Why do rock chips become more evident after polishing?

There are two primary reasons that rock chips become more obvious after we have conducted paint enhancement/paint correction.

  1. Polish or compound stuck in the edges of the chip, showing white, making the chip more obvious. We can assure you that this is never the case with Harker Heights Ceramic Coatings. Of course, we aren’t infallible humans, but we wipe panels down with what is called a surface prep spray or surface prep solvent. This is a more effective method than using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) that you see recommended online. Surface prep spray, such as what we use from Americana Global or Meguiar’s M122, is specifically designed to remove these particles prior to applying a ceramic coating to ensure the surface is optimal. 


  1. The most likely reason rock chips are more visible after a polish is really the removal of an optical illusion. With scratches, scuffs, and other imperfections out of the way, the only thing remaining for your eye to focus on are rock chips and other permanent damage (gouge marks, etc). In 15 years we have never caused damage or increased the size of a rock chip by polishing over it. It’s just not common. Typically, we find that clients (and ourselves) notice imperfections more when the surrounding areas are improved. For the occasional larger chip, this can be an easy fix of some touch-up paint later on. However, when the bumper is what we call “sandblasted,” or tons of tiny little chips mixed in with bigger chips, it’s going to be nearly impossible to fix without repainting the panel. You can see an example of this in one of our clear bra videos about when the best time is to install clear bra. You can see that video here:

In this case, upon further inspection (after we had finished filming), we advised the client not to have the bumper clear bra installed. There were just too many sandblasted areas. 

Eventually, almost every car will end up with that sandblasted look (especially those that sit low to the ground, or in the case of a client we have in the shop that commutes from Belton to Waco every day, even with 6600 miles, already has it. The only solution is clear bra, and clear bra fast after you take delivery of your vehicle! 

Many clients don’t even feel comfortable driving their vehicle from Austin up to Killeen, and prefer to take advantage of our partnership with Detail Driven Transporters to get vehicles transported up while the vehicle is unprotected.

While this is an article about polishing, it’s important to note that clear bra early on can eliminate the concern of any rock chips, polishing, or appearance of rock chips after paint enhancement/paint correction before ceramic coating.

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