Paint correction is the mainstay of any car detailer – it is not something that we would recommend attempting at home and certainly not on your pride and joy without considerable practice. When it comes to correcting paintwork, experience and training really do matter – proper detailers need at least three years of experience to be competent, and double that to master the skills.
The aim of any paint correction treatment is to eliminate as many defects in the paintwork as possible. This can range from a gloss enhancement detail right through to a full correction. The key differences are the number of stages with different pad and compound combinations. The end result of a gloss enhancement is improved visual clarity, while a full correction should remove all the imperfections, including marring, swirl marks, overspray and other paint flaws. A gloss enhancement can be completed within a day, an enhancement detail normally takes two to three days, while a full correction can take the best part of a week to complete. Usually half a day is taken to prepare the car for paint correction, which involves washing, decontamination, and taping up the car.
One of the reasons why experience is so important, potentially more so than formal training, is the variety of equipment and products available to the detailer. There are literally dozens of different machine polishers on the market, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Then there are over 100 different pads available for the machines, and the same again in terms of compounds. Knowing which machine to use, with which pad and compound combination for specific paint is key – detailers build up a mental library of combinations and are always trying new solutions as new challenges emerge.
In the Pro Detailer Magazine we have numerous guides with hints and tips for those who are learning paint correction at home, and there is also a vast archive of cars that our PVD Approved professionals have corrected.