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Will Paint Correction Remove Scratches?

Updated: Feb 9

How Can Paint Correction Fix Scratches?

Auto paint should look uniform throughout and create a bright luster when light shines on it. Most vehicles have excellent paint when they leave the factory and are offered for sale as new cars. But the wear and tear of normal road usage are bound to cause some imperfections.

Discolored spots, minor scratches and other imperfections cause many car owners to wonder: How can paint correction fix scratches and other imperfections? The short answer is through experience, the right tools and some hard work. The longer answer depends on the types of imperfections and what it takes to correct them.

Three Stages of Paint Imperfections


Paint Correction Remove Scratches

For general paint correction, the three stages of correction are:

  • Stage one, which corrects subtle imperfections that smooths out a painted surface.

  • Stage two, which corrects swirl marks and very light scratches on the clear coat.

  • Stage three, which corrects scratches and deeper swirl marks.

Stage One Materials and Paint Correction Techniques

Paint overspray, mild swirl marks and very minor scuffs are common types of very minor imperfections that a state one paint correction could fix. The technician usually uses a combination of polishes to restore a uniform finish. Polish and elbow grease are the key ingredients to a stage one paint correction.

The technician can use a finishing polish and pad to work out the minor imperfections and create a smooth and uniform painted surface. Once that is done, wax and sealer completes the job, which generally takes about four hours to complete.


Stage Two Materials and Paint Correction Techniques

More prominent swirl marks and minor scratches in clear coat or the top coat of paint require a bit more work. The answer to the question regarding if paint correction fixes scratches lies within the scratch itself. If the scratch is too deep, it likely needs new paint. But when the scratches are light, a stage two correction could fix it in many cases.

Stage two uses two sets of pads and polishes. The first pad and polish are very mildly abrasive and cut through the imperfection with a very patient application of the rubbing compound. Once the imperfections are removed, the second combination of pad and polish restore the shine to the painted surface.

A stage two paint correction could take up to eight hours to complete properly. Once done, the final coats and wax and sealer will help to protect the perfect paint.

Stage Three Materials and Paint Correction Techniques

The method that helps paint correction remove scratches mostly relies on wet sanding with very fine sandpaper to remove surface scratches. Wet sanding involves wetting the sandpaper and surface to be sanded and carefully leveling off the painted surface until the scratch is removed.

When the worst of the scratches are wet sanded away, a buffer and polishing compound with a mild abrasive can help to smooth out the paint while removing any remaining imperfections. It is important to use the correct pads, polish and pressure when buffing the paint to prevent cutting through it and making the paint worse instead of better.

If the scratch runs too deep, the stage three paint correction will not work. In such cases, you need to have an auto body technician prep the panel and apply new paint. A proper stage three paint correction could take up to 12 hours to do properly.

Experience and Patience Produce the Best Results

The quality of the paint correction always depends mostly on the skills and experience of the technician who is doing the work. The best paint correction services ensure the technicians are properly trained and have the experience needed to do the job right.

An apprentice might accompany a technician to learn how to use the tools of the trade and properly judge the stages of paint correction needed for particular jobs. Once the apprentice has gained the experience and skills needed to do quality work, then that person can do paint correction work, too.

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