Q: I recently encountered a GMC Envoy that was a metallic black on the majority of the panels but was just black with no metallic on one rear door, the back hatch and oddly enough half the hood. I did some minor correction to the vehicle, polished and sealed it yet it stuck out horribly. My customer was happy with the results, I was not though. What would have been the proper course of action and how should I have approached this differently?
Is there a better way and how could a vehicle end up with some panels with metallic paint and others not?
Angela from St. Robert, MO
Sadly, the condition you encountered with the GMC Envoy isn’t uncommon. I once was told that almost 30% of all brand new vehicles have some touch-up paint done prior to arriving at the dealership. This number grows higher once they are subjected to bumps and bruises from handing, sitting, washing, and test drives. It is entirely possible to take delivery of a new car which might have several areas repainted by different shops.
As a vehicle winds on down the road of its service life, it might have a few accidents or a perhaps a used car dealership purchased it wholesale and put a cheap paint job on it to turn a quick profit. This unknown history makes life difficult for any detailer who offers, or specializes in, paint correction. Metallic and pearl paints are notoriously hard to match after a collision and if the vehicle had been in an accident and was taken to a lower quality shop its possible they mixed the wrong amount of metallic flake into the paint or forgot to do it all together.
Always inspect the vehicle carefully prior to agreeing to any job. Look for differences in paint color, texture, burnt edges, scratches which are too deep to remove, and any other potential problem area. The last person to touch a vehicle is ultimately the one responsible for it, so though the paints condition may have been the result of a poor quality repair when you accept the work you are inheriting those flaws if you don’t identify them prior to taking the job.
Speak honestly and openly with your customer. They rely on your experience and your expertise and you are the professional they’ve hired to advise them on the health of their paint prior to performing any restoration. You’d be surprised at how many times a customer has not noticed or realized there are issues with their paint. By identifying potential issues in advance, discussing the possible course of action, and helping your customer to understand what results can or cannot be realized you are providing a higher level of service to your customer. Paint correction is much more than simply fixing swirl marks and scratches! A detailer should be an advisor to their customers on anything that has to do with vehicle appearance. Ultimately, each job and situation is a learning experience and it appears you handled it perfectly if the customer drove away happy.
Yours in better gloss,
Todd Helme | Senior Technical Advisor, RUPES USA
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