Troubleshooting a bad paint job on a car

When you work in the collision repair industry, it’s vital to take all the precautions you can to avoid performing a bad paint job on a car. Still, mistakes can be made without the proper setup, correct equipment, or lack of training.

With this in mind, we thought to provide a roundup of the different types of bad car paint jobs you may encounter when working in collision repair. Have a read of these below.


It’s quite easy to spot when a car is peeling and this is due to the evident loss of adhesion between the paint and the metal. This can be triggered by a number of things; such as improper cleaning of the metal itself, drastic temperature changes, or not letting the vehicle’s paint dry for long enough.


Another bad paint job you may spot on a car is the appearance of paint runs. These typically tend to appear on vertical surfaces and are visible as thick, raised uneven lines. There are several causes, including incorrect spray technique, operating with a faulty spray gun or simply using the wrong thinner.

Solvent pops

Solvent pops tend to appear as bubbles on the surface of your vehicle. They typically form as a result of excessive spraying or going too heavy on the undercoats, which in turn causes solvents to get trapped and therefore pop.


When spraying a vehicle in hot environments, the air from your spray gun can lower the temperature of your metal, and this can then cause the moisture in the air to form condensation on your vehicle’s surface. The result? A grey cloud that appears on your car shortly after the paint application.

Orange peels

The name is pretty self-explanatory. Orange peels can be easily spotted on a vehicle due to their uneven formation and texture that closely resembles the skin of an orange. They tend to appear as a result of having the air pressure of your spray equipment too low or simply under-thinning your paint. Not having the proper spray gun adjustment or piling on excessive coating can also lead to the formation of an orange peel.

Feather edges

When you have solvents from your vehicle’s topcoats mixing with the undercoats, there is going to be a problem. More specifically, what appears from this is raised or lifted edges (or feather edges) that outlines a repaired area. The best way to ensure that this does not happen to your vehicle is to use a primer surfacer that is two-component and water-based.


What a strange name for a bad paint job on a car! Fisheyes are circular openings that may form on the surface of your vehicle while you are in the middle of spraying. They tend to appear as a result of spraying onto a surface that is contaminated with wax, grease, silicone or oil. With this in mind, it’s definitely best to always give your surface a good wipe down before starting to do any operation with your spray gun.


A paint job disaster! Wrinkles, or ‘lifts’, appear when an existing coat of paint shrivels during the application of a new finish or while the new finish is drying. This occurrence is typically a result of the solvents in both the old and new finish attacking each other. You’ll find that this can happen when you are recoating enamels or urethanes without making sure that they are fully cured, or when you wait beyond the maximum dry time during application.


Can you spot tiny holes in your vehicle’s finish? If so, this is a sign of pinholes which are the result of trapped air, solvents or moisture. These can emerge for a number of reasons, such as inadequate surface cleaning or preparation, spraying too close to the vehicle and having contaminated airlines.


Lastly, we have unattractive discolourations that may appear on your vehicle, and here we’re talking about a yellow stain that appears in the topcoat. This can be caused by either using a contaminated hardener, using too little or too much hardener or not preparing your filler in the right way.

Have you thought about upgrading to Automotive Spray Booths?

Junair Spraybooths are proud to offer collision repair solutions like our Automotive Spray Booths. Our booths are energy-efficient, offer high productivity and also make encountering a bad paint job on a car a thing of the past.

You can browse our range of automotive spray booth equipment here. Got any queries? You can contact us by calling 01706 363555 or emailing Be sure to also keep in touch with our blog section for the latest handy tips and industry news.

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