Does Your Car Need Paint Correction?

Does Your Car Need Paint Correction?

If you have been researching professional detailing services for your vehicle, you have likely come across the term ‘paint correction’ pretty often. This is rightfully so as a proper paint correction can produce astonishing results and completely transform a vehicle’s paint. Let’s explain why. Paint correction is the process of leveling (or removing) a small amount of the paint’s clear coat using abrasive polishes and a polishing machine. All those light scratches, swirl marks, bird drop etchings, and other surface imperfections physically create microscopic valleys in the paint’s clear coat. The uneven clear coat therefore isn’t able smoothly reflect light which causes the paint to look dull and prevents sharp, deep reflections. Paint correction removes a tiny layer of clear coat to get to the bottom of those surface imperfections, or known as ‘leveling out’, which physical eliminates the imperfection. What remains is a perfectly smooth clear coat suitable for a show car finish.

So, does you car need paint correction?

Your paint is very delicate and VERY thin. The typical cumulative OEM paint finish is around 4.0 to 6.0 mils thick. That is equal to the thickness of a U.S. Dollar bill. The clear coat is typical represents 2.0 mils of that thickness. As described, paint correction physically removes a small layer of clear coat of around 0.25 to 0.50 mils, depending on how aggressive of a correction is needed. As you can now understand, there is a very finite amount of clear coat to work with so you want to be sure a full paint correction is right for you. Let’s look at some cases:

Are you selling a car?

If you are preparing to sell your vehicle, you can bet the condition of your car’s paint is going to be heavily inspected by a potential buyer and will be one of the major selling points of the car. Especially when selling to an enthusiast market, as you would with a luxury, sport, classic, or exotic car, a poorly conditioned exterior could cost thousands off the final sale price. Even with an online sale or marketing, high quality photographs will still capture the quality of the vehicle’s paint surface. A professional paint correction will significantly help bring your car’s paint condition to that of a show car level buyers search for, allowing you to maximize the value and speed of your sale.

Have you just bought a car?

Purchasing a new (or new to you) car is an exciting time, especially for a car enthusiast. Though even when buying a new car right off the dealer lot, the clear coat will very likely have swirls and surface imperfections from regular washings by the dealership. These are often jokingly referred to as “dealer installed” swirls, as the dealership was so gracious to include the swirls with your new car purchase. If purchasing a used car, or even a classic car, it is hard to find a seller who took the condition of the car as seriously as you will under your new ownership. A professional paint correction to bring the car’s paint to a near flawless showroom shine is a great way to start off your new ownership.

Has the car already undergone multiple paint corrections?

If so, further paint correction needs to be carefully considered. A paint thickness gauge will help the detailer and you determine how thin the paint currently is. If the paint is indeed too thin, a much lighter polishing and applying a polymer sealant to fill in the deeper imperfections would be a much safer strategy. If a clear coat is too thin, it could cause premature clear coat failure and not properly protect the base paint coat.

Can you maintain it, yourself or professionally?

Paint correction is a very long and methodical process. When performed by a professional and skilled detailer, it could cost a lot as well. You want the paint correction on your vehicle to last for years, which requires proper maintenance of your vehicle’s paint, either by a professional detailer or yourself. This involves regularly washing and waxing the car using the proper methods and products that avoid re-introducing swirl marks and other imperfections back into the clear coat. Automated car washes, while very cost effective and convenient, are often very harsh on your car’s paint surface.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation if you still aren’t sure if a paint correction is right for you and your car.


Welcome to our Car Care Blog where you can find informative articles on how to properly clean your own vehicle, how to maintain your new detail, and the benefits of some of our detailing services. If you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Us, and we’ll be glad to help.