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I would have thought the painting was all done by robots, so you'd expect more consistency wouldn't you?
Plenty to go wrong - this article is about SEAT but is not atypical of the automaker paint process.


The gist of the Finnish guy's complaint is that he thinks the robots must've been programmed wrong but that would suggest a line of cars coming out with the same defect?
 

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Well our solid black 3 went into the detailers to be prepped and ceramic coated this week. After all the cleaning and initial preparation we had a call from the company to come and see the vehicle as they had serious concerns. They confirmed that the paint is extremely soft (cheap) and the thickness varies from 50 microns upwards and is very inconsistent. This does not give them enough leeway to fully buff down the marks prior to coating, and therefore the final finish may not be as good as they would expect. In addition because the paint is soft the protection offered by the coating will not be as strong as it would be on a hard paint finish.
In addition the SC had already replaced the front bumper due to imperfections when we collected the car. The new bumper has a lot of marks, but in addition the paint has been damaged by the bubble-wrap the bumper was shipped in! Hopefully these can be buffed out.
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Well our solid black 3 went into the detailers to be prepped and ceramic coated this week. After all the cleaning and initial preparation we had a call from the company to come and see the vehicle as they had serious concerns. They confirmed that the paint is extremely soft (cheap) and the thickness varies from 50 microns upwards and is very inconsistent. This does not give them enough leeway to fully buff down the marks prior to coating, and therefore the final finish may not be as good as they would expect. In addition because the paint is soft the protection offered by the coating will not be as strong as it would be on a hard paint finish.
In addition the SC had already replaced the front bumper due to imperfections when we collected the car. The new bumper has a lot of marks, but in addition the paint has been damaged by the bubble-wrap the bumper was shipped in! Hopefully these can be buffed out.
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This was our exact experience on a M3P - looked OK'ish on casual inspection but when we took it in for detailing the guy showed us all manner of defects under the lights. He also compared to other cars in his workshop, not all top brands, and the Tesla paint was pretty poor in comparison. Soft, uneven and also surface imperfections. The other issue was uneven panel edge finishes as though there's something not quite right with their stamping and metal prep.

In the end we decided to go for full PPF and then "Halo" ceramic on top of that to make it as robust as possible. It's a pain after already dropping £55k on a car but we wanted it as decent as possible. We can also feel a bit more confident in car parks as the PPF will withstand all manner of scratches and even light keying. It actually self-heals with heat application which is amazing. £3k mind and then the guy said he'd undercharged given the level of prep he had to do. Car looks spot on now. 18" rims also arrived today so that's the next bit of work ready for winter and the poxy potholes! Other than the dodgy paint, the car is excellent.
 

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We were aware of imperfections with the naked eye before we took it in, but with the specialised lighting all manner of problems were obvious. When we inspected it we discussed PPF and also maybe coating but the cost is too high. If we have to - branch scratches, keying, or supermarket idiots, etc. then will resort to our local spray shop. The detailer is really despondent that it may not be up to his standards, and to make matters worse he has a blue M3 in next week.
 

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Do Tesla actual do anything to remedy the primer that's visible? On my car (blue) the paint looks good from the outside but around the hinges and back into the cavities around the door areas primer is clearly visible. It's not even dusted blue.

I've never seen a car with anything but total paint coverage. Certainly not largish areas totally unpainted even if they are hidden when all doors and hatches are closed.

Do I just suck it up as a Tesla feature?
 

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Yup. Have the same issue. Put in service request and got this reply via text.

The door shuts are not finished in the same colour as the car on the model 3 but are protected from the elements.

Thank you
Tesla Service
And when I called about something else I asked and they said that for them it was acceptable. Not sure I agree and will be bringing it up with them when my appointment comes around in early December
 

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Hmmm...I'm not surprised they say that but it's not up to standard or I would say expectation for a car of this price bracket. I'm 'only' in an SR+ but I expect that they don't reserve the good bodies for the P+ customers. I would be pretty pissed off to pay the best part of £60k for a car with paint like that.
 

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Tesla policy is that this finish is their acceptable standard. I agree it is not up to standard, and am concerned how the cavities in the front doors will stand up over time. I looked at a blue M3 which was at the detailers at the same time as ours and there appeared to be what looked like rust in the seam where two panels meet in the cavity. Not good.
 

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When I worked in Automotive the painting & treatments were the most sensitive part of the process be it electrostatic or electro ferritic painting. Think our minimum was 70 micron but typically 100 micron (at 120 considered too thick).

There was also as BS test I had to do where you drop ~20 M8 nuts down a drainpipe 30ft up onto the painted surface to ensure no flaking, lack of adhesion, and a cross-hatch test with a craft knife where you scored small 1mm grid pattern then should not be able to peel any square off. VW, Ford, GM etc have been perfecting car coatings for decades.

I went to a couple of US car factories in Detroit and really nowhere near EU/Japanese standard IMO. Things might have changed since I was last in the industry.
 

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When I collected my multi coat red M3 from the detailers they said it was one of the best cars they had worked on, with only two tiny defects to report: hairline scratch above the boot opener ( probably done by me?) and a tiny snot/ drip hanging under the corner of panel near rear light which is difficult to see even when you know it's there. So not all Teslas have poor paint.
When I measured the metallic paint thickness on two previous cars I've owned they came out around 120 microns for a Audi A3 and Octavia, I'll check the thickness on my M3P at the weekend to see how it compares:geek:
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Doing a little research because our next car will be an EV, had my eye on a M3 for some time now. The Paint issues are my main concern, has anyone heard if the QC has got any better at all and if there are any new cases here in the UK of dodgy paint? Would it be worth getting a PPF wrap from delivery to stop chips/wear etc?
D.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Doing a little research because our next car will be an EV, had my eye on a M3 for some time now. The Paint issues are my main concern, has anyone heard if the QC has got any better at all and if there are any new cases here in the UK of dodgy paint? Would it be worth getting a PPF wrap from delivery to stop chips/wear etc?
D.
My Model 3 in Multi-coat Pearl White seems a pretty good finish from both a paint and build perspective.
I do feel that the earlier cars are the ones to watch out for, my VIN is in the 500xxx range.
 

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My Model 3 in Multi-coat Pearl White seems a pretty good finish from both a paint and build perspective.
I do feel that the earlier cars are the ones to watch out for, my VIN is in the 500xxx range.
Same here, also on pearl white, delivered in mid September. I did a paintwork detail a couple of days after collection and only found one paint blemish, which I was able to buff out by hand with some polish.
 
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