Paint Correction

What Is Car Paint Correction?

Also known as swirl mark removal or machine polishing, paintwork correction is the reduction or removal of marks in the top layer of paint to produce a more refined finish.

Paint correction can involve either the hand or machine application of varying grades of cleanser, polish or compound. The majority of work is usually done with rotary machine polishers to get the best level of correction.

Good paint correction requires a high degree of skill and concentration, but done properly, it really can transform the look of a car by dealing with (amongst other things); hard water marks, etching caused by bird muck or fly squash, swirl marks, scratches and fading.

What Is Car Paint Correction?

A car's paint has to deal with a lot of environmental challenges:

  • Road grime and grit
  • Bird muck, fly squash and tree sap
  • Tar
  • Water spots
  • People brushing against the car with their clothing or bags
  • Poor valeting techniques and/or products
  • Poor machine or hand polishing techniques
  • Auto car washes
Sadly all of these things can leave the finish of a car looking less than perfect and at worst, dull, faded and covered in light scratches, swirls and other marring. Not only does this detract from your car's appearance but it ultimately reduces its value as well.

For the vast majority of cars, paint correction really can make a substantial difference and will completely remove or significantly reduce most marks. Not only this, but the resulting finish will have an amazing gloss, depth of reflection and slickness.

How Does Machine Polishing Work?

This simple diagram illustrates the typical make up of modern car paint where the topmost clearcoat layer contains a number of marks or scratches.

The red dotted line provides an example of where the clearcoat may be reduced to following polishing. As illustrated, some marks will have been completely removed while others will have been made much smaller and are likely to be harder to see.

Basically, the technique removes microscopic amounts of the surface in order to smooth away problems. It could be likened to ultra fine sanding but when we talk about microscopic we are referring to a few microns (a micron is 1/1000th of a millimetre)!

A combination of cleansers and polishes of various grades are applied to a car's paint using specifically designed buffing pads (there are many grades and types available) and either rotary or dual action polishers. Each stage is meticulously controlled and vigorously reinspected using specialist lamps and paint depth gauges.

As you can probably tell, to be able to do the job properly requires being able to judge the existing condition of your car's paint and foresee likely issues before starting work. This requires not only the use of the right equipment, but also years of experience and an understanding of the many different paint systems used on cars.