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Paint Problems On New Vehicles

Paint Problems On New Vehicles

Congratulations! That brand-new car or truck you ordered has finally come in, and it looks like a million dollars. The paint is so shiny and bright!

But wait a minute. Are those swirl marks on the door? And is the paint a bit hazy on the hood? It can’t be. After all, this is a brand-new vehicle!

The truth is that paint problems on new vehicles exist. Also, once they get to the dealership, the get-ready process can leave a new vehicle’s painted surfaces with damage. For example, buffing or polishing those newly painted panels can result in very noticeable swirl marks or scratches in the clear coat.

Owners of new vehicles may want to invest in ceramic coatings or paint protection film applications, but they may feel it’s okay to wait for some of the newness to wear off before they do it. Actually, the opposite is true.

Getting the paint corrected on your vehicle can be done at pretty much any time, but getting those factory- or dealer-caused problems fixed is best done as soon as possible. Also, you would be surprised how often paint chips and other highway-related damages can happen on that maiden voyage away from the dealership.

Common paint problems on new vehicles

Here are some of the paint issues we see on brand-new cars and trucks:


Light scratches can often be buffed out using a polishing compound. Deeper scratches may require touch-up paint.

Swirl marks 

Swirl marks are often caused by improper washing or polishing techniques, and these things may happen when employees at the dealership wash or polish a new vehicle for delivery to the customer. Swirl marks normally can be removed through paint correction, which involves using a polishing machine and specific compounds to level the paint surface.

Water spots

Water spots are mineral deposits left on the paint surface after water evaporates. They can often be removed with a mild acid-based cleaner or a clay bar treatment.


Oxidation occurs when the clear coat breaks down, leading to a dull appearance. Polishing and waxing the paint can help restore shine and protect against further oxidation.

Orange peel

This is when the paint appears to be “bumpy,” like the surface of an orange. This happens when the paint doesn’t level out properly when it is applied. The thickness of the paint can contribute to this, as can the temperature of the room when the paint is applied.

Paint chips or scratches

New cars can sometimes develop paint chips or scratches. This may be due to the quality of the paint or the application process. It also can result from damage that may happen when the vehicle is stored or transported before it is delivered to the dealer.


Paint on new cars may peel or fade prematurely. There may be a number of reasons for this, among them inadequate surface preparation, poor paint quality, or improper paint application.

Poor paint matching

A new car may need to have panels re-painted before the car is delivered to the new owner. Matching the repainted panel to the rest of the car may not have a perfect result. Paint-matching technology has made great strides over the years. Even so, the end result may be less than perfect, and the difference may be noticeable.

Environmental factors

Such factors may include exposure to sunlight, pollution, and harsh weather. Other factors include bird droppings, tree sap, and road tar.

All those things and more can impact the longevity and appearance of the paint.

Manufacturer defects

Occasionally, issues with the paint may stem from defects caused during the manufacturing process. Such problems may include primer, basecoat, or clear coat application issues.

Quality control

Inconsistencies in quality control during the manufacturing process can lead to variations in the paint finish among different vehicles.

With all this in mind, what is a new vehicle owner’s best course of action?

If you suspect the paint issue that you have spotted was caused by the manufacturer or the dealer, your first step is to take your concerns to the dealer. The vehicle warranty should cover any damages that came from the factory or were caused through handling by the dealership. You shouldn’t have to pay to fix problems of this nature.

The catch

For any other issues or concerns, we suggest you come by CoaterZ BEFORE you take delivery of your new car or truck. It’s good to have a paint protection strategy in mind before you ever take your new vehicle on its maiden voyage.

Many of our customers pick up their new vehicle and drive it directly to the CoaterZ shop for ceramics or paint protection film installation. It’s easy to pick up your vehicle’s first paint chip in the first 100 miles of ownership. And it is much better to prevent paint chips than it is to repair them.

Remember that proper maintenance, regular washing, and protective measures like waxing can help prevent paint problems and extend the life of your car’s finish.

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