CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Paint problems on 03 Honda Accord

The clear coat on my '03 Honda Accord is peeling off. It can be scraped off with your fingernail. The roof and trunk are most affected, having lost about half of the clear coat. The hood is less affected, and the vertical surfaces - fender and doors - are showing only a tiny amount of peeling.

This has been going on for a few years.

I recently got an estimate to clean off the entire clear coat and repaint the whole car. It was about 20% more than the blue book value of the car, so that is not very practical.

I’m wondering if any other Honda owners have experienced this problem, and, if so, if you have done anything about it, talked with a dealer about the paint failure or something else.

Sounds like the car was repainted once before. I usually see that condition on repaints but not usually on o.e. paint. ( my 79 is doing the same but I’m not at all surpized because it was repainted in 1982 )

On a car this age, just spent your effort and money on correct function and not worry about looks.

The paint is 10 years old…It took the car-makers a while to perfect the clear-coating process…Like you have discovered, refinishing the car will cost more than the car is worth…next time, buy a light-colored car and keep it waxed…

It was most likely repainted when came off the boat. As Caddyman said back then there was problems with the base coat (the color) it had a wax like chemical in it that cause the problem. At this point its not worth fixing. Just so you know, no amount of waxing would have stopped it from happening.

I am not sure about the repainting part. I see a lot of Accords with that type of wear on the pain. The older ones are to the primer and then metal. Same thing with my 2000 Caravan. I had the car waxed regularly and I know of at least one Accord owner whose black car is not white with the same maintenance record. It is probably the pain quality.

Look into Vinyl wrapping your car if the image bothers you.

There IS one option…Most of the cost of a paint job is the prep work…Hours and hours of sanding and masking to prepare the surface for new paint…You can do much of this yourself if you are so inclined and study the correct procedures so you don’t make it worse than it is…Then you can have a discount paint shop (Maaco, Earl Sheib) do the finishing prep-work and shoot it. $400-$500 bucks, something like that… Will it look like a brand new car?? No way, but it will look a LOT better than it does now…Talk to your shop BEFORE you start sanding and see what they say…

Yep Caddyman has the only cheap solution. Back in 1965 I had my Morris Minor painted for $20 including the paint. I had done all the sanding and taping so all they had to do was spray it out.

I’ve got an April 1947 Wichita, KS newspaper stuffed back mainly because it’s devoted to a tornado that wiped out Woodward, OK back at the time and the classifieds are pretty interesting reading.

One block ad shows a paint job for 39 dollars including all sanding, masking, etc. along with “any car, any color”.

Another ad is for new car batteries; “2.50, delivered and installed”. How things have changed. :slight_smile:

Have you tried bringing it in to the Honda Dealer and get the info on how you can request assistance from the manufacturer. They may do nothing for you, but all they can say is no. Ive heard of cases from all different car makers (GM, Ford, Toyota plus others) than possibly assist an amount to repaint. Its called ‘goodwill’, and its given out all the time depending on the vehicle condition.

I was lucky that my first encounter with this problem was a white car, a minivan. White is much easier to match with off-the-shelf “rattle can” spray paint. I was able to do a passable job on the hood though I didn’t get the flow quite right and the texture is a bit rough to the touch, and doesn’t shine as much as it should, but it’s pretty good. That paint is 100% intact six years later, even though this car never sees a garage. I later did the entire long roof, and was pleased with the results - not perfect but MUCH better than the rusty mess it had become. The only challenge is deciding what to do at the edge where the new paint meets good existing paint. No easy solution. But if you do your trunk lid, you can do the entire thing and avoid that problem.

Colors other than white are more difficult. I was surprised to discover that the local automotive paint store has the ability to put their automotive grade mixed paint into rattle cans. It’s more expensive than spray cans off the shelf, but you might get by for $50 - $75, mostly because you have to buy a minimum amount of mixed paint. That way, you might be able to DIY on this job: sand and mask it, get the surface really clean, prime with off the shelf primer, then paint. The auto paint store will probably give you all the help and instruction you need. It might be best to practice your technique on some scrap metal with a cheap can from a hardware store before you head for the car. Almost anything you do will be an improvement. As mentioned above, the prep work is the biggest part of the job, especially the sanding. It’s not skill, just time and effort. Don’t skip that part.

One other idea: the local auto salvage yard referred me to a guy who does auto painting as a side job. I haven’t talked with him yet, but the implication is that I might get him to shoot the roof and hood of another car for maybe $200. So you might ask around.

How often did you wax the car? If you never did it, then the results are not surprising.

Honda had an issue at that time with dark colors (black, purple, and your green). I had a co worker have the whole car respeayed by a Macco. Not all are the same, some are crap others are ok. I think it cost him 600 and the car looks so much better. Is the new paint gonna last another 10 years probably not, but right now it looks good.

It appears to me that you’re suffering from a combination of erosion from wind buffeting and some peeling. I think JT was right; this pain loooks like it has never seen a coat of wax, but HAS seen a lot of highway miles. Like Galant, I too have seen wear right down to the metal. And, as already suggested, I think since black paint absorbs more heat it also suffers more from heat.

It’s a none year old Civic. If it were mine I’d buy some wet/dry sandpaper, a small compressor, some masking tape, and some prefilled guns full of the proper paint and clearcoat. Stores that sell real auto paint will sell these. It won;t match a pro job, but it’ll be far cheaper than having it done and far bettr than rattle cannng it.

I will say it again. Waxing will not stop declamation of paint. It was bad base coat paint and the clear coat just did not adhere to it. Please stop with the myths. Todays paints factory or body shop applied really don’t need much care. Wax if you want it wont hurt. A good hand wash will work just fine. By the way the paint at the factory is the same paint we buy to refinish at the body shop. As long its urethane type paint.

Oldbodyman, my impression of the damage in the pictures is that it is a conbination of erosion and declamation. Erosion of paint is not a myth. It’s real. And I think the picture of the trunk lid shows erosion, while the roof shows both.

I also maintain that keeping a car waxed reduces erosion subatantially. The key is to keep it waxed, not to wax it when it stops beading water. Waiting until the water stops beading is too late, although it’s better than doing nothing at all.

The paint I was referring to is the same as the paint the factory uses. There are automotive paint stores that sell this loaded into a gun for eth DIY’er. Rattle can paint is not the paint I was referring to, although it too has a valid use.

Mountainbike I know a lot about this. I worked at 2 GM dealers. One was Caddy and Subaru and the other was a Gmc Buick dealer. I was sent to school for this problem. This car show all the signs of a repaint done at the factory or the dealer. No amount of waxing would have helped. I was the one to show them that you can take a razor blade and strip the paint off. This was a case of bad base coat. I agree that waxing helps keep a car looking nice, sand and dust hitting wax at hwy speed the wax wont last long. I also was trained at the PPG and Sherwin-Williams Paint school.

Old, I know you know your stuff, and I mean no disrespect. However I’ve seen both pure erosion (on original paint jobs) and the declaimation. I still believe that what’s in the photo of the rear deck is erosion. The roof, I agree that it looks redone badly, the results of that poor sprayover being a combination of erosion and declaimation.

Erosion comes strickly from total lack of maintenance on the finish. It isn’t uncommon here in NH. I’m guessing a bit, but I believe that it comes from not sand and dust but a softer, finer media like the ground up road salt we drive through up here all winter. The clouds of dust raised by trucks can get so bad it creates a cloud to the sides of the truck. Basically, the cloud is a fine media blast softer than sand.

So here’s the other end of the spectrum- I haven’t waxed any of my daily drivers in 20+ years! I can count on one hand how many times they have been washed (actually rinsed off in my driveway) other than water falling from the sky. They all sit outside year-round. Several have been black and other dark colors. I typically own them for at least 10 years so we’re talking about 4-5 cars that were treated like that since new. They take a beating on the expressway and have many pock marks to show it. No car I have ever owned had that happen to the paint, including all of the beaters I have owned over the years. In fact, they look pretty darn good with absolutely no care whatsoever.

On the other end of the spectrum are a couple of cars I cherish with very pristine, show quality paint jobs. Those are stored indoors with covers on them. I used to wax those religiously. I brought one to work and a seagull managed to target it. That dropping was on the car for a couple hours and burned right through the wax and several layers of clearcoat!

So, based on my own experience, I am not convinced that waxing paint has much effect other than aesthetic.

My own experience has been somewhat different, but you have my sympathy for that seagull dropping. Digestive system acids can be brutal.

Oh yeah, sea gulls are on my list too, right along with snakes, mice, deer, and racoons. In the 80’s we were at Disney Epcot and sat down with the family to eat outside. Back then the hamburger was $3.50 which was pretty high priced. At any rate, I put the thing down and down comes Jonathan Sea Gull, grabs my high priced hamburger and flew away with it. After the shock, everyone laughed and I bought another and ate inside. On future trips they wouldn’t let me bring my shot gun in with me no matter how much I complained.

Really doesn’t matter anymore what the precise cause of damage is, the result is the paint needs to be removed and the car re-painted.