What Is Paint Correction and Why Is It Necessary?

Keeping your car’s paint in showroom condition takes a lot of work. Washing, waxing (or using a ceramic coating), and regular maintenance are the keys to maintaining that fresh-out-of-the-showroom look. However, even with the best of intentions, eventually your vehicle’s paint can start looking dull and lifeless. While there are a number of products that can help hide these imperfections, if you want your car to be truly flawless, a full-on paint correction is the only way to go.

Paint correction is a process whereby an automotive polisher, a special buffing compound and a microfiber pad are used to remove the majority of scratches and other surface imperfections on your vehicle’s clear coat and paint. Depending on the severity of damage, multiple stages may be required to bring the clear coat back to a fully shiny and unblemished state.

The first stage of paint correction is often referred to as “leveling” the clear coat. This involves the use of a heavier compound and pad to level the clear coat and remove all scratches, dents and other damage. For most vehicles this is the longest and most labor intensive part of the process, as it is important to properly prepare the vehicle for the next steps.

Once the paint is leveled, it is usually a good idea to clay bar the vehicle. A vehicle’s paint has pores, similar to a human’s skin, and over time dirt from the environment and daily driving can fill these pores and make the paint dull and rough to the touch. Clay bar removes these contaminants and makes it easier to polish the vehicle and bring out its shine.

After the leveling and polishing phases of paint correction, the vehicle is often recoated with a wax or sealant to protect the hard work. Using a high-quality product will help to ensure that your car looks great for as long as possible. It will also serve as a protective barrier against future damage.

Choosing the right color match for your vehicle’s body panel replacement parts can be a challenge. While there are a number of online tools that can help, it is always best to have the original part in hand and visit your local hardware store with a color-matching device called a spectrophotometer. This will give you the most accurate results and help to ensure that the replacement part matches the color of your vehicle’s finish.

Paint correction is a complex and time-consuming process that not everyone has the skills, knowledge or equipment to undertake. While it can be very rewarding to restore a vehicle’s paint to its original glory, it is important to remember that once the clear coat has been compromised, it is impossible to completely repair it. Inexperienced or improper use of an automotive polisher can cause damage to the base coat and underlying metal, making repainting necessary. Likewise, attempting to remove too much scratch or swirl damage can result in irreparable clear coat failure. A professional detailer will have the experience and knowledge to minimize these defects without compromising the integrity of your vehicle’s paint.

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