First, let’s cover what Paint Correction is.

Paint correction, also known as paint polishing, is the corrective process of leveling paint to remove defects, including wash induced swirls, light scratches, hard water spots, bird dropping etchings, and scuffs via machine buffing. With a paint correction service from Advance Detailing Experts, the defects, swirl marks, scratches will be removed, not just hidden. Depending on the condition of your paint and the desired results, we can perform either a one-step (usually performed on light colored paint) or multi-step paint correction (usually performed on darker colored vehicles).

Paint correction is a term that is used by both professional car detailers and car-cleaning enthusiasts worldwide to describe the process of restoring and rejuvenating the paintwork of a vehicle. How? You might ask. Detailers use various techniques with a machine polisher to eliminate surface imperfections that dull, oxidize, or haze the paint job and prevent the paint from having a clean, reflective finish. These imperfections include things like swirl marks & fine scratches, bird dropping etching & acid rain etching, hologramming, buffer trails, and random isolated deep scratches (or RIDS).

A true paint correction is when almost all imperfections are properly removed from the paintwork of the vehicle, not when they are just merely covered up or hidden with filler-based products such as wax.

The actual corrective process itself comprises of a small amount of clear coat or paint being removed from the surface with the use of abrasive polishes, which are applied and worked in with appropriate tools and professional products. Simply put, polishing is the process of removing surface scratches and imperfections from a vehicle’s paintwork, which involves the use of machine polishers and a range of different polishing products. A fully corrected vehicle when viewed in direct sunlight will show only true reflections and no swirl marks, scratches or blemishes.

Before any paint correction is done, a proper and thorough wash/decontamination of the vehicle must be performed. Detailers must make sure the paintwork is properly washed and cleaned and any loose dirt and debris has been removed. After the wash process, the vehicle is clayed with a specialist automotive clay bar, which safely removes any bonded surface contaminants such as tar spots and industrial fallout. It is extremely important these contaminants are removed before the paint correction process.

Paint correction is usually a multistage process as a range of different grades of compounds and polishes are used, ranging from heavier cutting compounds, which remove the surface material, to finer products which then remove any marks that the heavier products may have inflicted and generally refine the finish. During the paint correction process, it is common for a paint thickness gauge to be used.

This gauge measures the thickness of the paint on the metal panel and is used before, during and after the process to monitor how much material is being removed and to ensure excess amounts of clear coat are not being removed. Failing to monitor the thickness of the paint during paint correction could leave the paint too thin or even cause irreversible damage such as a strike through the paint. Specialist halogen or LED lamps which replicate the effect of direct sunlight on the surface are also used during the process to check the condition of the paintwork and see how successful the surface scratches and imperfections are being removed.

Some swirl marks, fine scratches or imperfections may actually be too deep or severe to safely remove without risking too much surface paint or clear coat being removed. Thus, risks of that are minimized and reduced as best as possible using techniques with the best professional polishers and professional polishing products that round off the edges of the scratches and make them far less apparent in direct light.

Advance Detailing Experts has found the real secret to a near perfect paint correction. That secret lies in the mental strength and intelligence of the person doing the polishing. A majority of people who have not had sufficient training or experience in detailing lack the patience and knowledge to perform a well-executed paint correction. Do you know how to prepare yourself mentally for any paint corrective process? Especially with a paint correction assignment, the process is very time consuming. Advance Detailing Experts has found that the final paint correction results are truly dependent on how you are feeling that day. If you are feeling rushed because you are working within a certain time limit, stressed for either personal problems or business problems, worried about not having the right products or right equipment, or preoccupied for x reason, you won’t get the best results. As a matter of fact, your finished product will show how you were feeling that day. This is a crucial distinction that few professional detailers have – they know how to get good results and feel good about those results. For us at Advance Detailing Experts, feeling grateful has been our secret! We feel thankful for the trust the client has given us with their vehicle, thankful that we have work when most are struggling to get one customer a day, and thankful for doing what we love and getting compensated for it!

It is important to reiterate that a well-executed paint correction or what is called a fully corrected paintwork will shine brilliantly and produce stunning reflections because there are no scratches or imperfections that reflect the light rays off in different directions.

Let’s keep in mind that paint correction is a very labor-intensive process. Consequently, we recommend that amateurs or enthusiasts should only attempt to correct their own paintwork if they have been properly trained, gained some experience, and feel confident doing so. Additionally, they must  know what professional products to use and what proper polishers to use for any paint correction job.

Lastly, it is important to distinguish between paintwork that has been truly corrected and paintwork that has been masked with products that are designed to fill surface imperfections such as an all in one polish for example. Hiding swirl marks or scratches should not be referred to as paint correction even if no scratches or blemishes are apparent, because they have not been genuinely removed and are still present under the products fillers, which in time, will wash away and reveal them once more.

Most people think that a new or nearly new vehicle that was just delivered wouldn’t need to be corrected, but unfortunately this is far from the truth. Most new vehicles need at least a one-step correction service, if not more. Defects can include wash induced marring from the dealership wash bay, holograms from the production line, or even over spray from outside repairs while sitting on the lot at the dealership.  Advance Detailing Experts has designed different paint correction packages for your vehicle. There are different corrective steps such as one step correction, two step correction , or multiple (for maximum protection after correction check out our Ceramic Pro Coatings Packages). If you’ve got a truly special vehicle that deserves a special shine, you have found the experts here at Advance Detailing Experts of Ventura County.

Sergio Fierro

Author Sergio Fierro

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