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Alcohol may have damaged paint - looking for suggestions

Doyle

New Member
Ever feel like there are customers that are just problems all around? From the get go, we had issues on both ends of this transaction, employee didn't respond timely to the customer so he was impatient with us, then nit-picked every little thing along the way. Then, after he picked up his freshly lettered truck, he called and told me that we damaged the paint on his step bars on his truck. I asked him to stop back at the shop so we could check it out and see what could have possibly caused the issue..

We use 70% isopropyl alcohol for cleaning vehicles before applying graphics, and have never experienced issues. Apparently, my employee dripped a bunch of alcohol on these matte black step bars which seem to have dulled/bleached the finish. I may be on the hook to completely replace the step bar unless I am able to find something that will bring the color back. I tested the alcohol on another portion of the painted surface and it does, in fact, discolor the paint as shown in the attached pic. However, the test cloth that I used was still clean after applying the alcohol, if that makes any difference (as in it doesn't look like it "removed" any of the paint).

Any ideas/suggestions are appreciated!
 

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TimToad

Active Member
First, we need to train our employees to care for our client's vehicles as they would their own.

Second, the paint or coating was already failing on that step bar as evidenced in the photo. You can see the hairline cracks and chips in it. Regardless, you will need to offer some kind of compensation in the form of having them sent out to a local powdercoater or body shop for painting. If you don't, be prepared for bad reviews or other negative fallout.
 

Billct2

Active Member
That wasn't noticed before it left? Agree, it needs to be refinished. But to me it looks like it was already old, like Tim said. I would think a rattle can of black would make it look fresh...
 

TimToad

Active Member
I've seen paint 'dry out' like this before after alcohol was used to clean it. I've been fortunate enough to not cause it on a customers vehicle, but I've seen some oilier cleaners restore the finish. If you have some rapid remover, see what a light coat of that does, otherwise you might try something like armor-all or mothers back to black.

My only caution on using an oily substance is that is a step that the customer might use to get in and out of the truck. Rubbing it in fully and making it sure we're not creating a slip hazard once if gets a little wet is important.
 

jfiscus

Rap Master
Never seen that happen either, but looks like it somehow did cause it. Maybe take a heat gun and see if it comes out or improves, I know it can cure those ABS plastic fender flares.
 

equippaint

Active Member
Any silicon or oily spray you put on it will be temporary. Unfortunately this is like rear ending a car that has already been wrecked. It falls on you and it doesn't help that the guy was a pain straight out of the gate.
You are right, there are those people. From my experience and lessons learned the hard way, problems at the start will be problems through to the end. I just don't do business with these people if I can figure it out quick enough.
 

RPM

New Member
You could try a little finesse-it compound on the affected area. If that works, you would have to probably rub the entire board to make it look uniform. the paint on the board was junk from the beginning. The problem you are now facing is you have exposed the flaw by spilling alcohol on it.
 

Doyle

New Member
Thanks everyone for the replies. I will try some compound or the mentioned Back-to-Black product and see what happens. The customer has also implied that rather than replacing the step board that he would be interested in a store credit (his idea-not mine). We will certainly be more careful with the alcohol in the future now that we have experienced this.
 

WhiskeyDreamer

Professional Snow Ninja
Not sure if it'll help, but it kinda looks like the residue left from an old vehicle that's chalked up. I'd give it a spray of carb/choke cleaner before offering to repaint. I use that on chalked vehicles to get the vinyl to stick. It may help here, but it certainly couldn't hurt.
 

CSOCSO

I don't hate paint, I just overlay it.
be careful with the black 2 black. I wouldn't even try it to be honest with you. It will wash off and might compromise the chance of wrapping it since vinyl might not stick after you put the greasy back 2 black.
I would just wrap it matte black.
 

ikarasu

Active Member
I was applying something to a window, the door was a weird blue. Sprayed the window with alcohol... And it dropped down and discolored the door. I tried wiping it... Nothing. Tried a heat gun to dry it... Nothing. Of.course it was when I was.being watched, so the owner noticed it. I told them it's just alcohol... I've never seen that happen before, and it should just dry out. If not.. Let us know and we'll repaint the door for her.

I spent the next 4 doors taping all the paint off and worrying I'd be repainting that first door... By the time we were done, the first door looked perfect like nothing happened... It.just took some natural drying to fix it.

Might not be the issue in your case since it's been so long... But rubbing alcohol shouldn't permanently change something.
 

studio 440

New Member
Ever feel like there are customers that are just problems all around? From the get go, we had issues on both ends of this transaction, employee didn't respond timely to the customer so he was impatient with us, then nit-picked every little thing along the way. Then, after he picked up his freshly lettered truck, he called and told me that we damaged the paint on his step bars on his truck. I asked him to stop back at the shop so we could check it out and see what could have possibly caused the issue..

We use 70% isopropyl alcohol for cleaning vehicles before applying graphics, and have never experienced issues. Apparently, my employee dripped a bunch of alcohol on these matte black step bars which seem to have dulled/bleached the finish. I may be on the hook to completely replace the step bar unless I am able to find something that will bring the color back. I tested the alcohol on another portion of the painted surface and it does, in fact, discolor the paint as shown in the attached pic. However, the test cloth that I used was still clean after applying the alcohol, if that makes any difference (as in it doesn't look like it "removed" any of the paint).

Any ideas/suggestions are appreciated!
to me it looks like a blush you get when you put paint thinner or alcohol on lacquer is it possible thats just flat black lacquer that was sprayed on there ? if so just a prep and repaint might be a fix
 

Kentucky Wraps

Kentucky Wraps
Matte Black Spray Can of PlastiDip from Walmart or Lowe's will do the trick. Cheap, easy fix. Will add grip for stepping and won't chip like paint. No need to buff the surface either.
 
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