Introduction to Paint Correction

Paint Correction is a buzzword and hot topic in the auto detailing industry, and drives a high price tag to match its exceptional results. However, in our opinion the term has an allure that causes a bit of confusion to what exactly it is, and why it's so expensive. Ask 5 different detailers what a paint correction is and what it should include, and you will probably get 5 different answer. The only thing all 5 car detailers will know is that the service sells well and you can get away with charging more for it than you can for say a "really good polishing service" which might be a more accurate description.

How Paint Correction Works

Paint Correction is not the same thing as a paint job. Adding paint, fillers, or any body work to the car is not part of the service or our process. For the same reason you wouldn't want your foot doctor giving you lasik eye surgery, you don't want you car detailer to be doing you body work. Paint correction is really a multi stage polishing process that sometimes includes a very light wet sanding in more extreme cases. Even cars purchased straight from the dealership or just unwrapped from the factory often times have a significant amount of paint defects. Cars that have been sitting in the dealership lot have often been washed dozens of times, and with very poor equipment and technique, causing swirl mark nightmares. (This is the important of having a quality hand washing service). Cars from the factory still even have defects like fish eyes, orange peel, drips, and other clear coat defects that hinder the car from having a perfect reflection. Ultra high end car brands like Rolls Royce might be one of the few exceptions to the rule. Ordinary cars like Subaru, Honda, and even BMW or Mercedes experience paint issues like this pretty commonly. This is where paint correction comes into play. Since not every paint job is made equal, and not all require the same amount of paint correction, we price our paint corrections based on the number of stages we need to perform in order to get flawless results.

Is Paint Correction Safe?

If you choose a qualified and well trained auto detailer, then paint correction is absolutely safe. If you go for the cheapest detailer on the market and take the risk, paint correction is absolutely capable of burning through your paint job. An unskilled detailer, or one who is just negligent can burn through you clear coat fairly easily, causing permanent damage. San Diego Select Car Detailing has many years in the car detailing business and has never burned a single clear coat to date. You can check our reviews if you don't believe it! We have nothing to hide. We have been delivered perfect customer satisfaction auto detailing, paint correction, and ceramic coating for many year throughout San Diego, from Encinitas to Chula Vista. It is also important to use a paint depth gauge before beginning a paint correction just to make sure the clear coat is thick enough in all areas, this is much more important with older vehicles that may have been polished many times prior. With Tesla vehicles, it is recommended never to use more than a 1 step polish because of the thin clear coat that comes from the factory. We advise against ever having paint correction for Tesla, and would recommend a very fine polish and applying a ceramic coating immediately after purchase.

Paint Correction Vs. Polishing

Paint Correction and polishing are essentially two different levels of the same service - both use similar equipment, chemicals, and technique. Polishing usually refers to only a single stage polish, where Paint Correction is essentially many passes over the paintwork starting with a light wet sanding in the most severe cases, progressively moving up to an ultra fine finishing polish to bring back the perfect gloss. Paint Correction is almost always a 2-4 stage process depending on the condition of the paint. The less aggressive the approach you can use, the better for your paint health in the long run. A 1 step machine polish is usually just used to dramatically enhance the gloss of the paint, not really to remove and true scratches, where paint correction is effective for removing any scratches that haven't penetrated through the clear coat. we estimate a 1 step polish removes around 50-60% of defects from the paint, where a true paint correction can remove 95-99% of defects from the clear coat. Lastly, a polish can be performed mobile out in the field, but a true paint correction requires optimal lighting conditions, and an indoor environment.

The Truth About "Paint Correction"

One of the main issues with paint correction, is that it's only as good as the paint protection that is applied afterwards and the care which the vehicle is washed following the correction. This is something that detailers avoid talking about altogether. The question you should be asking before purchasing a paint correction is, "What type of protection will you be applying afterwards?" A paint correction technically only refers to the polishing and removal of scratches, it does not imply added protection afterwards. This means your paint will be left uncoated, unwaxed, unprotected and vulnerable. With all our paint corrections we include a 12 month machine applied ceramic based paint sealant. Don't get confused, this is not a true ceramic coating. In truth, at San Diego Select Detailing, we don't do a lot of paint corrections. That is because a paint correction is really just the preparation stage before a ceramic coating application. From a cost perspective the ceramic coating isn't a big jump in price, and is the best way to seal in your new perfect paint job for many years to come. Ceramic Coatings actually increase the hardness of your clear coat making them more resistant to swirl marks in the future. But the best possible care for your fresh paint is a mobile maintenance washing membership from san diego select detailing to ensure the absolute minimum swirl marks from washing.

Is Paint Correction Worth The Money?

If you loved your vehicle, and want to have the shiniest car in your neighborhood, or if you are a car collector looking for a showroom shine - paint correction is worth the money. If you are planning to take your car through a drive through car wash after, don't even consider a paint correction. Paint corrections are only as good as the aftercare. In our opinion, a paint correction without ceramic coating doesn't make a lot of sense - but totally depends on your situation and budget.

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Verified Google Reviews

EXCELLENT SERVICE! Will at San Diego Select Detailing did a full service on my Chevy truck and everything came out awesome! Exterior, Wheels, Interior seat shampoo, dashboard, lights, etc! Amazing service and super cool guy! Would recommend his services to everyone!

Nick Powell

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These guys brought my Range Rover back to life.  Scratches i didnt think would come out.  Looks great.  Lots of people do 'mobile detailing' which is a glorified car wash.  These guys are on their game w paint correction and scratch removal which is what i needed.  Will definitely use them again.

vito arminio

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Wow, just wow! I brought my 2008 Ford Escape to Will for an auto detailing, cleaning and full exterior shine and wax and let me tell you my Ford needed some serious TLC. I left the Escape in Will hands and didn't really have any expectation on how well it was going to turn out. Much to my surprise my car looks better than ever! Actually it looks brand new. The interior is back to when I first bought it. It smells fresh and clean and the seats look like they were just taken from the factory. The seats no longer have blemishes or stains, all the dirt and grit is gone from all the nooks and crannies that have built up over time! The outside of the car shines bright! I can't thank Will enough for the tremendous job he did! My warhorse of a vehicle is ready for battle again! Thank you, Will. I'm thrilled about the job you did and would recommend your services to anyone looking to bring life back into their vehicle inside and out! Cheers, keep up the great work!

David Goshgarian

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Will did an amazing job detailing my car! He meticulously cleaned it inside and out and made it look brand new. He even went above and beyond with cleaning the interior and coating the exterior with a protective sealant. I appreciate him being flexible and professional. This is the best car detail company I’ve dealt with. I highly recommend them!

Phillip Walters

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I’ve used San Diego Select Car Detailing for the second time, and their service continues to amaze me. They are convenient and flexible in scheduling which I need. They have everything they need, making the process smooth and hassle-free. The work they do is exceptional; my car came out looking showroom-new. Their Full Detail service is a testament to their commitment to quality, with every inch of my car meticulously cleaned and polished.The team’s professionalism and attention to detail really stand out. They treat your car with great care, ensuring the best possible cleaning and protection. It’s clear they take pride in their work, which is reflected in the fantastic results. For anyone in San Diego looking for top-notch car detailing, San Diego Select Car Detailing is my go-to recommendation. The quality of their service has consistently left my car looking its best.

Jonathan Marden

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Great guys to work with. Got an interior detail and headlight restoration with them first. The results were phenomenal and there are now my go to people for detailing. Just recently got a paint correction due to discoloration on my hood and a fair amount of scratches. I was amazed with how glossy the paint looked. The discoloration is completely gone and the paint seems fully restored. Would recommend them to anyone.

Kobuk Van Houten

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So stoked to write this review for Will and San Diego Select Detailing! I originally inquired about their Paint Correction service through their website and received a text later the same day with their availability and pricing. Will answered all of my questions and was awesome when it came to coordinating a work space. Before getting started, Will and I walked around the car together and talked about my specific needs and wants. He clearly strives to provide a customized, ultra-professional experience for each of his customers and was great at setting expectations and explaining his process. My car looks incredible and I am so impressed with his artisan-like care and attention to detail. My wife and I couldn’t believe how great the paint looked after a Paint Correction service with Will. Will is very personable, extremely detail oriented and passionate about his work. I would HIGHLY recommend him to anyone looking for a quality Paint Correction or auto detailing service!

Kevin Craig

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I’ve been using San Diego Select Detailing for a few years now simply because they are AMAZING! My truck looks good as new after every visit.I’m a professional dog trainer, so you can imagine how much dog hair gets accumulated after a while. And of course there will be the occasional potty accident.San Diego Select Detail will not only wash my seats, but they use a treatment to disinfect and get the smell out.There’s no other detail company I can trust to give me the exceptional service I get with San Diego Select.

Carolina Don

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Detail My Car?

Perfection & Protection.

Frustrated with everything that the car wash leaves behind?
Does your paint not shine like it used to?
In love with your car and want to preserve your investment for the long term?

That is why we are here. Not only do we leave you with flawless results, but we make sure that your paint, leather, and other materials are protected for years to come. We will treat your car (and you) like one of our own.

Do I need a "Shampoo Treatment"?

The shampoo and hot water extraction is the best possible care for your FABRIC seats.

We will bathe your seats in thick foam shampoo, agitate it with a fabric brush attachment on a drill, and then extract all the grime, dirt, stains and contaminant from the seats with hot water at 210ºF.If your seats need a refresh, this is as good as it gets. Because the service takes 45 minutes on average, and only a small percent of vehicles need it we charge extra for it. Don't worry - its only $50 extra. Totally worth it.

Will My Scratch "Buff Out"?

Do you have any little scrapes and scratches that bother you?

We can handle it.. to an extent. We are polishing experts - so if the scratch isn't too deep, we can get it out. Ever heard of "The Fingernail Test", this is a great way to know if your scratches are fixable. If you feel the scratch will your fingernail and you can feel a groove in the paint, it it probably a little bit too deep ~in the sections where the groove is~

What is a "Clay Bar"?

A clay bar is exactly what it sounds like, a little ball of malleable puddy.

This is used in the decontamination phase of the detail to prepare your paint for protection.

Every exterior detail has 3 phases: 1. Wash 2. Decontaminate 3. Protect.The decontamination stage is responsible for removing from the paint everything that doesn't come off from the wash.

Remember when you bought your car and the paint was smooth to the touch? That is the goal of this stage. Remove all the crusty junk that is stuck to you paint. This way, when we apply sealant (protection) to your paint it will adhere to the paint itself, rather than the junk sitting on the surface. This will give the sealant its longest possible useful life.

Why "Wax" My Car?

For the same reason that you get an oil change. Engines are expensive to replace (8-15K) so we take good care of them. So is your paint - the average paint job costing around $5,000. If you don't protect your paint with some type of ceramic, wax, or sealant, your paint WILL fail.

In San Diego, our biggest enemy is the sun, or the salt if you live near the beach. Next time you are in a big parking lot, look around at the hoods of the vehicles. You will notice around 1/6 vehicles have completely delaminated clear coat.

That means the paint looks like dead skin on the surface and you could peel it off with you fingers. Not pretty. There is a simple solution to ensure your vehicle never ends up like this. Exterior Detailing. Bonus points for a ceramic coating with is the best protection possible.

Difference Between "MINI DETAIL" and "FULL DETAIL"?

In all honesty, we don't love doing "Mini Details"... That's because they aren't perfect.

If you have the budget for a "Full Detail", we will always try and push you that way. The biggest difference is one thing - TIME.

Since we know full detailing service is a little too pricey for some customer, we have decided to offer a cheaper service - the downside is that we have to compromise on quality as a result. In our experience, it takes 3.5-4 hours per car to deliver flawless results to our customers.

Full Details are guaranteed satisfaction. If we miss anything, or you aren't satisfied with the results, we will be back for a free touch up ASAP. To compensate for the lower price, The "Mini Detail" compresses a 4 hour service into a 2 hour service. Yes, this means we have to cut some corner and cannot guarantee perfection the way we do with our "Full Detail" service.