Long-term update: Our Honda S2000 gets paintless dent removal and paint protection

Long-term update: Our Honda S2000 gets paintless dent removal and paint protection

2007 Honda S2000 in Dubai
We have to say we’re pretty disappointed at Honda’s cosmetic durability. Maybe they do it better for Accords and Civics for all we know, but the S2000 has obvious signs of cost-cutting, not least of which is the thin body panels and the even-thinner paint. We bought the car just 18 months ago in pristine always-garaged condition, and park it under the sun at our place. Since then, the paint is full of swirl marks, the body has easily-attained dings, the headlights have gone foggy, and the black roof has turned permanently brown, especially after a sandstorm a few months ago. At least the cheap seat “leather” has survived, if only because we started driving the car sitting on a beach towel after we noticed the first signs of wear. This Ramadan, we took it to a place called Automotive Repair Systems in an attempt to clean it up a bit.

2007 Honda S2000 in Dubai 2

Mind you, a car shouldn’t look this beaten-up in such a short time, even if it’s left under the sun. Our old black Jeep Grand Cherokee lasted much longer with looking like poop, that too with an illegal dude washing it back in the day. It’s as if all the money went into the S2000’s unique engineering, leaving little for basics such as body and paint. We washed it once a week, mostly using car-wash places and those “waterless” mall cleaners rather than any random roadside scrubber, and it still didn’t help. So we were interested to see if a detailing/repair place could fix it up.

Our car had two dings on the rear-right fender near the door edge, one of them with white scratches on it. There’s also a small dimple on the aluminium bonnet, as if a pebble fell on it. There’s also chipped paint on the front bumper from the time some 4×4-driving moron probably backed into it and ran away. We handed in the car at Automotive Repair Systems near Oasis Centre in Dubai for paintless dent removal, smart repair for the front bumper, paint protection and headlight rejuvenation, while hoping for the best.

We got back the car looking almost brand new again. The two dents on the fender are gone, the roof is black again, the headlights are clear, and the front bumper is unmolested now. However, they could not fix the bonnet dent, citing the nature of the “pit” and its awkward location that makes it hard to reach from underneath, and thus recommending a full bonnet repaint at a body shop instead. We skipped some of the smaller unnoticeable bumper scratches because the “smart repair” process, which involves painting over the scratched bit and blending it in with the rest of the panel, can get very expensive if you try to obsessively cover all imperfections at anywhere from Dhs 400 to Dhs 700 per “area”.

We also got “GardX” paint protection worth Dhs 1500, having seen how well it worked on our already-protected Mitsubishi Galant, done by the previous owner. Part of the application process also involved a full detailing at SunProtect next door. So now the car’s paint looks fresh as well, while the interior gets some minor spill protection as well. Dust and water just roll off the smooth paint, although maintaining that level of smoothness will be a battle.

2007 Honda S2000 in Dubai 3

The final bill came up to Dhs 2,115, and that’s with some Ramadan discount kicking in. The British-run place actually handles a lot of “smart repair” jobs at some of the major car dealerships as well, but it’s better to deal with them directly, and they tell you what they can and can’t do.

Incidentally, as soon as we drove the car out of the workshop, we heard a noticeable rattle coming from the engine. Whether it’s coincidence or something else, we didn’t want to take a chance and went straight to the dealer service-centre nearby. We also took the opportunity to do an oil-change service and a full check-up, even though we did it in February already.

We were later told by the service advisor that it was a loose bolt in the exhaust manifold and it was tightened up for free. The service itself cost us Dhs 490, and that includes synthetic oil as well as one new wiper blade. Which means our Honda S2000 is a whole lot cheaper to dealer-maintain than the darling Toyota 86, whose owners have been complaining about Dhs 700+ bills for minor service!

Original Mileage When Bought: 14,900 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 19,200 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 13.8 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 2115
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 490

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 3795

Read all 2007 Honda S2000 long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. That’s Honda for you. Thin paint jobs, thin panels, thin windows. Weight savings, YAY!

  2. Mesh, by any change you have “before and after” pics of the dings. I have few on my car and I have been contemplating to get them reomved for some time now. Shukran!

    • Author

      Didn’t bother with photos, but it’s best to get it checked out by them. My fender dings were very minor. You can still see the bonnet ding that was not fixed.

  3. Thanks for this lead… will take my 2 year old car and get all the dings undinged! 🙂

  4. Where is your antenna? I noticed you don’t have it on your car in any of your pictures

  5. The worst thing you can do to any car is to have it washed at the mall carpark with that “waterless” method. It only takes one time to have it all covered in swirls and scartches. The cloths they use are full of dust particles and they act like sandpapaer on the paint. Especially if the car has already a fair amount of dirt on it.
    Unless you dont care about the car and its paint, dont do it.

    • Author

      All places use dirty cloth. The full “manual” car washes are no better. Unless you want to wash it yourself, you can only choose from the limited options. I go with the options that at least don’t use a handful of mud to wipe with.

    • Manual car wash is 10 times better than the mall carpark. Think about it, in the car
      carpark they start off by removing the dust by rubbing the car with a dirty cloth and very little water. Disaster already.
      At manual car wash they use no friction until they apply the detergent, only water jet and thats great. If the cloth is dirty you ask them to give it a rinse before he starts. I always do it, or I give him my own cloth which I carry in the boot.
      I had two black cars, I learnt the hard way to take care of the paint. If you park it outside the tear will show a lot faste on a black car, regardless. Also the closer you are to the beach, the worse it is for your car and paint protection is a must every year.

  6. You should get “California Car Duster”. I got it for my cars, and basically I have been to a car wash every two to three months. It basically swipes off the dust from the car and leaves the car all shinny and clean.

    Google it 🙂

  7. looking much better now.

    Problem is taking care of black paint is not easy, its a hobby.

    the minimum u can do if you washing it in car washes is to use your own towels. Tell them use couple of towels for the body, this one for the glass and this for the tires, and a quick tip is to use the air compressor there to blow as much water as you can off the surface of the car before you dry it. The less contact (more due to bad drying techniques) done by your towel and paint, the less scratches/swirls.

    again looking good Mesh and keep up the good work.

    When are you reviewing the cayman 😀

  8. ohh i forgot. Dont ever wash it with this waterless / mall car wash.

    No.1 reason for paint damange

  9. I only wash my car in one place for the last five yrs. One of the main reasons is the fact they dry the car with this machine that blows air. You drive under it and stop for 3-4 min. The car is almost dry afterwards, they need to just touch it here and there. Also, I have my own washing glove and towels that I give to the guys. If you want your paint in good shape thats the minimum you can do. Parking in shade, polishing every year also helps a lot.

  10. is there any cheaper way to clean the car top?? coz even if I spent that much, I know its gonna turn brown on the next sand storm..
    I would also wana know how is guardX if ur getting ur car cleaned by the watchman? will it be waste?

    • Author

      Nope, it’s an eternal battle. I’m now using a vinyl spray protectant after every wash in an attempt to keep it black, because it looks like it’ll go brown in a few days. I even found a place that will clean my top for Dhs 1400, but said it’ll last only for four months.

  11. Hi Mash,
    Well written as usual!
    Quick query – My ride has a similar soft top roof which is dark brown. Its got all sorts of marks, the ones you see on a shirt after being pressed too long (probably because of the sun?)& of course the sand which makes it look too bad!

    This ofcourse isnt a problem in the winter with the hood down, but now, its just too damn bad!
    Can you suggest something for the roof? Any product that you have used/recommend?

    • Author

      Go for a detailing at least once and make them clean up the roof to black again. However, it won’t stay black any more for more than a week, so now after every carwash, we’re spraying on some vinyl protectant that’s meant for car interiors, found at any hypermarket. Seems to be working. I’m assuming you have an S2000 with a vinyl top, which is not the same as a cloth top on, say, a BMW Z3. That’d require something else.

  12. Next time get a boring white car. Atleast it’ll look clean, longer than the black hot rides 🙂

  13. Hi Mash,

    I just bought a Honda S2000 model 2006 in Silverstone Grey colour….I have been following your interesting posts on your S2000 and wanted to aquire as much info as possible before buying my own S2000….I have been lucky enough to get my S2000 in full stock condition without any form / sort of modification done to interior, exterior and engine with full service history from agency & LAP57.

    Lets plan a meet of all S2000 enthusiasts in Dubai ?



    • Author

      Hey, congrats man. Very hard to find one like that. I think there’s already a club of sorts and you will find some of them at the Honda Club Middle East Facebook page, although personally I’m not too big on clubs.

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