polishing a brand new vehicle

Why Do Brand New Vehicles Need Paint Correction?

 

It is disappointing to see a brand new car with paint imperfections upon delivery. The sad truth is, your brand new vehicle will require some form of paint correction before ceramic coating it. Before your keys are handed to you, your vehicle goes through a long trip where swirls and scratches are accumulated. Prior to delivery, the dealership may polish the paint but due to the volume of cars being delivered at any given moment, the detailer won’t be able to spend enough time properly correcting the paint. There are many reasons why brand new vehicles need paint correction and we’re going to uncover that. Paint correction is a vital step in the process of ceramic coating your vehicle because the coating permanently bonds to your paint. If your paint is left with defects, your ceramic coating will only amplify any swirls, scratches or holograms.

My new vehicle has 2km, why does it need paint correction?

This week we had 2 identical Lotus Evora GT’s come to our facility for a Ceramic Pro Silver Package as well as full front end PPF coverage in our Kavaca Instant Self Healing Film. These cars were both purchased from the same dealership at the exact same time; infact, the vin numbers are unique by 1 digit. They weren’t driven to our shop, but they were trailered here. Why do brand new vehicles need paint correction? The dealership’s polishing job was unfinished and left holograms. The polishing job could have looked perfect in those lighting conditions or the detailer was being rushed and forced to deliver it with holograms. 

Luckily this can be fixed with a single stage polish; we’ll use a finishing pad and compound to level out the consistent, uneven surface left behind by cutting the paint with an aggressive cutting pad and compound.

 

For an untrained eye, holograms may be difficult to spot but once you see them, you can never unsee them. Since these Lotus GT’s are getting ceramic coated, it is especially important to correct the paint. We definitely do not want to trap hologrammed paint underneath a ceramic coating. If that happens, the only way to fix it is to polish off the coating, fix the imperfections and re-coat the surface. Quite the expensive redo. 

 

To avoid trapping swirls, scratches or holograms like this, we always make sure we correct the paint of a vehicle before coating (even if it’s brand new). 

 

 

 

What is paint correction?

Paint correction is the process of removing defects on your vehicle’s paint and restoring it to a perfect finish (or as close to perfect). Depending on the current condition of your paint, some defects are not possible to be removed with paint correction. Here are different types of paint defects. 

a chart describing types of paint defects on vehicles
Courtesy of Autopia Car Care

Swirl marks are extremely common and are easy to run up. These micro scratches are commonly caused by improper wash technique. Swirl marks cause your paint to have the spider webbing effect and makes your vehicle’s paint look extremely dull. The good news is, swirl marks can usually be corrected with a single stage paint correction. 

 

Deeper isolated scratches are more random and can be caused by automatic car washes; the bristles are usually dirty and hit your paint fairly aggressively causing deeper scratches in your vehicle’s paint. Although these types of scratches are not through the clear coat, it will require a two stage paint correction to remove these. 

 

Deep scratches that expose the bare metal surface can not be fixed with paint correction. The can be touched up with your OEM touch up paint but for best result, the panel will have to be repainted. 

 

Etching can be caused by bird droppings, tree sap, bug splat or hard water that is left on the paint for an extended period of time. It is good practice to wash your vehicle on a regular basis to avoid any etching from these contaminants. Depending on how deep the contaminant has etched your paint, it is possible to be fixed with a two stage paint correction but is not guaranteed. If it can not be corrected with a 2 stage paint correction, it will have to be wet sanded.

 

The most common reasons why brand new vehicles need paint correction. 

Buffer trails or holograms are the most common paint defects on brand new cars. This is caused by an unfinished polishing job. During a two stage paint correction, we use a cutting compound with an aggressive pad to remove a small layer of the clear coat. If you do not follow this with a finishing compound and pad, you will be left with buffer trails. It’s important to note that holograms are quite difficult to spot without the right lighting conditions. At the dealership, the car could have looked perfect, but the right lighting would reveal that it still needs to be finished. This is why we use a light to check our work or bring it outside in the sun. 

 

holograms as a result of an unfinished polishing job
Holograms on a brand new Audi S3

 

finishing a paint correction on a brand new vehicle
50/50 correction on the hood
Left side is un corrected and the right side is fully corrected.

Will my ceramic coating protect from scratches and swirls?

 

Once your car is ceramic coated, the paint underneath will ideally be perfect. That being said, we do get older vehicles where the paint isn’t perfect but is very close to it. Once your vehicle is ceramic coated, it is by no means scratch proof. It is more scratch resistant than your factory’s paint however. Automotive paint is 3H-4H on the pencil hardness scale where Ceramic Pro’s 9H is just that, 9H. With 9H being the highest on the pencil hardness scale, your coating will make the vehicle less susceptible to scratches but that doesn’t mean it’s scratch proof. 

 

We always recommend following proper wash technique, following our maintenance guidelines after your coating is installed, and regularly bringing your vehicle through a touchless wash. Following these steps will minimize chances of your coating accumulating scratches and keep it lasting longer than it’s warranty. 

 

When you pick up your brand new vehicle be sure to inspect it outside in the sun for the most common paint defects (swirls, micro scratches and holograms). Now that you’re trained on why brand new vehicles need paint correction , you’re well equipped to spot these paint defects like a pro. 

 

If you’re certain you’ll be investing in a ceramic coating, don’t worry. Our techs will perfect your paint before we coat it to ensure a pristine surface for years to come. If you’re looking for more information on paint correction, feel free to Contact Us.

 

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