Restoring peeled off paint?

It’s a 1997 Cavalier Coupe, and the body is in pretty good shape except for these couple of blemishes:
The car was sitting for over a year without being covered at all which has only made the paint chip off further, and the car is still very dirty(all of those dark lines outside the immediate edges of the paintless patches are dirt, not cracks). But I found a half off deal for a full auto detail package originally priced at $99 and so I’d like to get this car looking nice and shiny again soon. I haven’t cleaned those paintless areas at all for fear of more chipped paint coming off.
Anybody got a ballpark estimate for the cost of getting something like this restored professionally in the Pittsburgh area? Or, what kind of process and costs am I looking at in order to restore it myself? Thanks!

A crappy paint job (Maaco, Shieb) will cost you $400-$600 . A decent paint job will cost $2500-$4500…

What usually happens in these cases is no paint job…

The aforementioned cheap paint jobs rely on the original paint job being in good shape. To correct this delamination problem will require stripping the original paint job from the car and redoing the whole thing, which will cost thousands. The paint issue you have was very common in the late '80s and '90s. Whites and blues were the worst about it. It’s up to you, but the car probably really isn’t worth putting that kind of money into the aesthetics. Save your money to keep the car mechanically sound, or if looks are that important, find a similar one (maybe even several years newer) with good paint on it.

The car itself isn’t worth much more than $1,000, so I’m definitely not going to be paying hundreds of dollars to fix the paint job. Are there any cheap temporary fixes at least for keeping this from getting worse? I’d like to take the car to get cleaned up, but that could be a problem if all the chipped paint is going to start peeling and falling off.

Cleaning the car up is going to make more paint fall off (at least it has on all the cars I’ve had with delamination issues), but even with that it will still look better than the layers of dirt on it. I still have one car with this issue, and I just live with it and don’t wash it too often because, yes, every time I wash it, more paint comes off. Any attempts to fix it short of stripping the paint off and redoing the whole job will likely just expedite the delamination process.

I would sand those spots down to the metal, apply some primer, mask the surrounding areas, and use a can of white spray paint or enamel. Then, after the white paint/enamel dries, but while the surrounding areas are still masked, spray some clear coat on top.You can get a DIY kit at an auto parts store, or buy the components individually. One of the advantages of a white car is the color is a little easier to match. As old as your car is, an off-white paint would probably be the least noticeable, and my main goal would be to prevent rust. After all, it couldn’t look any worse when you’re done, right?

I’d suggest placing clear plastic tape (the kind dealers place on the front of new models to prevent rock chips) over the edges of your delaminating paint, to keep it from spreading. I did this before last winter and so far so good, although I am sure the tape will gradually deteriorate over time. A detailing shop will do this for you. I have also placed this tape over areas susceptible to rock chips (like just in front of the rear wheels) and scratches (like just below the door lock, where my keys hit).
On one delaminated area, on the rear tailgate, I used reflective tape instead, and this gives an extra margin of safety.

I’m inclined to agree with Whitey on this, except that I’d probably buy some touch up paint at the parts store. There are countless variations of white, and at least if you get the right one per your paint code it’ll come close to being a match.

The cheapest way out of this and to make the car look half presentable anyway is to have MAACO shoot a basic paint job. Without clear coat it may last a few years before oxidizing. A bit more money for some clear coat would help.

There is no 100 dollar fix for something like this although back in the late 60s I think Earl Schieb used to paint cars for 29 dollars or something like that. Scuff the paint up, throw wheel covers on it, mask the windows and bumpers, and everything else got sprayed.

Earl Schieb’s $29 dollar overspray is now MAACO’s $299 “executive special” (or whatever they call it). Just as the $2,000 Beetle is now the $20,000 New Beetle.

Depending on how many spots you have like that, and you don’t want to invest the time and money to remove the paint and get a cheap MACO job, buy $20 worth of touch up spray paint and primer and have at it. Sand the spots and feather the edges well and repaint. Get a book from the library. Then machine polish and wax the whole car and save for a replacement.