Forester Body Work: Fixing Dents and Dings

jbur1jbur1 Member Posts: 15
edited April 2014 in Subaru
My 2003 Silver Forester XS went through a nasty hail storm yesterday. My hood ended up with about a dozen or more dimples :cry: . I guess this is just one of negatives of having an aluminum hood. Anyway, has anyone experienced this type of damage? Was it cheaper to replace the entire hood (new or used) or have it repaired? Can an aluminum hood be repaired as well as a steel hood? I am also worried about a color match if I go with a new or used hood. I am in the process of investigating this and would appreciate any feedback.


  • lfdallfdal Member Posts: 679
    I'd offer two thoughts -

    1) If you have a dent wizard shop around you, and they're willing to offer you a "satisfaction or you don't pay" offer, I'd give them a shot. I've used a similar independent around here to take out some dents I thought would never look right, both on my red 04 FXT, and my wife's dark green 03 OBW.

    2) To avoid bondo, I'd just go with a new hood. The cost of the hood might be about the same after the labor of taking out (or worse, filling) the dents. If you use a good paint shop, color matching shouldn't be a problem. My ex's 04 Elantra (silver) just had the rear hatch and bumper redone and I can't see a difference.

    I'd be leery of a used hood unless you get to do a thorough inspection before you buy it. You might be getting someone else's bondo. Also, if the hood's a dark color, they'll have to prime it really well so the silver doesn't get a "tint" to it.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Good advice IMO.

  • casecom2casecom2 Member Posts: 72
    My 2003 Forester XS (Cayenne Red) is now being repaired after going through a bad hailstorm last month. The damage to my car was more severe than any of my coworkers' cars on the same lot. The shop said they couldn't work with aluminum that had dents that deep, so I'm getting a new hood.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Will insurance cover it? They went to an aluminum hood that year exactly.

  • casecom2casecom2 Member Posts: 72
    Yep, I'm just paying my deductible. Good thing -- the estimate was $2500 :surprise: (which includes less-noticeable damage to several other panels on the car as well). I figure, the car's only 3 years old, why not get it all fixed.
  • jbur1jbur1 Member Posts: 15
    I just dropped off my silver 2003 Forester XS yesterday for the hail damage repair. After the shop had their paintless dent repair expert look at the car, he said that he could repair the dents elsewhere on the vehicle but not the hood (25+ dents of varying depth). I am now waiting for my insurance company to ok the hood replacement. The only thing that worries me is color matching and blending with the fenders.
  • jsweitzrjsweitzr Member Posts: 2
    I commute approx 50 miles in a semi-rural area of the Southeast. Bug splatter has caused a significant deterioration of the paint on the front bumper on my 2004 Forester. My prior vehicles were Honda & Nissan. The dealer explained that the paint thickness has been decreased from 10 mils to 3 mils and that is the reason. Anyone else with similar responses?
  • aathertonaatherton Member Posts: 617
    Are you referring to road rash (chipped paint)? It is not likely that the impact of soft bugs or their residue can harm paint. It seems more likely that the damage is caused by fine particles kicked up by traffic in your daily semi-rural 50-mile commute. You might try the Dr. ColorChip kit for road rash repair:
  • jsweitzrjsweitzr Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for your response. I do have an occassional stone chip. But the affect of the bug splatter is different. On my previous cars, I could always remove the residue with bug & tar remover or even a high pressure spray because the thicker paint did not let it penetrate. These do not work on this newer vehicle (2004 Forester).
  • p0926p0926 Member Posts: 4,423
    Sounds like a good argument for keeping you car waxed :)

  • aathertonaatherton Member Posts: 617
    "... I could always remove the residue with bug & tar remover or even a high pressure spray because the thicker paint did not let it penetrate. These do not work on this newer vehicle..."

    I understand there no chipping of the paint - the paint is intact.
    Is the problem that the bug residue cannot be removed, or that when the residue is removed, the paint is discolored?
    Surely the residue can be removed, so the problem must be that the chemicals in the residue have discolored the paint.
    This would seem to be a function of the paint's composition more than its thickness.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Bring back the unpainted cladding!

    That stuff was awesome. You got a dent and it would actually pop out by itself, self-repairing.

    Bring it back, please!
  • aathertonaatherton Member Posts: 617
    Isn't the cladding still there, but is now painted?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yep, but paint only flexes so much. It cracks and scratches more easily. So while it may re-shape itself, the damage is done.
  • bigblueskybigbluesky Member Posts: 1
    As previous owner of a 2005 Legacy and also a new 2008 Outback I agree with your assessment about the bug/paint issue. If I leave bug splatter on my car, later when I clean the splatter off the car the paint and clear coat bubbles underneath and begins to deteriorate. Waxing is only a temporary fix. The occasional stone chip is not the issue here.

    So what are we suppose to do wash the car instantly after we drive it? Put wax on it? please what a joke.

    My 1998 Legacy NEVER had this problem. They have changed the quality of the paint and the thickness of the paint. Sheet metal is also thinner on the newer models.

    The newer cars chip alot easier. Which confirms that the paint layer is not as thick as before. The bug splatter on the 2008 hood NEVER causes the paint to deteriorate only on the bumper. Paint adheres differenty on plastic then on metal and that's a fact.

    I've washed and waxed my Subaru cars since 1993 and I have never noticed this problem before.

    This is a big problem and GM has lost millions of customers because of there paint quality issues. I still don't like GM paint, even though they have improved it.

    Bottom line, poor business decision.

    Wake up Subaru before it's too late.
  • grafzeppelingrafzeppelin Member Posts: 14
    Recently my wife and I purchased a 2009 Forester for her to drive (our first Subaru) and so far we've been very pleased with it. It has good performance and I like her driving a car with full-time 4WD, traction control, comprehensive air bags, etc.

    My question is what products do you recommend for treatment of the exterior? We have been using a product called "Mothers' Back-to-Black Exterior Bumper & Trim Care" on the exterior plastic parts and "Turtle Wax Ultra Gloss Paste Wax" on the exterior metal. Does anyone recommend anything different?

    Another issue has to do with CV joint boots. I have a friend who, years ago, convinced me to use silicone lubricant spray to periodically treat the CV joint boots in the hope of keeping the boot rubber from cracking. I know that some rubber/plastic parts do not "like" conventional silicone sprays and I was wondering if anyone knows if these are okay for use on the Forester. I have been using silicone spray on our 2000 Honda CRV AWD and have not had any problems...knock wood.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • cyrus1000cyrus1000 Member Posts: 12
    I have a 2009 Forester. I decided to go ahead and apply a clear bra to the front bumper and parts of the front fenders, hood and side mirrors. It cost around $600, but I think if you keep your car for a few years it's worth the cost. You just need to shop around for a reputable shop to get it done.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    First and foremost keep it clean. Regular hand washing is the best thing you can do.

    It's new so you're enthusiastic now, the trick is to stay motivated after it's a few years old. :shades:

    I sold my old '98 Forester about 18 months ago and just saw it for the first time - I nearly cried. :cry:

    It looked like it had not been washed since the guy bought it. The wheels were filthy with brake dust (I used to WAX those wheels), some stickers on it were half peeling off, and he had some old duct tape peeling off that looked like it was used to hold up the front bumper.

    It was 9 years old when I sold it, and it looked like a 4 year old vehicle.

    Now it's 11 years old and it looks like a 15 year old vehicle.

  • grafzeppelingrafzeppelin Member Posts: 14
    Yes I know it's true. This is my wife's first brand new car and she's so happy with it right now. It really is a nice car and I want to do the best I can in keeping it that way...thank you for your input.
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