Friday, November 7, 2014

Repainting a 4Runner

After 16 years of being on the road without a garage and over 180,000 miles, my 4runner was starting to look a little shabby.   The clear coat had peeled completely off the roof and was mostly gone on the hood.   It was also starting to peel on the top edges of the doors.  

What to do? 

I looked into having local body shops here in Boulder repaint the truck.    Their estimates were between $5,000 and $6,000 - an outrageous amount given the value of the vehicle.   I explored having it wrapped in vinyl, which would provided a tax advantage (advertising cost), but the local wrap shop said that I'd need to have the rest of the clear coat removed prior to doing it.    Plasti-dip was by far the cheapest option, but results were uncertain and it required a ton of my labor.   Neither wrapping or plasti-dip would fix the rust bubble that was starting to form just above the windshield. 

In the end, I chose Maaco.   I was hesitant, but I toured their facility in Denver (on Federal) and their higher-end paint seemed acceptable.  The el-cheapo Maaco options weren't very good and the highest end "Platinum" package didn't offer any further advantage in terms of warranty or real quality.   I chose their 2nd highest end "Performance" paint work with DuPont paint, a 5 year warranty, and a base cost of $1,200.    

Of course, like all warranties, there is a lot of legal language and carve-outs.   Maaco's 5 year warranty is really pro-rated after 3 years and it doesn't include the rust repair, only the paint.    See the table below. 

The paint ended up costing $1469.85, the bodywork to fix the rust bubbles was $451.20, and a new windshield was $240.   With taxes, my final out the door cost ended up being about $2,206.75.   Here's the detailed invoice

How'd they do?

For the price, they did a pretty good job.  I expected minor imperfections and my expectations were met.   Take a look...

Paint chips in the hood are all gone.   The white line above the grill is a reflection.

A paint drip near the side mirror. 

slight over spray near the window molding
A paint drip or two, slight over spray along window moldings. Minor imperfections that are only visible when you look closely.  I expected it and can live with it.   I was surprised that they painted the door handles and the mirrors, these were always just colored plastic (not painted) but they look pretty darn good.    I hope the paint on these parts holds up.

The only clear disappointment (so far) is that under certain light, there appears to be a very light mist of clear coat visible on dark plastic pieces of the dashboard, as if someone opened the door while there was still a clear coat mist in the air.    It doesn't rub off with a fingernail, but I haven't tried a cleaner yet.  I'm not sure what, if anything Maaco can do about it.   I'll follow up with them and see what they say.

Overall, I'm satisfied.   It's a 4/5 star review with one star being deducted for barely visible mist of interior clear coating.