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2009 Corolla Paint Problem
September 26, 2008
My white corolla is 3 months old and my daughter drove it on a recently paved road. Of course a little tar stuck to the bottom panels. I started to take it off with "goof off" but stopped after brown spots appeared under the removed tar spots. I then tried a few other tar removers all with the same result. I also used my fingernail and rubbing compound. Tried to buff the spots out with luck. The paint does not seem to be etched. Took it to my dealer and he tried to remove the tar spots with similar results. Their "body man" said all the lower panels would have to be removed, stripped, and repainted. Oh yea, this would all be on my own dime. They said the tar must not be "normal" tar because it wouldnt have stained the paint. I say B.S. !!! Has anybody else had any problems with staining of paint? The car actually looks better with the tar on it. I've owned white cars in the past and never had these problems before.


September 30, 2008#1
Could try WD-40 or similar to help dissolve the tar on the bottom panels. If the tar was stuck on there before the paint had fully cured - then you might have permanent staining. Might try a claybar after you dissolved most of the tar off - of course, it depends if the paint is fully cured or not. Since it sounds like a brand new car - the paint may still be "soft" and not ready for wax or the claybar. But if it is a single color (not metallic color option) - you might be able to polish enough of the paint off, with a machine or elbow grease, and dig down past the stain.

As a note - most single color paint jobs now are water-based and have no clearcoat - just straight base paint. If the paint didnt have a chance to fully harden - you might have to just live with the stains, until the paint is ready to be polished. Almost all the domestic and imports use these water-based paints now - only the german made imports have a hard-ceramic based paint that tend to not be effected as much.

September 30, 2008#2
Thanks for the suggestions. The tar comes off easily, but it has stained the white paint underneath no matter what I use to remove it. After removing the tar it leaves little brown stains that are smooth to the touch. I tried compound on an area for 5 minutes with no luck(hand rubbing). Paint on brand new cars should not stain from tar deposits...after all, they are expected to be driven on asphalt roads, not dirt roads. I have never not been able to remove small splatterings of tar and leave permanent stains in the paint. This is unacceptable and so far, the dealer has accepted no blame for inferior paint on their product.


September 30, 2008#3
I'd keep on the dealership - eventually they will reshoot the underbody molding to make it disappear. Just go up the chain of command at the dealership, if that doesnt prove satisfactory - then contact Toyota Corporate. That usually will light a fire under somebody to get things rolling for you. If that doesnt work - a call or email to the BBB will definitely get the dealerships attention. Dealerships that I've dealt with were the same way - not very helpful, but a call to Corporate fixed that fairly quickly. Just a couple days downtime to reshoot the paint - rental car on my nickel on the GM and Honda, Dodge provided a rental - but the Dodge also needed an additional trip to get overspray off the wheels and molding.

I havent run into any issues with any of my metallic colored cars (all my Toyotas, to date, were metallic) - but the ones that were a single color (Chevy, Dodge and Honda so far), I've had paint issues but I havent experienced the paint staining. I did have huge sheets of paint shed off these brand new cars or have an exceptionally large number of chips on odd places on the body (ie, not the hood or rocker panel areas). Note - this wasnt the case 10 years ago or so for imports, 15-20 years for domestics - as they used regular urethane or acrylic paints - i.e. hard paints.

My 1996 Camry had flawless paint, chips "healed" quickly and zero corrosion took place, even if I neglected the chip. Car still shines like new. My current cars - not too bad, but chips show up very quickly and there are a TON of them. There is a little surface corrosion on some deeper chips of my Corolla (didnt fill the chip yet, planning to reshoot the whole car with different paint).

Keep at them and good luck


September 30, 2008#4
Thank-you for all your concern. I will let you know what happens. I already talked to the service manager who directed me to the body parts manager. He wiped off a little of the tar with the same result ...i.e..brown spots. Of course he told me,"that must not be ordinary tar." He also said that my warranty wouldnt cover it. I tried to talk to the service manager again to voice my displeasure, but he was in a meeting. I left a message for him on Friday. No word as of Tuesday...will try again tomorrow.


November 1, 2008#5
I take my white corolla in Monday to get the bottom panels and the rear bumper repainted...all on Toyota's dime. Didnt even have to bitch..just asked them.


November 5, 2008#6
That is awesome to hear - glad to hear that it will be repainted. Hoping this time the paint holds up better than the orginal finish. Historically, this has always been the case - as painting by hand tends to put more paint on the car vs a machine spraying the paint.

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