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What is Paint Correction?

When done properly, paint correction is a complex multi-staged process. Here are the details.

Lately, we’ve been writing lots of articles about ceramic coatings; the benefits of them, the technology behind them, the process of applying them, how to choose them, etc. In all these articles, we always mention something along the lines of, “before a ceramic coating can be applied, your vehicle must undergo a thorough paint correction process”.

In this article, we aim to break down what exactly paint correction is, how we do it, and why it’s important.

Paint Defects

The term “paint defect” covers a huge range of problems, from big and obvious like a dime-sized rock chip in the hood to something like swirl marks, which people can miss unless they look for them (but once you see them, you can never un-see it!).

Less obvious paint flaws like swirl marks and hairline scratches are often caused by automatic (drive-through) car washes or hand washing with a dirty cloth. Dealerships often don’t have the time or manpower to properly hand wash everything on their lots, so even a new car fresh from the dealership can have paint defects.

Even if a car looks glossy from a distance, it might not be as perfect as it could be. When several of the less obvious paint defects stack up on top of each other, the effect can be enormous, and you don’t truly know how bad it was until it is fixed.

The big problem with paint defects arises when you go to apply something like a ceramic coating. A ceramic coating’s primary job is to seal the paint as is, so any imperfections in the paint or clear coat will be locked in by a ceramic coating. This is why it’s so important to have a full paint correction before applying ceramic coating.

What is Paint Correction?

This is a large reason why shops like ours, Island Color, exist. When a car leaves our shop after any paint service, we guarantee that the exterior of the car will be in as close to perfection as physically possible. Not only will it look better than ever, but it will be more resilient to things like corrosion and maintenance will be easier than ever.

From the outside in, your car’s exterior consists of 3 layers: clear coat, pigment, and primer (there are exceptions, but most cars follow this rule). The majority of scratches and other blemishes are to the clear coat, which is good because the whole point of the clear coat is to protect the pigment layer. Clear coat damage can be fixed with some combination of polishing, re-application, and general automotive wizardry.

Over time, the clear coat will wear through and scratches will reach the pigment layer. If the pigment is damaged, we will do a paint touch-up. This damage is more serious, because it exposes your car’s metal body panels and frame to corrosion.

Do I Need Paint Correction?

If you are considering an upgrade like ceramic coatings, you definitely need paint correction. In fact, if you get your ceramic coatings with us, it’s part of the deal! A good shop would never apply a ceramic coating to a vehicle that is anything less than perfect. Ceramic coatings aside, most vehicles will aesthetically benefit from paint correction. If you think your vehicle isn’t looking as good as it could, you could definitely benefit from a round of paint correction.

As always, just stop by or give us a shout for any questions or to set up an appointment. We’re always happy to talk shop.

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