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Tesla Paint is the most delicate automobile paint I've ever seen

Law&Disorder

Member
Mar 18, 2015
139
3
Long Island, NY
I don't even have a thousand miles on my multi-coat red P85D yet and I've already got scratches and swirls everywhere. I've never seen paint that was so fragile and I've not even done much highway driving yet. Yes, I'm going to get it all corrected and then Opticoated and XPELed but it seems like the car literally cannot be left parked without significant after-market paint protection. I really love my new Tesla, but the paint is incredibly disappointing. On a $130,000 car, it is inexcusable.
 
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jcaspar

Member
Aug 19, 2013
834
72
Sacramento
Are you washing it yourself? If not, that is probably the source. I hand wash mine and have not noticed any problems with the paint. I did get Xpel on the front after 6 months. Took it on a long road trip over several days and several hundred miles with only 2 small chips. Scratches and swirls suggest poor care with washing.
 
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TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,642
8,470
Austin, TX
Are you washing it yourself? If not, that is probably the source. I hand wash mine and have not noticed any problems with the paint. I did get Xpel on the front after 6 months. Took it on a long road trip over several days and several hundred miles with only 2 small chips. Scratches and swirls suggest poor care with washing.
I agree, it's unlikely you're getting scratches and swirls from being parked or driving it. That stuff happens when it's washed improperly. Hand wash only with good technique (two bucket, microfiber towels, etc.). Plenty of posts here about that if you're not sure, or also search You Tube for demonstration videos.
 

TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,642
8,470
Austin, TX
There's no doubt the paint is different from other cars and more easily damaged. Something about California environmental rules. Lots of old posts about this if you're interested-- but careful washing usually minimizes what you described.
 

Gizmotoy

Active Member
Sep 16, 2013
3,657
859
Bay Area, CA
There's no doubt the paint is different from other cars and more easily damaged. Something about California environmental rules. Lots of old posts about this if you're interested-- but careful washing usually minimizes what you described.
Pretty much. It's a little prone to swirling, but that can be mitigated if careful. You also have to factor in that you probably had your car a few weeks after it was painted. Those Porsches and BMWs had the benefit of all that additional transit time to to continue curing. My paint seemed to get substantially more durable after it was a month or two old.

I eventually got it Opticoated by Joe here in the Bay Area, but he essentially recommended trying not to wash it until I brought it in to help prevent damage before it had fully cured. Again, I don't know if that's still a best practice, but it sounds logical to me.
 
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I agree. 6 weeks old and this is an example of the scratches on the hood after the first handwash.
image.jpg
 

supratachophobia

Active Member
Sep 24, 2014
3,850
2,678
Columbus, Ohio
Unfortunately, it is the paint. Try putting tens of thousands of miles on it, and then cringe at the state of the hood. I'm trying to figure out now, if I get the hood repainted, should I have it wrapped or have Opticoat applied.
 

tinm

2020 Model S LR+ Owner
May 3, 2015
2,463
11,890
New Mexico, USA
I gently hand-wash my car with microfiber cloths and it has scratches and swirls all over. Especially in mystery spots like just above the door handles! Tons of short vertical scratches above the door handles.

I agree, it's the paint. No getting around it. I wish Tesla sold the car with full XPEL included or something, from the factory.
 
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islandbayy

Active Member
Feb 25, 2013
2,648
1,023
Greendale, Wisconsin
You should see mine after 64,000 miles and 2 years :( Had a bird poop on it once, washed it off within 5 minutes. In that 5 minutes, permanent paint damage had already occurred. Spot is still their even after buffing and trying clay. Clay, is a really bad idea, as it scratched the living crap out of it even more. Yes I have done clay many many many times (Worked at Custom Body Shop). The paint JOB is AWESOME! The paint QUALITY is dismal at best.
 
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aesculus

Still Trying to Figure This All Out
May 31, 2015
4,321
2,466
Northern California
There is a rumor floating around the Tesla will be using a new harder clear coat in the near future. Maybe part of the new modifications made to support changes when the X comes into the line but has nothing really to do with the X.
 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
9,964
18,007
North Bay, CA
This is one of the reasons I chose Pearl White. It does a great job of hiding paint issues - after 16 months and 20k miles, still looking great. I use a two-bucket hand wash method with ONR.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,197
13,846
San Mateo, CA
The Tesla silver colored paint holds up very well. 18 months and 25K miles and it looks great. I wash with microfiber towels and Meguiars detail spray, sometimes use a car cleaner spray.
 

tinm

2020 Model S LR+ Owner
May 3, 2015
2,463
11,890
New Mexico, USA
It'd be cool if Tesla offered "body-in-white" (read: raw factory aluminum) as a "color" option. Fully coated to the max in XPEL or equivalent.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,158
6,656
Canyon Lake,CA
According to Telsa, a new, state of the art, paint shop is in the works. Huge investment for the company, but necessary as volume ramps up.

No way to tell if that will result in a more scratch and chip resistant finish, but most certainly hope so.
 

tinm

2020 Model S LR+ Owner
May 3, 2015
2,463
11,890
New Mexico, USA
According to Telsa, a new, state of the art, paint shop is in the works. Huge investment for the company, but necessary as volume ramps up.

No way to tell if that will result in a more scratch and chip resistant finish, but most certainly hope so.

Sure, but it doesn't really help the owners of the ~80K? Model S's already out on the road. :)
 

supratachophobia

Active Member
Sep 24, 2014
3,850
2,678
Columbus, Ohio
According to Telsa, a new, state of the art, paint shop is in the works. Huge investment for the company, but necessary as volume ramps up.

No way to tell if that will result in a more scratch and chip resistant finish, but most certainly hope so.

I thought they already had a state of the art paint process/booth/shop/factory, etc.?
 

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