Details for CLICK & CLACK

Dear Car Talk:
I purchased a new, 2012
Toyota RAV4 with the V6
engine and the premium
Blizzard Pearl white paint.
It now has 53,000 miles
on it and runs well. The
problem is that the paint is
literally blowing off.
About a month ago, I
looked out the window
of my house and noticed
something fluttering on the
roof of the vehicle. It was
a sheet of the paint, which
by the end of the day had
blown off completely. A
week later I noticed a small
paint bubble on the driver’s
rear quarter panel. Apparently, wind and water
worked their way under
it, and last week a sheet
of paint about 12 inches
square blew off, too.
I think they call this
“paint delamination.” I call
it a major defect. Looking
around on the internet, it
seems this is a frequent
problem, and contacting
Toyota has been fruitless. Is this something I
can spot-fix or must the
entire car be stripped and
repainted? It is difficult to
justify a $2,000 paint job
on a car worth $10,000.
Any advice would be appreciated. -Gordon
Dear Gordon:
There’s been a veritable
blizzard of complaints about
this Blizzard Pearl white paint,
Gordon. In my opinion, this is,
without question, a manufacturing defect. For some technical reason, the paint didn’t
adhere properly to the primer
or the base metal.
And we’ve heard the same
stories you have; that Toyota
is giving lots of Blizzard Pearl
customers the “mechanic’s
shrug.” That’s disappointing. I suggest you contact
Toyota anyway, and give them
a chance to do the right thing
and fix your car, even though
it’s no longer under warranty.
The paint on a seven-year-old
car shouldn’t be blowing off in
the breeze.
If they stonewall you, then
you can do what most of the
other Blizzard Pearl owners are
doing: Swear you’ll never buy
another Toyota. Or you can
put signs on your car that say

Ray Magliozzi

can be reached by e-mail at the Car
Talk website at

“Another quality Toyota paint
job that they refuse to fix,” and
park it outside the dealership
on Saturdays.
Most people give up in the
face of corporate stonewalling.
We can’t really blame them.
It’s exhausting and frustrating to fight with a company
that has more than enough resources to wear you down and
outlast you. So if they don’t
help you, and you’re not up for
a fight, then you have only two
choices: Leave the car as is, or
repaint it.
You can’t “touch it up.” The
paint job itself has failed, and
the car has to be stripped all
the way down, primed, and
completely repainted and
If you plan to keep the car
for another three to five years
(and with only 53,000 miles
on it, it should go a lot longer
than that), I’d say it’s worth a
couple of thousand bucks to
repaint the car, and stop hating it every time you look at it.
It’ll also make it easier to sell
when the time comes.
But before you do that, give
Toyota a try. Don’t be belligerent -- at least not a first -- but
be firm. Tell them you’re really
disappointed, you’ve taken
good care of the car, and you’re
aware that this is a defect. Let
them know that they haven’t
lost you as a customer ... yet.
Maybe they’ll meet you
halfway, and agree to pay for
half your paint job. And then
double the price. Good luck,
Got a question about cars?
Write to Ray in care of King
Features, 628 Virginia Drive,
Orlando, FL 32803, or email
by visiting the Car Talk website at
(c) 2019 by Ray Magliozzi and
Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features
Syndicate, Inc.


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