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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We recently noticed a couple of spots on the tailgate where the clear plastic skin had bubbled. I frankly thought someone had scratched the back and pulled a bit of it off.

We just took the car to Mercedes for the 2-year service, so I mentioned the bubbles and asked if any repair method was available. They ran the car through the car wash and we went out to look at it.

Much to everyone's surprise, an area the size of a shoe had peeled off the back skin above the license plate, revealing the dull plastic beneath.

Our car was three weeks out of warranty by date, but the Sarasota service manager says they will replace the panel under warranty. Other bubbles appear to be starting near the tail lights on both sides and the right door. I was told that any further damage will be covered because they have documented the problem in our records.

I did not see this problem mentioned in a forum search, so I thought I would document it. Anyone else experienced peeling panels? We are stumped as to why this happened, have not used anything on the car but mild car wash and wax.
 

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Sounds like the clear coat is coming off for some reason; are your panels painted or molded in color? :)
 

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I was told that any further damage will be covered because they have documented the problem in our records.
That's great to hear. I bet what happened was a bad batch of clear coat, or environmental conditions (humidity, etc) when it was applied. Yours and a few others will have that problem, but I doubt it'll affect very many. This is why warranties are made - to cover the oopsies during manufacture.

If they see a pattern developing on all your panels, it may be in your best interests to have all panels replaced around the same time. In a few years, the panels you have now will develop a subtle color fade that won't match up with a new panel. Given that a panel refresh kit is only $1500-2000, it might be good for the dealer to arrange that under warranty rather than worry about multiple visits in the next two years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's great to hear. I bet what happened was a bad batch of clear coat, or environmental conditions (humidity, etc) when it was applied. Yours and a few others will have that problem, but I doubt it'll affect very many. This is why warranties are made - to cover the oopsies during manufacture.

If they see a pattern developing on all your panels, it may be in your best interests to have all panels replaced around the same time. In a few years, the panels you have now will develop a subtle color fade that won't match up with a new panel. Given that a panel refresh kit is only $1500-2000, it might be good for the dealer to arrange that under warranty rather than worry about multiple visits in the next two years.
As nice as a full panel replacement sounds, I doubt Mercedes will handle it that way. They are ordering a new tailgate panel now, and that will have to do, I don't have the money to re-skin the car.

I will try to grab a couple of pics this week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sounds like the clear coat is coming off for some reason; are your panels painted or molded in color? :)
?

I thought all panels were molded with color.

Also, what is peeling off I would not call clear coat per se, it peels off like kitchen plastic wrap.
 

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?

I thought all panels were molded with color.

Also, what is peeling off I would not call clear coat per se, it peels off like kitchen plastic wrap.
Only deep black, rally red, and crystal white are moulded-in colours. The rest are painted, and all (moulded and painted) have a clear coat.
 

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Yes, yellow was also a moulded-in colour.

Additionally, the 2008 red, unlike the current rally red, was painted.
 

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from his info page

<LI class=profilefield_category>My SMART Details Fortwo Model Cabrio Tridion Safety Cell Color Metallic Silver Exterior Color Rally Red Interior Color Beige My SMART Modifications Dodge antenna
Prodigy armrest
Billet fuel door
BarneyO bumpers
Curt receiver and Thule luggage pod
 

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This is why warranties are made - to cover the oopsies during manufacture.
This is why warranties should last more than 24 months. I'm glad they do for the new cars. US smart pioneers weren't so fortunate.

I'm glad they're taking care of the problem. And, I'm glad this is apparently a rare problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
from his info page

<LI class=profilefield_category>My SMART Details Fortwo Model Cabrio Tridion Safety Cell Color Metallic Silver Exterior Color Rally Red Interior Color Beige My SMART Modifications Dodge antenna
Prodigy armrest
Billet fuel door
BarneyO bumpers
Curt receiver and Thule luggage pod
You have unleashed my darkest secrets :)

If I have molded panels, I wonder what they use for the clear coat? As I mentioned earlier, it looks like plastic wrap, but slightly thicker. I assume they are adding it over the molded plastic...

Anyone aware of smart panel manufacturing techniques?
 

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my smart got bumped in the front. Put a small scratch right above the plate. I sanded the ridge and put a little clear coat from the autopart store. Looks
great. As faras I culd tell ine has normal clear coat on the solid panels. I would think it is a clear made for plastic and is flexable to a point
 

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Hence the shrinkwrap look to it.

The clearcoat on my KIA (and the hood is delaminating and peeling, and bubbling) comes off in tiny plastic feeling sheets. Brittle too...
 

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I have a 2009 Red Smart Passion. In the lst month I have noticed that I have several panels that look like the clearcoat seems to be peeling off. We live 250 miles from the closest Smart dealership. I have taken pictures of my little guy but just now have contacted the dealership. The person I need to talk to is already goner for the day so probably won't hear back from them until Monday. I didn't know if this was a unique problem or one that was showing up on other smarts. Any advice or help would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have a 2009 Red Smart Passion. In the lst month I have noticed that I have several panels that look like the clearcoat seems to be peeling off. We live 250 miles from the closest Smart dealership. I have taken pictures of my little guy but just now have contacted the dealership. The person I need to talk to is already goner for the day so probably won't hear back from them until Monday. I didn't know if this was a unique problem or one that was showing up on other smarts. Any advice or help would be appreciated.
Since you found this thread, it should be obvious that your problem is not unique. That being said, you will have to take the car to your dealer, print this thread and show them the problem is occurring, and encourage them to make it right.

Our problem was shown to Mercedes one week after the two year warranty was up. Sarasota Merceces replaced the truck lid with no questions. Another panel is now delaminating and I will be taking it back shortly to repeat the process. They said my file would have notations that the panels would be replaced as a warranty issue.

Good luck with your problem. I believe they will do right by it.
 

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I have a rally red and my 2009 Passion is peeling everywhere. I thought the color was molded and was not aware that a clear vinyl wrap was even there. I am currenty waiting on MB of Tampa to see what they are going to do since it is going on 2.5 weeks to hear of a resolution. Though the 2 yr warranty has been over, this sounds like a workmanship issue not a maintenance issue. I have taken picture at various times documenting the severity of the situation but don't know how to load in here.
 
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