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Paint job failing on 2004 Toyota?

In September, 2004 we purchased a new Toyota Sienna white in color. It’s not driven much has all of about 27,000 miles on it and spends most of it’s time in our driveway. In the spring of 2008 I noticed that there were some spots on the driver’s side that were becoming dull. I didn’t think much of it. The car on that side gets the sun’s southern exposure. I run it through the car wash probably once a month and pick the hot wax option probably once every 3 months or so.

Well the van got dinged and an insurance adjuster/appraiser came out to assess the damage. He seemed knowledgeable about body stuff so I asked him about the spots. His comment was that he thought the paint job was failing and that I should take the van back to the dealership and if it was his raise a ruckus about the paint job. Most of this dull stuff is on the driver’s side that as I mentioned is getting a lot of direct sun exposure. Although a spot has showed up on the passenger side that gets very little direct sun.

The question is, “is it reasonable to expect paint job which has a clear coat to stay continuously shiny with that amount of sun exposure or should I be raising a ruckus about it with Toyota?”

Your input is very much appreciated.

Have a Great Day,


You can try but I only will say good luck.

Read the warranty information that came with the van. My guess is any warranty on the finish has probably expired by now. But check for yourself. Then decide whether or not to talk to the Toyota dealer. I doubt you’ll get very far, but you can try.

The hot wax option probably lasts 2-3 hours…It is NOT a good wax protection for you car. You need to spend some time to apply a good wax. Good luck, but it sounds like neglect to me.

it sounds like neglect to me.

I concur.

Sorry but the car has been abused. No wax in four years and only machine washing? A four year old car will not have a paint warranty yet so the best is to get it to a detailer and have it scrubbed, polished, and hand waxed and see what you get.

My wife’s 2006 Sienna already has a few blemishes on the roof from not being waxed on a regular basis. The paint quality doesn’t appear to be as good as the 98 Windstar it replaced. I going to need to hand wax it at least 3 or 4 times a year in the future.

I suggest hand washing and a proper wax job using a cleaner wax like Maguiars.

You’re not likely to get very far at all with a claim about defective paint. The car is now 6 years old and has been run through the car wash about every month going by your post.

Car washes, along with the high pressure hot water and soap they dispense, are not good on automotive paints.
Living in an area with a hot and sunny climate can also be detrimental to the paint.

While it’s not as convenient, the best way of washing a car is by hand with cold water and liquid soap.

Yumpin Yimminie, Stop By A Couple Of Quality Body Shops And Have A Professional Painter Take A Look.

No offense to anybody, but a well-meaning adjuster/appraiser just may not have as much knowledge as a pro.

The “defective” paint could have been caused by something that was done to the car between the time it was manufactured and the time you bought it. Sometimes damaged areas get refinished. Also, it could possibly, but not likely, be defective from the factory. More likely it’s environmental damage and wasn’t maintained very well.

You won’t know until you get 2 or 3 professional opinions. Most shops will check it out free of charge because they can often win future customers by building a relationship of trust. Who knows, they may just have an easy, inexpensive fix for you.


Have you ever had the vehicle actually waxed by hand? The wax in the drive-through car wash doesn’t offer the same protection.

My advice is to give this vehicle a thorough washing. Then polish it and wax it. Then repeat this process every six months from now on. If the paint looks okay in the future, you might be able to skip the polishing step and just wash and wax it.

Check your warrantee to see if the paint is still covered. If it isn’t, I would run the van by a Toyota dealer’s body shop. Their paint professional would probably have the best knowledge of the paint system used on your van. Also s/he would be able to advise you of steps needed to resolve the problem, i.e. agressive detailing; clear recoating; repaint; etc. Approach the service writer in a nonconfrontational manner and try to see if Toyota will cover some/all of the cost of whatever work needs to be done. If you cannot get satisfaction at the dealership, work up the chain of management to see what you can get.

Post back the progress on this problem and what the final resolution was.

Do dealers in your area have body shops anymore??? The ones near me don’t. They all farm out their work to local body-shops.

Wow Jim, I Figured This Thing Out! Not Bad, Eh?