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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading on a different thread (here PPF and Ceramic Coating ) that several folks seemed to agree that Mazdas have "thin" paint.
I am curious as to the basis for that assessment. Has anyone actually used a paint micrometer to measure the thickness of Mazda paint?

I was an automotive Sales Manager for many years, and one of the tools I used when appraising trades (and I have appraised hundreds of trades every year) was a Paint Mic.
We used it to see if any panels deviated from the other panels, since humans can't paint as evenly and as thinly as the factory robots do, and tend to go over most areas twice for coverage. When 6 panels on a car measured 3.5 to 4.5 mils and then the trunk lid measured 8, you knew that the trunk had been painted.

Most factories painted their cars between 3 and 6 mils, with the exception of some tri-coat paint jobs. Nissan had extremely thin paint, it wasn't unusual to see readings froom 1.0 to 1.5 mils on every panel. Many older Nissans had the hood and roof paint literally worn away by detailing; the primer coat would start to pop thru. It was really common until about 2015 when they started to put more material on their cars.

I never noticed this with any Mazda trades, although I worked mostly in high-line autos and probably have only appraised 30 or 40 Mazdas.

BTW, if you are curious, Paint Micrometers only work on ferrous and aluminum panels; they can't measure bumper paint, or Corvettes or Saturns with fiberglass or plastic body panels. In So Calif where I worked, I would guess that about 50% of used cars we sold had repainted bumpers, most of them repainted by the dealer.
 

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Yeah, some have measured it and it averages 3.5 or so, and thats 3 stage paint...
Mazda paint is thinly applied. Its part of their low environmental impact program, using water based paints that cover better with far less VOCs released. Thin paint layers is also how they get some of their best colors like Soul Red and Machine Gray.
 

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Funny I see thia thread because just a few days ago a friend told me Mazda's have poor paint quality and I couldn't really argue with him given how many chips and scratches there are on my Soul Red Mazda. Before then, I'd never even considered paint quality varied that much.
 

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It is a general car trend. The latest gen Civic is also getting a bad rap for thin paint.


 

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Yea it’s thin, as is the case with many modern automotive paints. You just gotta be more careful upfront, and don’t expect to be able to aggressively compound or wetsand the paint to remove defects.
 

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Yeah, some have measured it and it averages 3.5 or so, and thats 3 stage paint...
Mazda paint is thinly applied. Its part of their low environmental impact program, using water based paints that cover better with far less VOCs released. Thin paint layers is also how they get some of their best colors like Soul Red and Machine Gray.
+1 on that... what based paint being soft is the issue :(
 

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I have a 2015 so take this with a grain of salt. I haven't seen any major paint issues since buying the car new. No rust either. Only place I had some paint chips worth doing anything about was the roof right behind the front windshield and that was obvious stone chips - would have done the same to any car.

As already mentioned, the paint thing is not mazda specific but is an issue with all cars now. Ever since they switched to low VOC waterborne it's not as strong. I have worked with both the newer waterborne and older polyester base paint in the past and yes the older stuff is definitely stronger. I generally like working with the newer stuff though. It's less than half the price and far less toxic.

Best advice I can give is get some touch up paint and repair any stone chips once a year. Maybe more if you live in an area that is problematic. The main concern is keeping the metal sealed so rust doesn't develop.

Don't expect anything better from another brand, it's all weak these days.
 

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I have a 2019 Mazda3, no dings, chips or scratches yet. The paint is immaculate in my opinion. It's sonic silver and it's gorgeous. Also the gaps on this car are second to none. I couldn't and still can't find a single flaw in the gapping or fit anywhere. The interior is 2 steps above anything in it's class.
I bought it with a dealer package that had "paint protection" as part of it. It also included 3M door edge guards and handle guards. Window tint, and various other things.
I've also applied a Mothers CMX ceramic coating. It beads water like nobody's business, in sheets.
I'm not worried.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree with Beezer, door gaps are very narrow, very straight, and uniform around the car. My wife had to have the Soul Red, she bought the Mazda strictly for that reason.

It does have one flaw, and I almost didn't buy the car because of it, but I checked numerous other 3 Hatchbacks and they all had the same thing.
If you step back about 15 feet from the driver's door, you will see it. Near the bottom rear edge of the driver's door and the bottom front edge of the passenger door, there is a distortion that you can see in the sunlight, especially if you are standing a step lower than where the car is standing. Looks like it is caused by the spot welds on the other side of the panel "sucking" the metal in just a bit to cause the distortion. It would be a lot more noticeable if the door panels were flat, but they have that concave surface over the bottom halves of the doors that mask it somewhat.

It is also on the passenger side of every one that I looked at.
 

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Yeah, some have measured it and it averages 3.5 or so, and thats 3 stage paint...
Mazda paint is thinly applied. Its part of their low environmental impact program, using water based paints that cover better with far less VOCs released. Thin paint layers is also how they get some of their best colors like Soul Red and Machine Gray.
Gotta applaud the effort, though....


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My experience is that the paint is beautiful, but not durable, easily scratched. Is there a coating or film that will protect against physical damage from daily exposure to blasting and chipping etc.? Perhaps that is what is needed to keep the finish looking good long term?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
PPF, known in the car business as ClearBra.
Average install for front bumper and first 10 inches of so of the hood (leaves a faint hairline) is about $1000
Considering that you can have your front bumper repainted for about $300, not sure it is a great accessory.
 

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PPF, known in the car business as ClearBra.
Average install for front bumper and first 10 inches of so of the hood (leaves a faint hairline) is about $1000
Considering that you can have your front bumper repainted for about $300, not sure it is a great accessory.
Not that simple...Repaint, yes, matching the paint, probably not. Most Mazda colors are very difficult to match if you have to repaint a panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Not that simple...Repaint, yes, matching the paint, probably not. Most Mazda colors are very difficult to match if you have to repaint a panel.
Then you are using the wrong people to paint.
The only ones that are difficult (but can still be done, albeit expensively) are the flat-matt finishes like the ones Mercedes first brought out.
All other factory paint jobs, the painter just orders the factory paint.
 

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Personally I think I would just do the entire hood...and just keep on top of chips on the frt fenders with something like Dr. Colorchip. I say this cuz the hood is comparatively easy to do I believe, and if it's less "fiddly" for the installer it should be fairly low labor charges.
 

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Then you are using the wrong people to paint.
The only ones that are difficult (but can still be done, albeit expensively) are the flat-matt finishes like the ones Mercedes first brought out.
All other factory paint jobs, the painter just orders the factory paint.
If only it was that easy....colors like Soul Red and Machine Gray use multiple layers of color, clear and metallic ( 3 or 4 stage paint) applied in a specific manner to achieve the right results. Machine gray isn't even gray, its black.....and if the metallic coat isn't just right it won't be gray... Soul Red has 14 different alternate mixes that have been used by Mazda....its all in knowing how to get it right.
 
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