Paint Correction / Enhancement

 

Paint Correction is a term used by detailers to describe the process of fixing swirls, scuffs and scratches.  Also commonly referred to as buffing or polishing.

Look closely at your car under the sun or a bright light. Do you see scratches and swirls? Do they make your car look dull or old? Most cars on the road suffer from swirls, wash lines and imperfections. Eventually these marks build up to a point where they can no longer be repaired and your vehicle's finish needs a costly repaint.

Paint Correction polishing
Paint Correction polishing

WHAT CAUSES SWIRLS?

  Swirls are actually fine thin scratches all over the paint that reflect back with light. They make cars look dull by diffusing the light and dulling the reflections. Swirls are caused by dirt or other contaminants rubbing against the paint. Low quality towels, dirty towels, and dirty wash sponges can cause very serious swirling. Automated car washes are at the top of the list for causing swirls. Their goal is speed and efficiency. Not quality and effectiveness. How many times have you seen dozens of cars waiting on line for the automated wash. How many cars is that in a year? 100’s? 1000’s? Now think of all of the dirt, rocks, and even road salt stuck on the car heading in before you. That gets all over the automated brushes and towels about to slap themselves up against your car. Then the low grade towels being reused over and over again outside.  

Swirls
Swirls

How can you prevent swirls?

   Swirls and damage can be prevented with proper washing and care techniques. Sounds easier said than done. The essential tools to any professional detailer begins with technique. A professional detailer is always alert and cautious with his or her methods. Avoiding contact with the paint as often as possible, gently buffing with towels and not aggressively rubbing. Using clean and new wash mitts, freshly washed high grade microfiber towels, and only top shelf detailing products. With over thousands of hours of correction experience, Legendary Auto Salon understands what to avoid and how to properly maintain your car.  

deionized water filter system
deionized water filter system

HOW CAN I REMOVE SWIRLS

paint correction polishes

   This is where a professional can help you. The process of paint correction is time consuming and requires a high level of expertise and knowledge. As you may know, all types of paint are different. All types of cars are different. Some soft, some hard, some thin, and some thick. Each type of paint has a different reaction and a different method of correction.   

HOW DO I SEE SWIRLS?

  Lighting also plays a major role in paint correction. With proper lighting, one can see micro-marring or fine scratches that can be hidden under some lighting circumstances.  Legendary Auto Salon is equipped with multiple styles of lighting to expose all defects in the paint. Many detailing shops  use long running fluorescence lights in their detailing bays. They may think these lights are used for correction, but really are just used to see what you are doing. Proper paint correction requires very focused lights, specific color temperatures, and distances between the light and the surface.  

Finding swirls
Finding swirls

Paint Enhancement vs Paint Correction

 Paint enhancement is the process of polishing with the mindset of efficiency and increasing gloss of your paint. While many defects in the paint's surface will be corrected with paint enhancement polishing, the intent is more to prime the paint with as much gloss and reflection and focus on key areas more visible to the eye. Those with well maintained vehicles, newer vehicles, or budget conscious will benefit the most for a the less labor intense paint enhancement rather than a full paint correction service.  

paint correction glossmeter
paint correction glossmeter

Levels of Paint Correction

 Many factors determine the amount of paint correction required to restore a painted surface.

  • Amount and type of defects in the paint
  • Color and type of paint system
  • Paint Hardness
  • Amount of remaining clear coat and age of the paint
  • Vehicle owner's desired results
  • Paint Enhancement / Single Stage Correction- Typically a single stage machine polish focusing on higher eyeline areas of the vehicle with intentions of increasing gloss. Utilizes an effective polish for the paint hardness to achieve a reasonable level of cut with higher focus on gloss or may use a 1 step or all-in-one type polish that contains diminishing  compound abrasives with non-diminishing polishes to achieve higher level results with less time.
  • 2 Stage Correction - Typically the process of Compound polishing followed by a finishing polish. The compound stage utilizes the least aggressive abrasive necessary to still achieve desirable results, the polishing stage then removes any remaining haze from the first stage and focuses on achieving the highest level of gloss.
  • 3 Stage Correction - Similar to the 2 Stage Correction, however most often used on darker vehicles or vehicles that required very aggressive compounding and the 2nd stage needed a more aggressive polish to remove the haze created. The 3rd stage is often considered a jeweling stage and achieves an extreme level of gloss and shine. 
  • Wet Sanding - Sometimes a paint surface will have defects that cannot be removed with compounds and polish. Wet sanding is a process of scuffing the paint intentionally, to flatten sharp edges of scratches or remove textures in a paint surface. It will always require followup with at minimum a 2 Stage Correction.

paint correction depth gauge
paint correction depth gauge

3 Stage Paint Correction on 2001 BMW M5

2 Stage Paint Correction 2014 AMG E63S

3 Stage Paint Correction on 2013 BMW M5

Finished Paint Correction on 2001 BMW M5