I have a Toyota white white Camry station wagon While...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1992 Toyota "white white" Camry station wagon. While parked in one of those notorious shopping centers, on returning to our car, we noticed a scratch on our right rear bumper. No breakage on the bumper, just an ugly scraping. We had it repaired for 200 bucks from one of those Auto Body shops. Would you believe that he painted the entire bumper a whiter white than our already white white car! On complaining, this thief tells me "No, I didn't try to match or blend in the color. I just took the paint code and used that." I asked "Didn't you even look to see if it matched?" "No," he said, "your car must have faded because you never waxed it." So where do I stand with this idiot?

RAY: Well, Tom, even though this guy doesn't have a master's degree in customer relations, what he's saying is true of virtually all body shops.

TOM: Right. What they do is match the paint by paint code only. In some cases, if a painter notices that a car is badly faded, he can play around with the color and try and get a little better match. But cars DO fade, and the original color almost never matches the current color precisely.

RAY: Now, if he were smart, this guy would have buffed the rest of the car for you (and charged you an extra fifty bucks). That way, the whole car would have looked great, you would have been pleased, and the newly painted white white bumper would have blended in a lot better.

TOM: I'd go back and ask him to buff out the car for you. And if the color difference still drives you crazy after that, park the car with only your rear bumper sticking out of the garage for the next six months or so. That'll give the new paint a chance to fade and catch up. Good luck, Tom.

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