Come correct!

Project "Road Warrior" gets a paint correction

    With our long term project '92 LX rocking original paint, the struggle is real to keep it looking good. Leaving Detroit with its single stage Vermillion Red, the car has a tendency to turn pink if not properly taken care of. It looks bad, really bad, and after your author was dumb enough to run it through a car wash before leaving for an event; the time had come to fix it. The term: "paint correction" is widely used in detailer circles as the solution to bring a paint job back to life. Knowing that there wasn't any easy way to get the job done, We dove in with both feet to make it happen. 

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   The project began with a good wash to get the car as clean as possible. Once clean, we moved it into the garage to clay bar the entire car. The clay process removed all of the impurities from the paint, including tar and bugs. We found a great video on how to do this on Youtube. This process took nearly two hours to complete, but the difference was very noticeable, as you run your fingers across the paint. 

If you look closely, the soap did a number on the original paint that RW wears. The car looked chalky at best, and had run lines from where the soap trickled down the car. 

While it was difficult to capture the damage that the car wash did to our humble '92 LX, it was blatantly obvious in the sun. Being the up and coming rockstar that she is, the paint had to be fixed. 

“There is nothing easy about doing a paint correction, but the results are absolutely stunning. Project RW is ready for all of the upcoming events”

   Before moving to step two, grab a roll of blue painters tape and mask off all of the moldings, door handles, antenna bezel, and cowl vent. Waxes, polish, and sealants can discolor the blacks, making them look almost gray. This extra step is going to save you lots of work on the back end. 

    Step two was to begin the polishing process. We started with a V34 polish, and orange hex logic pad for heavy cutting power. This combination would cut deep enough into the paint to remove the staining, swirls, and light scratches. Be careful with using too much pressure, speed, or staying in one section too long. You can easily burn through the paint if you aren't careful. Keep the tool moving, and stay uniform with your movements. Our tool of choice is the Porter Cable 7424XP which has six different speeds available on tap. You can spend more, or less on your polisher, but this one seems to be the best compromise between price and performance. 

The first step was to clay the entire car to remove contaminants from the paint. Once done, we performed a two stage polish, then on to sealant and wax. 

Our trusty Porter Cable polisher made quick work of the job, and allowed us to dial in the speed with the amount of cutting that was needed. 

   Once the entire car was polished with the V34, we stepped up to the V36 polish which is a much finer cut, and leaves the paint like glass. I also switched to a white hex logic pad, which is a less aggressive cut. Yes, this is your third trip around the car at this point, but the results are stunning. Once we made the final pass with the V36, we used a drop light to look over the entire car for spots that we missed. If you do find a few areas, simply go back and hit them again. 

    Now that your paint is finely polished, you have to protect it. The paint is in an "exposed" state after polished, so you aren't done yet. Next on the list was Jet Seal from Chemical Guys. We have used this product in the past, and always gotten great results. This can be applied by hand or with a polisher. If you choose to use the power tool, use an applicator pad, not a pad used for cutting or polishing. 

We began this labor intensive process on the hatch of our '92. The lines from the car wash brushes were visible in the paint, and the soap had eaten away at our protective sealant, from our last detail. 

The first pass with the V34 removed most of the staining, scratches, and swirls. While it looked amazing after the first round, the second run with the V36 really made the paint pop. 

    The last and final stage of the monumental task is to give the car a coat of wax. As I do not plan to do this again for a long time, I wanted the shine to be maintained as long as possible. For this step I went back to Chemical Guys and picked up a their Butter Wet Wax. This product can be applied in the same manner as the sealer, and Chemical Guys claim it will give twelve months of protection. 

    As for the job itself, plan on an entire day, if not two to get it done right. This is one of those jobs that if you rush, will be a total waste of time. Some extra tips are: making sure the car is cool to the touch when applying all of the product, use lots of light to see if you need to adjust speed or pressure when polishing, and keep your pads from getting gummed up with product. A pad that has too much product build up will not cut as well. Chemical guys recommends four dots evenly spaced on the pad, then a few mists from a water bottle so you aren't hitting the car with a dry pad. Removing the product should be done with a clean microfiber towel (plan on going through a pile of them), and a small paint brush or detailing brush can be used to clean the polish from the emblems and crevices. CR

Taping the cars moldings, mirrors, and door handles off keep the blacks looking their best. As porous as the trim is, they will soak up the polish, leaving it looking a dull gray. 

The key is taking your time. There is no quick way to do this, if you plan to get good results. We chose to do one panel at a time until it looks right, then move on. 

With the sides of the car not taking as much sun as the hood and roof, the polish gave Road Warrior an ultra wet shine. 

The paint on the roof had taken a beating over the years, we were pleasantly surprised to see how well it polished out. 

On the second pass with the V36 and less aggressive pad, the paint was really starting to come alive. 

Once you have put in youre nearly ten hours of work, time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!