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Detailing and Paint Correction Basics

The truth is there are many layers to auto detailing and hundreds of products and dozens of techniques that can be used to achieve a wide variety of results. Check out my site at for full information.

Most of my clients aren’t interested in a deep dive into that. They just want to know what their options are to get the results they desire.

In an effort to make sense of this in a simple summary form, I’m sharing the basics here:

Exterior paint for modern cars has 3 layers. Primer, Base color, and Clearcoat.

Most of the light scratches, swirls, and holograms you see on your car are in the top clearcoat layer and can be removed or “corrected” with a process that ranges from a surface polishing to a deeper compounding. Both of those basically smooth out the clearcoat by shaving off the damaged portion.

Deeper scratches can be through the clearcoat into the base color coat and in some cases through the base coat into the primer or all the way to the substrate. Those require a different process that depends on their depth and in some cases are best left to the pros at your local body shop.

I can assess this situation for you with a physical walkaround and provide you with a document that defines the condition and gives you a written estimate to address your particular issues.