Cosmetic Work May Keep This Marriage Happy

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 14, 2018

Dear Car Talk:

I have a red 2007 Toyota Tacoma with 133,000 miles. I bought it used eight years ago, and since then I've only had to do oil and tire changes, and replace a drive shaft bracket bolt. In other words, it's been perfect for my cheapskate style of car ownership.

The problem is that the paint is peeling something terrible. And while I think it makes me look like a real Texas rancher, my wife is getting pretty embarrassed about it. After a near coronary when I priced a new truck, I've decided I have to keep this 'til at least 200,000 miles.

What is your suggestion for the cheapest strategy for keeping a car while at the same time surviving the marital strife? -- Jay

Well, my brother never figured that one out, Jay. Which explains at least several of his divorces.

But if the paint job is all that's bothering your wife, then get it repainted. It may cost you a couple of thousand dollars, but if the truck is in good shape and you really plan to keep it for another 65,000 miles, it's probably worth it.

This truck was made and painted during the time when the Environmental Protection Agency was forcing carmakers to use less-toxic paints. And, unfortunately, it took them a few years to get the new formulas right. So a bunch of cars from this era "de-laminated." That means their paint came off in sheets.

On an 11-year-old truck, Toyota will tell you you're on your own, so don't expect any help from them. And, depending on the condition of the clear coat and the underlying color, a paint shop may have to strip it down to bare metal to repaint it.

But if that keeps your wife happy, and keeps you happy in your old truck, I'd say that's a few thousand dollars well-invested.

In fact, be a sport, Jay ... let her pick the color.

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