Table of contents

    What is Paint Correction on Car, and How Does it Work?

    What is Paint Correction on Car, and How Does it Work?

    If you are noticing your vehicle color is losing its luster and getting less vibrant, taking it for a paint correction treatment is a good idea. Professional detailers describe paint correction as the process of restoring and rejuvenating the paintwork of a vehicle, mostly through the elimination of surface imperfections that dull or haze the surface. Paint correction is an effective method for protecting your investment and keeping it in good shape for years. Visit Waxman of Tristate Car Detailing Center to understand what to expect so you can get results worthy of your time and money. They help to make your car look bright, shiny, and new again.

    It is often difficult to define paint correction as it is used interchangeably with polishing, but the two are not the same. Paint correction is the process of removing minor scratches and imperfections found in the vehicle’s clear coat. The imperfections are removed with the help of specialized machines and polishing compounds that slowly remove microscopic layers of clear coat until the surface becomes smooth. Read on to find out what paint correction is all about, what it means for your vehicle, and how you can get the most out of your experience with this service to enjoy beauty and sleek looks of your car for years.

    What Is Paint Correction?

    Paint correction is an auto detailing procedure that removes hazing, minor scratches, marring, swirl marks, and other blemishes from the vehicle’s clear coat. It is the mechanical leveling of the clear coat of paint to a point where all the paint is free of swirl marks and light scratches. The detailer will slowly remove the microscopic layers of the clear coat using an electric polisher, a microfiber buffing pad, and a special cutting compound until the surface is smooth again.

    Waxing and polishing are often confused with paint correction, but they do not remove surface defects like scratches or oxidation. Paint correction is an in-depth process that helps achieve the best results when it comes to vehicle appearance. Once the paint correction process is complete, your car will no longer have any visible marks or imperfections.

    Before delving into the paint protection process, it is necessary to understand what makes up car paint and how each layer helps to restore your vehicle’s appearance. Car paint consists of a primer, a base coat, and a clear coat. The primer is applied to prepare the car for the painting process. Next comes the base coat on top of the primer, which gives the car its color. Finally, a clear coat is applied to protect the outer layer of the car. This outer layer gives it a shiny, protective finish.

    The steps of painting a car include:

    Media Blasting

    It is the preparation stage in which flaws, rust, and other contaminants are removed from the vehicle surface or frame. Pressurized air is used for shooting tiny pieces of material, such as walnut shells or plastic beads out of a nozzle to strip off the affected paint. Media blasting is a crucial step, as it prepares the car body for a smooth paint finish.

    Application of Primer Coat

    The next step is the application of primer. A primer is a type of paint, made of resin, solvents, and additives that readies the car surface for actual paint or the base coat. A primer coat helps to even out the automobile’s body surface and gets rid of any production flaws. It also protects the car’s metal body from rust, extreme heat, shards of stones, and UV rays.

    Application of Base Coat

    Also known as the color coat, the base coat application is step three of car paint. It is the actual color, which is applied over the primer layer and provides the foundation color and complexion of the vehicle.

    Base coats come in four different types matte, pearlescent, metallic, and solid. Each of these types has unique qualities and offers a different finish. While the matte finish is better at hiding scratches, the pearlescent finish makes the paint flow and changes colors under different light shades. The metallic car finish is more bleach-resistant, and the solid finish is the easiest to repair. You can choose the one that suits your car needs best after consulting your detailer.

    Application of Clear Coat

    The application of a clear coat is the final step in painting an automobile. It protects the base coat from external degradation and is also resistant to ultraviolet radiation. It is essential to check that the clear coat is durable and reinforced frequently so that it lasts for a long time and is not easily damaged as it comes into direct contact with environmental factors.

    A clear coat can be made stronger by waxing or polishing. As both processes are equally effective, your decision depends on your preference and access to materials. In some cases, wax is a better reinforcement than polish.

    Steps of Painting a Car

    Related: Mobile Auto Detailing Vs. In-Shop Detailing: Pros and Cons

    What Is the Purpose of Paint Correction?

    The purpose of paint correction is to do away with imperfections in the paint and restore it to its original condition. A car is a valuable investment, and you invest a lot of time, energy, and money into buying one. Thus, keep your car clean and spotless and preserve its good appearance for as long as possible.

    Regular washing and waxing can help your car retain its good looks. However, with time, wear and tear, or lack of maintenance the glossy finish can fade or get dull. This is where paint correction comes in. It can help your vehicle look brand new without spending so much time or money every week or month.

    Tools and Compounds Used in Paint Correction

    • Machine polisher – A machine polisher is used for polishing the paint to remove scratches. It cuts into the clear coat and leaves your vehicle looking smooth and shiny, increasing the paint life.
    • Polishing pads – These attachments go on the machine polisher and help eliminate stains, swirls, and scratches. Polishing pads are made from various materials, including wool and microfiber, and come in several sizes. Form pads work best for casual usage and are easier to work with, while microfiber pads can cut through hard ceramic coats. Wool pads generate less heat and deliver good results on sticky paint.
    • Polish or compound – Polish is the main chemical used for restoring the car to its original color. Compounds are more aggressive and only used for removing heavy scratches and etching. Polish is less aggressive and helps to remove light scratches and marks left by compounds.
    • Car paint sealant – Made from synthetic polymers, a sealant repels external forces such as excessive heat, acidic rain, and UV rays. It protects the car paint by preventing direct contact with damaging elements.

    How Does Paint Correction Work?

    A typical paint correction process uses specialized tools and machines such as an electric polisher, microfiber, buffing pad, and buffing compound to cut into the clear coat until all the scratches are gone.

    The process involved in paint correction includes:

    Cleaning the Vehicle of All Contaminants

    The vehicle is cleaned of contaminants on the surface area before the paint correction process begins. Detailers remove dirt, sap, or insects that can obstruct the process by using a decontamination spray, iron or fallout remover, or a clay bar treatment to ensure deep cleaning down to the microscopic level and reduce chances of further damage to the car paint. The vehicle is also thoroughly washed before the decontamination treatment.

    Analyzing the Scratched Surface

    Once the paint is clean, the detailer will examine the scratched surface to understand the cause and extent of damage. Analyzing the depth of the scratch can help determine the type of equipment your vehicle needs.

    Scratches are checked in the following ways:

    • If the nail does not catch the scratch, chances are only the clear coat is damaged. It can be repaired with scratch and swirl remover or a good coat or polish.
    • If the metal part of the car is visible, it means the base coat is damaged. This damage is deeper than the surface and requires more than a clear coat restoration to fix.

    Leveling the Surface

    A microfiber cutting pad setup is required to level the surface.

    The process includes:

    • Applying a cutting compound on the electric polisher and microfiber cutting pad and buffing it to the area. Buffing is done in forward and backward motions.
    • When the cutting pad wears out, it is replaced with a fresh one. Detailers replace the cutting pad every six square feet to prevent the scratch from worsening by cutting into the unaffected paint areas.
    • The process is repeated for all affected areas.

    Polishing the Surface

    Polish helps to remove the scratches, marks, and other blemishes on the car paint while retaining its original color. At times, it may take several efforts to get the job done right. It may need abrasive polish to remove deeper scratches in the beginning, but the subsequent, finer polishing stages remove the lighter surface abrasions caused by the polish.

    Related: Everything You Need to Know About Car Wrapping

    Recoating the Car

    After polish is complete, a reinforcement layer is applied to the clear coat. Recoating the car protects it from scratches, UV rays, and other environmental elements. A car can be recoated with the help of car wax or nano-ceramic coatings that can last up to 5 years. Ceramic coating is not only a better scratch-resistant method, but it is more visually appealing too.

    How Long Does Paint Correction Take?

    Paint correction can range from five hours for a simple one-step to 30 hours for a much more involved multi-step process. It all depends on the state of your car’s paint defects and the results you want to achieve. Minor flaws may take up to two days to repair, but if there are significant defects, the time for correction can go up to seven days.

    Detailers have a combination of products, pads, and machines to get the job done right the first time. They first perform a couple of test spots to ensure they are getting the results they seek before going around the whole car. Paint correction is not a fast or simple process and it takes precision and skill to perform the job accurately.

    Does Paint Correction Last for Long?

    Even after paint correction, you will have to maintain your car. Paint correction does not give you the freedom to handle your car roughly. It will get scratched and look dusty, but it is up to you to stop that from happening. If you are careful, the paint correction can last a lifetime, and you may not even need it again. You can keep your car in good shape by using microfiber clothes for washing, high-quality cleaning products, driving safely, and parking your vehicle in a safe place to protect it from birth droppings, scratches, and harsh rays of the sun.

    The detailer will teach you about aftercare and share the best practices to avoid damage to the paint surface. He may also ask you to bring the car for inspection and make any necessary adjustments to the paint’s surface to retain its looks.

    When Should You Go For Paint Correction?

    If you feel your vehicle is beginning to lack the luster it had when you got it first, or if you start noticing marks affecting its overall appearance, it may be time to go for paint correction. It is normal for the color to be less vibrant after a few years. The wear and tear and fading are normal as repeated washes can lead to a dull finish. Paint correction can help your car look bright, shiny, and new again. Find the right detailer to enjoy your new-looking car within no time.

    If you are ready to learn more about paint correction, how it works, and what it can do for your vehicle, call Waxman of Tristate Car Detailing Center and schedule an appointment today. The team of professionals helps you make the best possible decisions that ensure your car retains its good looks. The expert detailers have years of experience and provide paint correction services with the best tools and techniques that restore your car to its original glory in the shortest possible time.

    Page Updated on May 15, 2024 by The Waxman of the Tri-State

    Contact Us Get in Touch with
    Waxman Team


    All the information on this website (Waxman of the Tri-State) is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Waxman of the Tri-State does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Any action you take based on the information you find on this website is strictly at your own risk. Waxman of the Tri-State will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of our website.