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White Solara 2000 Body Work -- Valid Explanation or Not?

Someone did a hit-and-run on my pearl white Solara. The repair included replacing the body molding in the rear.

Although the new paint on the body matches the rest of the car perfectly, the molding does not. The new molding is clearly a brighter white than that on the front door.

It’s a 2000 Solara so I know that the older molding has some yellowing.

They looked closely, agreed that the molding colors did not match … and then sort of blew it off (in a circumnavigational, polite way) saying that eventually the colors would even out.

The estimate sheet does show that they never intended to do anything more than take off and replace the non-damaged molding as one of the steps in the process.

I have no experience with body repairs, so I assumed that all colors on all parts would be made to match.

Should they have tried to match the older molding or replaced it to match the new molding? Or … ?

It was a $1,500 repair job, and the first thousand was out of my pocket. So if matching the colors on the molding is commonly expected and done, then I do want to ask them to make it right. And if not, then ok!

I think it depends on if it is a painted part or not. If the molding is not a painted part but with a factory finish, there’s not much to do about it.

If they painted it, there’s no excuse. That should be a perfect match. Paint doesn’t even out over time. They messed up, I think.

@bing is right, sometimes those parts come pre-painted from the factory… If that was the case there is not much the body shop can do. If they did paint it though, painting plastic is different then painting metal. It can be very hard to match up, but if that is the case they should re-do it.

When I worked for Saab, I visited FAPS at the port of Newark. This is where the cars came into America from Sweden. There were times when the cars were damaged, and they had a full body shop to fix it… What I found interesting is that for every color they had 4-5 sample cards of slightly different shades… Due to production variences white was not always white, blue was not alway blue, etc… This is why I would not be surprised to see a factory fresh pre-painted part be off.

That plastic molding is colored white when it’s extruded and is not painted. I would think it would be easier to paint the old molding to match the new molding.


Wow, guys! Thank you for your speedy replies!

The estimate included labor and supplies for painting the molding. So back to the shop I go …

Update -

Took the car back in.

The molding is plastic that they painted from the same batch they used to paint the body.

The Service Manager said the original molding had clear-coat and it’s the clear-coat that has yellowed over the past 12 years. (The rubber bumpers also have clear-coat and look the same as the original molding.)

He suggested repainting the new molding another one or two times, saying it could make the white on the new molding a little less bright.

The paint is pearlized.

What do all of you think:

  • Repaint the new molding?
  • Use something to take the yellow out of the clear-coat (is there such a product)?
  • Live with it?
  • Other?

Note: I did not ask the cost of repainting the old molding. I doubt the insurance company would pay to have the old mold repainted to match the new (though I can certainly ask).


If the body color matched the original paint perfectly, the molding should have too. Soembody screwed up with the flex agent. They should correct this. Call your insurance agent.

Tell them to paint the old molding to match. Its the only way to make it right.

I agree with @the same mountainbike. If everything was painted with the same paint mixture the colors should match. Back in the late '70’s and early '80’s I worked in a facility that molded and painted polyurethane bumpers then shipped them to the assembly plant. Our parts weren’t even painted where the rest of the body was painted yet the colors matched. You paid to have the car repaired correctly, don’t settle for anything less even if it means they have to repaint multiple times to make a match. It sounds like the body shop is just trying to brush it off hoping you’ll let it go. If they suspected any problems matching the old paint they should have notified you prior to the repair of what to expect. This is one time your insurance company should step up to the plate and assure you get a job you’re satisfied with. I’ve also helped a relative in a body shop a few times and unless the original paint is in really poor condition it can be blended to match adjacent panels.