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What is Paint Correction? (Types of Paint Defects Explained)

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

When you see the phrase “Paint Correction” we want you to understand that this is a loose term in the detailing industry. Paint correction is the process of removing paint imperfections by utilizing machine polishing to level the clear coat to where the defect are no longer existent/visible.

As a future client with the Roberts Auto Detailing team we want you to understand that paint correction is focused on the removal of paint defects like swirls, light scratches, oxidation, holograms, and RIDS (random isolated deep scratches) while preserving as much clear coat as possible.

To understand the types of defects present in the vehicle, the paint must be looked at with different lights some in particular that depict sunlight. We explain to clients quite often, once we show you a different perspective under our lights that reveal the true condition of your paint, that we are then able to refine and perfect the finish to a level that is near dripping with gloss.

Types of Defects:

Swirls/Spider Webbing

  • Swirl marks are one of the most common defects on most-to-all vehicles that come into our shop, as well as seen on the road. Swirl marks hinder your paints gloss, and reflective nature causing light to be dispersed at all angles creating a dull effect.

  • Most commonly found on vehicles where improper washing is prominent.

A 1-step to 2-step correction may be needed to remedy this issue


  • Marring is a very light “scratch” leaving a more of a haze/scuffed like finish on your paintwork. The cloudiness/marring is caused by abrasion but is too light to be considered swirl marks or as a traditional “scratch.”

A 1-step correction is likely the best fix for marring is most situations.

Micro-Marring (DA Haze)

  • Micro-marring is slightly different than marring as it is originated from using a Dual Action polisher.

  • Micro-marring will appear hazy, dull, or cloudy while the surface is defect free. Further refinement of the surface is needed to remedy this issue, whether it be through using a clean pad or stepping down to a finishing polish, as the paint may be soft and finicky.

A 1-Step Correction will remedy the issue In most situations.

Buffer Trails/Holograms

  • Holograms are generally left behind after improper use of a rotary polisher or can also be left behind from human hands. These are caused when a rotary machine moves too quickly over the paintwork or with a polisher being used without much experience, in most cases, it’s both.

  • High volume detail shops or inexperienced body shops are usually the main culprit for these types of defects. They are usually covered up with a glaze or wax, with fillers to temporary cover the defects until it wears off and looks worse than before.

Most vehicle owners are completely unaware of their existence until that layer of glaze or wax wears off and then you are left with these “designs.” Hiring a skilled detailer with quality processes is the only cure and to make sure that you do not experience these defects.

RIDS (Random Isolated Deep Scratches)

  • RIDS are scratches that are very noticeable and prominent on the surface. Most instances they show up as straight line scratches

  • In most cases this type of defect will need either a 2-step correction, wet sanding, or respray depending on the severity and deepness of the scratch.

If you run your fingernail over the surface and it catches on the scratch, that is a good indication that the scratch has penetrated through the clear coat and into the base coat/primer, needing a respray of the panel.


These are the main types of paint defects that show up during the paint correction process. Hopefully now you are more educated on the types of defects and what will be best suited to remedy them.


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