Q: Paint is peeling off all over, will it rust?

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I have a problem with paint peeling on my 2008 Ford Escape. There are a couple of problem areas and this vehicle only has 67,000 miles on it. The pillar that separates the front and rear doors is peeling, which is really ugly. Super visible. And the paint above the wheel wells is peeling off as well. So disappointing for such a new car. I am lucky I live in a dry area. Still I am worried about premature rust now. What can I do to prevent rust and protect what paint is left? No permanent damage yet, thankfully.

First, I would recommend going to your local Ford dealership for a rust inspection. Other Escape owners have experienced similar issues, and if yours is similar enough, it may be covered by Ford. Ford covering the damages is the best case scenario, as it would be at no cost to you. As far as taking the cost efficient route if Ford chooses not to cover your damages, I would call around to several body shops in your area and get some quotes on touching up the problem areas with fresh paint. This will include sanding down the surface of the part, applying a coat of paint primer to the sanded surface (to help prevent further rust), and finally repainting the parts that were peeling. If the areas are small enough the body parts in question may not need to be totally repainted. If this is the case, it will also be less expensive than a full paint job. If getting the problem areas repainted is not viable at this time for you, keeping the vehicle clean and well waxed would behoove you. This should prevent any further damage until you are able to get the problem solved for good. Also, keeping the vehicle indoors overnight will help tremendously, even though it is dry where you live. Most places get cooler in the evening time and the temperature change from night to day and back may have an adverse effect on your paint.

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