Correction Essentials

Correction Essentials


This is where things get a bit more complicated, but don’t be scared. This may take me a while to get organized, but I’m going to try and dump what is in my brain onto this page. I’ve screwed up pretty much every way possible, so I should be able to help you skip some of the steps in the learning curve. Through all of this trial, error, and money spent, I have developed a pretty decent process for getting and keeping my paint dialed in. Below is the listing of the essential tools and products that you need to get started.

The Entire Process

Correcting Tools

You need a DA, dual-action, Polisher to get the correction done. Obviously you don’t need a $400 Rupes, but it certainly helps if you have one. To get started you could get something less expensive like a Griot’s Garage or Porter Cable.

The main advantage to one of these “long throw” machines like I have is that they save time and effort correcting or jeweling. If you have the money, they are worth every penny.

I think the necessity of buying a 3″ will depend on the type of car you have. The 3″ does give you some flexibility to hit engine covers, carbon fiber pieces, and other hard to reach areas.

I added it to the essentials list, but remember that you are never going to be able to see swirls on the underside of you mirror or the extreme lower extremities of the car.

You need to have one of these laying around at all times when polishing. You may even want to have a few of them. I use after every few passes to reactivate and make sure the pad isn’t clogged. It is especially necessary if you are compounding with microfiber.

I use these towel exclusively for polish and wax removal. Personally, I don’t worry about segregating polish from wax towels. Also, I wash these with other colored towels. I know some people get touchy about using towels for multiple purposes and wash them separately. I guess everyone has their limits.

My philosophy is simple. “If my paint isn’t getting scratched or swirled, then my process must be working.”

These are expensive but great. I use them with Collinite 845 and Menzerna Powerlock. Just be sure to use a different one for wax and sealant.

They don’t wash out. I’ll use three of four times then throw them out and get a new set. So if you are correcting/applying LSP twice a year on your car, then you are going to get two years out of each one. That’s enough for me.

You could simply use painter’s tape, but this automotive version from Scotch is on another level. If you are just getting started you may want, to pick a few sizes. I like to have all of them, so I’ve scoured Amazon to find all of the sizes. This is expensive, but you’ll see what I mean when you get some. You should tape off lights and all trim prior to polishing.

My recommendation on taping is, “If you aren’t sure, tape it.”

You may want to start with a couple of 48mm rolls. Go to the main detailing page for links to all of the different sizes.


Why do you need to remove the wax/sealant? You want clean, uncontaminated clear coat in order to polish effectively.

I use about 3 oz. of Citrus Red mixed 50/50 with a few ounces of Adam’s APC with water in my foam cannon to strip the paint of wax or sealant. This is the only Chemical Guys product I use.

Is this step really necessary? I think it is. It also depends on where you live. I would think living in a city would expose you to more iron.

Using CarPro Iron X will chemically dissolve the contaminants in the paint.

I usually follow this procedure:

Blow the car off after washing/removing the wax. This is just to get the bulk of the water off the car. Don’t stress about getting it completely dry.

Spray the entire car down with Iron X. I’ll also hit the windows. You can also use it on your wheels. Try to avoid hitting the brakes. This stuff usually smells pretty nasty, so be prepared.

I gently wipe the entire car down with a wet microfiber towel to be sure the Iron X hits the entire surface.

Let sit for five minutes. Be sure it doesn’t dry. I’m not sure what will happen, but I wouldn’t try it.

Rinse the car off well.

What about a clay bar? Essentially this replaces the need for clay. It’s cleaner, faster, about 95% as effective, and costs a lot less in the long run.

If you keep your paint in good shape you shouldn’t need the medium version of the AutoScrub. It can mar the paint as it’s a bit more aggressive. The reason I have the regular version is that the fine version wasn’t available.
I have the 6″ foam pad. They don’t make a 3.”

This foam sponge is super useful. I’d highly recommend you get one to get the mirrors and other hard to reach areas.

This is a concentrated solution. You can do like 5 or 6 cars with one bottle, so there is no need to stock up. It tells you how much to dilute on the side. It doesn’t smell as good as Adam’s detail spray, but it costs a lot less to use when decontaminating the car.

Correction of Swirls and Scratches

This is much simpler than you think.

  1. Put this pad on your DA polisher.
  2. Butter the pad with some Menzerna FG400.
  3. Spread in a roughly 2′ X 2′ section on speed 4.
  4. Dial up to speed 6 and make successive cross-hatch passes. I usually make 6-8.
  5. Wipe the polish off immediately.
  6. Check your results.

Remember, this is a compounding polish. It removes some paint in order to correct the imperfections. Assuming you don’t have a need to compound your car like 15 times, it’s should be okay to remove some paint in order to fix it. I don’t have any formal training. Trial and error was the key in my learning curve.

Single Step Correction/Finishing

Most of the time this is the simplest and best solution. For instance, it was all my F80 M3 needed when new. When I say single step I’m referring to using a pad like the Rupes green with a finishing polish SF4000.

  • 4 inch: fits 3″ backing plate for LHR75E
  • 7 inch: fits 6″ inch backing plate for LHR21ES

This is just a bit more aggressive than SF4500 that I would usually use for finishing. It finishes very nicely even with a stiffer polishing pad.

Jeweling or Finishing Polish

I would traditionally use Meznzerna SF4500 with a white pad to jewel or finish. Usually I take good enough car of my cars’ paint to only need a finishing polish after decon. You would also use this combo following use of FG400 and compounding.

  • 4 inch: fits 3″ backing plate for LHR75E
  • 7 inch: fits 6″ inch backing plate for LHR21ES

This is the finishing polish that I use if the paint is already dialed-in or following a compound like FG400. I use this with a Rupes White Foam Pad.

Last Step Product (LSP)

I always wash the car after polishing and then wipe down with IPA or buy the more expensive CarPro Eraser. Make a solution with 20% IPA and water, spray down a panel at a time, and wipe with a clean MicrofiberTech Green towel to remove any remaining polish residue.

Remember the paint is unprotected, so be careful not to mess up the corrected paint.

Simple as that. I’m telling you, this $18 wax is no joke. I put one layer on, let cure over night, and add another the next day. Usually what happens is it will “sweat” about a week later. You’ll notice the paint hazing over. Just wash, wipe it down, and you’ll get many months of protection.

Power Lock is a sealant. Apply using the a hex grip applicator, let sit until it hazes, the wipe off. I suggest letting it cure for three hours or so.

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