To be honest, it’s a very overly used term.
The term PAINT CORRECTION was coined around 5-7 years ago. Prior to that, any removal of surface imperfections was referred to as PAINT RESTORATION or PAINT REJUVENATION. I still remember having both of those terms in my advertisements and on my mobile detail trucks 15-19 year ago! Whatever term feels right to you, they basically all have meant and still mean the same thing, the REMOVAL (or correction) of imperfections from the paint’s surface.
Paint Correction, as a stand alone term and service, has gained unbelievable recognition and respect in the last few years. This is due to a few contributing factors like, major technological advances in diminishing abrasives, specialized machines coming to market with extensive R&D, youtube videos showing how to learn the process and every detailer on the planet advertising that they are an “expert”. While I am personally very happy to see more clients and potential clients becoming more educated and knowledgeable about paint correction, I am also upset to see how many people are still being charged for paint correction and not receiving it. I have watched people start brand new businesses with very little training or experience make “paint correction expert” claims online. The unfortunate thing about the term PAINT CORRECTION, is that it typically is accompanied by a larger price tag than conventional detailing. This brings out many opportunists and shady companies that use something clients have little knowledge of to get a larger price tag for basic detailing or light polishing. Our shop fixes many cars per year that have paid for paint correction, only to find out after a few car washes, that they paid for silicone fillers instead of actual removal of the imperfections in their paint…
So, now you’re probably wondering what the difference is between a detail and a paint correction. Well, it’s actually pretty simple…
Conventional (or basic) detailing is the process of cleaning the vehicles paint, removing contaminants (brake dust, sap, tar, bee droppings, etc..), lightly polishing with a cleaning/finishing polish (or a one-step polish/sealant), and protecting the paint with a wax, sealant or coating. This usually takes 2-4 hours. Detailing is great for vehicles that are new or consistently maintained. This process will keep the paint surface smooth, protected and a good amount of gloss. This typically involves products with what we call “fillers”. These fillers are not necessarily a bad product, as long as the client understands what they are paying for and receiving.. They do not damage your vehicle and they make it look deep and glossy for limited periods of time (typically 3 months). The reason the longevity is limited to 3 months or less is because the fillers release from the microscopic scratches they are filling in with the use of detergents and abrasion while washing the vehicle. Then it is time to repeat the process and have the vehicle detailed again.
Paint correction is the process of leveling (removing) imperfections in the surface of the paint. This can include a variety of issues and causes like water spots, paint over spray, wash scratches, wipe down marks, bird dropping surface stains, oxidation and buffer holograms. This process can involve a significant amount of time. We have spent over 60 hours on one vehicle, but, 6-12 hours is typical of most vehicles. It involves using specialty polishing machines in different sizes, many different levels of diminishing abrasives, different compounding/polishing pads and sometimes sand paper. Our process is different on every paint job. They can vary in hardness, thickness, and depth of imperfections. Every vehicle requires a different process or combination of machines based on the curves of the panels.
LET’S GET REAL ABOUT PAINT CORRECTION
To become great, amazing, an expert or the best, cannot be accomplished in a weekend or week long training class. It isn’t achieved by watching a youtube video multiple times or polishing some friends’ cars in your garage on the weekends. Anyone can achieve great results and accomplish a solid correction on your personal cars or friends’ cars by using these methods with enough time.
Don’t take a shop or a detailers word for the quality of the work you’re considering investing in. Ask questions, lots of questions. They are the business and you are they client. Ask for proof of their experience, and quality. If they claim “xx years of experience”, ask them to prove these claims. Detailing their own car since they were 16, isn’t considered experience or proof of diverse paint knowledge. Choosing a reputable and knowleadgable company to undertake paint correction on your vehicle is a costly and weighty decision. We take the time to educate and reassure any concerns brought to our attention. We realize that we are the detailers and do not expect you to know all of the latest detail industry lingo.
What sets our shops, employees and quality apart is my experience working on different brands of vehicles, paint jobs and testing products since 1999. I personally work with, teach and mentor every person that is employed at Polished Detail. Our training never ends. Paint correction can take years to perfect. I have a teaching style that is very effective and tailored to each employees’ learning style. I have no interest in teaching other shops or detailers the art of paint correction. I enjoy owning multiple shops and working with my employees to improve all our skills (including mine, I never stop learning). I have an extensive knowledge of paint, detailing products and techniques I have earned by making mistakes and discoveries for 19 years. This is something that even an owner operator of a 5 year old company cannot replicate. I am probably one of the hardest people to work for in the detail industry. My expectations for my clients’ vehicles, my employees’ work ethic, my employees’ skills and my reputation, makes for a difficult learning curve. I don’t want to be a boss, I want to be a teacher of a skill I have spent most of my life perfecting. I never call myself or my shops “the best”. I believe that is a term used for newer shops looking to convince new clients that they are comparable to experienced shops.