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What is Paint Correction? And the Truth behind it!

Updated: Mar 10, 2020


What is Paint Correction?

Paint correction is a commonly used term for auto detailing professionals, which is the process of minimizing or removing scratches, swirls, and defects. This term only refers to correcting the very top layer of your vehicle's paint job, the clear coat (with the exception of single stage paint).

You may have also heard terms such as power polishing, cut and polish, machine polishing, or buffing. They are all synonyms of paint correction.

To truly understand paint correction, you must have some understanding of your vehicles paintwork.

To visualize it, pay attention to this excellent diagram made by Oahu Auto Detailing. This effectively shows what kind of defects you may encounter on your vehicle and how deep it may have engraved into the clear coat.

For anyone who has previously thought "well paint correction didn't remove everything, I still have so many scratches". As paint correction specialists, we must take into consideration the integrity and limitations of your paint and cannot risk breaking through the clear coat. As shown above, many scratches and defects in your clear coat can be too deep or too close to the next layer of paint, base coat. With that being said, preserving and maintaining a safe amount of clear coat is necessary to prevent a costly new paint job.

In theory, a successful paint correction would level and flatten the microscopic potholes in the clear coat and resulting in a extremely reflective and mirror finish. Trusting reputable detailers is highly recommended, as many polishing and detailing products have fillers in them and cause the deception or illusion that paint has been corrected. But in fact, these fillers are quickly washed away and the uncorrected paintwork is revealed.

Common causes of Surface Imperfections

There are many kinds of surface imperfections you may see such as swirl or spiderweb marks, random isolated deep scratches (RIDS), deep scratches that have past your paint and into the metal itself, water or chemical etching, polishing haze or hologram effects. All these types of defects are caused by countless factors such improper washing and drying methods, automatic touch car washes, aggressive and low-grade towels, the inevitable door dings and road debris, unfiltered and hard water spots, improper paint correction methods, and much more.

Why is Paint Correction so expensive?

A common misjudgement is that paint correction is easy. Unfortunately, it is far from easy. Proper paint correction requires surgical attention to detail, dedication, and years of experience. The costs of proper paint correction can be very extensive. In reality, professional auto detailers spend thousands of dollars on endless supplies and equipment to be able to service all types of vehicles. Remember the saying "the little things add up".

Just to name a few; a fleet of power polishers of different sizes and purposes, broad range of polishing pads, wide range of polishing compounds, wet sanding supplies, professional grade microfibre towels, numerous surface preparation supplies and tools, professional led lighting, and much more.

Depending on the condition and size of the vehicle, the amount time spent on a proper paint correction can range anywhere from eight to forty hours. Yes I said forty, it has happened. It is also not uncommon for paint correction specialists to underrate our excessive hours in the price.

The time consuming service isn't always a one step process. In order to remove deeper defects and scratches, a multi-stage paint correction is performed. The reason for this being, more aggressive products and pads, also known as the cutting stage, are used to dig in deeper to level the paint and in result displaying a duller finish or even holograms/haze. In completion, finer products and techniques are used to remove the aftermath of the cutting stage.

In conclusion, the diverse service of paint correction requires attentive inspections, strategy, and execution. There is absolutely nothing wrong with tackling paint correction as a DIY project, but improper techniques and lack of knowledge can be lethal. With all that being said, the satisfaction of a near perfect paint correction is unparalleled and the finished product is jaw dropping.

Remember that paint correction is only part of the finished product. Some form of paint protection is a must to further prevent surface imperfections in the future such as a wax, sealant, or ceramic coating. It also enhances the lustre and gloss of your paintwork!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns of Paint Correction!


💎 Premium Automotive Care ▪ Paint Correction Specialists ▪ Certified & Warrantied Ceramic Coatings ▪ Performance Paint Protection Films (PPF) ▪ Ceramic Window Tint ▪ Custom Vinyl Wrap ▪ Interior & Exterior Detailing . AutoReligion 📍9724 60 Ave NW Edmonton, AB T6E 0C5 🌐 ☎️ 780-904-0546

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