliable and comfortable cars I’ve ever owned. Pains me they’re for the most part obsolete now. Saw a 96 on eBay a few years ago with 300 miles on it. Apparently bought and stored after purchase but they wanted 30 grand for it but there is the aged rubber issue to consider with airbags, belt, tires, seals, and so on.
There is also the one year only intake manifold runner issue with no new ones available. No idea why Ford would oddball the 96.

The only car I’ve ever owned that I can (with a bad back) drive for 425 miles straight without a stop or two.

… and it has the same badly-clouded headlight lenses that you commented about. His is dark green. What color is yours?

With the Lincoln Marks the problem is not the lens. Those are easily polished out. The issue is the reflectors which use a common Halogen bulb used on many other vehicles.

The bulb burns the reflector surfaces to orange, black, and cracking. Every lamp I’ve seen on eBay or at the Pull A Part is not worth buying as they are all southern fried. Those housings are made by Sylvania and are extremely and pathetically cheap.

Some years ago I fixed mine for 6 or 7 years by cutting them apart with a razor saw. I then bought a roll of Mono Kote (very tough foil like material with a bright silver finish) used on RC airplane fuselages/wings. I cut 32 pieces of poster board as patterns (32 for one side and cut the mirror images for the other side) and glued the MK pieces in place. Worked great but eventually heat started dulling that but did not burn it. A royal pain in the neck job over 4 evenings it was to do.

If they were not a low volume niche car there would have likely been a Recall at some point. The later HID units are better BUT… (always that word…)
One has to change the grill, front fenders, hood, and front fascia also plus redo the wiring. Just enough of a lamp housing difference to keep it from being a direct swap.
And with the HIDs bulbs are near impossible to find. I’ve seen the rare used bulbs on eBay go for 250 to 400 dollars. Lot of desperation there…

I wanted a Lincoln LSC, saw a relatively nice used one for sale. Then found out about headlight design and replacement. I did not buy it because of that.

Now I recall the nature of the headlight problem.