I picked the car up today after exactly 3 weeks at the body shop. Didn’t take any pictures, because it basically looks as it did before… except shinier and smoother. This repaint was a big decision to make, but at least it has been made. I did in fact get it painted at a Maaco… it’s funny because I used to be a bandwagoner and knocked Maaco paint jobs. Why Maaco? I got quotes from a couple other shops in the area, and they were quoting me 4-6k for a repaint… on a Miata. Secondly, Maacos are individually owned and essentially are like any other shop. I did some research beforehand and the particular Maaco in Fremont on South Grimmer seemed to have higher standards. Trust me, I’ve tried regular, independent body shops in the past… and had plenty awful experiences regardless. No body shop will give you a perfect paint job, no matter how much you pay. Plus, repainting the same gloss black color shouldn’t be rocket science. I thought about doing a metallic black, but opted out… I think black looks best when it is just that, black.
Overall, Maaco’s reputation really takes a hit simply from their willingness to paint a car for $500. It’s unfortunate that the franchise offers such cheap packages as it really brings down the image. Obviously if you pay $500 for a full repaint, it’ll be crap (especially if a color change is involved).
My priority out of this was to get the dents out and to fix the front and rear bumpers. Having fresh paint all around didn’t hurt. Unlike most others who go to Maaco, I shelled out for their high-end Signature series paint, which is PPG brand based and 2 stage. I did have them take off as much stuff as possible for the prep – like the tail lights, door handles, etc. Also, since the car came with ugly, bumpy rock guard material along the sides, I took the opportunity to get them all smoothed out. This paint job was definitely not cheap and I had to sacrifice the Previa for it. I sold the van a couple weeks ago and the cash went straight into the paint job.
In the end the car turned out pretty nice… not extraordinary but very presentable (then again, my neuroticism and pickiness are renowned). Some of the moldings are a bit off due to their reinstallation so I’ll have to take care of those… They did cut and buff the large panels of the car, but another phase needs to be done in about a month. The paint is too new and not cured enough to do any serious wetsanding.
Either way, I finally have the car back and can start getting to work on it.