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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:D Just picked up my new element - people can not stop checking it out.
One question for all - the rear composite panel at the bottombetween rear door & in front of the rear tire I have noticed this area is rougher than all the rest of the panels sections. I did not have flaps or side steps added just yet - dealer said its probably caused by road stones - but I only have 700 miles on it. Is there anyone else with this problem?
Other than that its been great all the way around
 

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First of all the rocker panels are textured more than the rest of the panels. Just the way it grabs more wax. Don't get wax on the panels.

I have the splash guards and they help but not totally. I had some sandblasting effect on the front the rear tire area. Again, I repeat, put some mild solvent(mineral spirits or lacquer thinner (strong)) on a rag and it'll wipe off.

Then if you want to go further dress the panel with Mothers Back to Black(my current favorite). Darkens a little so you have to do the whole section.
 

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I have the same scratches or nicks on my composite rocker panels near the rear wheels and I have never had the E off the road or anyplace near gravel! I wondered how they got there? Still a mystery to me. Hoping to learn about a way to polish them-out. Honda just sent me their "Owner-Link" website (www.owners.honda.com).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My dealer said that they would replace them as a one time deal. I asked then what happens if this goes bad again. They said that it would be considered normal - they did suggest adding on running boards but that to me feels like a 500.00 repair on a new vehicle that may have a design flaw. Called Honda they said the panels descrption is resistant to scratches & more durable than a painted panle and found to be the most durable on the market. They said just to get the panels change and if it happens again I should call and that they would stand behind the product -  :D
 

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We installed Honda mud flaps. Does not solve the sand blasting issue as they are not large enough to do that. We have not ordered the side steps as we have researched the few we have seen factory installed and they do not appear to be helping with chipping, mud, or dirt on side of vehicle either.

I think Honda will eventually have to make good on these soft panels. We are very gentle with our vehicles and we are seeing issues after 3000 miles. Our dealer has been wonderful and is changing our panels for us under warranty. We did not ask what if it happened again. Honda has a great product and we have owned several. I hope they work out the kinks of a new model with a solution that will please all.

Other than the soft panels (exterior and interior) we are very pleased with our Green 5spd FWD. Averaging 23 mpg around town. A delight to drive. Turns heads where ever we go!
 

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So let me get this straight... both of your dealers are changing your panels under warranty? I have around 4000 miles on my E with no problems but Im SURE 2 years down the road those panels are going to look terrible, and I was wondering if they would be a warranty issue then...
 

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I have been fooling around and testing various treatments to maintain the new look of the composite panels. So far I have used Lexol with the best results. After numerous coatings, it seems to give a embedded slickness which slows down the scratching. Even holds up, fairly well, in heavy rain. Next I have ordered Mothers Back to Black to see if this will help tone down scratches as they appear.

However, I am sure that my first full winter in New England will start to show wear and tear on the pannels to a point that I will not be able to keep it in primo condition. I can already imagine what it will be like being behind a salt / sand truck during a snowstorm, at 60 MPH.

A friend of mine, who is a body shop man, really liked the Element. He told me that all of the unpainted cladding used on SUV's etc will end up scratching and will look worn. He also told me just to learn to live with it. That suddenly made me think about this situation in a more logical way.

I simply will try to keep the car reasonably nice looking. However I now think that after the panels get an overall scratchy appearance, you will no longer notice it. Right now every little scratch looks like a big deal. I am going to start looking at it as getting a "patina" finish. Sounds better.

I plan on keeping this car for at least 10 years. At least I will not have to worry about rusting around the wheel wells, like the old Mitsubishi Montero that I traded in. Composite doesn't rust.

Also judging from the photos, in the Element crash tests, the pannels are really very very strong and resilient .
 

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Someone told me today that you can use baby oil to remove wax from the composite panels(?) Haven't tried it yet. As for the panels "not rusting" in severe Northeast weather, I think we need to know what's UNDER those panels!
 

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The framework under the panels is clearly shown in the Element pamphlet I picked up at the dealer. The pamphlet has a great photo of the Element without the cladding. Honda has a good reputation for finish and metal protection, so I don't think there will be a rust problem. It is a very interesting and well thought out design, in my humble opinion.
 

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Just a thought my father just had a bedliner sprayed in his new pickup. That stuff comes with a lifetime warranty. I wonder if it would stick to plastic panels. Man that would give the E panels scratch resistance.
 
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