What Do I Need For a Paint Correction?

A paint correction requires a lot of work and experience to do correctly. It's also extremely expensive. It's not for everyone – especially those who don't care for their cars at a near-fanatical level.

Proper maintenance from Paint Correction Tampa will help preserve the results from a paint correction and make it last longer. That includes frequent washing and wiping away animal crap.


Washing is the first step in any paint correction process. The goal is to remove as much dirt, road grime, and contaminants from the clear coat as possible without scratching or marring the finish. The best way to accomplish this is to use a high-quality surface prep shampoo and work in small, 2×2 foot sections. A microfiber towel is also a great tool for removing the polish residue and minimizing risk of scratches during this stage of the process.

Once the vehicle is clean and free of loose debris, it’s time for clay bar. The vehicle’s clear-coat has pores, much like a human skin, and over time dirt from the environment, everyday driving, and even the products you use to clean your car can accumulate in these pores. This can cause dullness and haze, especially on darker vehicles. This is what is referred to as “spider webbing.”

The clay bar will release these particles, making the paint look smooth and reducing the risk of further damage during the polishing stages of a paint correction. This is a critical step in any paint correction service and should never be skipped!

When it comes to paint correction, there are many variables at play; severity of imperfections, vehicle type and color, machine, pad, and product selection. The key is to find the optimal combination of these factors that will produce the desired result with minimal clear-coat removal, leaving the vehicle looking its absolute best! This is why it’s important to work with a professional that understands these nuances and can optimize the process for each individual customer.

Once the polishing is complete, a sealant or ceramic coating can be applied to protect the finish and lock in your hard work. This will help to keep your car looking sharp and protected from the elements for as long as you own it or until it’s resold.

Clay Bar

A clay bar is a decontamination product that is used to remove bonded contaminants from the clear coat of your car. This is a necessary step before any paint correction, waxing, or sealant can be applied. The process is incredibly simple and can be done at home or by your professional detailer. The clay bar is sprayed with a lubricant, then placed on the surface to be treated. It is then rubbed across the vehicle in a circular motion. As it rubs against the surface, contaminants are lifted and stuck to the clay bar. This is repeated until the clear coat feels smooth to the touch.

When done properly, the process should take about 30 minutes to perform. This is a crucial step prior to any machine polishing as it prevents micro scratches from being put into the paint during the polishing stage. It is also a good idea to clay the car every time you want to wax it, which should be about twice a year.

The quickest way to test your paint for contamination is to feel it with your fingertips. Slip your fingers into a zippered plastic bag and run them over the surface of the car in several areas. If you feel bumps, then the paint is contaminated and needs to be clayed.

A professional clay bar will come in a kit that includes a spray lubricant, quick detailers, and clay bars. Once you have the products you need, simply follow the instructions on the package to complete the treatment. You will want to re-wash your car afterward to ensure that any loosened contaminants are removed. After that, it is a good practice to apply a coat of wax or sealant to restore the showroom shine and protect your investment.


Choosing the right pads for paint correction is an important step in the process. There are many different polishing pad options and they all have a specific intended purpose in the two to three-step paint correction process. For example, more aggressive pads are used for the compounding and polishing stages while less-aggressive pads can be used to remove swirl marks or scuff marks from the vehicle’s finish.

All-in-one pads are also available and provide the option to perform both cutting and polishing duties with one pad. However, the use of these types of pads is not recommended for beginners as it can be difficult to control the amount of pressure being applied and results may vary.

Foam buffing pads are a staple among many detailers and have the widest range of abrasion levels for each step of the paint correction process. The abrasion level is determined by the number of pores per inch. A higher number of pores means that the pad is more abrasive. Foam buffing pads are typically used in the first and second polishing steps.

Microfiber pads are another popular choice because they have the ability to produce a high degree of polishing action with a relatively low amount of pressure. This is especially useful for removing swirls and scuff marks from the vehicle’s surface. They can be used for both the first and second polishing stage, in addition to a light polishing step before applying wax or sealant.

Lastly, closed-cell foam pads are perfect for the heavy polishing stages of paint correction. The Blue pad is designed to bring out the best in your favorite heavy-duty compound while the Orange pad provides medium grade polishing and oxidation removal. The Red pad is ideal for final finishing and application of wax or sealant. When used with 'Non Diminishing' compounds and polishes, short polishing cycles are preferred to maximize cut and minimize pad residue build up.


The polishing phase is where the true skill of the detailer comes to light. Using an electric buffer and a foam buffing pad, the detailing professional cuts into the clear coat of your car's paint to level or remove small scratches. This is a multi-step process, as different polishes with various grits are used. The most abrasive products are used first, followed by the next grits and then finally a fine product to refine the finish.

When a professional performs this step, a spot check is done to ensure the correct results are achieved. This is because the clear coat has a finite thickness – it's roughly as thick as a sheet of paper. A detailer should never exceed the clear coat's thickness when buffing, as this could damage it. If you are doing a paint correction yourself, you can avoid this problem by starting with the least aggressive product combination and working your way up to more intense products as you become more familiar with the process.

It's also important to note that a decontamination procedure is always performed prior to the polishing stage. This can include a decontamination spray, iron or fallout remover and a clay bar treatment. This helps to prevent dirt, sap or insects from sticking to the surface of the vehicle and obstructing the paint correction process.

After the polishing and decontamination steps are completed, a final wipe down is done to remove any oils from the surface. This is important as it will help the ceramic coating or wax that is going to be applied later to adhere better to the paint. After this, the process is complete and your car looks amazing!


The final step in paint correction is to apply a sealant to lock in all the hard work you have done. This protects your vehicle from the elements and gives it a beautiful shine. Ceramic coatings are the perfect choice for a sealant after paint correction because they last a long time and have many benefits over traditional car waxes.

Ceramic coatings are a thin layer of glass that chemically bonds with your car's clear coat, providing a strong protective barrier that is hydrophobic (repels water). They also act as a UV shield to prevent fading and oxidation. The best part is that they are much easier to maintain than a wax or a polish because dirt, bird droppings, tree sap, road debris, and other contaminants won't stick to your vehicle.

Applying a ceramic coating after paint correction is important because it will keep your vehicle looking new longer and help to preserve the value of your car. There are a variety of ceramic coatings to choose from depending on your budget and the level of protection you want.

Before starting the paint correction process, it's important to wash and decontaminate your vehicle. This is done with a proper washing soap, clay bar, and lubricant to ensure that all contaminants are removed from the surface of your car's paint. This is the only way to guarantee that your car will have a clean, smooth, and shiny finish when you are done.

Paint correction is a term that is used by car detailers and enthusiasts to describe the restoration of a vehicle's paintwork by removing surface imperfections. This includes swirl marks, fine scratches, holograms, buffer trails, acid rain etching, bird dropping etching, and RIDS (random isolated deep scratches). By completing the correct steps in paint correction, these imperfections are eliminated leaving crystal clarity and pure reflections on your vehicle's paintwork.

A paint correction requires a lot of work and experience to do correctly. It's also extremely expensive. It's not for everyone – especially those who don't care for their cars at a near-fanatical level. Proper maintenance from Paint Correction Tampa will help preserve the results from a paint correction and make it last longer. That includes…