Toyota Prius Paint Quality?

lightgearlightgear Member Posts: 1
edited September 2016 in Toyota
I have heard a few rumblings in some reviews about the quality of the paint on the current generation Prius. Is this just some picky consumers who can't find anything else to complain about, or is there actually an issue with the paint?

Check out the first review on this page.

I'm looking buy one in the next couple of weeks and have a few other questions. Is getting the Touring package worth it? It the gas mileage (like the reviewer says) really around 35 in the real world?


  • stevegoldstevegold Member Posts: 185
    I have a Super White 2004. I think the paint is fine. I have the same paint color on my 2007 Highlander Hybrid. In the Prius, I get a minimum of 45mpg sometimes 50 and occasionally even more. Great car.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    The paint on mine is just fine. It's not a "fine paint job" as you would expect to find on a Lexus. There is slight orange peel, but you have to align the sun's reflection just right to see it.

    The touring gives you slightly stiffer suspension, slightly larger rear spoiler, and 16" wheels with nicer tires than the standard model. The wheels are also aluminum, but painted gun metal gray and have full wheel covers. It will also get about 5-10% poorer mileage. It will cost about $200 more than a similarly optioned standard model. You are the only one who can answer the question. Is that worth it to you?

    Prius gets an average of 45 MPG US in the "real world". Check out to see what owners are reporting re mileage. My car started out getting 47 MPG, and is now at 52+, still breaking in at 8000 km. It's a standard model. I'm not looking forward to the "winter fuel economy hit". Also, contrary to the nay-sayers, it is possible to get the now old EPA results without extreme measures. My last two city only tanks returned 4.1 l/100 km, about 60 MPG US or 70 MPG imperial. Exactly as the old EPA figures. Don't expect that however. Getting the revised EPA figures is not hard, but you do have to change your driving habits. Calm and quiet, and let the idiots race by you.

    Auto testers do not live in the real world. How would they know what the mileage would be there?
  • eprupiseprupis Member Posts: 30
    I have a 2004. Paint is fine but I don't know about newer models. My actual mileage over 48000k is 52+mpg. I think anyone who claims real mileage below 40mpg is breathing too much exhaust.
  • bshugartbshugart Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2007 Prius and experiencing a problem with the paint chipping on the hood. Since I do mostly hiway driving, do not understand what is causing the problem, unless it is the aerodynamics of the vehicle. Have noticed an inordinate amount of bugs on the hood as well. Having to apply touch-up to the chipped paint on a regular basis. Any other 07 owners having this problem??
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    Bugs yes. Chips no. Don't follow so close. ;)

    If it is really bothering you, get the 3M "clearbra" installed. It works well.
  • bshugartbshugart Member Posts: 4
    Live in far West Texas...can drive 70 miles without seeing another car, so it is not from following too close. It gets downright lonely driving the roads out here...all blacktopped with 75mph speed limit. :shades:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Chips from small stones and grit don't have to be caused by following too close. Heck passing a car that's headed in the other direction could do it. They knock stuff up into to the air, you drive through it... ping ping PING!

    It's been pretty buggy here in central PA lately too. Feel like I need to wash the cars every couple of days! :sick:
  • _ray_ray Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a new 2006 Prius last year and quickly learned that it had essentially no clearcoat over the base paint. My car is a deep dark red (don't know the name of the color off hand, but it is a pretty color). I tried keeping it cleaned and waxed often at first but let the cleaning slide for about a month or so. When I cleaned it again I found that the dead bugs on the front of the car had permanently etched the paint.

    I have cats which love to get on my cars. Just the cats walking on my Prius have scratched the paint to the primer.
    Someone keyed one side and I took it to a reputable body shop. The owner of the shop stated that they could not paint a layer of clearcoat as thin as what Toyota does. They said the paint is so thin on some of the Toyota cars that have been brought to their shop that they could see the primer under it.

    Unless Toyota has changed the way they paint their cars and you're committed to getting one, I suggest that you get a light colored car. The scratches in the dark ones sure stand out.

    I had a 2003 4Runner that had poor paint like my 2006 Prius. There were chips in the paint on the mirrors from bugs. My 2001 Toyota Sequoia has a great paint job - good thick clearcoat - no problem with it.

    I do recommend a product called Liquid Glass. It seems expensive but one pint (~$22.00) might be enough to apply 10 coatings to an average size car. It isn't a wax but acts like one. It's available at some of the auto parts stores like AutoZone. It's easy to apply and bonds to the paint like a clearcoat. Doesn't yellow or crack and provides protection to the car. It's on my Prius now and I wish I had known about it when I bought my car. The more times the paint is treated, the deeper the color gets.

  • rose789clocksrose789clocks Member Posts: 1
    RE: Bugs on front of car. I do collect alot of bugs on the front of my car, but it isn't a problem for me because I buy a package of baby wipes, & they remove the bugs in record time with little effort.
    PS. Dollar store has them for a buck.
  • sailorman4sailorman4 Member Posts: 10
    Lightgear: Bought my Prius one week ago and have put on 350 miles. I'm averaging 45.5 miles per gallon and I don't baby it. I'm told mileage will increase. Very, very happy with quality of Toyota products. Just sold my '03 Highlander to a friend. It was flawless. No reason to be afraid of gas mileage. I will be saving about $100.00 to $125.00 per month commuting 70 miles round trip per day to work. You will love the car! :)
  • jimandboshjimandbosh Member Posts: 1
    2007 prius, silver pine.. I had a bra hood protector installed for about 3 months.. when I removed the bra the paint underneath was discolored. Apparently, under the clear coat, as there was no exterior damage.. Anyone have a similar problem I plan to contact the Toyota dealer next week.
  • lnmlnm Member Posts: 13
    I have a 2005 Prius, dark red, and have been totally dissatisfied with the paint chipping and scratching. There are a lot of things I love about the car, and I don't feel I'm being petty complaining about the appearance of the car. It's only 2.5 years old and I've already had the hood painted. I can scratch that car to the base coat with my fingernail! If I'd known about this problem, I would have installed 3M or similar product. Car looks aged beyond it's years due to chips, dings and scratches.
  • brianh2brianh2 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 silver Prius. I do a lot of highway driving, but, SERIOUSLY, I don't follow closely. I always leave multiple car lengths between me and the car in front of me.

    Anyway, initially I noticed an unusual amount of dings on my hood. Then my housemate used the car to pick me up at the airport just over a year ago and hit a deer. So, the hood was replaced with a brand new hood. In the last year I must have gotten over 50 dings on my hood.

    I had an Altima with over 200,000 miles on in and NEVER had a problem with dings. Add to that the fact that my Prius "bumper" and fenders have NO dings on them. I wonder as to the quality of hard coat on my hood.

    I need to find out whether it's worthwhile to go to my insurer and find out if this is unusual and Toyota should repaint it for free.

    If it is usual wear and tear, should I pay for it to be repainted? And what do I do to prevent this from continuing to happen? Some kind of plastic protection?
  • kdurankduran Member Posts: 1
    I'd like to know if a "class action" suit is formed re: the POOR paint quality--too many paint chips (to the metal!), especially on the hood of Prius. (If such a suit exists, is there a mileage parameter the vehicle must be within?) Did you go to your (auto?) insurer? If so, the result? Thanks! If not totally repainted, what may be done to "repair" and maintain?
  • bshugartbshugart Member Posts: 4
    I bought some touch-up paint at Auto Zone. Can't see the chips for the splattered bugs. Have not heard of any insurance carriers paying for a new paint job or Toyota for that matter. IMHO, It has to do with the aerodynamics of the car, so a new paint job is not going to fix the problem.
  • rick294rick294 Member Posts: 77
    I agree with kduran. The front end of the car slopes sharply down, for aerodynamics. That's the whole point. Low air resistance. As such, it is going to attract a lot of "stuff" striking the hood. And I've had a couple or so rocks bounce off the hood and hit the windshield. I commute 72 miles round trip per weekday here in southern Oregon, about 90% freeway in my '08 package 2. I have several tiny dings in the hood. I don't blame Toyota for that.
  • ddgcddgc Member Posts: 3
    I feel that it is more the paint that is the issue. Mine is only 6 months old, has 15,000 miles on it but many places have deep scratches, inside door jams, in door handle holes, (i have keyless entry and short nails), backs of mirrors, door edges, besides the ones on the hood. I ffle for some reason the paint is poor.
    I even had the extra protective coating put on after I purchased the car.
  • oldcoacholdcoach Member Posts: 28
    I tried the Invisible Mask to protect the hood from little dings. I do not recommend it unless you are a pro at installing the plastic. Remember the old cling wrap thats what it is like, very hard to work with, leaves bubbles, and they are very hard to get out. FINALLY I JUST TOOK IT OFF AS IT LOOKED WORSE THAN A FEW FUTURE CHIPS. A wasted 120.00 but live and learn. If any one has a better idea please let me know.
  • ddgcddgc Member Posts: 3
    I got the one that the toyota dealer was "selling",, had a private "professional" put it on. did good job putting it on but don't know that it helped very much,,, and would need to cover the entire care to be worth the $899................
  • ggalaggala Member Posts: 1
    The dealership where I purchased my 2007 Prius (tan/sand) told me that the paint chips on the front bumper were from the roads I drove on, which are the same roads everyone else drives on here (Michigan). They would not do anything about it. After my husband complained (he has a Highlander Hybrid with no chips purchased at the same time and he drives his car much more than I do mine) the dealership took my car, had someone else check the chips who said they were not "normal" road wear and tear. He then promised to clean it up and put a coating on and a rear bumper sheath. Now I've got "white chips" and the back chips can be seen through the sheath. My windshield wipers were all chipped and rusted and the plastic mechanisims are gouged. They replace the wiper handles, but the rest is still gouged. Toyota Corp. in Los Angeles told me a few months ago that they agree with the "road" wear and tear story and that this is not covered under warranty; if I could find another Toyota dealership to say it was not due to normal wear and tear then they would consider fixing it. I've been driving a car for more than 35 years. Never have I had a paint chip problem, especially within eight months of purchase. I am now going to an outside collision shop recommended by my insurance agent. The guy told me today that he will do all he can to help me get Toyota to fix the problem. (By the way, when I told Toyota Corp. that a lot of people were complaining about the same thing, the guy told me that he hasn't heard of anything AND online is just "urban legend", and a place for people to complain, which they refuse to listen to.)
    If there is no success with after the collision guy's help, I plan on finding who to file complaints with aside from Better Business and the State Attorney General. The insurance agent suggested calling a "lemon law" attorney for help.
    My neighbor works for the Crysler Proving Grounds, where they test all types of new gadgets, paints, etc. on cars. She said that something is terribly wrong and it could be a case of "getting away with cheap" - which is something they try to do all the time - hence the proving grounds. She also recommended an outside collision shop that was not affiliated with any dealerships.
    One more thing...the Toyota dealership told me DO NOT PAINT YOUR CAR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE because it would hurt the resale value. Dah?
  • rick294rick294 Member Posts: 77
    This is very odd. I have an '08 and don't have that problem. I drive 72 miles on freeway 5 days a week and don't have but a very few little rock chips. Nothing wrong with the plastic around the base of the wipers... :confuse:
  • ddgcddgc Member Posts: 3
    reply to ggala:
    I would be more than willing to add my input to any avenue that you may find for more "witness" or whatever we can do to see if Toyota will own up to this cheap paint job. I'm tired of the runaround and non-responsibility of Toyota.
  • katpriuskatprius Member Posts: 1 too. And also having swirl marks just from routine car washings. I thought about repainting the whole thing
  • guildguyguildguy Member Posts: 1
    I bought a 2007 Prius a little over 2 years ago and I'm so mad about all the marks on the front of my car. The car has dark paint and there are nicks all over the hood and bumper where white stuff shows underneath. When I bought the car I let them talk me into spending $500 to apply a coat of protectant on it but it still has the marks. I'm taking it back to the dealer this week to see if I can get any satisfaction. I've owned plenty of cars in my lifetime and have never had issues with paint like this. It's a great car for gas milage (I'm averaging 49 over 2 years) but the appearance after all the white shows up is unacceptable. They will probably try to tell me it's my fault for not cleaning bugs off quickly enough, but as I said I've never had this problem before. It's only got 23,000 miles on it mainly city interstate driving.
  • bshugartbshugart Member Posts: 4
    A month ago I went back to the dealer from whom I purchased my 2007 Prius to see about upgrading to a 2010 model. I pointed out the problem with the paint on the hood and he acted like he never heard of it before. Told him it was all over the internet and would not be surprised to see a class action over it. The 2010 models had not arrive yet, but he promised to call when they came in a couple of weeks out. Have yet to hear from him. Think demand is such, they don't give a hoot about our paint issue.
  • rick294rick294 Member Posts: 77
    You've done the first thing - contact the dealer. The dealer doesn't care. Next step: contact the district office. The procedure (without my owner's manual in front of me), should be outlined in the owner's manual. Don't give up; they are hoping you will. Don't give them the satisfaction. Time is on your side - good luck.
  • fantesia28fantesia28 Member Posts: 15
    I wonder if the paint issue has been corrected in the 2010 models? I previously had a 2007 Camry and had some of the same issues with the paint quality... numerous chips + tons of scratches! I swear all you had to do was walk by the car and it got a scratch on it! I am super paranoid about this happening to my new prius now - but I am praying that the paint perhaps has been improved. I know with my honda I never had any issues with the paint scratching so easily!
  • jpeters1970jpeters1970 Member Posts: 82
    I really can't say I've had issues (2004) but I would say the paint is average compared to other cars. I've had Mercedes and Audi too and they all get minor chips on the front due to their aerodynamic shape. They sell this smoked acrylic bra for the Prius and it really works great. It is less than $100 and you can buy it online. It solved the problem of paint chips on the front of the hood. Otherwise, the paint is holding up well.
  • thriusthrius Member Posts: 1
    In June we bought a 2010 Prius, that dark "cobalt" blue....gorgeous color. There have been appearing small "amoeba"-like etchings in the paint....looks like water stains; can be felt with a fingernail. Have there been any problems with that color...or with staining or etching of other colors of the Prius...?? This is our third Prius......2005, 2008, 2010.......Thanx......thrius.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Member Posts: 1,405
    Acid rain?
  • rick294rick294 Member Posts: 77
    Do you wash the car yourself? If so, be sure to wipe it down with a chamois or microfiber towel (while the car is still wet), afterwards. Where I live, we have well water and if I don't hand dry the car, mineral spots will be left behind, and they are really unsightly.
  • rick294rick294 Member Posts: 77
    I'm sure they work well. Only problem is, is that they create turbulence and can cause somewhat lower gas mileage - on any vehicle. Same for roof racks, etc.
  • mattemma06mattemma06 Member Posts: 2
    We bought a Prius September 2009. This car has MANY scratches in the paint all over the car.There are scratches/nicks in the hood that go down to the metal. I have driven for 20+ years and have NEVER had so much damage show up in a car that is only a year old. I will never buy a Toyota car again.


    I really feel Toyota has chosen to go cheap with painting their cars.A relative has a 1999 Toyota Corolla that looks BETTER than my 2010.Toyota shrugs and blames me for the paint damage.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Member Posts: 936
    I have a 2007 Prius with 53,000 miles on it and the paint is perfect.I agree with your relative.Scratches don't don't just magically appear,even with cheaper paint.
  • stillageekstillageek Member Posts: 114
    FWIW My 2004 Silver Prius with 81,000 miles on it still looks like new. Always garaged. Never been through a car wash with brushes. I can count the rock chips on one hand.

    Of course I live in the south. No road salt. Little snow. I still can't believe the car is 8 years old. The headlights were yellowing. Thirty minutes with a 3M restore kit and they look nearly...though not
  • xueyamxueyam Member Posts: 1
    I bought this on bay Ridge toyota in brooklyn After only 750 miles first month the car wax was gone the front especially the most of the car looks like it has been through a battle. The paint scratches so easily and i paid more than $37,000 and the manager said this not a paint problem is scratch by hand but ever two week i wash the car i will see new more scratch on my car and the scratch don't look like scratch by hand now i already bought this car for about 4 month the scratch has post on both side on top from front to back to spoiler from now may-8-2012 i still saw new scratch.
  • silbermansilberman Member Posts: 1
    edited July 2015
    Bought a 2014 Prius V - Silver Metallic and the paint job was perfectly fine. Put 50K miles on it in 14 months and touched up a bit of road-rash no more than three times.

    Bought a 2015 Prius V - Absolute Red and have had to touch up pin-head size chips in the paint more than a dozen times before the first oil change. Thinnest paint job I have ever seen and appears not to have any clear coat. Mentioned it while at the dealer to order a replacement navigation system for one that has been defective since day one and mentioned this to the Service Dept. Tech. who replied, "Yep, all the new models have really lousy paint."

    To add insult to injury, they tried to up-sell a warranty. I work 60+ hour weeks and bought this car so that I WOULDN'T have to spend my time getting warranty work done. So far, the new one has been back to the dealer three times.

    Should have just dropped a grand for new tires and kept my 2014.
  • priusdriver3priusdriver3 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2010 Prius and the paint has just started falling off of it. No bugs, rocks, bumps, etc., the paint is just falling off. I've never seen anything quite like it, and the dealership says that since it's outside the 3 year 35,000 mile warranty I'll have to pay full price to get it repainted.
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