Any chance that Chevy owes me a new paint job?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am the second owner of a 1986 C-20 Chevy full size pick up. The color is blue. About three years ago, the paint just started to flake off. I see other trucks around town that are the same color, and many of them have the same problem. Do you think they owe me a paint job?

RAY: Gee, Juan. Just like that, your paint started to flake off? I've been trying to get my brother to flake off for years and I haven't been able to do it. You'll have to tell me your secret!

TOM: They may owe you at least part of a paint job, Juan. Here's the story. General Motors has had a lot of problems with "delamination." That's a fancy way of saying "the car's paint comes off in sheets." The problem seems to be worse on cars with metallic paints; silvers, grays, and other colors that have a metallic sheen to them; where you can almost see the metallic particles in the paint finish.

RAY: Apparently, if the bodies under these paints are not primed and sealed properly, the ultra-violet rays of the sun can cause the paint to literally fall off over time. And if you've ever seen one of these cars, you know that it's quite a striking look. For a while, I thought it was a new trend!

TOM: What you have to do is take the truck to your Chevy dealership. They'll make a number of determinations: They'll determine whether it's really a "delamination" problem, or just a case of owner abuse or neglect. They'll check out the condition of the rest of the vehicle to see if you're just trying to get them to pay for repainting your old heap. They'll consider the age of the vehicle, and they'll try to take a guess at how much you'll whine and moan and cause them pain and embarrassment.

RAY: And after all that, they'll probably tell you to take a hike, because 1986 was a long time ago.

TOM: But if you've taken reasonably good care of your truck, and if it's otherwise in decent condition, I'd insist that they contribute to a new paint job. They won't pay for the whole thing at this point, but maybe they'll pay for half of it...or a third of it. After all, it was their mistake. If you don't get any satisfaction from your dealer, call Chevy's national customer assistance center at 1-800-222-1020 (or try 1-800-FLAKE-OFF).

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