Peeling white paint

I’ve noticed that a lot of Chevy vans (and some Chevy cars and trucks – but mostly vans) that are painted white have large patches where the paint has peeled off revealing the grey primer. In several years I haven’t noticed this on other makes – until this morning. This morning I saw a similar pattern on a Nissan pickup. It seems to be the white paint that peels, though I’ve seen the same thing happen to blue metallic paint on Chevy cars and vans.

Why does the paint peel off? Why is it ‘always’ Chevies? Why don’t other cars have this problem?

I can’t remember who made the Monarch cars of the mid-Seventies. We used to have one from 1977 or 1978 that had peeling paint on the area near the windshield wipers. From time to time we would see another Monarch just like ours – all with peeling paint in the same location.

I can’t say I noticed the problem that early, but I’ve seen it for years.

Black Dodge Dakotas have this problem on the roof and hood. Now you’ll notice.

Tauruses from the 80’s and early 90s have this problem. We had white, green and gray ones in our family and all of them got rust spots from peeling paint.

The white one was the worst, BUT it was also the oldest (I want to say '87). My dad’s 2004 black Taurus has not peeled one bit.

How many other vans do you see that have similar workloads, maintenance, and use? Probably not many. It could be confirmation bias.

On the other hand, my first car was a used '86 Chevy Celebrity. It came from a county fleet auction. The paint was faded/worn nearly to the point of primer. On the plus side, it was a gray car to begin with.

Could be, but on my non-telecommuting days I drive over 200 miles a day so I have a lot of time to notice other vehicles.

There are a number of forums that see a fair amount of comments about problem paint on certain makes/vehicles.

In great numbers, there are complaints about the paint on Toyotas (thin paint that chips easily), and marks this as a problem with Toyotas above and beyond the typical number of complaints about other makes. Just casual observation will lead you to conclude that darn, there really is a problem with Toyota’s paint jobs.

Same goes for Dodge trucks since the 1990’s, and even more so with black Dodge Dakotas post-2000; peeling clear coats and paint are very commonplace. Again, in great enough numbers that it sets it apart from other makes.

In the 1970’s, GM’s metallic silver paint, found on many-a-Buick Regal and it’s sister cars, was notorious for peeling.

Sometimes it gets so widespread that you are pressed to find a specific type of vehicle that doesn’t have peeling paint.

I understand what you’re getting at, and I’ve seen some of the examples you cite.

But wide swaths of peeling paint is something I see almost exclusively on Chevy/GM vehicles, and it’s always the white paint. I made a short drive today (under 50 miles) and made a point of looking at the surrounding cars. The only ones with peeling paint, in the manner that I describe, were two white Chevy trucks. One was a ‘working vehicle’ and the other one wasn’t.

Another thing is that I’ve seen the same pattern on white Chevy vehicles made since the '80s; so it’s not a ‘bad year’, but a ‘bad (nearly) three decades’. As examples, a friend has an '84 Astro van that peels in this specific way, and the non-work-truck I saw today was made in this century.

My dad’s 1990 Chevy Suburban (two-tone, white and red) experienced some pretty heavy peeling of the white paint on the hood after about 10 years or so. He always blamed it on some wet leaves that sat on the hood (more than one of the rust spots was distinctly leaf-shaped), but was later told that Chevy trucks of that model year had “paint problems”.