What is paint correction

Paint correction is a term that is used professional car detailer’s to describe the process of restoring and rejuvenating the paintwork of a vehicle, mostly through the elimination of surface imperfections, that dull, oxidize, or haze the surface by reflecting light off in various directions, therefore detracting from a true and proper, clean, sharp, reflection. These imperfections include things like swirl marks & fine scratches, bird lime & acid rain etching, hologramming / buffer trails, and random isolated deep scratches (or RIDS).

The term paint correction should only really be used if these imperfections are properly removed through machine polishing and are not simply covered up or hidden with filler based products, typically glazes and resin based polishes. The actual corrective process itself comprises of a small amount of clear coat being removed from the surface with the use of abrasive polishes, which are applied and worked in with appropriate polishing machine and pad, which through a process of refinement, levels out the surface.

As can be seen above there are various stages of paint defects, some of which can be corrected some of which require a respray. In the first image scratch 1, can only be repaired with a respray. Scratch 2 can be possibly be repaired with the use of a touch up pen, then refinement. Scratch 3 the Oxidisation and staining can be corrected by any competent detailer.

The second image lists the types of defects more comprehensively.


How is it achieved?

Before any paint correction is undertaken, a thorough wash and decontamination of the vehicle is performed. Such as our Platinum exterior package, Paintwork is properly washed and cleaned to remove any loose dirt and debris, then after the wash process, all tar and fallout is removed with the appropriate products and then the bodywork is clayed with a specialist  clay bar, which safely removes any bonded surface contaminants

It is important these contaminants are removed before the paint correction process because if they were to become dislodged and caught up in the pad of a polishing machine, they could easily inflict damage onto the surface very quickly. It also helps to leave the surface very smooth, which in turn, allows the polishing machine to move freely over the surface, reducing the possibility of hopping or sticking occurring.

The polishing is usually a multistage process as a range of different grades of polish and polishing pads are used, ranging from heavier cutting compounds, which remove the surface material, to finer products which then remove any marks that the heavier products may have inflicted and generally refine the finish.

After correction, the panels are wiped down with an IPA which removes any residual oils that may have been left over from the polish and reveals the true finish, including any areas that may have been missed or require a little more work. Once complete, the paint work has a Last Sep Product applied ( usually refereed to as LSP ), this can be in the form of a wax, sealant or Ceramic coating such as SiRAMIK©

Paint correction is a very labor intensive process and is usually the most time consuming part of the car detailing process. The process for a full correction can take from 3 – 10 days to complete full and to achieve the very best results.


All prices quote on the ATD Detailing website are based on a small car, such as Alfa Romeo Mito, Kia Picanto etc.

If you would like to arrange a valet please contact us to discuss you requirements.

Contact us

  • Service Type: Paint correction
  • Skills Needed: To full cleanse and restore a vehicle to showroom condiont
  • Time required : 1 - 10 days
  • Prices from FROM £220