top of page

A Beginner’s Guide To Paint Correction in San Diego

Paint correction is a step in the professional auto detailing process that removes swirls and micro scratches from your paint.

Have you ever noticed how your car just doesn't look as shiny and new as it used to? Paint correction is a process that restores the gloss and shine of your car's exterior. It can be done by hand or by machine, but it requires time, patience, and a high level of expertise.

There are many things to consider before you start this process with a professional detailer. This guide will help you understand what it is and how paint correction services in San Diego can make your car look shiny and new!

What’s in this blog?

What Is Paint Correction?

Let’s talk about the most difficult part of automotive detailing.

Paint correction is a process that removes minor scratches, swirl marks, bird droppings, and other blemishes from your vehicle's paint finish. It removes that hazy look caused by oxidation to make it shine like new again. It can take hours for just one car due to all the time required to wash, polish, and buff out imperfections!

But what specific imperfections can paint correction fix?

Swirl Marks

Swirl marks are caused by several things.

If you’ve taken your car to an automated car wash, chances are you’ll find a few swirls marks on your car. On a related note, a simple hand-wash at home can contribute to swirl marks. Dish sponges and bath towels cause swirl marks because the fabric on these common household items is too coarse for your delicate paint job.

While it might look like commercial wax or polish can eliminate swirls and give your car a nice, smooth finish, it’s best to have a certified paint correction specialist do the job for you.


You’ve probably noticed tiny scratches on your vehicle at some point. Scratches are hard to avoid.

The most common cause is rubbing up against your car. It’s really easy to accidentally scratch the paint of your car with a cup of coffee on the roof or with your keys when you open the door. And don’t lean against the hood or trunk with a pair of stiff jeans! That can cause scratches too.

To remove these scratches from your vehicle requires a high level of skill and concentration, and a professional detailer has the skills and knowledge to do it.

Spider Webbing

As your car ages, small cracks, spider webbing, and hairline fractures make your car’s paint look dull.

Spider webbing is a result of dry paint — which is the loss of oils from your car’s clear coat. Webbing makes the surface of your car appear slightly fractured. Environmental factors like UV rays and temperature changes cause dry paint, and while it can be fixed, it’s best to try and prevent it in the first place.

Spider webbing is nearly impossible to remove on your own. You have to carefully remove layers of clear coat until you reach the same depth as the web, and it’s easy to go too far and do more harm than good. The trained eye of a professional car detailer knows when to stop and how to correct the paint.

The Paint Correction Process in San Diego

The paint correction process is multilayered and requires attention to detail, patience, experience, and expertise. It’s best to use specialty, top-of-the-line products.

The Products

Remember, a regular towel and dish soap won’t do the trick. Professional auto detailers use quality products and materials. Here are some of their most common auto detailing supplies:

  • Deionized Water

  • Claybar

  • Iron Remover

  • Microfiber Towels

  • Specialty Wax

  • Specialty Polish

  • Tire Dressing

  • Plastic Trim Dressing

Sure, you can probably find similar auto detailing products at your local automotive store. However, they won’t be as good as the ones your detailer uses.

The Process

Every detailer is different and has their own process for paint correction. Generally, most follow a similar routine to this one:

  1. Find a shady environment to work in. While it might be tough in San Diego, your detailer needs a shady area to work in. It’s hard to perform a paint correction under the hot sun. The car paint can get very hot, and even the best products can evaporate quickly.

  2. Use a pressure washer to rinse the car. The best car detailers use deionized water or an environmentally friendly rinseless wash. The goal is to remove any debris from the surface, which includes dust, dirt, leaves, and so on.

  3. Wash the car with a microfiber towel and specialty shampoo. A professional car detailer doesn’t use household detergents or soaps to wash your car. A microfiber towel or mitt is important because they gently lift dust and dirt, and there is a lower chance of it scratching the car.

  4. Thoroughly rinse the car. After the wash, the car must be rinsed from the top with plenty of water. Any residual shampoo hurts the paint correction process.

  5. Decontaminate the paint with a clay bar treatment. While your car might look clean after it’s been washed, there is likely stubborn debris and dirt still on the surface. A clay bar is a malleable resin compound used to remove even the toughest contaminants. The detailer uses the clay bar in an up, down, left, right motion to ensure a clean finish.

  6. Rinse and dry … yes, again! The car is rinsed and dried again to remove any relentless grime.

  7. Remove any wax that remains on the car. Wax residue can affect the results of the paint correction.

  8. Polish the surface of the car. Some detailers may complete this process by hand, and some might use a machine buffer. Some may use both! They polish the surface to improve the vehicle’s shine and get it ready for protectant.

  9. Apply car wax to protect the paint. Wax gives your car an extra layer of protection that should last about a month. But if you’re serious about the look of your car and you want it to look great for as long as possible, consider ceramic coating as the next step.

As you can see, the paint correction process is long and tedious. It’s important to remember that the process outlined above doesn’t include the extra necessary steps to remove tough scratches, webbing, and swirl marks.

And while it’s not impossible to do on your own, this type of car detail is best left to the professionals.

Contact Us For Paint Correction In San Diego, Ca.

Paint correction is a process that requires multiple layers of attention to detail and patience. It also takes time, experience, and expertise. We go above and beyond and use detailing products from the top-of-the-line brands on the market, specifically for this type of work.

The process of paint correction may seem scary, but it’s really not that complicated for a professional detailer. You can do a lot to keep your car shiny on your own with some elbow grease and the right car care products. But if you want to take the look of your car to the next level, we’re here for you!

We are proud of our reputation in San Diego and we’re confident that you’ll love our auto detailing services! If you have any questions about what it takes to get perfect results on even the most challenging vehicle surface, contact us today.


bottom of page