Painting advice

Wayne wc701lists at
Mon Sep 24 13:03:37 CDT 2007

> I have an estimate from Maaco to paint the car for $150.  I cant even 
> imagine what they would do for $150 (that was in addition to getting the 
> bumper fixed).  Another body shop gave me an estimate of $1200 to do 
> everything which puts me out of pocket about $500-600.  I am not sure of 
> their work though.  Lastly, a body shop I know does high quality work 
> gave me an estimate of $1650 for everything, which puts me out of pocket 

Ask the places to see examples of cars they've finished, and decide if it's something you can live with for the price.  Maaco is going to cut corners all over the place, mostly on prep.  I doubt they'd even prime it for that much.  But some people claim you can get a semi-decent paint job if you deliver it to them sanded, possibly primed and masked and with as much trim removed as possible.

White is a very forgiving paint color;  little blemishes aren't going to stand out like on black or a dark metallic.  On the other hand, it's the worst for revealing sloppy masking and overspray.

Is there any metal damage, or is it just the bumper cover?  Aftermarket parts are usually a bunch cheaper than Nissan;  you might save some by getting a cheap bumper cover and installing it yourself.  If you're real lucky, you might even find a white one in a junkyard, but that's a slim chance given the age and that most the Sentras had cheap unpainted covers.

> I have already spent $2k in the last year rebuilding the front end 
> axles, new clutch, hoses etc... I need to shore up the squeaking which I 

Sounds like you gotta fix it!  ;)

> think is the rear calipers being frozen and hopefully not the wheel 
> bearings.  Then there is the headliner, and no AC.  I cant get rid of 

I had to put rear calipers on our NX about a year ago, and Auto Zone has a remann'ed, loaded (with pads, shims, etc) PAIR for only $90 something.  However, I just looked at their web site, and am not seeing them that cheap.  Light check locally, though.

> It seems like spending $1650 to paint a 
> car that's barely worth that seems a little ridiculous.

It's a matter of what it's worth to you, or comparable replacement would cost.  Not just "blue book".  From the repairs you mentioned, your car is substantially more valuable that book;  even if you could not necessarily liquidate it for that.

I still kick myself for not dropping $2,500 to fix mine back in 2001.  In retrospect, it doesn't seem like all that much.

> The only problem is the more money I spend on this, the 
> further away I will be from buying a new Corvette (my other dream).

If you get the 'Vette, you're still going to need a beater car, no?  Can you buy a better one for what you would spend on body work?

   -Wayne    '06 RSX-S / '93 SE-R / '93 NK2k / '90 Miata

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