What is a Paint Correction

What is a true paint correction?

Modern paint systems are fairly soft and susceptible to damage. This damage quickly diminishes the appearance of your paint system. Damage is incurred from many different factors to include pollution, acid rain, hard water, salt, chemicals on the road, cheap rags, faulty detailing, etc.


How is this damaged removed?

A paint correction was once called a “Cut & Polish”. Abrasives incorporated into compounds and polishes literally “Cut” a fine layer of paint off the vehicle until damage is removed and a fresh undamaged layer of paint is reached. The newly exposed paint is then “Polished” to a high shine.

A paint correction is a very sensitive process and requires a high skill level to achieve properly. The clear coat layer is only 1.5 – 2 mils thick. 1 mil = .001 inch. As a reference point a straight course human hair is .003 inch. Your clear coat is literally less thick than a human hair. A technician is working on a very thin finite soft layer. One misstep and a technician will damage the paint to the point where a panel will have to be painted. A technician must learn which tool, polishing pads, products to use to remove damage. In addition, each one of those tools, polishing pads, and products requires different machine speeds, pressure, hand speed, and technique. There are basic principles, after that each detailer develops his own preference of tools and techniques. For example, think of a guitar. There are a finite number of strings but there is unlimited creativity within the given parameters.

Many waxes and polishes are created with “fillers” incorporated. These fillers cover up imperfections without truly removing the damage. Your paint system is improved for a short amount of time until fillers wear away and damage reveals itself again. Then the process is repeated.

A proper paint correction is the only way to truly “FIX” clear coat damage.

History of Automotive Paint Systems

Purpose of Automotive Paint Systems

1) Protection of underlying surfaces – The primary purpose of all paint systems is protection from environmental contaminants, UV rays, chemicals, salt, etc. Without protection the vehicle would literally deteriorate, rust, and fall apart.

2) Beauty and Appearance – The original Model A was only produced in black. Very soon people wanted to “customize” their vehicles and add their own touch. Automobile manufactures and paint companies aligned to create Single Stage paint systems.

Historic Timeline of Automotive Paint Systems

1910’s – Shellac applied in multiple coats with a brush. This paint system was very labor intensive and very susceptible to damage.

1920’s – Nitrocellulose lacquer resins were introduced. These paint systems were more durable and soon were produced in multiple colors. This was also the introduction of spray equipment to apply paint. These paint systems could be polished to achieve a shine and luster.

1930’s -Alkyd enamels were introduced. These paint systems dried to a gloss without needing to buff the finish. This was also when reflectents were introduced to add a bit of sparkle to high dollar vehicles.

1950’s – Acrylic Lacquer were introduced with a more durable resin.

1960’s & 70’s- Polyurethane and Acrylic enamels were introduced. These paint systems were glossy, flexible, and durable.

1980’s – This was the introduction of Basecoat/Clearcoat systems. These paint systems consist of a primer layer, pigmented color, and finally a clear glossy layer. These paint systems achieve a level of gloss and durability that was revolutionary at the time. These paint systems also allowed for additives of many color combinations and reflectents. These are the paint systems that are currently used in the automotive industry.


Paint Correction Gallery