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Need advice: bubbles in the clear coat




I decided last week to have a body shop
(one next to a local used corvette dealer)
wetsand/buff my acrylic targa top to improve
its appearance.

I picked it up last night, and they said they
put some clear coat on top free of charge.

Well, there are what look like tiny pock-marks
or bubbles or painted over knats on the top.
They are pretty tiny but I can see them within
a yard or so from the car and the surface is
not smooth to the touch.

Do ya think I should take it back?
Was this because maybe the humidity was
high and they did this outside with no
paint spray booth?


Well-known member
May 23, 2001
1985 Bright Red Rocket
Sounds like the paint has fish-eyes in it. Probably a result of moisture or a silicone presence when the paint was applyed. If you take it back and show them the bumps they should'nt have a problem redoing it. After all if its a decent paint shop the work will be warrantyed for as long as YOU own the car.

(Eg. Sunfading,Fisheyes,Blemishes,Delamination will all be covered under warranty.)


sothpaw said:
they said they put some clear coat on top free of charge.

Excuse me for being a sceptic.... clear coat for free? Why? Nothing is for free!

My guess is they did something.... and fixed it with clear coat.... and really quickly too!
If you paint outside, you will get gnats or something on the coat,
if you don't clean the base coat prior to clear coat, you get fish eyes.
Regardless...something is up. Have them fix it. (I would tend to be wary of them from now on.)

But that's just me......
Jun 20, 2002
Tallahassee, FL
none right now :(
It may be the clear coat doesn't want to stick to the top.... like they used the wrong kind of paint.... also bubbles can come from applying too much paint at once


Take it back

Let them know you aren't pleased with the 'textured' finish, bumps and bubbles and you'd like them to correct this problem.

This is not due to anything YOU did. This is because of something THEY did or did not do and they need to fix it.


I'm with Piet,
Sounds like they tried to coverup something.


Well-known member
Jul 14, 2001
Elgin Tx. USA
1991 L98 Coupe

If they put enough clear coat on it they should be able to sand and buff with no problem.


I agreed with you all...

So I went back Wednesday, before
close of business, and asked in a
nice way what those bubbles were
and how they got their and whether
they could be removed, given that
I did not expect them and wasn't
warned about that in advance.

What the shop guy said was in line
with what vettelt93 guessed-- that
the clear coat was not adhering
correctly to this acrylic material.
Makes some sense as most here
agree that it was never a clearcoated
surface to start with.

As such, he claimed that there's not a
thing he can do. Yes, he used a paint
spray booth, they have three. No, it
turns out, the vette dealer next door
has never / seldom given him a top,
certainly not one that looked like mine,
the dealer replaces the top instead.

I asked him at several different points in
the conversation if there was anything
that could be done, hinted even that
there was future business from me for
this car. He never budged.

It's my experience that usually when a
business like this first says "no", then
they won't budge from it if I change tactics
or become less than friendly in my remarks.
To do so would be to lose "face".

Poor service I think is the norm in Maryland,
I think it's hard to get anybody to own up
to a screw-up. I doubted very much that
he would do anything for me, you can't run
a business by doing jobs twice on a constant
basis. And the all mighty dollar rules in MD, always.

He claimed that it looked bad with no clear on it,
and that is why they cleared it, so removing the
clear wouldn't be an improvement anyway. 2000 grit
paper might make it look a little better he admitted, but
only minimally, not worth his effort.

Suffice it to say I won't go back there--even if he was
being completely truthful about it all, I resent that
they didn't just do what I asked and sand it and
call me to take a look to see if I wanted clear coat or
not. That is what I asked for in the beginning anyway.

But the top still looks better than before, it's just disappointing
to know that it probably should be better.
Jun 20, 2002
Tallahassee, FL
none right now :(
Did you use a credit card to pay for it? If you did, just call your credit card company and explain the problem, and you won't have to pay. The best part is you have the proof bolted on your car.


Big Bummer sothpaw! I feel your pain!
I would try what Vettelt193 suggested,
Try to stop payment on the credit card.

Is there any warrenty? Unless he told you that there would be a problem, it is his responsibility to fix. Services not provided as promised, kind of thing.....

Get a second opinion from another shop, also let the local vette dealer next door know and ask them to mention it to the shop.

Now, your only 'weapon' is word of mouth. Use the BBB, local chamber of commerce, etc...

However, as soon as it gets to this point, the shop will never see another penny of MY money. Sad.

Again, feel your pain.


credit card...

Yes, I did use the card.
I could go this way.
How ugly would that get?
Does anybody know what's

Keep in mind, this is over $150.
And it looks arguably better than
before, just not as good as it should.

So it's worth some effort but this shop
has my name and home phone. One
wonders what could happen...

And... yes, it says on the estimate sheet
that work is "guaranteed". I think his position
would be that any more work on this is just
going to worsen the appearance, since
supposedly it won't look right w/o clearcoat.
I suppose if I said "do it anyway" he might--
I am not sure.

Certainly, he didn't offer that to me
as a solution, though. He made no offers.


Hmmm true... only $150....

I would consider taking her to a power polisher. Ask them if they can polish away the bumps. Comments anyone? (Has anyone tried this?

Black Ice

The top could be made to look better, but don't expect perfection with an already flawed job. My advice, find a good detail shop and let them buff and polish it. It will look better with the right buffing method and the right person holding the buffer. Ross
Jun 20, 2002
Tallahassee, FL
none right now :(
The credit card company is usually on your side.... especially if you don't have a history of complaining to them.... The company that you contest almost always backs down because they know that they messed up, and they know you have the proof of their mistakes.... I would explain to the credit card company that the work was not done right, and you tried to get them to fix it but they wouldn't (credit card's like it when you have already tried to make it right with the shop) further explain to them that you don't want them to do any more work to your car, because you don't trust them, and you are afraid of further damage (after all, a new top costs around 1,300, so if they get it and don't give it back, you are really out some money) At this point (you may have to put it in writing, it depends on the credit card company) it is up to the shop to prove you wrong, which they can't, so the credit card will take it off of your bill.... The credit card has the upper hand and the shop will back down... The shop would be crazy to try to do anything to you, or call you after there has been a documented complaint against them... It is very easy to prove that they are harrassing you if you make sure there is a paper trail... hope you get you money back!

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