The 3-stage paint correction is a time-tried and tested method of removing defects from a painted surfaces. The 3 stages ensures efficient and thorough defect removal, and removes the chance of hologramming (machine induced swirl marks). The 3 stages refer to 3 separate stages of paint machining. We do not factor preparation. nor the final protection into these 3 stages. This is what makes this process a true 3-Stage Paint Correction.
Before any paint correction, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the paint. Any contamination left behind may cause swirl marks during the buffing process. First, we usually use a chemical to strip the loose dirt and debris from the paint, via foam cannon. We then proceed to perform a very careful two bucket hand wash. The vehicle is then purged with compressed air, then dried with a premium microfiber towel. Next, we assess the level of contamination, and use the according grade of claybar. The claybar step in preparation removes stubborn contaminants that have adhered in the paint. The vehicle is then rewashed via touchless method, then purged and dried. We proceed to apply masking tape to any sensitive areas such as trim pieces, and emblems. The vehicle's paint is now ready to be assessed and machined.
Depending on the level of defects, we will use one of two types of machines: a rotary or dual action polisher. Rotary machines are used to remove heavy defects such as deep scratches and swirl marks. A dual action polisher can be used to remove mild to moderate defects. Each respective machine is usually paired with a heavy cut foam or wool pad in this step. Usually, we use a heavy cut compound in this step, depending on paint condition.
We proceed to work a small area, and monitor improvement of paint clarity(commonly known as a test section). Once desired result is achieved, we proceed to cut the entire vehicle, working one small section at a time. During this step, it is common that the vehicle will get dusty from the “cutting action”. After the cut is complete, the vehicle is washed via touchless method, then purged and dried.
Now is the time to apply any necessary paint touch ups on stone chips etc.
In this step, the goal is to bring the paint as close to perfection as possible. The more thoroughly this step is performed, the easier the last step will be. This step is usually performed with a dual action polisher paired with a medium cut pad & compound or polish. We work a small section at a time to confirm proper pad and compound selection. Once desired results are achieved on the test section, we continue to refine the rest of the panels. If the vehicle gets dusty during this step, proceed to rewash.
In this step, we polish or “jewel” the paint. This is done in order to improve the gloss and clarity of the paint. We use a finishing foam pad with a fine polish, paired with a dual action polisher, working a panel at a time. After the final polish is complete, we then reinspect the paint, ensuring no polishing residue remains. This will result in what is known as your "Last Stage Product" , or LSP for short.
In this stage, we attempt to put a form of protection on your freshly corrected paint. These range from 30 day protection sealants, to 5 year ceramic coatings. Depending on customer needs, and budget, we proceed to apply protection to all exterior painted panels. After the protection is applied, the vehicle is then pulled outside for a thorough inspection. Depending on the sealant, the vehicle may have to be kept indoors for the coating to cure.
The vehicle is now ready for pickup!
Total work time can vary from 8 hours to 30+ hours, depending on paint condition. The 3-stage process usually brings your paint to 95% it's full potential. This process can vary!
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