How it Works?
The term paint correction should only be used if the imperfections in your vehicles paint are properly removed and are not just merely covered up or hidden with filler products. The actual corrective process itself consists of a small amount of clear coat or paint being removed from the surface with the use of abrasive polishes. These abrasive polishes are applied and worked in with the appropriate polishing machines, in order to level out the surface of your vehicles paint.
Before any paint correction can be though, a thorough wash and decontamination of the vehicle is performed. Once the paintwork is properly washed and cleaned to remove any loose dirt and debris, the vehicle is “clayed” with a special automotive clay bar. This safely removes any bonded surface contaminants such as tar and industrial fallout.
It is important that these contaminants are removed before the paint correction process. If they are not removed they could become dislodged and caught up in the pad of a polishing machine, and they could easily cause damage to the surface very quickly. By leaving the surface very smooth the polishing machine will be able to move freely over the surface, reducing the possibility of hopping or sticking. Lastly, by “claying” the paintwork you are able to properly see the progress of the correction process since you can see the true condition of the surface as you are working.
Polishing is usually a multistage process as a range of different grades of polish are used. These polishes range from heavier cutting compounds, to finer products. The heavy cutting compounds remove any surface material, while the finer products remove any marks caused by the heavier products and refine the finished product. During the paint correction process it is common for a paint depth gauge to be used.
A paint depth 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 ensure that just the right amount of paint is removed. If too little or to much is removed it can cause irreversible damage such as a strike through the paint. Special halogen or LED lamps replicate the effect of direct sunlight on the surface of the vehicle are also used during the process to check the condition of the paintwork and see how successfully the surface scratches and imperfections are being removed.
Some of the scratches or imperfections may be too deep or severe to safely remove without risking removing to much surface paint or clear coat. These scratches or imperfections are minimized and reduced as best as possible using a machine polisher and polishing products that round off the edges of the scratches. This process makes them far less apparent in the direct light.
After the paint correction, the panels are wiped down with an isopropyl alcohol which removes any oils that may have been left over from the polish. The alcohol also reveals the true finish, and any areas that may have been missed or require a little more work. Once complete the fully corrected paintwork will shine brilliantly. The finished product will also give off a mirror finish because there are now no longer any scratches or imperfections to reflect the light rays in different directions.
Paint correction is a very labor intensive process and is usually the most time consuming part of the car detailing process. Because of the long process, it commands higher premiums from professional detailers & car cleaners. Amateurs or car enthusiasts should only attempt to correct their own paintwork if they are completely confident in doing so or have enough experience to carry it out safely as they can cause more harm than good.
Protect Your Investment
In conclusion, paint correction is the process of removing surface scratches and imperfections from a vehicles paintwork, that involves the use of machine polishers and a range of different polishing products. A fully paint corrected vehicle will show only true reflections and no swirl marks, scratches, or blemishes when viewed in direct sunlight.
It is also important to distinguish between paintwork that has been truly corrected and paintwork that has been treated with products that are designed to mask and fill surface imperfections. This should never 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 filler products. These filler products will wash away in time and leave your car looking worse than when you took it to have the paint correction done. Always use a reputable vehicle detailing company when having your paint corrected.