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Car Paint Oxidation

Does anyone have any idea what could have happened to the finish of my 1995 Red (three stage paint) Acura Integra?

Just after applying Carnuba Wax and detailing it with Griot’s Garage Speed Shine, I brought my car into the dealer for an oil change. They always wash the car after service. I noticed what looked like water spots on the back bumper and figured they had not used a chamois to dry the car and was not concerned. Within a few days my car finish started to what I realized was oxidize; those were not water spots but oxidation. The oxidation did not occur evenly, but in spots and drips, some the size of my fist with drips and some only drips or small spots. To get a mental picture of splotch/drip oxidation, imagine an irregular circle either a drip or two falling from the bottom of the circle. These were on bumpers, hood, doors and fenders. As I had just waxed the car by hand I was thoroughly familiar with the finish on my Red Acura Integra. Although it is 13 years old and the finish had undoubtedly oxidized to some limited extent, the oxidation was even on the entire car, but perhaps slightly more on the hood that gets more direct sun.

I contacted the dealership and showed them the car. They offered to rewax it for me, but the problem persisted. They then offered to again wax it, this time with carnuba wax and polishing. After a couple of weeks the oxidation again came through AND the front driver’s side of the hood looks like they were very aggressive in their polishing as I can see the paint worn through with shades of the primer showing in one area near the headlight.

I think that the dealership recognizes they had some involvement in this problem, otherwise I have the nicest service people in the USA. On the third reappearance of the oxidation I called and explained the problem to them, suggesting that there may have been an accident in the service bay where my car was splashed with some sort of cleaning product or chemical not intended for the paint surface of a car. They deflected this suggestion and stated that they always wash customers’ cars and have never had a complaint. When the conversation continued in this manner I cut the conversation short and suggested I should perhaps contact Corporate Office. They then suggested that when the national Acura Rep visits in a couple of weeks that they will let me know so I can let him/her look at my car.

Do you know of anyone who has had a similar experience of car paint damage after servicing or have any idea how this splotch oxidation of a car’s paint could have happened? It would be helpful if I had some background from my "experts "before I go back to the dealership.

[b].. what could have happened to the finish of my 1995 Red...  [/b] 

Let’s see a red car about 13 years old. It sounds like normal oxidization to me.

Why would you return to the dealer for any reason with a 13 year old car?

Possibly because it only occurred after my last service visit and the oxidation is only in splashes and drops! :slight_smile: Thanks for you comment just the same.

This Is Tough To Handle Through Cyberspace.

Why not find a body shop or two, particularly one(s) that deal(s) with exoctic, expensive cars, and/or particular, discriminating car owners, and have an experienced, professional see it in person for evaluation?

I think it’s nice that you are fussy about maintaining your Acura.
Good Luck!

Thank you for the good advice! It is an Acura Integra, one of the last years they were made, and I really love it!

You’re very welcome, Susan!

Does you car have a clear coat? If so, this sounds more like that layer has failed, which is a little different than the ‘oxidation’ that frequently happened to the old color coats. But the advice above is good, take it to a good paint shop and see what they say.

If the problem is in the clear coat, my experience is that you cannot repair just the clear coat finish. The clear coat tends to be thicker and tougher than the layers of paint beneath, so it is impossible to sand all the clear coat off without destroying the color beneath.

You can do a band-aid repair of clear coat by just smoothing down the blisters with ultra fine wet sandpaper and shooting aerosol can clearcoat from the auto parts store on it. It won’t look GOOD, but it will probably look better than what you have now. I did the top of the bumper on a 12-year-old BMW a few weeks ago. The oxidation was very noticeable before the repair, and now you would have to be examining the car closely to notice it.

I don’t know if it has clear coat. I will check. I think you may be correct. And also correct that I take the advice above to bring it to a good paint shop and see what they say about it. Many thanks.

OK I think I got you now. Often normal oxidation tends to look “splotch” I am now guessing it is more localized to just the splotches. In that case something could have been splashed on the car when it was in the shop (or while you were driving or parked somewhere, maybe near a construction site).

Proving it could be … next to impossible unless others had the same problem about the same time.

I doubt that your paint would oxidize in just a few days. That would take months or years. I’d go along with Manolito concerning clear coat removal. When you wax your car, do you use a mechanical buffer? If you use a buffer, it may have removed some of th eclear coat over time. Did the dealer use one? Agressive buffing could have led to removal of the layer of clear coat that was left after 13 years. I suspect that it’s a little bit of the car’s age and a little bit of an overly agressive buffer.

Considering your history of attention to detail with the car’s finish and the sudden appearance of liquid splash spots immediately after the oil change would seem to indicate they caused the damage to the paint. I don’t believe for a minute this is normal oxidation based on your description of the shape of the splotches and their sudden appearance.

I’ve been trying to think of how/what they could have done near your car to cause the splotches. It’s especially interesting that the spots cover nearly every horizontal surface on the car. Whatever happened, it was a significant “spray” of this liquid. If they washed your car immediately after the oil change, the liquid had a short time to work on the finish. That might explain how something as caustic as brake fluid could etch the surface finish but not have time to work its way down to the color layers. The tough thing to envision is what might be being used that could have inadvertantly sprayed adjacent cars. It’s unlikely that they would be forthcoming in helping to understand how it migth have happened. The fact they are working to correct it says a lot about them standing behind their work regardless.

Any good painter will know if the clearcoat can be saved or if they will need to remove it to fix the problem. On a car this old, even though it was in prime condition, it might not be economically feasible to restore it back to perfect condition. Hopefully, they will help offset any costs associated with getting it to a level you are ultimately satisfied with.

Thank you for your comments. I appreciate all the information I can gather on this issue for my discussion with the Acura National Rep next month who has agreed to meet with me.

Thank you for your comprehensive answer. I am attaching a picture of one part of the car where there was unusual oxidation; you may first think it is a water spot, or dirt or dust. It is not. It is a sample of the unusual oxidation of the front bumper around the headlights.

I am hoping that they will join in whatever repair, even if it is to just have the body shop at the dealership do it for me at cost. It would cost almost the blue book of the car to get it back in prime condition and their suggestion is to use my car insurance to have it done.

Show it to your auto insurer. Maybe they can help you figure out what it is. It does not look like oxidation to me, but it does look like the paint was damaged by a liquid above the lights.

The Insurance company agreed with you. I had not realized I still had comprehensive insurance. State Farm is covering the repair up to a certain level; the Dealer’s body shop is accepting the State Farm hourly amount and negotiating with them to cover the original 3 stage paint. I am leaving it at this point, knowing I want to continue using the same dealer for major repairs. Good will and all that. Thanks to everyone!