3 step paint correction

Messages
199
Location
Chicago, IL
I am planning on getting a 3 step paint correction and buffing the piano black B-Pillar to get rid of swirl marks/Scratches on two of my cars. I have a silver 2009 BMW (waxed and clayed at least twice a year and garage kept) that was "paint corrected" almost 1.5 years ago. I paid the guy $200. Brought the car home the same day, direct sunlight hit the paint and I still saw the swirl marks. Then I have a 2018 Mercedes E-class in a very rate brown color(waxed a few months ago and garage kept since I brought it) that I brought from the dealership last year. Of course, it was ran through the dealership wash since the car washes are free. I am planning on getting both cars paint corrected, getting the gloss black B-pillar trim buffed and for the Mercedes, the rosewood gloss wood trim buffed along with the piano black center console trim. I have a few concerns before I go ahead and have both the cars paint corrected. First is, the guy is charging me $45/hr to do the work. He said it'll take him somewhere between 9 hours or less to do each car. Is that enough time to do the job? The second thing that most worries me is, I was reading online and some articles were saying that paint correction removes a layer of the clear coat. Down the road, will I have issues with the clear coat peeling? Is there any other type of wax or sealant I'll have to apply after the car is paint corrected? The guy that's doing the job said he'll be applying a sealant that should last 1 year. Will I have to do any clay bar and waxing after? The last thing I am worried about is the swirl marks returning after 6 months. I don't want to pay the guy $800-$900 to paint correct both cars then find out the swirl marks are back. What would you guys suggest?
 
Messages
25,126
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
IMO I would find a new detailer, if you are leaving swirl marks you are not doing the job properly. Yes every time you "correct" you are removing material be it clear coat or paint in the case of single stage. It would probably burn through to the base coat before it peeled. When I buff a panel or car after painting and sanding and using rubbing compound on the rotary buffer I use a 3M product to remove any swirls.

You can eliminate the swirls using an orbital buffer with a no cut pad (very soft) and this...


For rotary machines but you can use it with a orbital if you keep it moist as you are working it, usually by wetting the pad.


Run the machine slow and keep it moving with a light touch, if after a few passes leave any that may remain because those are scratches not light compound swirls.
When I want to do a show car finish it takes about an 30 min to an hour at minimum per panel and longer for big panels like a hood depending on how much work is needed, stuff like orange peel can really take time.
I am not a detailer but paint and refinish a lot.
 
Last edited:

mosaud1998

Thread starter
Messages
199
Location
Chicago, IL
IMO I would find a new detailer, if you are leaving swirl marks you are not doing the job properly. Yes every time you "correct" you are removing material be it clear coat or paint in the case of single stage. It would probably burn through to the base coat before it peeled. When I buff a panel or car after painting and sanding and using rubbing compound on the rotary buffer I use a 3M product to remove any swirls.

You can eliminate the swirls using an orbital buffer with a no cut pad (very soft) and this...


For rotary machines but you can use it with a orbital if you keep it moist as you are working it, usually by wetting the pad.


Run the machine slow and keep it moving with a light touch, if after a few passes leave any that may remain because those are scratches not light compound swirls.
When I want to do a show car finish it takes about an 30 min to an hour at minimum per panel and longer for big panels like a hood depending on how much work is needed, stuff like orange peel can really take time.
I am not a detailer but paint and refinish a lot.
I haven't gone back to that detailer ever since. I hand wax my cars. I never used a buffer. I am afraid I'll burn the paint. The only thing I am afraid of is how thin the clear coat might become after a 3 step paint correction and how quickly the swirl marks can return. I always wash both cars using the two buckst wash method. Never notice anything from the grit guard water.
 
Messages
25,126
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
You can use the product in the first link lightly by hand safely. Do not press down in one spot just go over the entire area lightly a couple of times and buff with a microfiber.
If I am selling the car I may machine buff it but normally not, when you remove scratches you are doing nothing to the scratch but taking of the surrounding coating to match the depth of the scratch. If its a daily driver IMO it is better to live with minor stuff and keep the paint on the car.
 

mosaud1998

Thread starter
Messages
199
Location
Chicago, IL
You can use the product in the first link lightly by hand safely. Do not press down in one spot just go over the entire area lightly a couple of times and buff with a microfiber.
If I am selling the car I may machine buff it but normally not, when you remove scratches you are doing nothing to the scratch but taking of the surrounding coating to match the depth of the scratch. If its a daily driver IMO it is better to live with minor stuff and keep the paint on the car.
Eh, the BMW was a daily driver somewhat until the pandemic. The Mercedes hardy gets driven.
 
Messages
183
Location
Iowa
polishing a car a couple of times won't remove your clear coat...but yes, the very act of polishing paint means removing some of the material to level it out. Your swirl marks won't just 'come back' after a certain period of time. Swirl marks are minute scratches in the paint due to improper washing or drying of the paint. All cars will eventually get some swirl marks (more noticeable on dark cars) but you can minimize them by practicing proper washing and drying. Do a search for youtube videos on proper washing and drying...tons of info out there.
 
Messages
7,720
Location
North Carolina
A good detailer will take paint depth readings from multiple points on every panel before correction. The information should be discussed with you and any defects that are too deep to be safely removed should be pointed out.

If you are going through the trouble of having a full paint correction done, I would pay the extra and have a quality ceramic coating applied.

$45/hr is cheap.
 
Messages
880
Location
PR CA, USA
I’ve only had 1 paint correction done. It wasn’t cheap, I think $500 or more but when done there wasn’t one scratch or swirl anywhere. I’m still nervous washing it. Once it’s perfect everything will bother you.
 

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Messages
25,126
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
I am planning on getting a 3 step paint correction and buffing the piano black B-Pillar to get rid of swirl marks/Scratches on two of my cars. I have a silver 2009 BMW (waxed and clayed at least twice a year and garage kept) that was "paint corrected" almost 1.5 years ago. I paid the guy $200. Brought the car home the same day, direct sunlight hit the paint and I still saw the swirl marks. Then I have a 2018 Mercedes E-class in a very rate brown color(waxed a few months ago and garage kept since I brought it) that I brought from the dealership last year. Of course, it was ran through the dealership wash since the car washes are free. I am planning on getting both cars paint corrected, getting the gloss black B-pillar trim buffed and for the Mercedes, the rosewood gloss wood trim buffed along with the piano black center console trim. I have a few concerns before I go ahead and have both the cars paint corrected. First is, the guy is charging me $45/hr to do the work. He said it'll take him somewhere between 9 hours or less to do each car. Is that enough time to do the job? The second thing that most worries me is, I was reading online and some articles were saying that paint correction removes a layer of the clear coat. Down the road, will I have issues with the clear coat peeling? Is there any other type of wax or sealant I'll have to apply after the car is paint corrected? The guy that's doing the job said he'll be applying a sealant that should last 1 year. Will I have to do any clay bar and waxing after? The last thing I am worried about is the swirl marks returning after 6 months. I don't want to pay the guy $800-$900 to paint correct both cars then find out the swirl marks are back. What would you guys suggest?

I looked at one of these last night, I dont believe the black paint is clear coated on the B pillar. You have to be extra careful with this black paint, hand only.
 
Messages
633
Location
Phladelphia
Adding more thoughts here, you need to decide what you want to achieve with your paint and what you are willing to accept.

First up, ANY paint correction is going to remove clearcoat. The key is you want to use a product and process that removes the minimum amount necessary while getting the results you want.

A 3 step correction is usually a show car correction - compound, polish and wax (or other last step product like sealant or ceramic coating) - to remove as many imperfections as possible.

Even if you managed to not put any swirls in your 100% corrected 3 step corrected paint, you will still have a build up of road film/dirt/etc since this is a daily driver that sees weather. This road film will slowly diminish the shine you see. Yes you can clay it but then you are reintroducing swirls and marring. You can rewax that but won't remove any of the swirls. So if your current clay and wax process is really a cleaner wax, you are removing clear coat to remove the marring you had from the clay.

This is also all predicated that you are washing your vehicle in a way where you are not introducing more swirls, so no drive through car wash.

Lastly, clearcoats get thinner over time due to sun and uv exposure. Read a stat that something like 50% of a clearcoat is gone in 5-7 years due to sun exposure.

Your best best is an all-in-one one step correction that has compound/polish/last step product in 1 step. Blackfire All In One is one product. Dr Beasley just came out with an All in One that is a ceramic coating.

Call Ivan, see what he says. The other suggestion is to learn how to do it yourself. I took the Autogeek roadshow class and it was amazing.
 

mosaud1998

Thread starter
Messages
199
Location
Chicago, IL
Adding more thoughts here, you need to decide what you want to achieve with your paint and what you are willing to accept.

First up, ANY paint correction is going to remove clearcoat. The key is you want to use a product and process that removes the minimum amount necessary while getting the results you want.

A 3 step correction is usually a show car correction - compound, polish and wax (or other last step product like sealant or ceramic coating) - to remove as many imperfections as possible.

Even if you managed to not put any swirls in your 100% corrected 3 step corrected paint, you will still have a build up of road film/dirt/etc since this is a daily driver that sees weather. This road film will slowly diminish the shine you see. Yes you can clay it but then you are reintroducing swirls and marring. You can rewax that but won't remove any of the swirls. So if your current clay and wax process is really a cleaner wax, you are removing clear coat to remove the marring you had from the clay.

This is also all predicated that you are washing your vehicle in a way where you are not introducing more swirls, so no drive through car wash.

Lastly, clearcoats get thinner over time due to sun and uv exposure. Read a stat that something like 50% of a clearcoat is gone in 5-7 years due to sun exposure.

Your best best is an all-in-one one step correction that has compound/polish/last step product in 1 step. Blackfire All In One is one product. Dr Beasley just came out with an All in One that is a ceramic coating.

Call Ivan, see what he says. The other suggestion is to learn how to do it yourself. I took the Autogeek roadshow class and it was amazing.
I’ve been using Meguiars 3 in 1 wax lately. On the BMW, you can’t really see the swirl marks until the sun legit shines on it. The Mercedes since it’s a darker color, you can see swirl marks regardless. I really want to get the swirl marks removed in both cars. But, The only car I’d actually get a paint correction on and maybe just maybe a ceramic coating would be the Mercedes since it isn’t driven much and sits in the garage majority of the time and it’s a darker color so swirl marks show up more. The BMW it’s silver can’t really see swirl marks plus it’s 12 years old almost and gets driven daily (only about 16 miles a day two way). So, a normal wax and wash on the bmw would be better IMO. Who’s name should I mention when I ask to speak to Ivan? That way I don’t sound random or weird 😂
 
Messages
4,232
Location
Kansas
IMO I would find a new detailer, if you are leaving swirl marks you are not doing the job properly. Yes every time you "correct" you are removing material be it clear coat or paint in the case of single stage. It would probably burn through to the base coat before it peeled. When I buff a panel or car after painting and sanding and using rubbing compound on the rotary buffer I use a 3M product to remove any swirls.

You can eliminate the swirls using an orbital buffer with a no cut pad (very soft) and this...


For rotary machines but you can use it with a orbital if you keep it moist as you are working it, usually by wetting the pad.


Run the machine slow and keep it moving with a light touch, if after a few passes leave any that may remain because those are scratches not light compound swirls.
When I want to do a show car finish it takes about an 30 min to an hour at minimum per panel and longer for big panels like a hood depending on how much work is needed, stuff like orange peel can really take time.
I am not a detailer but paint and refinish a lot.
Admire your honesty and willingness to do the best of your ability mentality. I never do the best job usually but I always strive to do the best that I can. Thanks for sharing this with us.
 

mosaud1998

Thread starter
Messages
199
Location
Chicago, IL
I’ve only had 1 paint correction done. It wasn’t cheap, I think $500 or more but when done there wasn’t one scratch or swirl anywhere. I’m still nervous washing it. Once it’s perfect everything will bother you.
You have a valid point. Once the car all scratch-free/swirl, I probably won't want to wash it myself 😅 in fear the swirls will come back.
 
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