What is Paint Correction? A Vehicle Owner's Guide

There are 14.5 million cars in California, and all of them have at least some scratching. You may not notice them, but your car is covered in scratches.

It doesn't matter how old or how expensive your car is. Those scratches and imperfections dull your car's paint.

This leaves you with less luster and shine that diminishes the look of your car. The easiest way to fix this is to get a paint correction.

Not sure what that means? Keep reading to learn what is damaging your paint and how car paint correction can fix it.

What Damages Your Car Paint?

Your car's paint puts up with a lot of abuse from the environment. Road dirt, grime, bird waste, bugs, and tree sap all stick to your car's paint.

Etching the Clearcoat

Unfortunately, they all can eat away at your car's finish leaving you with dull paint. Other things like tar and hard water can etch into your clear coat.

Other People

Other people can cause damage to your paint too. People walking by brushing up against your car, the valet, and parking lots all cause damage to your paint job.

Cleaning Your Car

Even cleaning your car can cause tiny scratches in your paint. If you wash your car with the wrong sponge, brush, or rag, you could be damaging your paint. Running your car through an automated car wash will definitely scratch your paint.

Professional Car Painting

Your car's paint job has three layers to it. The first bottom layer is the primer.

This coats the materials that build your car. This could include steel, aluminum, rubber, or plastics.

The primer protects these materials and provides a uniform base for the paint. Your primer is usually a white or light grey color.

On top of the primer is your car's color paint. Then on top of this is a clear coat.

Does Your Car Need Paint Correction?

Do you see imperfections in your car's paint? If so, then you most likely need paint correction.

Swirl Marks and Spider Webs

Swirl marks create a hologram effect in your paint. This is from dips or valleys in the paint.

It is easiest to see them in direct sunlight. The most likely cause of this type of marks is an inexperienced person using a buffing machine on your car.

Spider Webs

View your paint in direct sunlight. If you see super fine straight scratches that appear to go out from the center, these are spiderwebs.

These marks are on almost every car, including brand new ones. This is because they are caused by washing and drying the car.

Using the wrong towel is the most common culprit. The good news is these can be removed.

Paint Contamination

Rub your hand over your paint. If you feel a rough finish, these are contaminants stuck to your paint.

Sometimes washing alone does not remove these things from your paint. Waxing will only serve to seal these contaminants into your paint.

What is Paint Correction?

This is a process that removes any imperfections in your car's paint job. The proper way to perform paint correction is to re-level the clear coat.

Once the clear coat gets re-leveled, the scratches are gone for good. This is a better solution than detailing that fills the scratches.

Quick Process

Whether you want a quick one-step process or an in-depth process you should start by washing your car. This will remove the surface dirt and gunk on your car.

Clay Bar

The next step in the process is to use a clay bar on the paint. This step is vital for removing the remaining contaminants that are on your paint.

If you skip this step, the contaminants will get ground into the paint. This will only serve to cause more scratches and potentially permanent damage to your paint.

For this process, a lubricant gets sprayed onto your car. Then a block of detailing clay is rubbed over the paint.

Multiple Step Process

If you are looking for full paint correction, then you will want a 2 or 3 step process. These happen after the washing and clay bar processes.

A detailer will do a "wet sanding" or "color sanding" process. This process uses superfine automotive sandpaper that is wet.

Buffing and Polishing

Depending on the level of scratching, a lot of the repair is in the buffing and polishing. These stages of the correction depend on the condition of the paint for how extensive it will be.

Your detailer will look at the type of clear coat, the quality of the paint job, and the severity of imperfections. This will dictate the type of machine, pads, and polishes that get used.

Sealing and Waxing

Once your paint is corrected, you will want the detailer to seal and wax the paint. You don't want to pay for correction but then skimp on the protection from future scratches.

A quality correction process will use a polymer or carnauba wax. These will bond with the paint and last longer than a water-based glaze.

An example of this type of sealant is opti-seal. This is a hyper-concentrated polymer sealant. Once applied it will help protect your paint from dirt, oil, and UV rays.

Will the Car Paint Swirl Marks Reappear?

In short, no, they are gone for good. Unfortunately, new marks will start to appear over time as you use your car.

Schedule Your Car Paint Correction

If you own a car, it probably needs paint correction. Even new cars have some form of scratches in the paint.

Take a look and feel of your paint. If you see or feel imperfections, you should get a paint correction for your car.

Your best option is to consult an experienced detailer. Keep in mind that every vehicle has different needs depending on the paint job quality and level of scratching.

Your detailer can recommend whether a 1, 2, or 3 stage process is necessary. Then once they are done with the correction, request that they apply a sealant to protect the paint.

Contact us today for an estimate on your automotive paint correction today.