Color black and micro swirls from opening door to closing frunk. Touching requires me to use a polisher to bring it back. *PICS*

Color black and micro swirls from opening door to closing frunk. Touching requires me to use a polisher to bring it back. *PICS*

So apparently this inherent to the color black correct? Just doing menial everyday things like opening the doors and closing the frunk will build up an army of clear coat micro swirl / scratches. The only remedy I have found is to breakout a machine polisher and pad. Seems I will have to spot cure this every 3 weeks or so if I don’t want the see the new swirls constantly introduced to this amazing machine. Is this totally normal? Any tips or permanent cure?

rdavis | January 24, 2019

Get a plastic overlay to protect it.... some sort of "clear wrap/bra" type product. Or just be more careful in how you open and close the doors... I've not seen that issue before, but I've not seen black either.

andy.connor.e | January 24, 2019

Dont touch your car with your hands. Your skin has natural oils on it. Use gloves at all times.

rdovale | January 24, 2019

The one by the door handle may be fingernails.

ODWms | January 24, 2019

Remember that, whichever color your car is painted with, there’s a layer of clear coat on top of it. That’s what you’re interacting with, not the basecoat which are different colors. If there’s any scratching, it’s to the clearcoat, not the black paint. So color of the car makes no difference besides the fact with some colors as a background you can more easily see the scratches in the clearcoat.

SteveWin1 | January 24, 2019

Yeah, everyone has said "Tesla paint is soft" and I see a ton of people disputing that, but it definitely seems easier to scratch than any car I've had before. If I take my finger nail to my pickup truck to get a bug off while I'm washing it, it still looks great afterward. On my Model 3 it leaves scratches in the clear coat. I got the front of the car wrapped because of this. For the doors and trunk, I do not touch the paint at all. I open the trunk by pushing up on the same button that unlatches it and I close it with the handles inside the trunk. For the doors I only touch the handle or the glass. Its not that much more difficult and it prevents you from having to buff out the scratches (if you're the kind of person who cares that much).

lilbean | January 24, 2019

This is how I close my trunk. I don’t touch the paint.

HughManatee | January 24, 2019

This looks exceptionally swirly, i'd say probably not the norm. I have the obsidian black and have never seen anything like that, but i also got paint correction and ceramic coat. And like lilbean says, i just pull the trunk from the inside handle, closes easily and cleanly. Opening it up, however, covers me in grime every time (winter in minnesota). And covers my rearview camera.

I also got the front wrapped in PPF, since rocks hit me about once a week and i had heard the same things abotu the paint. I'd at least hand wash and wax that baby on the regular.

TAC | January 24, 2019

I’m seriously doing nothing more than closing the Frunk with my bare hands and opening the door normally without thinking. I understand its clear coat and not scratching the paint. I’m not sitting there rubbing away the interaction with the frunk and doors is nothing beyond abnormal. I can seriously put swirls / micro clear coat scratches into it with the tip of my thumb or palm rubbing. A contact car wash absolutely destroyed the finish by covering the entire thing in clear coat swirls until I taught myself how to polish. So I corrected that. Now it seems to be an endless battle of new swirls and clear coat scratching from normal non abusive interaction. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Then again first black car and new one.

HughManatee | January 25, 2019

Log the issue with service, seems to be unusually delicate. It would be great if you can demonstrate it to them on site.

TAC | January 25, 2019

Here are the pictures of what the contact automatic car wash did to my new car. It’s very first wash. This CANT be normal at all with a new car at all. I have since corrected 95% of it with a $400 machine polisher and hours and hours of learning. However the army of swirls, scratches will still spawn in areas of normal car operation by opening doors and frunk closing. It seems just breathing on it causes it to clear coat scratch. I can only conclude that something was defective with the clear coat scratch. Very unusually delicate indeed. Here are the pics of what the automatic car wash did to the car. A couple of pictures have some area that I had just corrected with the polisher. I expect Tesla to explain or own up to this paint issue that is absolutely not normal. A toy metal fire truck or Tesla HOT WHEEL is more scratch resistant honestly.


rxlawdude | January 25, 2019

I guess you never heard about not taking a Tesla through an automatic car wash that has brushes or those hanging curtain-like thingies.

rdavis | January 25, 2019

@TAC.... that looks like whatever carwash you used has a lot of grit on the brushes... I've run mine through an automatic wash twice when in a bind without issues. I normally just hand wash it though.

lilbean | January 25, 2019

It sounds like XPel may be a good choice for you.

Tyguy | January 25, 2019

Dust or any other contaminants on the paint or your hand will cause abrasion when you press against the paint or run your hand along the surface, and black will highlight swirls, halos, and scratches more than lighter colors. No brand is immune. Some paints are harder, some are softer. In my experience Tesla paint has been similar to Toyota, Honda, and Subaru. Take a look at black cars in a parking lot on a nice, sunny day, and notice how many look like your examples. Good on you for caring about your paint and learning how to polish. Protective film is about the only solution to prevent it from occurring, and I recommend being cautious about how frequently you polish so you don't eventually thin out your clear coat too much.

AWDTesla | January 25, 2019

Looks pretty good actually. Mine is way worst than that. Wife and kids...what can I say. The trunk is the worst, looks like the clear coat is already down to the base coat. The reading on my meter is 1mil. Cant even polish that with machine without causing damage.

My Subaru has a stronger clear coat than this thing. That's not saying much as Subaru clear is notoriously soft.

AWDTesla | January 25, 2019

@HughManatee you dont see it because you had it corrected. Gurantee your detailer saw this or worse on your car. Ceramic clear will be much more scratch resistant than the OE clearcoat.

Hal Fisher | January 25, 2019

That’s why i went with midnight silver. Though the white looks nice too and hides even more.

Pierogi | January 25, 2019

I have the standard black paint and what you state and show in your photos is the same as what I’m experiencing. Unless you want to spend thousands of dollars on a paint protection film, this is what you have to live with having standard black. I give you a lot of credit to use a machine polisher on the car. I’m afraid of doing more damage to the clear coat if I buy a polisher and take out all the swirls and etching I have.

birchofengland | January 26, 2019

My local SC guy said the standard black is the worst color they have to deal with. I have Obsidian Black and he says it has a lot more clear coat than the straight black.

Pierogi | January 26, 2019

The Tesla rep I spoke with at a showroom before I ordered my Model 3 said all the paint colors were equal in quality. Thus why at the time I did not justify the additional cost for a different color and my current car for the last 10 years was black without any issues.

I’m leaning towards paint correcting my car after this winter when the temps warm up and applying a ceramic coating.

Tyguy | January 26, 2019

@AWD Tesla: Wow!! Your paint thickness is showing 1mm? That's crazy thick. The average vehicle paint thickness is 100 microns including primer, color, and clear, and in many cases it's half that amount. 100 microns is equal to 1/10 of a mm. If you have 1mm thickness then your vehicle's paint is literally 10 times thicker than the typical car. Was the car ever repaired?

AWDTesla | January 26, 2019

1mil, not mm. Subaru & honda measures 4-6mil in most places as comparison.

Coating Thickness Conversion Table
Micrometers (um) Millimeters (mm) Mils (Thousandths)
508.0 0.508 20
635.0 0.635 25

AWDTesla | January 26, 2019

That said, the paint is very thin on the trunk.

Average reading on the hood is 4mil

Pierogi | January 29, 2019

@TAC can you please summarize what kind of polisher you used, pads, polish and any info that would be helpful for someone like me who may be interested in polishing their own black Model 3?

Needsdecaf | January 29, 2019

@TAC - logged in to say do NOT polish your vehicle every three weeks. You'll not have any clear coat left within a year.

When you polish a car, effectively each time you are removing the scratched portion of the clear coat and exposing flat clear coat below. But there is only so much clear coat, so only so many times you can polish.

Unfortunately this problem is not uncommon on black cars. Get some PPF on there and sleep easy.

kcheng | January 29, 2019

Wow, that's awful. Reminds me of my black ML320, ages ago. I would have all the touch areas wrapped.

TAC | February 2, 2019

Flex XC3401VRG Positive-Drive Rotary-Orbital Polisher

THE RAG COMPANY (2-Pack) Dry Me A River Professional Korean 70/30 Microfiber Waffle-Weave Drying & Detailing Towels (20x40, Navy Blue)

-yes the cheap Chinese retail store towels scratched my car even more!

Wolfgang Concours Series WG-5500 Deep Gloss Paint Sealant 3.0, 16 fl. oz.

Chemical Guys HEX_3KIT_5 5.5" Buffing Pad Sampler Kit (4 Items), 16 fl. oz, 4 Pack

i really need to change the default velcro pad on the flex to a 5"

Garry Dean's Infinite Use Detail Juice (16 oz)

Meguiar's M205 Mirror Glaze Ultra Finishing Polish - 32 oz.

Foam King - The King of Suds - Deluxe Car Wash Sprayer - Car Foam Gun - Suds Maker
Sold by: Creative Brands USA

Chemical Guys Cyclone Dirt Trap Car Wash Bucket Insert Car Wash Filter Removes Dirt and Debris While You Wash (Black)

Chemical Guys MIC_493 Chenille Microfiber Premium Scratch-Free Wash Mitt, Lime Green

Clay Magic Blue, Fine Grade (200 g)
Sold by: SoCal Wax Shop - yes you need to clay bar your car before polish even if its new.