So, you hear the terms thrown around, I detailed this, he detailed that, he had his car corrected, he performed paint correction over 25 hours. But what does it all mean? Aren’t a detail and a paint correction the same thing?
To be honest, they are worlds apart! One is generally just a term that relates to “cleaning a car”, while the other is a couple of words describing a whole process. Lets dive into it a little bit and see if we cant get some clarification.
Detailing to me is just the basics: wash, wax, interior clean up. Clean the wheels and dress the tires and make everything look shiny and “new” without spending a ton of time on everything. No deep contamination removal from the paint, no paint defect removal, no paint revival, no coating application for real protection against the world, just the basics! The car comes in dirty, it gets washed, some protection is added, and the interior is cleaned up as much as possible. The focus on “detailing” is usually the interior as that is where people spend most of their time driving the car!
Paint correction on the other hand, well, that is where specialists take the time to address the issues with the paint, form a plan of attack on how to address those issues properly, and set out to re-level the clear coat and remove the swirl marks, holograms, oxidation, etchings, scratches, etc from the paint. Paint correction takes MUCH longer and is more labor intensive than just “detailing” and involves a lot more risk, therefore requiring more knowledge on different techniques, paints, all the while understanding the circumstances and wants of the client. With that said, if a client wants “Perfect paint” but the paint is too thin to aggressively compound/polish to remove all defects, the specialist needs to have the right business sense to explain to a client that while he too wants to give the client “perfect paint”, there is too much risk and opt for a 90% removal or a “SO MUCH BETTER” end result. I have seen it numerous times from “paint correction detailers” where they burn the paint, over thin clear coats and sand too much leaving the clients car in shinier and glossier condition, but in a premature clear coat failure state. I’ve seen it on Ferrari 458’s, BMW M5’s and Lamborghini’s. There comes a time when the client isn’t always right and its up to the specialist to have the knowledge when enough is enough and keep the integrity of the clients paint in tact rather than trying to go for 100% correction. Paint Correction is a higher degree of difficulty and requires more expertise, hence the higher price point per job. It takes more time, skill, knowledge and incurs higher product cost to perform proper correction work.
Truth be told, with an unlimited budget, every car would have full correction and coating application done to it. Reality is, not every car needs it or can safely handle it, so that’s where the “detailing” end of things comes into play.