Peeling paint on Ford built cars

I am the second owner of a white 2004 Ford Explorer XLT. Washing my Explorer means that if I wash the top (with only a sponge and soapy water), I will remove another six square inches of paint (or so). The paint on the roof of my Explorer started peeling about three years ago. At first, it was only in a couple small spots, so I used touch-up paint to cover where the paint had peeled. Now, there is a goodly portion of the Explorer’s roof without paint. I wouldn’t dare to go to a car wash with the revolving brushes, or I might lose all the paint on the roof, and possibly on other parts of the vehicle.

I contacted Ford about the peeling paint on my vehicle, and they were nice with their reply, but would not help. My local body shop wants almost $1200.00 dollars to repaint the roof (strip all the old paint, then primer repaint.

I checked around on the web, and there are thousands of folks with various Ford built vehicles who have peeling paint. From what I’ve read, the problem can happen with Fords built from the late 1990s to about 2010.

I’ve owned cars for 55 years now, and this is the first Ford for some time. It’s also the first vehicle I’ve ever owned that has had the paint peel. If you go to the junk yards, you’ll see cars from thirty years ago that do not have peeling paint. Ford has been using bad paint, and is not claiming any responsibility for the bad paint. The only recourse seems to be suing Ford in small claims court, and there is no certainty in winning a case there.

Fix the darn paint problems Ford!

You won’t get anywhere suing on a 11 year old car.

I agree with knfenimore.
Not only is winning this type of case with an 11 year old vehicle extremely unlikely, but being the second owner you are not aware of what the previous owner might have done to the paint.

Ford is not the only manufacturer to have paint issues. With your year and mileage you are well out of any warranty Ford may have had. I would advise against litigation as Ford may counter sue for costs resulting from your suit on a vehicle that is out of warranty

Keep the car out of the sun…that appears to me to be the biggest common factor in cars that have poor paint as they approach ten years. Hotter climates, even sooner. Otherwise, generally poor paint reveals itself much earlier and as a used car, you have no idea what it has been exposed to with the previous owner.

A lawsuit will go nowhere nor should it on a 12 year old vehicle purchased used.

Ford is not the only one to suffer this problem. It happens to them all. You should have seen my son’s Camry that he traded in a few months back.

Paint problems did exist 30 years ago. My sister in law owned a bought from new 1981 Camaro Z-28 that the paint started falling of. In her case she got lucky due to a notice from GM which gave her a free repaint.
A neighbor across the street had an early 90s GMC pickup that had to be repainted on his dime when the paint started flaking off in sheets.

No paint problems out here in the land of the beating sun @ 6500 ft.
Ford doesn’t have paint problems.
Your car has paint problems, as do many other BRANDS as well.
PLUS…it’s eleven years old !
Stop the brand bashing and start saving for , or opt not, to fix yours.

Is it the clear-coat that is peeling off the color coat ?? Is there any rust as a result of this paint peeling? MANY makes of cars start to lose their clear-coat at the 10 year point…It’s not a Ford issue. It’s an old car issue…

That’s what the problem was with my '91 Ford Bronco II. Peeling clearcoat. Was the result of the carmakers, under orders from the EPA, switched from petroleum based paints to water based paints. As we’ve since learned, there was quite a steep learning curve. Plus, I do believe some of the problems are owner caused, from never washing, or more important, putting on a protective coat of wax once in a while. My dad had a friend who washed his cars twice. Once when he bought them, and once again when he sold them. We borrowed his van one weekend. When we were done, we filled the tank and Dad had me wash it. the guy was REALLY ticked!

Ticked about washing it or filling the tank? I think our friend at the EPA made it so difficult they had to switch to water borne paint and the initial problems with that. Took a while to get the paint and process down. You’re going to have to just have it repainted but might want to check one of the discount paint shops. You might see grinding marks and the paint quality may be less but its the roof.

10 year old + the likely hood of problems in a vehicle goes substantially up. Just part of life. This one has paint issues which unf are quite expensive.

every ford I have owned, had this problem. I think its mostly a ford thing. the mercury I have now, needs a paint job. I think the paint was an afterthought at ford back then

My Mom’s 2004 PT Cruiser has pealed the clear coat, and some color coat on the roof right down to the primer.
My 2003 Dakota has now started the clear coat pealing on the hood and fenders

So I think it’s all makes.
Here in Wisconsin I see cars all the time that are around ten years old and have lost quite a bit of the clear coat. Some have lost over 50%.

It does seem though that it is all the top surfaces roof, hood, trunk & the top of fenders, Never down the sides much.


Do you wax it when you wash it, or at least wax it a couple-a-three times a year?

Has the paint surface of this vehicle

  • Been kept clean by at least hosing it off once a week?
  • Been kept out of direct sun exposure, or at least as much as is practical?
  • Been given a thorough cleaning and wax treatment at least twice a year?

I saw a 2008 Camry the other day . . . 3 years newer than mine, actually . . . and it had severely degraded paint

Most likely the clearcoat was gone

It’s a combination of older cars . . . older is relative, obviously . . . plus not washing and waxing often enough, plus brutal conditions for paint here in the southwest

Most people here don’t park their cars in the garage, and if don’t live on a street with 100 year old trees, the sun is going to wreak havoc with your paint eventually

The only thing you can do is wash and wax regularly. Clear out space in the garage, if you’re able to