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  Problem Solving


(September 2000)












Irregular shaped pitting, etching or discoloration of paint film.

Chemical change occurs when harmful environmental contaminants such as acid rain, tree sap, bird droppings, road tar, etc. remain on the surface for an extended period of time.

  1. Wash with detergent water and follow with vinegar bath.
  2. Sand and refinish.
  3. If contamination has reached the metal or subcoating, the spot must be sanded down to metal before refinishing.
  1. Keep away from contaminated atmosphere.
  2. Immediately following contamination, flush surface vigorously with cool water and mild detergent.




Discoloration of the surface of the refinish color.

Solvent penetration from fresh color material dissolves old finish, usually reds and maroons, releasing a dye that comes to the surface.


  1. Remove all color coats and refinish.
  2. Allow surface to cure, then isolate with 2K undercoat and refinish.

Apply 2K undercoat or bleeder sealer over suspected problem areas before spraying new color.


BLISTERING (Solvent Pop)

  1. Small swelled areas like a water blister on human skin.
  2. Lack of gloss is blisters are small
  3. Broken edged craters if blisters have burst.
  1. Rust under surface.
  2. Painting over oil or grease.
  3. Moisture in spray lines.
  4. Trapped solvents.
  5. Prolonged exposure to high humidity.

Sand and refinish blistered areas.

    1. Thoroughly clean and treat metal before refinishing.
    2. Frequently drain compressor and air lines to eliminate water.
    3. Avoid use of fast thinners and reducer when temperature is high
  1. Allow proper dry time between coats.



The finish turns milky immediately or shortly after application

  1. Fast thinner or reducer in high humidity.
  2. Unbalanced thinner or reducer.
  3. Condensation on old surface.
    1. Add retarder to thinner or reducer and recoat.
    2. Sand and refinish.
  1. Keep paint and surface to be painted at room temperature.
  2. Select a good quality thinner or reducer.
  3. Use a retarder when spraying in high humidity and warm temperatures.



  1. Lack of gloss.
  2. Powdery surface.
  1. Natural weathering of paint films.
  2. Lack of thorough agitation of paint.
  3. Using paints and solvents of low quality.
  1. Sand to remove oxidation and soft finish.
  2. Polishing may restore gloss.
  3. If polishing not effective sand and refinish.
  1. Keep paint surface clean with occasional waxing.
  2. Thoroughly agitate all paint materials.
  3. Use only quality products and apply with approved methods.



  1. Crowfoot separation (checking).
  2. Appearance of shattered glass (crazing).
  3. Splits and irregular separation (cracking).
  1. Insufficient dry time of film prior to recoating.
  2. Extreme temperature changes.
  3. Excessive film thickness (too heavy coats).
  4. Paint not thoroughly mixed.
  5. Using incompatible products.
  6. Recoating a previous checked finish without proper preparation.
  7. Using improper thinner or reducer.

Remove finish down through checked or cracked area and refinish.

  1. Follow proper dry time between coats.
  2. Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  3. Spray uniform coats avoiding excess film thickness.
  4. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Use only balanced, compatible products.
  6. Remove previously cracked finish prior to recoating.
  7. Use sealer before topcoating.



Foreign particles imbedded in paint film.

  1. Improper cleaning, blowing off, and tacking off of surface to be painted.
  2. Defective filter in air regulator.
  3. Dirty spray area.
  4. Dirty booth filters.
  5. Dirty spray gun.
  1. Rub out finish with polishing compound.
  2. If dirt is deep in finish sand before compounding. If metallic finishes show mottling additional color coats will be necessary.


  1. Blow out all cracks and body seams.
  2. Clean and tack surface prior to painting.
  3. Be sure equipment and spray area is clean.

d.   Replace all dirty filters.

e.    Strain foreign material from paint.

f.    Keep containers closed when not in use to prevent contamination.



Gloss becomes dull as film dries or ages

  1. Compounding before solvent evaporates or film cures.

b.   Using poorly balanced thinner or reducer.

c.    Improperly cleaned surface.

  1. Topcoats applied on wet undercoats.
  2. Washing with caustic cleaners.
  3. Poor quality polishes.
  4. No flash time allowed between coats.
  5. Not enough film build.


  1. Allow to cure and polish.
  2. Sand and refinish.
  1. Clean surface thoroughly before painting.
  2. Use top quality recommended materials.
  3. Allow proper dry time of all coatings.




Raised or lifted edges in the wet or dry paint film that outline sand throughs or featheredges.

Solvent from new topcoat penetrates a solvent sensitive substrate causing a lifting or wrinkling that outlines the featheredge.

  1. Sand smooth or remove affected area with 400 grit or finer sandpaper.
  2. Isolate affected area with 2K primer surfacer and refinish.
  1. Use acrylic urethane primer surfacer or waterborne surfacer over questionable surfaces.
  2. Use 400 grit or finer sandpaper when featheredging.
  3. Avoid sanding through topcoat or clear exposing solvent sensitive finishes.



  1. Separation or cratering of the wet film.
  2. Previous finish can be seen in spots.
  1. Improper cleaning of old surface.
  2. Spraying over surfaces that contain silicone or fisheye eliminator.
  1. Add fisheye eliminator and recoat.
  2. Wash off paint while still wet.
  1. Clean surface with solvent based wax and grease remover. Dry with clean rags.
  2. Use fisheye eliminator when spraying over old films containing silicone or fisheye eliminator.
  3. Install air filtering system that removes and prevents oil and moisture contamination.
  4. Maintain air supply by draining, cleaning and changing filters on a routine basis.











  1. Raising and swelling of the wet film.
  2. Peeling of dry film.
  1. Improper drying of previous coating.
  2. Exceeding maximum flash or recoat times during application.
  3. Recoating a basecoat/clearcoat finish, where clearcoat has insufficient film build.

Remove lifted surface and refinish

  1. Do not exceed a products maximum recoat time during or after application.
  2. Clean old surfaces thoroughly.
  3. Avoid applying undercoats or topcoats excessively wet.
  4. Seal old finishes.
  1. Clean old surfaces thoroughly.
  2. Allow all undercoats full drying time.
  3. Do not exceed products maximum recoat time during or after application.
  4. Seal old finishes. This is especially important if old finish is air dried enamel or lacquer.   



Streaking of the color. Generally associated with metallic colors.

  1. Excessive wetting of paint film.
  2. Uneven film thickness.
  3. Using spray gun with unbalanced spray pattern.
  4. Improper spray technique.
  5. Over-reduction.
  1. If color is freshly applied back away and increase air pressure for final coat.
  2. Avoid reducing too much.
  3. Allow base coat to flash and apply low pressure mist coat.
  4. Allow to dry. Sand and apply additional color.
  1. Avoid excessive film build or wetting.
  2. Do not over-reduce color.



Paint film having texture resembling skin of an orange.

  1. Under reduction and/or air pressure too low.
  2. Wrong temperature reducer for spray conditions.
  3. Excessive film thickness or piling on of heavy wet coats.
  4. Improper spray gun set-up.
  5. Improper painting technique.
  1. Compound or polish.
  2. Sand and refinish.






  1. Proper air and gun adjustment.
  2. Proper reduction.
  3. Proper spray technique.



PEELING (Delamination)

A loss of adhesion or separation of the paint film from the substrate

  1. Improper surface preparation.
  2. Incompatibility of one coat to another.
  3. Insufficient flash/dry time or exceeding the products maximum recoat time.
  4. Insufficient film thickness of undercoat or topcoat.
  5. Regarding clearcoat finishes: Insufficient film thickness of clearcoat . Solvent cleaning basecoat before clearcoating. Basecoat applied too dry. Baking basecoat before applying clearcoat. Using fisheye eliminator in basecoat. Excessive basecoat film thickness. Improper reduction or incompatible reducer used in basecoat.

Remove peeling paint completely and refinish with compatible materials

  1. Thoroughly clean all substrates.
  2. Use recommended primers for special substrates ( plastic, galvanized, etc.).
  3. Follow acceptable refinish procedures using compatible materials.




  1. Small pin point holes in finish.
  2. Air bubbles raising the film causing craters when erupted.
  1. Excessive amount of hardener.
  2. Excessive stirring or whipping of hardener.
  3. Applying heavy thick coats causing excessive heat buildup producing gas bubbles inside the product as it cures.
  1. Sand thoroughly and recoat with body filler.
  2. Sand thoroughly and apply glaze coat of polyester putty.
  1. Mix in proper amount of hardener.
  2. Stir slowly and smooth out air pockets.
  3. Do not exceed manufacturers film thickness for body filler.



  1. Small craters.
  2. Like dry spray or over spray.




Same as Blistering (except blisters have broken)

Same as Blistering

Same as Blistering



Discoloration of topcoat color. Usually yellowing appearing on white and light colored metallics such as silver.

  1. Too much hardener.
  2. Applying topcoat before plastic is cured.
  1. Remove body filler patch.
  2. Cure topcoat, sand and refinish.
  1. Use correct amount of hardener.
  2. Allow adequate cure time before refinishing.



Stays soft after applying

  1. Insufficient amount of hardener.
  2. Hardener exposed to sunlight.

Scrape off plastic and re-apply

  1. Add recommended amount of hardener.
  2. Be sure hardener is fresh and has not been exposed to sunlight.



  1. Peeling or blistering.
  2. Raised surface spots.
  1. Improper metal preparation.
  2. Broken paint film allowing moisture to creep under surrounding finish.
  3. Water in spray line.
  1. Seal off broken film area to prevent moisture from reaching inner part of panels.
  2. Sand down to bare metal and treat with proper metal treatment before refinishing.
  1. Apply corrosion resistant undercoat to properly treated metal.
  2. Locate any source of moisture and seal off.
  3. Take care not to scratch or break paint film when replacing emblems or moldings.



  1. Running of wet paint film in rivulets.
  2. Mass slippage of paint film
  1. Over reduction and/or low air pressure.
  2. Extra slow reducer.
  3. Painting on cold surfaces.
  4. Improperly cleaned surface.
  5. Not adhering to proper flash times between coats.
  6. Holding gun too close to surface.
  7. Slow gun speed.
  8. Double coating.
  1. Wash with solvent and refinish.
  2. After finish is dry, sand and refinish.
  3. In some case runs can be sanded out and finish polished to restore gloss.
  1. Mix paint according to product directions with proper solvent for conditions.
  2. Spray medium wet coats with sufficient flash times between coats.
  3. Adjust air pressure and fluid control for proper atomization.
  4. Allow paint material and substrate to reach room temperature before application.



Visible lines or marks in the paint film that follow the direction of the sanding marks.

  1. Sanding with too coarse grit sandpaper.
  2. Insufficient dry time of undercoats before topcoating.
  3. Refinishing over soft soluble substrates.
  4. Using too fast reducer in undercoat causing surfacer to bridge over.
  5. Using reducer for surface cleaner prior to topcoating.
  1. Allow finish to dry/cure and sand smooth before polishing.
  2. Sand and refinish.
  1. Sand with recommended grit sandpaper.
  2. Allow undercoats to dry/cure thoroughly before topcoating.
  3. Select proper thinner or reducer for temperature.



Small chips of paint missing from an otherwise intact finish.

Loss of adhesion caused by impact from stones, car doors, etc.

Sand and featheredge damaged area to remove chips and refinish.

Use premium 2K undercoat and topcoat systems.



The original finish or undercoat is visible through the topcoat or there are variations in surface color.

  1. Color not stirred or agitated properly.
  2. Color over-reduced.
  3. Insufficient color coats.
  4. Substrate not uniform in color.
  5. Repeated compounding.

Sand and refinish

  1. Shake or stir paint material thoroughly.
  2. Reduce paint according to instructions.
  3. Apply proper amount of topcoat to achieve hiding.
  4. Use sealer or groundcoat ot provide uniform color before topcoating.











Circles with raised edges or whitish spots in shape of water spots appear on surface of paint film.

  1. Spots of water drying on a finish that is not thoroughly cured or dry.
  2. Washing finish in direct sunlight.
  1. Wipe with damp cloth and polish.
  2. Sand smooth with 1500-2000 grit sandpaper, compound and polish to restore gloss.
  3. Sand and refinish.
  1. Do not allow rain to fall and dry on fresh paint job.
  2. If new finish gets wet, dry immediately with dry soft cloth.
  3. Wash new finishes only after fully cured and then in shade wiping dry immediately.



Discolored and/or slow drying spots of various sizes

  1. Improper cleaning.
  2. Excessively heavy undercoats not properly dried.
  3. Sanding with gasoline or other chemically contaminated solvent.
  4. Reducing paint with improper solvent.




Sand or wash off thoroughly and refinish

  1. Clean surface with proper solvent.
  2. Allow undercoats to dry/cure thoroughly.
  3. Use only water as a sanding lubricant.



  1. Puckering effect.
  2. Resembles skin of prune.
  3. Loss of gloss as it dries (minute wrinkling not visible to naked eye.
  4. This occurs on enamel finishes mostly.
  1. Under reduced paint or air pressure too low causing excessive film thickness.
  2. Excessive coats.
  3. Fast reducers.
  4. Fresh paint subjected to heat too soon.

Break open top surface of paint by sanding and allow to dry thoroughly

  1. Reduce enamels according to directions.
  2. Apply as recommended.
  3. Do not force dry until solvents have flashed off.


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