Exterior Cleaning

Do you really need a full correction before applying ceramic coating?

Fuck No. Do you want to know why? Those swirl marks in your brand new paint are not making your paint any less shiny, they are not preventing your coating from bonding to the surface, and you definitely aren’t truly sealing in anything you won’t add more stuff on top of when you take it to the hand wash or attempt to wash it at home. I hear all the time (and see detail guys post) how customers need to have a full correction if they are gonna put a ceramic coating on. This is not a requirement.

I myself used to be guilty of selling the top of the line correction package, pushing perfect paint for ceramic coating, listening and then repeating falsehoods about how swirls hide gloss and how they prevent the coating bonding to the paint. I learned pretty quick that was not true and changed my tact, however there are still many shops pushing those falsehoods. Most of you are overpaying, losing your car for longer than needed, and then messing up your correction job anyway!

Lets go over some basic questions you should ask your self before deciding whether you want to spring for the full correction, gloss enhancement or no correction at all! Many people just want protection and do not care about or even notice swirls.

A note to my professional readers: Not correcting a car fully and applying protection over a surfaced with defects does not make you a hack! It makes you a god damn business person thinking about what is gonna make you money, give your customer what they actually need vs what you want in your wallet. Protection vs protection! Check out my youtube video attached to this if you want to learn more about this.

No correction

  1. Is your car brand new?
  2. Can you see swirls in your paint? (the customer)
  3. Can you see water spots or other defects? (the customer)

If you answered yes to 1 and no to 2 and 3, you may be fine with just having a wash, decontamination and protection detail. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you can’t see swirls yet, don’t let that detail guy ruin your eyes because you’ll never unsee them and for ever be stuck spending a ton on corrections for every car you buy. You will most likely swirl your paint without noticing thereafter never being the wiser and that’s okay.

Gloss Enhancement/One step correction (50%) improvement

  1. Is your vehicle brand new?
  2. Is your vehicle 5-10 years old?
  3. Can you see swirls or defects?
  4. Is your paint looking kinda dull?
  5. Is your car a daily driver?
  6. Do you track your vehicle?

Brand new vehicles do come with swirl marks, If you can see them, its worth doing some correction, if the car is 5-10 years old its probably lost some gloss and definitely been through a lot of car washes. Its easy to swirl paint and most people (including many “professionals” cannot wash their car correctly so they swirl up their coating. If you daily your car or track it, you wash it often and it sees a lot more abuse, having a show car finish just isn’t worth it.

Do a one step correction, save some money, get protection and then come back in a few years for round 2. Paint swirls and scratches too easily even with coatings and films to worry constantly about having to wash it perfectly every time and wonder if the mechanic or dealer is handling your car right when you drop it off.

Full correction/Show Car finish

  1. Is your car a weekend driver?
  2. Do you bring your car to shows with the intention of winning trophies?
  3. Are you an OCD nut who sees every defect in the paint?
  4. Does your car mostly get dusty or does it get real dirt?
  5. Did you spend a ridiculous amount on towels and all the correct washing supplies to maintain your coating?

If you answered yes to these then you will probably see the benefit of full correction. A car that a wash is mostly getting dust off, a car that takes home trophies for perfect paint or you drive it very rarely and love it to look flawless. A car that you actually spent the money to buy everything that Wicked Auto Protection recommends for washing and maintenance.

You will almost guaranteed swirl your own paint if you wash it and the guy charging less than $50-$60 for a car wash will definitely swirl it, the guys using wash mitts or costco towels will swirl it, the duster your old man keeps in his garage will mar the crap out of it, so why pay for 100% swirl removal?

Those swirls that they claim are just in the coating, are most likely deeper than the coating, being an installer of self heal coatings that only heal scratches as thick the coating is (2-3 microns) are proof that most swirl type scratches penetrate coatings.

Most of the guys telling you that a full correction is required are either new to the game, highly uneducated on their product and on paint correction, or trying to milk you for every buck you have (especially exotic owners).

Be careful out there when shopping! There is no scientific evidence to back that you need to remove all scratches in order for a coating to bond. I barely polished my fiat 124 abarth spider before slapping a 1 year coating on it, its now been 2 years and that thing is still super hydrophobic. Know what your buying before you buy it! Get a few different opinions. The world is focused on getting rich quick, every car guy wants a supercar and were all trying to get there ASAP, but often times at the cost of the customer.

Do you really need a full correction like the detail guy says you do?

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