What's Up With Your Car's Paint? Three Warning Signs You Shouldn't Ignore

Keeping your car's exterior looking good is about more than just aesthetics. Not only does exterior condition significantly impact the resale value of your vehicle, but some problems can even lead to more severe damage in the future. If you've found yourself looking over your car's paint and saying, "it's just a scratch!" then it may be time to reevaluate your approach.

Below you will find three warning signs that your car's paint troubles are more than just skin deep. If you notice these problems, then you may want to consider a trip to a friendly auto body repair service.

1. Deep Scratches

There's more to your car's paint then you might expect. Modern vehicle manufacturers use a three-layer painting process on most consumer automobiles. From bottom to top, these three layers are:

  • A primer that protects the metal and prepares it for further paintwork.
  • A base coat that acts as the main color layer.
  • A clear coat that provides protection and additional shine.

Most minor blemishes only manage to penetrate the clear coat. Detailers can often repair minor damage to the clear coat, but deeper scratches require professional paintwork. Never ignore scratches that penetrate to the metal since they may lead to rust.

2. Bubbling Paint

Rust is your car's number one enemy. Rust can make even a new car look old and tired, and uncontrolled rust can lead to serious structural issues. Rust problems often develop in deep scratches, but they can also begin in hidden areas near water channels or between panels. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to spot these subtle problems before they get out of control.

One of the most important signs you can watch out for is bubbling paint. Paint bubbles form as rust eats away at the metal underneath, causing the paint to separate from the surface. Since rust tends to spread, you should always address these problems early if you want to avoid replacing the entire panel.

3. Clear Coat Separation

Your paint's clear coat may begin to separate from the underlying paint for a variety of reasons, including UV damage or poor application from the factory. When this happens, you will notice flaky white bubbles forming on your vehicle's paint. Over time, the problem is likely to spread, leaving your paint looking dull and lifeless.

Unfortunately, spot repair is often impossible in this case, but some body shops may be able to correct the problem if it has not yet spread. In more severe cases, repainting or replacing the panel is typically the only option.

If you notice any of these three warning signs on your car's paint, consider visiting your friendly local auto body shop for an evaluation. An early repair may help you to prevent your vehicle from losing several thousands of dollars worth of resale value.