This is one of the questions I get asked the most in regards to detailing services. In simple terms, paint correction is the process of polishing to remove whatever paint defects are causing it to not look "new".
If there is one phrase every professional detailer has heard it is "all it needs is a quick buff." There is no such thing as a "quick buff." The process of removing paint defects--surface scratching, swirls, spider webbing, oxidation, etc.--takes prep and time to complete. Even a light polish on a vehicle involves significant prep work and setup before we start the polisher.
What are the most popular paint correction services?
The most basic service is usually referred to as a paint enhancement which cleans up the paint and brings back gloss but does not remove many small surface scratches. Single stage corrections would be the next level, where we remove as many surface defects in a single process as possible and still leaving a high gloss finish. This usually means that we are not able to remove as many of the deep defects. Finally you reach the multi stage or 2-stage corrections which allows for a heavier correction the first time around to remove deeper scratches followed by a light polishing stage to give the paint clarity, amazing color and depth. Often times, dark color vehicles tend to show more of a hazy finish during a single stage correction which is why it is common to need a 2-stage correction on darker colored vehicles for the best finished product.
What tools are used to polish a vehicle?
We use a combination of several special-purpose machines, pads, polishes, and compounds during a paint correction service. Most of the time we would either be using a dual-action or rotary polisher. Pads are where you start to get into a very complicated realm since there are hundreds of options available\--each having their own strengths and weaknesses. After figuring out what pad to use then it comes down to what polish or compound is best for the situation. Each compound wont behave the same when used with a different pad. Every paint is different--some are softer and more likely to look cloudy while some are harder requiring more aggressive pads and compounds to remove the same amount of surface level scratching. Every detailer will have their "go to" methods but we still like to do test spots on each job to assess the product and technique effectiveness for the paint's condition.
How much correction does my vehicle need?
This should be an open and honest discussion between the client and detailer. Everyone has different goals and budgets. A basic paint enhancement can be completed in 4-6 hours on a medium sized car, while a 2-stage correction can take up to two full days. We can provide a range of options but at the end of the day it is your vehicle and as much as I would like to bring each vehicle back to near perfect condition that may not be the level of service that interests you.
We always leave paint protected following correction services, we offer multiple levels of protection from sealants to ceramics. If you are interested in longer lasting forms of paint protection please check out our page on "Ceramic Coatings"