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How to spot body repairs.

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Posted (edited)

There's been several threads and mentions of people finding strange 'patches' appearing on their Caravans, so I thought i'd show people a very good visual of what others are referring to and how to spot these issues.  

Firstly, body repairs aren't unusual and in most cases it's not something to worry about too much.  Repairs to Caravans can be done by previous owners, dealers and even the manufactures.  Most repairs won't ever be seen by the owner of a Caravan unless it's one of two reasons.  One, the repair is done to a poor standard with a poor colour match or poor finish.  Matching the colour of a surface is a big part of a good quality repair.  A good bodyshop will have the ability to perfectly match a factory colour, a bad one won't and this will be obvious.  The repair will be seen in certain lights and certain angles with the naked eye, and this is not acceptable in my opinion. 

Two, the repair has deteriorated.  This is the most common way an owner will see a previous repair.  The repair will show up as a dull patch or in some rare cases, a shiny patch with the rest of the panel being dull.  Let's concentrate on the most common, a dull patch.  

The picture below clearly illustrates exactly what i'm referring to.  You can see an unsightly dull patch above the window of this Caravan we went to yesterday.  This is an indication that the Caravan has been damaged in the past and had a nice repair.  

However.... the repair is now showing up as dull patch and the Why? is simple.  A painted surface on a Caravan or Motorhome is only ever as strong as the maintenance an owner puts in afterwards.  If you have a repair done to your Caravan, you are meant to keep it protected in the form of a wax or a paint sealer.  This will stop the repair surface deteriorating, thus stopping the patch appearing.  I know most owners won't initially know they have repairs of this kind, but it's another reason why maintaining your surfaces on a regular basis is critical.  A wash now and again is great, but no matter how clean you keep your Caravans exterior, it won't stop it from fading or showing up these problems without protecting it.  





As mentioned above in my initial statement 'body repairs aren't unusual and in most cases it's not something to worry about too much'  The reason I state this is because in 9 out 10 cases, this patch can be quickly and easily fixed.  If the repair is caught before it breaks down so much that the paint starts to eggshell (fracture on the surface like a cracked egg) which then leads to the paint flaking off, which is way beyond a simple fix by this time.  If it's caught before this stage, and it looks like the photo above, we can fix this as part of a panel Restoration.  This is where we machine polish the whole panel with very specialised products and a lot of experience.  This process will remove all signs of oxidation, branch marks, scuffs that haven't broken the paint, and most importantly in this case, the deteriorated surface of the repair, blending everything back into a consistent shine and finish as you can see on the picture below.




Concluding that yes these issues can be easily fixed, but they can also be easily prevented with regular maintenance in the form of a protection.  Protecting your Caravan will stop these issues along with many other benefits, including future washes between maintenance are far easier and residual values are far greater. 


I hope this helps identify any potential issues anyone else might be seeing on the surfaces of your Caravans.





Edited by Tourershine
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A word of caution, I have seen several caravans over the years where over zealous owners have literally polished their vans down to bare aluminium!


Too much polishing, particularly if the wrong products are used, can be even worse than not enough!

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