What Is Paint Enhancement?

Paint enhancement, also known as paint correction, polishing, compounding, buffing, cutting and buffing – and more broadly, as a subset of auto detailing, is the process of removing swirls, scratches, holograms, marring, and other defects from your vehicle’s clear coat (paint) using various chemicals and a machine polisher.

Wow, that's a lot!

We mention all of these terms because they are frequently used interchangeably to mean generally the same thing – restoring your paint to as close to as possible, or better than, factory condition. 

Even brand new vehicles off of the lot will often have imperfections in the paint. Some, like we discussed in another question and answer, are actual paint or body defects from the factory (we have seen painted over fuzz, bubbling, denting, dinging, scratching, lack of paint – you name it). Other issues usually revolve around improper washing techniques at the dealership, or people rubbing up against and scratching the paint (especially if the vehicle is kept in a high-traffic area, such as the dealership showroom). 

For people not buying a vehicle brand new, or perhaps they have owned their car for a short while, this is usually needed after some time of washing, and having the vehicle being exposed to the elements. Over time, vehicles will get scuffed and scratched, and the shiny new paint is now duller and swirled paint.

So what is it?

Paint enhancement is most commonly used in auto detailing to restore the shine of the paint using (typically) a machine polisher, polishing pads, and either polish or compound and polish. Compound and polish are both gritty substances that clean the surfaces by abrading the surface, even if ever-so-slightly. Think of it like toothpaste – toothpaste is a gritty substance that cleans your teeth and makes them shine in a much similar manner. 

Compound is a heavier grit substance, and polish is finer. They are often used interchangeably, but sometimes just one, or both, or more than one type of each is needed.

You can polish some things by hand, but larger defects will require a machine. We primarily use Flex cordless polishers at Harker Heights Ceramic Coatings. Other brands you might have heard about are Rupes, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, and more. 

We use these machines, polishing/cutting pads, and product (compound/polish) to reduce or eliminate scratches, swirls, and other defects, and return your car or truck to its original (or near original) shine.

What is it not?

Sometimes, when clients see “paint correction” listed as a service, they assume it is the process of fixing rock chips, dings, dents, hail damage, or altogether repainting. Unfortunately, we do not perform any of those services. 

Can paint enhancement remove all defects? How does it work?

We have a more in-depth answer in another question and answer, but the answer is really – it depends. It depends on the depth of the defect/scratch/swirl, how much clear coat is left that we can polish/compound, and a lot of other factors.

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