DIY bodywork on your Rover Discovery. Easy and low cost!

toddjlyons By toddjlyons, 26th Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Transport>Repair and Maintenance>Cars

Easy body repair for the Rover Discovery or any car with small trim pieces.

The Damage

We just purchased a gorgeous 2002 Rover Discovery II Kalahari. As with all used vehicles you accept normal wear and tear and in this case there was minimal. However, the previous owner had tried to dislodge a chunk of ice from the left front and proceeded to break the plastic piece known as the headlight finisher. He also damaged the front bumper fascia and headlight cleaner nozzle. We will not fix this on this tutorial, but will attempt later. Stay tuned!

The Options

Now this piece of trim really does not show with the Saudi brush guard in the way, but I’m a perfectionist, just ask my wife! So here are the options:
1. The Rover dealer quotes parts, $90, paint $32, hardware (2 screws) $8(?!), labor $158. Yikes! Almost $300!
2. I only contacted one body shop and they came in at just under $300.
No wonder insurance is so high. You or I can do this for less than $100!
When you see this part it really looks like it should cost maybe $10 and that’s generous. I cannot find it anywhere for less than the dealer price. Bummer! That’s where your wrecking yard is your friend or perhaps e-bay. Discovery damage must start on the front left corner because I could not find any of these trim pieces at my local wrecking yard. In fact, e-bay only showed right handed pieces for several weeks. Finally, a left handed piece showed up for $34 plus $26 shipping. OUCH! Finally, one did show up for $24 plus $8 with a buy it now option. Bingo! Next came the paint purchase. I can paint automobiles and I know what paint is going to cost. A piece this small will require a minimum of one pint from an automotive paint store and various other supplies that will push the price over $50. Another ouch! Internet to the rescue! This Rover is one of 100 that were painted Borrego yellow and the color just isn’t available unless it’s custom mixed. I found several custom paint suppliers that would mix Borrego yellow and place it in a spray can for a good price. After sending in the paint code (found on your vehicle’s VIN number plate) I got a quote for around $40 which included HAZ fee, shipping, clear-coat, and the beautiful Borrego yellow rattle can. Thank God my internet went down when I was about to order, because it saved me another $20! A friend at work overheard me talking about this repair the next day and asked me if I had tried the NAPA store for the paint. He indicated to me they would custom mix an automotive paint while I waited AND put it in to an aerosol can, $19.95. That day I traveled to the nearest NAPA and they didn’t blink when I asked them about the mixing, canning deal and several minutes later I was leaving with a can of Borrego yellow, $19.95 and a can of clear-coat, $4.66!


Preparation is the single most important thing when painting. The more you prep the better the final job will be! First you will need to clean the piece you intend to paint with a quick drying solvent. I used a can of carburetor cleaner, the aerosol type, and gave it a good washing outside. After it dried I took a small piece of 240 grit sandpaper and lightly sanded the entire trim piece until I had taken the sheen off of the paint. This will allow your paint to stick. I did a thorough re-sanding with a 1000 grit paper to get a finer finish. A final scrubbing with the solvent to remove any oils or residue and it is ready to paint. I suggest a good primer especially if your sanding and cleaning has penetrated the previous painted surface. Lightly spray the primer on and leave it to dry. After the trim has dried inspect for bumps, scratches or imperfections. If you find some lightly sand with the 1000 grit until smooth. You may have to repeat this several times.

The fun step!

The (almost) final step! Make sure you follow the instructions on your paint, shake well and use at the correct temperature. I like to have a little test piece to see how the paint will spray out of the can and how it will flow on the part that is being painted. The secret to a nice paint job is to flow the paint on heavy enough to put a fine full layer that will look shiny as glass but will not run or sag. Too light of coating will result in a rough, dull orange peel like finish. I placed two light coats on and then a final top coat. Ooh baby did it look good! Place it in a dust free place and don’t touch it for a couple of days. If you insist on touching, touch the practice piece!

Time to install and admire!

After a couple of days of drying/de-gassing the part is ready for the clear-coat phase. Clear-coat it like you painted on the final color. Put this away for a week before installation. The extra drying time will make it more durable. Installation was a snap and now the Rover looks sexier than ever!
Conclusion: This was a simple and inexpensive “fix” for the Rover but can be done on any vehicle. It’s really fun to do this work and be proud of the final result. Pocket your savings and spend it on something other than expensive bodywork!


Bodywork, Diy, Kalahari, Land Rover, Painting, Rover Discovery, Save Money

Meet the author

author avatar toddjlyons
Colorado native with a variety of interests from firearms to motorized bicycles! A Jack of all trades, master of some!

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author avatar Denise O
27th Feb 2011 (#)

Good for you. Nice read.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Chickadee
27th Feb 2011 (#)

Wow, I think even I could do this. Good article toddjlyons!

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