Paint Correction 101, the (semi) complete thread for Noobs

coolcobramatt

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PAINT CORRECTION 101


Since this gets asked quite often, I thought this info should be written up as a sticky to save time and effort from now on.

Disclaimers: What follows are my experiences and my opinions only, there are many options and many products to choose from based on personal preferences. This is by no means 100% comprehensive, just a shot at explaining the basics for those of you wanting to dive into the world of true paint correction.

For time savings and because I am sold on Autogeek’s customer service, I have provided links for examples using their site. www.Detailedimage.com is another highly recommended vendor though! There are many other reputable vendors out there so you pick what works for you.


What you need:


The Hardware:


(entry level)

Porter Cable 7424 Xp (or Griot’s 6 inch, Meguiar’s G110v2, etc)

I started with this:

Pinnacle polishes, pinnacle swirl remover, porter cable swirl remover, porter cable kit


(higher dollar models)

Rupes LE15 and 21

UPDATE 9/4/18 I no longer can recommend Rupes brand polishers due to constant issues such as overheating, motors burning out, melting of pads, and CONTINUED horrible customer service.

Flex 3401 Flex Power Tools, Flex car polishers and buffers, circular polisher, dual action polisher, buffer, german car buffer, german car polisher, flex buffer

These are a pure muscle. Similar results as the Rupes but somewhat louder and take some getting used to because of the rotary action.


Here are 90% of the quality polishers out there in one place for easy comparison:

Car Buffers, Car Polishers, Rotary Polishers, polishing foam pads, buffing pads, wool pad, Porter Cable 7424, Makita, DeWalt, Cyclo buffer, bonnet,


The Software:


Pads…pads…and more pads. Again for ease of use I will summarize as the options are too numerous. The #1 question people seem to ask if what pads for what job? To start let’s look at the tried and true foam pads and then move to the newer technology, the microfiber pads.

Yellow pad: More cutting power. Use with seriously damaged paint (most aggressive, use with compounds)

Orange pad: Less cutting power. This pad will be the best for most swirled finishes and should be the one most of us start with. (semi aggressive but safe with most finishes, use with compounds and swirl removers)

White pad: Fine cutting power. Best suited for finishing glazes and light swirl removal. Right in the middle! (mildly aggressive)

Grey/Black pad: Not much cutting power. Best for finishing glazes, micro finishing and sealants. I prefer to use the black pads personally and for finishing glaze.

Red/Blue pads: Sealants and wax. No cutting power, not aggressive.

Here are pics and descriptions of these and a few more:

Lake Country 6.5 Inch CCS Pads 6 Pack - Your Choice!

Moving to the newest technology the MF pads. These are gaining popularity with detailers as they achieve even better results with less work. They do cost more however. Again, PROPER TECHNIQUE is the key. The best pads, polishers and products cannot overcome improper technique.

This quote from Autogeek sums them up best:

“Microfiber buffing and polishing pads have enabled dual action polishers to provide increased cutting ability, making the removal of swirls, water spots and scratches quicker and easier than ever. This latest trend in car care has experienced explosive popularity since Meguiars introduced the DA Microfiber Correction System.”

Here are a few different brands and descriptions:

Microfiber Buffing and Polishing Pads, Meguiars microfiber pads, mmicrofiber polishing pads


The Products:


This category is the biggest and variety is endless based on personal preference. Again, to save time I will only post a few examples of what I have used in the past and had success with. THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY BRANDS OUT TO DESCRIBE THEM ALL.
You do your paint correction in three (3) or four (4) stages.

CLAY BAR your car first to remove all the contaminants that may be on the surface of your paint. Wash the car again after claybarring.

Here is a generic clay bar:

McKee's 37 Universal Detailing Clay lets you clay your way to a silky smooth finish with a bright glossy shimmer!


For Stage 1, Use a quality swirl remover (aka compound). Like Pinnacle Ultimate Swirl Remover, Meguair’s D101, Wolfgang Uber Compound, etc.

This stage is the most important and removes the majority of the defects. Take your time, do it right!

Here are a few examples:

Wolfgang Uber Compound, car polish, polishing compound
Pinnacle Advanced Swirl Remover is the remedy for medium to heavy swirls and scratches on your vehicle’s finish.
Optimum Compound is an aggressive compound that finishes like a mild abrasive polish! Remove swirls and scratches with your polisher with Optimum


For Stage 2, use Finishing Glaze.

This stage pulls out the light swirls and the imperfections leftover from Stage 1, almost like a final polish when you wax your car. It’s all in the details and the step lays the groundwork for the ultimate mirrored finale.

Here are a few examples:

BLACKFIRE Scratch Resistant Clear Finishing Polish, final polish, clear coat polish, car polish
Pinnacle Advanced Finishing Polish is an incredibly mild polish that puts the finishing touch on the paint prior to wax .
CarPro Reflect Polish

For Stage 3, use a Sealant.

This stage is optional but recommended. Some skip it and just use wax, but others only use sealant and skip the wax stage. This seals in the hard work you just spent hours (or days) doing. Personal preference rules but I do both. Yes I am OCD about car detailing.

Here are a few examples:

BLACKFIRE Paint Sealant, BLACKFIRE Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection, paint sealant, synthetic sealant, blackfire sealant
Pinnacle Black Label Diamond Paint Sealant
Jescar Power Lock Polymer Paint Sealant, Menzerna auto sealant, car sealant, paint sealant protectant


For Stage 4, use a QUALITY wax.

As noted above, some use sealant only and skip the wax stage. It’s up to you. For you Wal-Mart wax aficionados, your life of buying OTC (over the counter) wax is over. An $8 Turtle Wax or Mother’s shelf was simply cannot compare to an esoteric wax. Spend the money as these go a long way and offer a shine and other benefits unheard of with the OTC brands. Most OTC’s contain cleaners as well, and those can cause swirls in that perfect finish you just created. Some contain “fillers”, which hide (but do not actually correct) swirls. They only cover up the imperfections. Invest in a good wax! One of SVTP’s own, Drew Elias, hand makes his own Son1c wax and I highly recommend it. Support one of our own!

Here are some examples:

http://www.autogeek.net/son1c-wax-phoenix.html
http://www.autogeek.net/soft-carnauba-wax.html
http://www.autogeek.net/pinliqsouvwa.html


How You Do it



The Technique:


The best way I learned was by practice but this video is the Holy Grail to me. I watched it a few times and then jumped on my own car. It really is easy and fun once you see the finished results. I will not go into detail here as the video says it all. PATIENCE is the key. Go slowly as they tell you and you will achieve success! I have included a few other videos from respected names in the field, but you will see for the most part, the technique remains quite similar.

How to remove swirls is the main video but here is the overall archive to help give you more data:

http://www.autogeek.net/video-porter.html

Junkman is another wealth of knowledge and you can watch his videos from beginner to advanced:



Microfiber Towels (the often overlooked detail):


I like to use a quality microfiber towel. I was a Wal-Mart mf towel disciple until I got into paint correction under a phosphorescent light and saw the cheap towels were leaving swirls on my freshly finished Grabber Blue paint! After working for two solid days to achieve a flawless finish, I ruined part of it in less than a minute. I found Pakshak to be a great place to buy my mf towels but again many other vendors abound. Ranny, the owner of Pakshak, won me over with excellent customer service so I go back for more. Just make sure you invest in QUALITY.

Here is what I use personally:

(For compound/finishing glaze removal)

http://www.pakshak.com/ultra-shadow-micro-fiber-towel-16x16.html

(For sealant/wax removal)

http://www.pakshak.com/ultra-edgeless-micro-fiber-towel-16x16-1.html

(For final buffing)

http://www.pakshak.com/velvety-blue-ultra-micro-fiber-towel-16x16-1.html

Note, NEVER wash your MF towels in regular detergent or use fabric softener on them. It seriously damages the fibers and reduces effectiveness. Get some detergent specifically for mf towels:

http://www.pakshak.com/pakshak-micro-fiber-formulon-cleaner.html


I hope this thread has been informative for you but there will be questions still so feel free to PM me or any of the other members you will see milling about the Show and Shine forum. A lot of great guys and gals here and all will pass on their experiences and recommendations.
Matthew (SVTP’s Coolcobramatt)​
 
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R.D.P.

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Great write up.

Only thing I'll disagree with is the microfiber specific detergents. I've tried a couple (though not the one listed) and found they didn't leave them that soft and did a terrible job actually cleaning them. I'm now using Tide free and gentle. I rinse twice with regular water, then a third rinse with 2-3 cups of white vinegar in the washer (I don't actually measure) this has been the magic formula for me. Just got some of the plush jr towels and did an initial wash before using them and they are now softer than they were out of the box. I will admit this method will probably cause the towels to wear out quicker - but I'll take that over reusing a half dirty towel, plus the savings on mf detergent will add up to new towels.
 

hoamskilet

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Great post. I've been meaning to put something like this together to get stickied since the question pops up so often, but just haven't had the time. Good work
 

coolcobramatt

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Great write up.

Only thing I'll disagree with is the microfiber specific detergents. I've tried a couple (though not the one listed) and found they didn't leave them that soft and did a terrible job actually cleaning them. I'm now using Tide free and gentle. I rinse twice with regular water, then a third rinse with 2-3 cups of white vinegar in the washer (I don't actually measure) this has been the magic formula for me. Just got some of the plush jr towels and did an initial wash before using them and they are now softer than they were out of the box. I will admit this method will probably cause the towels to wear out quicker - but I'll take that over reusing a half dirty towel, plus the savings on mf detergent will add up to new towels.

Thanks for the compliments everyone.

On this home blend, the question I have is when you say it leaves them "softer than than were out of the box", they aren't necessarily supposed to be super soft but retain that "grippy" feel that good MF has. Are yours staying that way as well as softer? If that home blend works hell I'm trying it too. I am nearly out of Pakshak detergent as it is.
 

Bullitt 3309

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On the polishing side don't overlook Menzerna's stuff. The FG400 is amazing, I have one stepped it using the flex and a tangerine hydro tech pad. This was on Ford Black. CarPro has some amazing products as well. Carpro Eraser has replaced IPA wipedowns for me, hydr02 is the future of sealants. Autoality has great prices as well and offers special discount called the detailers club. The pricing beats anything you will find online. It cost $50 a year, but if you are planning a large purchase you save more than that. http://www.autoality.com/store/pc/Detailer-s-Club-1-Year-Membership-332p6664.htm#.U-PyJfldUb0
 

zporta

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i wish i had the time to go along with this process. i did my car once a few months ago, not every single step you listed due to missing some products. but it took me a whole day, and i still wasnt super happy with the total result.

i would like to re-do the car before the american muscle show but doubt ill have the time


is there anywhere that sells quality microfiber towels in a store?
 

Zemedici

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^^I use a leaf blower to dry mine off. Once there is a good wax/sealant on the car the water should bead up and just literally fly off the car.
 

coolcobramatt

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is there anywhere that sells quality microfiber towels in a store?

Not around me, no local stores, I use www.pakshak.com Their customer service is extremely good. I aso have a write up on here somewhere of the mf towels I use.

On the polishing side don't overlook Menzerna's stuff. The FG400 is amazing, I have one stepped it using the flex and a tangerine hydro tech pad. This was on Ford Black. CarPro has some amazing products as well. Carpro Eraser has replaced IPA wipedowns for me, hydr02 is the future of sealants. Autoality has great prices as well and offers special discount called the detailers club. The pricing beats anything you will find online. It cost $50 a year, but if you are planning a large purchase you save more than that. http://www.autoality.com/store/pc/Detailer-s-Club-1-Year-Membership-332p6664.htm#.U-PyJfldUb0


I don't overlook any brands purposely. I said there are a TON of options and these are the ones I've used personally. I did list a Menzerna I believe in one category plus CarPro Reflect as well. I love Reflect for the record.

We could debate forever on which we prefer but that's what the main forum is for :)

Out of curiosity, what do you use to dry your car?

Electric leaf blower is my baby...followed with synthetic chammy.
 

R.D.P.

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On this home blend, the question I have is when you say it leaves them "softer than than were out of the box", they aren't necessarily supposed to be super soft but retain that "grippy" feel that good MF has. Are yours staying that way as well as softer? If that home blend works hell I'm trying it too. I am nearly out of Pakshak detergent as it is.

I'm not really sure. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I read about it on one of the detailing forums. The Tide free and gentle can obviously be used on regular stuff, so nothing lost in giving it a try. The big jugs of white vinegar are only a couple bucks.
 

coolcobramatt

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I ordered a 32 oz. bottle of MF detergent from Autogeek Friday so it'll be many moons before I'll run out. I'll def try that once I am empty!
 

SON1C

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Incredible writeup Matt, a ton of time invested into this one! Also I really appreciate the shout-out it means a lot and I'm glad that you enjoy my product :D Keep on killing those shows my friend! You deserve it!
 

coolcobramatt

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Incredible writeup Matt, a ton of time invested into this one! Also I really appreciate the shout-out it means a lot and I'm glad that you enjoy my product :D Keep on killing those shows my friend! You deserve it!

You make a quality product Drew. It deserves all the praise it receives!
 

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