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Does silver paint fade

tiggerfinktiggerfink Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Mercedes-Benz
My friends are telling me not to get silver paint on a Mercedes SLK320 because it fades real bad. I am wondering if it is true?


  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    ...right behind dark metallic gray, for fading. I'm sure they've made improvements in the paint now, especially on something like a Benz.

    FWIW, my 2000 Intrepid is silver, with about 49,500 miles on it, and sits outside all the time. It also doesn't get washed/waxed as often as it probably should. Of course, NO car should fade after 2 years, so I guess it's not that major of a feat that mine still looks like new, except for a few stone chips and bumper scrapes.

    One thing I noticed about silver though, is that other drivers won't notice your car as quickly, because colors like silver and gray just don't register with the eyes as quickly. You may experience a greater number of near-misses and close calls with a silver least I have!
  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    I have always heard that silver is the most unstable of the automotive paint pigments. It is notably worse than red for rapidlity of deterioration. I wonder if the current paints have found a way around this very old problem?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    ...don't hold up as well as non-metallic. Mainly it's because those little metallic specs that make the car look so nice and shiny when it's new heat up in sunlight, and bake the paint around them. It's been my experience that, in the past, metallic-painted cars would start looking faded on the hood, roof, and decklid after about 6 or 7 years. My grandma's '85 LeSabre looked good to about 10 years, because it spent more time garaged, and there was a parking garage where she worked. But it seems like non-metallic cars will stay shiny practically forever. The paint may oxidize, but some polishing compound will quickly take the bad stuff off and make it look good again.

    It'll be interesting to see how long my Intrepid's paint holds up. At the rate I'm putting miles on it though, I don't know if it'll still be running in 6-7 years!
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    Without getting too technical, the reason paints fade has to do with the pigments in a particular color. Red is the worst but metallics like silver can also fade.

    But great advances have been made in the last 10 years or so to reduce the amount of fading. Yes, if a car is parked in bright sunlight without protection of any kind, it will fade over time. But it is not anywhere near as bad as it was.

    Most people "advising" friends to not get silver due to fading are usually offering an old wive's tale.

    Also, the paint on a Mercedes is dramatically different than on most American cars. About the only thing in common a silver Mercedes has with a silver Chevy is the color.

    The paint type and application on a Mercedes is one of the most advanced in the world. If an owner takes reasonable care of their car (regular wash and wax, garage parking when possible, etc) they can expect a solid life from a factory paint job.

    I cannot imagine any new Mercedes owner not wanting to care for their mega-buck car. So my advice is to thank your well-meaning friends for their comments and buy the silver car if that is what you want. If your friends [non-permissible content removed], don't give them a ride in your new car!!
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Silver in the late 80's early 90's was really bad. It not only faded, it peeled. This happened with many colors at the time, but Silver was the very first to go, with bronze next, then at least on my chevy pickup, black.

    My silver car had to be completely repainted. I've heard complaints about some metalics not sticking on the Internet sites. Most of those are the silver or gold colors.

    If Red is taken care of (waxed regularly) it will not oxydize. I was able to recover from lack of care on my red vehicle. No such luck on the silver.

    Sorry, but white is definitely the hardest, longest lasting paint out there. It is impressive.
  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    White pigment reflects everything and absorbs nothing in the visible spectrum. Most pigments used in automotive paint have further concerns than reflectivity, in regard to durability. I have found yellow to be a very durable pigment. Yellow hides dirt rather well, as do several light colors. It sprays nicely, especially if you use it without any metallic in it. I have painted many cars and motorcycles (and a bunch of implements) over the years, starting in my early teens with Dupont Dulux enamel.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    I don't think the color was the reason silver paints faded and peeled. I know that a lot of GM cars and trucks has serious paint problems due to poor surface prep and bad application processes.

    I just don't want novices to get the impression that silver is a "bad" color. Just because some folks had paint problems on certain cars in the past does not prove that one color is inferior to another.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I think it was around 1988 that car makers were forced to use "environmentally friendly" primers and paints on cars, and this is what led to all that peeling and stuff. Didn't clearcoats start getting popular around that time, as well? I believe they had problems with them, as well. But those late 80's/early 90's cars, I don't think it mattered who the manufacturer was, or what the color was...your chances of getting a peeler were about the same.

    The '86 Monte I used to own was two-toned, dark gray and silver. The hood and roof were dark gray, and everything else, including the trunk lid, were silver. On that car, the silver held up better than the gray. That car was from the era where paints would fade and get "crows feet' as the metallics burned out and deteriorated. I'm sure if it was a few years newer, it would've done the peeling routine, instead!

    As for one color being more prone to fading, wouldn't it almost make sense for a darker color to fade more quickly, since it absorbs more heat? So in that case, I'd expect something like dark blue, dark gray, or black metallic to fade quicker than something like a light blue or silver.
  • namfflownamfflow Posts: 202
    Depending on how you care for it all colors will eventually fade.

    What I don't like about silver is that as it fades it ends up looking like grey primer. If I want my care to look like it is primer than I'll just finish it in primer.

    Silver is one of those colors that you get when you have no style.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    It even passed up white. So we can't say it's not stylish any more.

    Nissans are known to have problems with their paint currently, and silver and gold are the most brittle colors.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    The silver paint on my Benz is original and still looks fantastic. It is a 1980.

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  • been painting custom motorcycles for over 20 years. Reason for silver fading or forming spots is the metallic pigments. The metallic pigments migrate together to form those dark and light spots which cause the color to look faded. Also the metallic pigments start to lie down which reduces the refraction of light through the depth of the paint. Something like a diamond that has no inclusions versus one that has a bunch of inclusions. If you must have silver, keep it out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time or face the results of fading.
  • wtd44wtd44 Posts: 1,211
    I learned this fact the hard way, you might say! I have sprayed many gallons of automotive paint on cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Pick pastels with no metallic. You'll be happier longer.
  • I'm trying to decide on leasing a MB E320. If I lease it for 5 years, will the dealer say that the paint has faded on a Silver Metallic car and stick me with extra costs in the end? I know that they charge heavily when you buy the car for metallic colors, so I don't want to contribute more for something that won't be mine anymore.

    Otherwise, I'll go with white ext. and grey inside. Any experiences?
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    I think we have covered this here in the previous 14 posts. Merecedes applies one of the most advanced paint jobs available on any car today. But if you don't take care of your car, things go wrong. I cannot imagine any Mercedes owner not keeping their mega-buck car looking its best. With regular washes and wax jobs, there simply should not be a problem.

    Defects happen and if your car has a defective paint job, make sure you get it taken care of by the dealer. Chances are if your car has a problem so do others. A finance company will have a hard time justifying charges outside of wear and tear if hundreds of E320's have documented paint problems.

    If this is an issue with you, discuss with the dealer before buying. The finance company may be able to provide you with the lease maturity documentation they provide to leasees that have cars about ready to come off lease. The dealer also may have some of this paperwork for you to review. No harm in asking.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    I have a silver car that I repainted about 3 years ago. I have an 11 year old white car on it's original paint coat. Glazing and Waxing are just as good on both colors. There's a reason White has been a best selling color for years.

    1. Cooler. It reflects more heat and car interiors in the summer are considerably cooler.

    2. Paint doesn't get as hot. Simple physics again. I can leave my white car in the sun while I wash the others and it still stays cool. Nothing reflects sun and heat like white.

    3. White pigments are harder than other paint coats. I fill in rock chips on a regular basis. Even though it has more road miles each year than my other cars I only have to fill in about a quarter of the chips.

    and Ironically, it is the easiest car to keep clean.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the pigment for white, titanium dioxide, is about the most stable compound out there (outside of carbon black for, you guessed it, light yellow :-P )

    the bad side of white is that up here in snow country, you don't see white cars and trucks until the airbag deflates for half the year. but it's a fine base for everybody's corporate signage to be applied over, so that boosts the sales of white a very significant amount indeed. IMHO ought to be a law that white vehicles get vinyl letters and/or stripes before going on the road.
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