Long-term update: Honda S2000 gets bonnet “PDR” & car-foiling “wrap”
As we’ve been harping about for a year now, the Honda S2000 is tough to maintain cosmetically. Even after we got it detailed a couple of months ago, it was going to be a major task keeping the car looking clean. The aluminium bonnet had a pebble-sized ding on it for half a year now. We don’t know where it came from, but it was time to do something about it.
We approached several places to get that bonnet dent removed using paintless dent repair (PDR) techniques. Automotive Repair Systems took a look at it and refused, understandably, because they were afraid it would pop up the other way and look like a “volcano”. We wanted to attempt it anyway, since the other option was a full bodyshop repaint. Dentmasters took a look at it and wanted to attempt it, but could never give us an appointment at the time we wanted since they were busy doing the same jobs for dealerships. We finally called up Prodent, and after they took a look at it, they wanted to attempt it for Dhs 500.
The Prodent man started massaging the pin-prick dent from underneath and almost got it flattened, but then stopped when the paint clearcoat started cracking. Mind you, it wasn’t his fault that the Honda has such a thin original paintjob. He didn’t charge us in the end.
The tiny clearcoat crack and the lumpy area around the dent are barely visible, unless you go stick your nose on it and look. But we knew it was only a matter of time before the clearcoat starts coming off more around that area. We wanted to preserve the original paint rather than do a respray, so we decided to protect the bonnet with that car-foil-wrapping film that’s so popular nowadays.
After making several calls to many of the high-end places, we settled on WrapStyle, a European franchise that also happened to be having a Ramadan discount at the time while also offering the longest warranty. When we went there at the set appointment, they gave us a run-down of the available options. The cheapest was matte-black, while the satin-black and carbon-fibre-look ones were exponentially pricier by several hundred more while also being harder to keep clean. They were giving a 5-year warranty when others were offering 1 or 2 years, so it should be interesting to see how it holds up on a car that’s always parked outside.
We didn’t want to bother chasing RTA permits to change the colour, so went for matte-black wrap on the bonnet at an apparently-discounted Dhs 1600. They offered to do the whole car for Dhs 10,000 but we kindly declined.
The wrap-job was done within two hours by a technician wearing gloves with occasional help from others, inside the air-conditioned showroom itself, alongside a couple of new Porsches. They also managed to upsell us some Suntek not-too-dark window tint for Dhs 800 for the side and rear windows, which we took after seeing their attention to detail. Both took several days for most of the bubbles to go away by themselves, as we were told.
They also demonstrated how rough the Dhs 1300 GardX paint-protection job was on our car that we got done just a couple of weeks earlier, and showed us how much smoother they could do it. When asked for the price, they quoted a whopping Dhs 5,000. Basically, you get what you pay for.
Incidentally, our Honda’s roof went from a dusty brown to deep black again after the detailing a few weeks earlier, but it starts becoming brown again after a car wash, so we have taken it on ourselves to wipe down the roof with an off-the-shelf vinyl protectant after every wash. We’re lucky that our soft-top is made of vinyl and not cloth, so we can just use any of that lemon-smelling interior spray stuff on it, and it won’t even cake up on the roof (like it would on a dashboard) because it conveniently gets washed off every week. The roof has some tiny white spots on it now from who-knows-where, but is looking decent so far in terms of colour.
None of these expenses have been added to the total costs below, because it is optional on the part of an owner to go the extra mile on cosmetic maintenance.
Original Mileage When Bought: 14,900 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 19,500 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 13.8 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 0
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 3795