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Paint Quality?

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by theslimshadyist, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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    Hey guys,

    For those of you who own a Model S, how is the paint quality compared to other luxury automobiles? I'm currently in a BMW 550i M Sport and very satisfied with my Carbon Black Metallic paint but was curious how the finish is holding up on the Model S.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I protected the paint with Suntek. Xpel is also popular. Stone chips are very common with any aerodynamic car compared to a more square car. You'll hear a lot of complaints about soft paint, but I don't really buy that. My paint still looks new after almost three years.
     
  3. chriSharek

    chriSharek Member

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    I actually enjoy washing, waxing, and babying my car. My 2011 Volt looks brand new today. For this reason, I'm skeptical in getting some sort of coating - I WANT to be able to wash and baby it sometimes . . . call me a freak, that's ok.
     
  4. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    OP, I'm glad your 550i has great paint quality... I tend to be rather critical on fit and finish, likely because I also do my own washing and detailing. I'm not a car wash kinda guy. My perspective of 8 different luxury vehicles I've owned in metallic paint over the last 20 years:

    • My former 2009 BMW 335i which I special ordered in metallic monaco blue was definitely the worst I have ever owned paint-wise. It's when I learned what orange peel was as it was clearly an issue on all panels. When I brought it up to my dealer upon delivery, I was told "they're all like that", and yes, IIRC most of the metallics on the lot were as I wandered around the lot before signing on the dotted line. Even with my performing some major paint correction upon delivery, I never got aggressive enough to see if I could really resolve the problem before I sold the 335i a couple years later. Hopefully metallic paint quality has improved since then.
    • My former special-ordered MBZ SLK250 in diamond white metallic (multi-coat) was a little better than the BMW, but still had some orange peel visible in most lighting conditions. The larger problem with the MBZ was it had significant mis-matched coloration between the metal panels compared to the factory-installed sports bumpers and trim that were off by a tone or two. That drove me nuts, almost as much as the BMW orange peel did.
    • The best paint I've had were on 5 different Lexus over the past 20 years -- all metallic paint -- variations of white, silver, lighter grey/green, dark grey, and very deep blue -- almost black. In my experience, Lexus had consistent high quality paint all around with none of the issues I had with either of my two German rides. I've always felt it's hard to top what Lexus provides either from Japan or their Canadian plant.
    • My Tesla MS in Pearl White Multi-coat paint finish is not quite as good as any of my former Lexus, but it's way ahead of my former BMW and MBZ. The Tesla has no significant orange peel, and required only very minimal paint correction when I took delivery. (If you're into detailing, I only used very fine finishing Menzerna SF4500 -- nothing more aggressive was needed.) All panels and side mirrors match as they should. There are however, two flaws, a small nick under the clearcoat, and the other about the diamater of a pencil eraser where it looks like dirt or dust got into the process and wasn't caught by QC. Their locations are out-of-the-way where only I would probably ever see them, so I elected not to bring it to Tesla's attention, as what would be involved with resolution would likely be worse than the little annoyance each time I wash or detail my ride.

    ...so, based on what I've owned, IMHO the net is: Lexus is #1 with paint, fit & finish. Tesla #2. MBZ #3. BMW #4. ...and I do not plan to put any XPEL/Suntek wrap on my MS. Other threads you'll find around here with more pros/cons on all that. Having white makes my life a little easier if and when there is a stone chip to do a bit of touch-up.
     
  5. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    Are you asking about the quality of the paint itself? How thick it is (aka how much polishing can it take before sanding through)? Or how well its applied?

    I can't speak to the first two, but as for the last one I thought the paint job on ours (Brown) looked excellent. I'd also agree with Bert, the paint on my BMW (Jet Black) was awful. There was tons of orange peel all over it.
     
  6. steph280

    steph280 Member

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    Don't you guys find MS' paint more prone to bird dropping paint damage? I had a bird dropping on the hood in the morning, and after getting home from work and washed it off, there are already visible stains under clearcoat. None of my previous cars are like this.
     
  7. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    I've never had a problem with bird poo, even if its on there for a few days.
     
  8. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    No, I've been bombed a couple times since I took delivery (including just this past week while drying my MS, which torqued me off!) and have encountered no unusual problems with my MS clear-coat, but I also maintain polish on my car that is there in part to sacrifice itself in such situations if need be.

    Different coatings, polish or wax should all help keep things away from the clear coat to varying degrees if one maintains them, but if the bird bomb, errant bee, or whatever is left on too long, and depending on what that creature had been eating, well, varying chemical action will take place against any sort of polish, wax and paint. From my experience, it does sometimes temporarily stain the clear coat, perhaps requiring some correction or more of my favorite polish or wax to fix and replace what's been lost -- but my MS does not seem any worse than others makes I've owned. Except for a couple short-lived tests with new products, I've used the same polish on all my rides for years now, and IMHO there's just a bit of luck of the draw with what that thing had been eating, how long it stayed on, if my polish/wax was still doing its job, then it seems any remaining stain is more apparent on lighter colors like my pearl white MS than perhaps darker finishes my former Lexus RXh had.
     
  9. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    Every car enthusiast who has looked at my paint, including a suspension engineer from Tesla, said that the paint on my car was "exceptional". I have the small dings and pits on the hood from rocks and road debris, but otherwise the paint is holding up really well! :)
     
  10. docrice

    docrice Member

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    The question which then comes up, of course, is which pads and backing plate(s) did you use?

    For my car, I think the paint is pretty good. However, this is the first "nice" car that I've purchased so I don't have a good reference to compare against. My paint does have a slight orange peel effect, but only because I've had paint film (XPEL) applied after correction.
     
  11. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    I'm no professional detailer, but my personal website has a series of pages with all products, processes and hints/tips that work for me. My Auto Detailing page HERE will get you to more detail if it's helpful. (Check the Examples tab on that page to see what I did to my S90D when I brought it home.) Everyone's opinions related to auto detailing; what is the best look; if you want to do the work yourself or have a professional involved; and of course how much time and money you want to put into it will vary. Those pages just represent what I do, and are where I direct friends that ask me "how did you do that?". Good luck.
     
  12. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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    Yes, I'm referring to the the quality of the application and multi-layer coats of finish. In the 2.5 years I've owned my 550 It's never been to a car wash, I hand wash it on a weekly or bi-weekly basis depending on the weather.
     
  13. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    #13 msnow, Jan 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
    Other than about two or three very small blemishes which look like slight imperfections under the clear coat which, as @BertL explained, are not worth bringing to the attention of the SvC mine is exceptional. But I can't answer your original question of how long it holds up because my car is only 3 1/2 months old.
    FWIW, I was a longtime Zaino polish user but tried a product called Glare Professional polish based on some extensive testing by @artsci and I was and still am very impressed by it. Deep, deep mirror finish, great coating properties and lasts a long time. I haven't used a nano coat or film like Xpel yet.
     
  14. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

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    For me, early production car, the paint JOB is great! the paint QUALITY is poor to crap. I's been a gripe of mine since day one. Heck, had a bird poop on the roof. By the time I got the hose and wash mitt out (15 minutes) and got the poop off, it already left a permanent etching in the paint that has not gone away in 2 years. It's like this all over my car. and I do take care of mine. the paint is just really really soft.
     
  15. steph280

    steph280 Member

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    I just wanted to add, where we are there are a lot of seagulls that can make palm sized droppings which are extremely damaging to car paints, more so than common pigeon or crow droppings. Our poor Tesla stands no chance against these crazy birds, no matter where we park.
     

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