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Is there a way to make a mark on a vehicle paint job and not be permanent?

Quick background. In the fall of 2004 my wife and I purchased a new Toyota Sienna. We were told it was part of a Dealer trade but it was sold to us as new. Early Spring 2008 these dull spots started showing up on the paint finish. Well recently this Sienna was dinged and an insurance appraiser was out to look at the vehicle. He told me he used to be a manager of a new car body shop. So I pointed out these dull spots on the finish to him. He said they looked like prior damage that had been repaired. Which astounded me. Since we’ve owned the vehicle since it was supposed to be “new.” I will state that we were told the dealer that the exchange was with was 400 miles away.

So I took this Sienna to a couple of other body shops. These shops also stated that it looked like someone had done repair work on these panels. As opposed to redoing the paint job on the whole panels they just did spots. Did it well enough that there was no notice of them for the first 3-1/2 years. Just enough to get it off warranty.

Well I called Toyota main customer service number and there was ‘no joy’ in that phone call in hopes of getting a resolution. As a matter of fact one of their questions was, “did you run a carfax report of the vehicle before you bought it?” I’m thinking what the heck, it was sold as a new vehicle. They pretty much gave me a case number and told me to talk to the dealership we purchased the vehicle from about an out of warranty type of possible service.

Well I’m currently not real big on car dealers right now for some reason. I will talk to the dealer but expectations for them repainting the panels at their expense is next to nill.

So I can be a rather audacious guy. I recently saw a video of a guy whose guitar was broken by United Airlines and they wouldn’t fix it. So he made a video of the experience and it went viral. Google “United Breaks Guitars.” I’m not talented or good looking as that guitar player. But I can be audacious. Worse then that … I think we were wronged in the transaction when we bought this vehicle.

So I’m thinking that with this nice White Sienna what I would do is circle each of the 5 spots that have magically appeared with something that really stands out. Then also write on the side something like, “Ask me about buying a new Toyota vehicle” in great big thick easy to read letters.

So the question is what could I use to write on the paint job that would last for awhile but not be permanent. I would gladly wash it off like once a week and reapply it after words.

Thanks much.

Have a Great Day,


There are removable vehicle markers sold at parts stores. However, of you leave it on long the fading of the paint will leave permanent “ghosts”. And yes, white changes color with the sun.

I am beginning to notice a pattern here.

Did you or did you not wax this car properly? The “hot wax” at the drive-through car wash doesn’t count.

If you can prove the vehicle was in an accident, take the appropriate action. If not, chalk this up to a lesson learned that you should properly wash and wax your car at least twice a year.

Even if this vehicle was in a collision and was properly repaired, your not waxing the car contributed to your problem.

Those of you who are wondering what I am talking about, please see where this guy basically admits he only used the drive-through car wash on this car. Many of us think he neglected the paint.

toyota, from what ive heard, can be problematic. My grandfather bought a prius brand new, and was recently pulled over for the windows being tinted too dark. from the factory.

for writing, there is a company that makes a dark gray colored “paint” that you put on the front of the car that is supposed to protect it from bugs and dings. it washes off in the rain, so unless you want to reapply, it should work.

Nice catch. Same poster.
Yup, I too see a pattern here.

You want NEW panels? Other than paint, is there something wrong with these? Are you sure that they just didn’t buff through the clear coat? Wouldn’t your car look a lot uglier with big ink marks on the side rather than some dull spots?

I don’t think “audacious” is the right term for your behavior here, I’d call it “unrealistic”.

No, the standard repair of reputable body shops is that when they fix any type of paint problem, they paint the whole panel. Not just a spot or spots. I’m not expecting them to replace the body panel. I’m wanting them to repaint the body panels that were not repaired in the normal workman type standard.

I don’t want the marks to be permanent that is why I posted. My intention is to make a temporary type sign of the vehicle. This will serve to warn people about the poor quality that Toyota appears to expect out of their dealers. Also hopefully motivate them to fix the problem.

I just checked the post that started the thread and I did specify that I was looking for Toyota to repaint the panels not replace the body panels. But maybe I should have put my expectations in quotes. I’m sorry you misread the post. I’ll try to do a better job of highlighting key information in the future.

Have a Great Day,

Well I did some research. Took a while to find it but I succeeded. Stuff I found on the internet is manufactured by a company called Dupli-Color. Its called “Shield.” I saw a video it looks pretty good. Haven’t researched the price yet. Hoping it’s not to expensive because I would want to wash it off every week or so to make sure that a fade image doesn’t appear in the vehicle paint job from where the ‘Shield’ is put on.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate the lead.

Have a Great Day,

I am the same poster. That is true, never tried to cover it up. But guess what the clear coat on the areas that weren’t touched up looks very good. I’m not a body guy by any stretch of the imagination. But the clear coat looks to me like it was driven right out of the show room.

The opinion about prior repairs and them not being done correctly came from auto body shops. One of them was even the auto body shop manager of the dealership that I bought the car from.

It’s true that doing a hand wax job would do a better job of protecting a finish then hot wax. But I’m an old guy. Us older guys just don’t have near the energy younger folks do.

I hadn’t gone in to the parts store yet. The only Markers I was aware of were the type that are used to write on glass. I want something that I can write on a paint job without damaging.

The ghosting or shadowing is a concern of mine that is why I wrote, " I would gladly wash it off like once a week and reapply it after words."

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Have a Great Day,

Whitey and MountainBike. Do you happen to work for Toyota, or did you just not read the entire post?

If there is a clear coat finish, you can use cheap enamel paint. Then remove it with easy-off oven cleaner which will quickly remove the paint but won’t touch the clear coat. But why bother? After 5 years, you have no case…How many miles were on this vehicle when you took delivery of it??

Wow, using enamel paint and then easy off oven cleaner on my paint job. That sounds way, way to strong. Can’t imagine any kind of paint job standing up to that. I could be wrong, but that to much of a risk for me.

It hasn’t been quite five years yet. Although close. The vehicle was sold as new. It had 400 miles on it when we took delivery and when I asked them about the mileage they told us it had been part of a dealer exchange program.

It is my contention that the dealership misrepresented the vehicle either knowingly or unknowingly. The repairs should have been disclosed for the us the consumer to know. We could have then had the option to accept it as is. Negotiate additionally with the information. Or walk away from the deal.

I don’t know about other areas of the country. But in this area repairs by body shops are guaranteed for the life of the owner … or in this case would have expected to be guaranteed for the life of the first owner which is us.

I hope your wrong about not having a case. But I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Have a Great Day,

Before you go too far in working up your blood pressure over this situation, you might want to check with an automotive detail shop. Sometimes these places have ways of taking care of imperfections like this.

I know that the warranty on my 2003 Toyota 4Runner covers rust out, but these blemishes aren’t in that category. The only great warranty that I ever had on a car was the 1978 Oldsmobile that I bought new. When the car was 23 years old, the left door was dragging and hard to close. I took it to a body shopand was told that I needed a new hinge, but this would be hard to get and I would have to find the part. The shop suggested the Oldsmobile dealer. I went to the dealer–same agency where I purchased the car and the manager of the body shop told me that the part was no longer available. I told her that when I purchased the car, I was told that parts would always be available, and I told her that I was really disappointed. She then asked how many miles I had on the car and I told her about 225,000. She went back to the shop and came back with a great big fellow who was carrying a sledge hammer, a wrench, and a long pin. He loosened the bolts on the hinge, put the big pin against it and pounded. He then tightened the bolts and the door worked perfectly and still does eight years later. When I asked about the cost, he said “No charge. We guarantee these babies for 25 years or 250,000 miles”. It’s too bad Toyota doesn’t have a great warranty like this. Lighten up–sometimes a little humor goes a long way in solving a problem.

No, I don’t work for Toyota.

Yes, I read the entire post. I didn’t see anything indicating that you’d posted previously. Whitey apparently has a better memory than I do.

Being an old guy myself with a disability, I can appreciate that part of your problem.

I also want to add some comments on the suspicion that they may not have clearcoated and on the Duplicolor.

Many paints are made to have, and require clearcoat. Without such they will deteriorate. It is possible that the vehicle had touchup work done to shipping damage and it wasn’t clearcoated. But in all honesty five years later is too late to go after resolution. And weather can also affect point, especially the hot sun.

If you decide to use Duplicolor buy a spare can (as well as a spare can of clearcoat of the can says it needs it) and practice. Aim and move the can into the spray being applied rather than away from to reduce overspray. Give the finish plenty of cure time and rub it out. the polish.

Good thought about the detail shop. But when I was talking to other body shops about the issue. I had already done some research on the web. Some people with scratches in their clear coat finishes have very carefully wet sanded the whole panel making sure they didn’t remove paint in the process. Then used a polishing compound to remove any remaining scratch. Then wash. Then wax over that.

I asked body shops about that technique and they said that it would cover the defects for awhile but then they would once again reappear due to the nature of what they thought was done.

My contention is that this vehicle was misrepresented when we purchased it. We were entitled to the information since we were purchasing a new vehicle and term of cavaet emptor does not apply to new vehicles with defects.

When a vehicle is purchased most buyers assume consistent quality of the make. This was clearly damaged before marketing without disclosure.

Humor goes a long way is true. But repairs to correct the problem correctly. Well I called to find out what it cost to entirely paint a vehicle of this size cost about $5000 to $6000 dollars. So probably what maybe $2500 to paint an entire side. Don’t know about you but that isn’t throw away money for me. If it is for you please throw it my way.

I do however appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Have a Great Day,

No a big part of the issue is that this defect or repair was not disclosed. It would have effected our attitude about the transaction and consequentially if we closed the deal.

Regarding Duplicolor that is mentioned in this thread. A gentleman mentioned a product that is temporary for bug protection. It can be sprayed on and then washed off with no further sign of it. It is called Duplicolor Shield. Here is a link I found about it.

It was so that I could make a sign on the vehicle and also circle the areas of poor repair and tell folks about the nature of this transaction and wash it off later on. That was what this post was originally for.

I have no intention of trying to repair this myself. We bought this vehicle with the intention of this being the last vehicle we will ever have to buy for this car (note: we are a three car family, we will undoubtedly have to replace another car before we give up the ghost and probably will won’t replace the third). That we either have given up driving or we are in the grave. We have only put 27,000 miles on it so far. Every three months or 3,000 miles which ever comes first we take it in to the Toyota dealership and have the oil changed. We carry in our own Mobile One Synthetic since they don’t carry that brand. Even though the vehicle has such low mileage we have already had the transmission fluid flushed once.

“My contention is that this vehicle was misrepresented when we purchased it”

That is all well and good, but…can you PROVE your contention about prior damage to the car? Without proof–which would be mighty difficult to establish 5 years after the fact–I think that you are wasting your time.

Additionally, the legal principle of Laches comes into play here. Essentially, this means that since you did not seek relief in a timely fashion, you are not entitled to relief. And, because of this legal principle, I predict that the dealership’s attorney will tell them to refuse any out-of-court settlement with you, knowing that you would be highly unlikely to succeed in a legal action.

Any attorney worth his salt could probably successfully argue this point in order to win a very quick dismissal of any legal action that you might think of pursuing.

Sorry, but I believe that you don’t have a leg to stand on, legally speaking.

I had a paint problem on a five year old Rambler back in 1970. The paint started buckling on the top of the car. The body shop told me that the undercoat had not been allowed to completely dry at the factory and that was what had caused the problem. My concern was with rust where the paint had cracked. I was in my second round of graduate school and money was tight, but it seemed prudent to have the car repaired. I worked out a good deal with the body shop and had the work done to preserve the car. When I remarried after losing my first wife, my new wife had a 1974 Monte Carlo. GM had a problem on some cars with the metal treatment and she had had the car repainted. The Monte Carlo was about 5 years old when it had to be repainted. Now I think that the paint on a car should hold up more than five years–I have a 1978 (31 years old) that still has the original paint job, but I used to wax the car twice a year.

If your car sits outdoors, sometimes the sun burning off the dew the car may have collected during the night can damage the finish. The dew drops magnify the sun’s rays and can really do a number on the csr’s finish. If the car was damaged before you purchased it, I’m surprised it took three and a half years for the problem to surface. If the repair done lasted three and a half years, I would be tempted to have another three and a half year repair job done before spending the big bucks out of my pocket to refinish the panel. It would probably be difficult to prove beyond a doubt that the problem was caused by damage in transit and an improper repair.

I have a good friend that has a 1997 white Cadillac. This friend had a stroke 10 years ago and obviously can’t keep the car waxed. She spends $100-$150 a year at a detail shop. The car has gone 100,000 miles and still looks like it just came out of the showroom. It is garaged at night. Maybe it takes this kind of maintenance to preserve the finish on a car.

I doubt if you have any chance of getting financial adjustment or a replacement. At best you might get someone to try an repair it, fat chance of that working to your satisfaction.

However if you want to mark them somehow I would suggest a stop at your local art store and get some poster paint. (the water soluble type.