Paint Correction – What You Need To Know

Fouad from A Buff and Beyond carrying out paint correction

Get a better understanding of what PAINT CORRECTION means, what it involves and when you should consider such a service. We will explain what paint is and its characteristics, as well as the procedures of paint correction. At the end of this article, we hope you will be able to make a sound decision on whether this is the right service for you.



Simply said, paint is there to protect the panels of your car. It protects the metal from oxidation and therefore avoids rusting.

Cross section of automotive paint

The layers of paint are:

The thickness of each car’s paint varies, but it is good to know that in most cases the topcoat is only about 0.076mm thin! That is even thinner than the wrapper of a chocolate bar!

The topcoat (clear coat) does not contain any colour or pigment and its role is to protect the base colour of your car.

The primer is designed to keep the moisture away from the bare metal surface to prevent it from rusting etc.

The characteristics of paint:

  • Car paint has 4 layers, and each of these layers is shifting and expanding/contracting at different speeds at the same time when exposed to heat either via environmental circumstances such as sun or physical circumstances such as polishing
  • All individual layers move independently while they must stick to each other. This will have an impact on your polishing and overall outcome



Paint Correction is the delicate process of restoring and rejuvenating the paintwork of your car. It is trying to minimise the impact of the damage cosmetically and is needed to bring back the accuracy of reflection as much as the possible while considering your cars paint condition.

When would your car need paint correction?

Your car may need to undergo paint correction when the topcoat of the car’s paintwork is damaged. Once the damage is done, sunlight diffracts in these damaged areas and reflects its imperfections which we notice.

You may notice defects such as

  • swirl marks
  • oxidation
  • etchings
  • fine scratches
  • buffer trails
  • and random isolated deep scratches (RIDS

which can be removed with a Paint Correction service.

Cross Section of automotive paint light reflection



Paint Correction works by levelling down the paint to reduce the visible defects.                                         

The following procedures may be used for it:

  • polishing
  • compounding
  • sanding

A variety of different compounds, sand paper, polishes, pads and machines are used while taking into consideration the condition of the paint.

A Buff and Beyond Detailer carrying out a paint correction polish on a BMW M2



It is important to keep in mind:

  • The topcoat has ingredients included that are designed to fight off damage such as the effects of the sun. By levelling down the paint, some of the UV and heavy-duty protection will be removed with it automatically
  • When you polish, you keep on taking away microlayers of paint
  • It is reducing the thickness of your paint. The topcoat is generally only about 0.076mm thin which is thinner than the wrapper of a poster note
  • Too fast and too much heat polishing means the layers will shift which will cause distension on the top layer. Therefore, the micromechanical attachments detach. This will result in delamination which will not be visible at once but over time your car’s paint might fade into cloudy looking paint

 Remember: If you polish too fast with too much heat, your car paint will lose its connection.


Paint correction
Results vary depending on the degree of paint defects present as well as on the car's paint type


The paintwork will be polished in one stage or one step with only one type of polish and pad combination. View our Gloss Enhancement package here.

  • approx 50% of your car’s paint defects to be removed
  • Challenge is to remove defects whilst finishing down the paintwork to leave behind a high level gloss finish in one step
  • Defect removal dependant on paint’s characteristics (hard or soft) and depth of defects
  • 1 day / 5-8 hours depending on the size of the car and the condition of the paint

Outcome: Good level of gloss and clarity.


Involves multiple polish and pad combinations ‘dialled in’ to provide the best results. View our Minor Paint Correction package here.

The first step is designed to remove deeper paint defects by using a more aggressive method of pads and compounding. This aggressive process actually instils defects of its own into the paintwork. A side effect in removing the deeper defects.  The second step is to refine the paintwork by removing the haze and scratches instil in the first process and and bring back the gloss of the paint to a very high level.

  • 70-85% defect removal
  • Required for the removal of medium to heavy swirl marks, deeper marring and scratches.
  • Removal of deeper acid etchings like bird droppings stains and watermarks.
  • Removes heavy oxidisation
  • 2 days / 10-16 hours depending on the size of the car and the condition of the paint

Outcome: Intense gloss and mirror like reflection


As many steps and methods needed to remove the deepest defects and bring back your car’s paintwork as close to perfection as possible! View our Major Paint Correction package here.

  • 90-95% defect removal
  • Heavy swirl marks, marring and scratches.
  • The surface is refined to the highest possible level and maximum results are achieved in the paints finish.
  • Up to 1 week – an estimate duration will be provided after the assessment of your car’s paint.

Outcome: As perfect as the paint can be. Paintwork will look deep, rich and glossy.


the choice is yours

Paint correction is great if you would like to enhance or restore the paintwork of your car.

It is a ‘permanent’ fix and can bring amazing changes to your car’s paint. However, Paint Correction is also limited and not always the solution.

Depending on the thickness of your car’s paint it might be better to smooth out the damage with ‘fillers’, so the visible defects are not as harsh.

A professional assessment of your car’s paintwork is always recommended as it identifies problem areas and what is the best solution for your car’s paintwork.

If you would like us to assess your car to receive an honest opinion and recommendation on how to restore/revive your car’s paintwork, then we would love to hear from you 😊

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