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I have a 2008 smartcar that’s peeling, like sunburned skin. It’s losing color in spots, and I was quoted around $4,000 for some sort of paintjob over all of it, I suppose.

Does anyone have experience and advice for this problem without my having to lose an arm and a foot?

I’m not trying to restore it, just to make it look nice. I love the bright yellow original color, and hope to keep that look. Can’t imagine doing it myself.

Would it be wise enough, to have it spray-painted, or must I go for the wrapping material that’s sure to start peeling again?

Thanks in advance for your sound advice. Ruben
 

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Either way spray paint or wrap, all of the old peeling clear coat has to be removed, a large part of the cost. I'm going to make a GUESS That paint or wrap the costs are going to come to be within $1,000 of each other.
In today's overinflated market your 2008 smart probably has a book value of between $2,500-$4,000.
Good luck an please keep us updated
 

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Welcome to the forum. Find some replacement panels. Lots of out there. I wouldn’t spend $4K on a paint job. That was the purpose of the plastic panels. Replace them as you can afford.

The yellow panels are solid color. Even if you sand off the present peeling clear coat. There will be a lot sanding scratching. To deal with. You still have to clear coat again, at a good cost.

look at the cost of a car wrap.

“Then there is Maaco paint”.
 

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I was in the same boat as you with my 2008 smart. I couldn’t vinyl wrap the peeling panels since the plastic powders off the panel when vinyl is stuck on. I also considered repainting the whole car and was quoted close to 3k for everything. I ended up sourcing a whole set of used/brand new panels online and ended up paying about 1200. Id say that’s your best bet. Even if you were to vinyl wrap the old panels for a cost $2-2.5k, after a few years the vinyl will start looking bad and you’ll be back to square one.
 

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I have a 2008 smartcar that’s peeling, like sunburned skin. It’s losing color in spots, and I was quoted around $4,000 for some sort of paintjob over all of it, I suppose.

Does anyone have experience and advice for this problem without my having to lose an arm and a foot?

I’m not trying to restore it, just to make it look nice. I love the bright yellow original color, and hope to keep that look. Can’t imagine doing it myself.

Would it be wise enough, to have it spray-painted, or must I go for the wrapping material that’s sure to start peeling again?

Thanks in advance for your sound advice. Ruben
FYI I have had wrap on mine for 10 years and it still looks good.
 

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I used to own a Smart4Two Passion Cabrio in red that did the same thing. The panels were made of red plastic, so no paint involved. But the clear coat started peeling off in spots.

I talked to several body shops about options to re-spray the clear coat, and as others here have confirmed too? The cost was prohibitive. The big problem is all the labor involved in the prep work to strip the old clear off, sand/polish the plastic panels and ready them to re-spray with new clear coat. One shop did say they'd probably discount the job about $1,000 if I took the panels off the car for them first and brought them in to be sprayed separately.

I wound up buying a replacement red tailgate panel that was "new old stock", from Smart Madness in TX. (It wasn't a part shown on their web site but I called and talked to them, and they managed to track it down for me. Took a long time to ship out but I finally got it.). I was able to take off the old panel and put on the new one after watching a few relevant YouTube videos. The other panels that started peeling on me were the rocker panels below the doors, peeling right along their edges. I wound up trading the car in before I got around to replacing those.

The interesting thing with these cars is, with the removable body panels like they used? Nothing is stopping you from changing the color of your car if you want to replace all of them. Some people have even done a "mix and match" thing to create a unique 2 tone look for their Smart. The biggest challenge can be finding the panels you need in the color you want. I know with red, especially, it was a panel that had a lot of problems with failing/peeling clear coat, even when the cars still had warranty left on them. Mercedes/Smart replaced them for some people, for a while, at no charge. But these days, the remaining stock is just whatever is left in inventory, or people reselling used panels still in good condition. (Some are on eBay here and there.)


I have a 2008 smartcar that’s peeling, like sunburned skin. It’s losing color in spots, and I was quoted around $4,000 for some sort of paintjob over all of it, I suppose.

Does anyone have experience and advice for this problem without my having to lose an arm and a foot?

I’m not trying to restore it, just to make it look nice. I love the bright yellow original color, and hope to keep that look. Can’t imagine doing it myself.

Would it be wise enough, to have it spray-painted, or must I go for the wrapping material that’s sure to start peeling again?

Thanks in advance for your sound advice. Ruben
 

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I was in the same boat as you with my 2008 smart. I couldn’t vinyl wrap the peeling panels since the plastic powders off the panel when vinyl is stuck on. I also considered repainting the whole car and was quoted close to 3k for everything. I ended up sourcing a whole set of used/brand new panels online and ended up paying about 1200. Id say that’s your best bet. Even if you were to vinyl wrap the old panels for a cost $2-2.5k, after a few years the vinyl will start looking bad and you’ll be back to square one.
I looked into a wrap for another vehicle, I was told that even if you keep it clean and garage kept, the wrap only has a life span of about 6 years before it starts to fade and peel.
 

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Keep in mind all Smart cars need regular waxing, even if the color is in the plastic. Wax adds lubricating moisture to the paint/clearcoat to keep it pliable, just like hand lotion on a person. This goes for the glass top as welll, it is clearcoated.
 
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