An Insight into Paint Protection – Car Detailing’s biggest talking point.

An Insight into Paint Protection – Car Detailing’s biggest talking point.


It’s time to talk about paint protection!

So we have decided to address probably the most discussed topic with regards to car detailing. Paint Protection. In this article we aren’t going to get into the chemical side of things and break down the actual construction of the protective layers, that is for another time. 
Paint protection has become a multi-million dollar industry in a short amount of time, with extreme marketing hype and a vast range of products available it is imperative to know what you are looking for when you look to enter the market.
One of the major issues is that the term “paint protection” (referred to as PP for the rest of the article) can be applied to literally hundreds of different products. Car wax itself is a form of PP as it provides a protective layer to slow corrosion and protect the paint from damage, it is merely a short-lasting form of PP.  You will never hear of wax referred to as PP by a professional car detailer this is merely theoretical to illustrate the issue of using the phrase. Generally speaking the term “paint protection” is generally used to refer to coatings that will last 12 months or more.
With PP causing such drastic views ranging from “it’s complete rubbish” to “it’s the best thing I’ve ever done to my car”, it’s evident that there are either misrepresentations or misunderstandings. People have been exposed to different products with different (often bogus) claims as to its performance and lifetime.

The first place many people hear of PP is from the dealerships when they purchase a car, this is for one reason, the mark up is HUGE! (By far into the 1000s of percent profit). They will often sell you a car either at cost or just above but really push the PP options (often $1500 or more), not only this but the products the dealerships use are (in general, there are some good ones) nowhere near the top of the line and often last little more than a couple of years.


The theory behind it all…

The theory behind paint protection is very simple and very sound. In order to understand, we must first look at the structure of modern car paintwork.

This image above ( from, note that µm = 1 millionth of a meter) gives us a clear idea of the structure of modern automotive paint. All we are really focused on is the “Clear coat”. This is a layer added to provide protection to the base coat (colour coat), it is essentially a factory installed PP.

Over time the clear coat is exposed to UV rays, bird droppings, swirl-marks etc and other damage. A professional car detailer can use machine buffing to often fix these defects but occasionally they will be too bad and the only option will be an expensive re-spray. 

PP is a layer which is applied on top of the clear coat to reduce the risk of these defects occur. The PP layer is (in theory) more resistant to all of these issues.


If enough pressure is applied to a coating, it will damage. If bird droppings (acid) are left on the surface for long enough (a VERY long time), they will etch. If you drive your car into a wall with paint protection on it, it will still bend and break!

We don’t buy into the whole “infinite protection” as none of these products have been around forever. Does it have a “lifetime warranty”? Read that warranty as some (VERY well known companies have been known to warranty the underlying paint rather than the coating, but hang on a second, they didn’t even apply the paint, that was the original manufacturers…

So which paint protection should I use?

We aren’t writing this article to name and shame current products (although maybe we should..), only to attempt to help you gain a better understanding of “Paint Protection”.

Keep an eye on our site to hear more about the paint protection we use in the coming weeks.

Remember, if you have a question just ask! Give us a call at 1300 85 77 34, shoot us an email at or message us through our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page.
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Swirl marks are microscopic scratches in the surface of paint that show up like cobwebs in bright light. They are caused by incorrecting washing and drying where dirt particles in the sponge and chamois leave microscopic scratches in the clear coat.

Solution – Single stage correction package will remove approximately 60-70% of swirl marks, dual stage 70-85% and triple stage 85-95%.


Lack of Colour depth is where the colour has faded but isn’t classed as oxidised, typical on one stage paints that don’t have a clear coat.

Solution – Single stage correction will improve colour depth however dual stage correction is recommended if you want to remove swirls at same time.


Finger nails, rings and car keys scratch the paint around the door handle and leave unsightly marks.

Solution – Spot machine polishing, although these scratches are usually too deep for 100% correction our spot correction can make these marks almost invisible. Great add for people trying to sell their car. Price $ 20 per panel when added to a detail or $75 call out fee + per panel.


Ghosting refers to the outline or visible stencil left on the paint after stickers/decals are removed. It is the contrast between the fresh paint that was protected under the vinyl sticker and the exposed paint that has faded and appears dull in comparison.

Solution – Spot dual stage machine polishing is the most affordable solution, $45 per panel and $75 call out fee. Depending on the colour of your car spot polishing may not be advised. The polished area will vastly contrast the unpolished paint. Lighter coloured cars can get away with single stage polishing at $20 per panel. Full dual stage paint correctionis recommended on darker coloured cars with these defects.


Oxidised paint is where the paint appears chalky and dull, it’s caused by breakdown of the paint from exposure to sun,water and oxygen. More common on single stage paints and white, red, and black cars.

Solution – Single stage correction can be effective on white or lighter coloured cars with light oxidation. On heavily oxidised cars, dual stage correction is highly recommended. Spot polishing is not applicable and only full correction packages should be considered.


Caused by vegetation and scrub rubbing against sides of the vehicle that leaves visible scuffs. These marks range from swallow to quite deep scratches.

Solution – Dual stage polishing is recommended as the first stage orbital polishing is better suited at resurfacing the affected areas with its more effective cutting action. The second stage of polishing restores gloss and further rounds off the deeper scratches.


Bird droppings are very acidic and start eating into your paint the moment it hits, heat and dry weather will amplify the reaction, it’s important to clean any droppings off as soon as you see them. If you still see a ghosting outline after washing you have an etching mark where its has eaten slightly into your paint. If the mark looks like the one in the picture sourced from meguiars online you only have light etching and this can be corrected with machine polishing.

Solution – Spot dual stage machine polishing is the most affordable solution, $45 per panel and $75 call out fee. Depending on the colour of your car spot polishing may not be advised. The polished area will vastly contrast the unpolished paint. Full Dual stage paint correction is recommended on darker coloured cars with these defects.


Paint transfer is occurs when a car panel comes into contact with another painted object with force and leaves a layer of paint behind. Common paint transfers are yellow paint marks left from bollards or garage door frames. The actual paint transfer can be polished off with great success, however there are usually a few deeper scratches that are left behind. The polishing stage will reduce the appearance of these scratches but if you can see the undercoat on your car, it’s time for respray.

Solution – Spot dual stage machine polishing is the most affordable solution, $45 per panel and $75 call out fee. Depending on the colour of your car spot polishing may not be advised. The polished area will vastly contrast the unpolished paint. Full Dual stage paint correction is recommended on darker coloured cars with these defects.


Bird droppings that have been left too long can eat all the way through the clear coat. If the mark is crazed, or cracking as shown in the pictures this is unfortunately clear coat failure and can only be fully repaired by repainting. The clear coat has been penetrated and no amount of polishing will remove all traces of the defect.

Light crazing and cracking can be vastly improved and is much more cost effective than painting, many customers still opt for an improvement by our Dual Stage spot paint correction. Although we can not guarantee restoration we can make the marks less visable for a fraction of the cost of repainting. Is a popular option for clients trying to improve their cars for sale.


Random deeper scratches are very common and depending on the depth will determine if they can be polished out. The general rule of thumb gives you an instant idea if the scratch is correctable. Run your thumb nail over the scratch and if a indentation is felt then generally the scratch is too deep to successfully correct by polishing. Normal wear and tear will see your car pick up a few deeper scratches over time. If the scratch is a different colour and you can see bare metal or primer, only repainting is your option. Where deeper scratches have not penetrated all the way through the clear coat you have more options.

A popular choice is to get the area polished to reduce the appearance of the marks first and then determine if you can live with the result. Alternately if chasing 100% correction respraying is your next option, remember that respraying just one door panel can cost $350-600. Dual or even triple stage paint correction package may give you a great outcome and permanently reduce appearance of those scratches without the expense of repainting your car.


There are actually three types of water spots but we will only focus on two of the most popular. The first is mineral deposits that sit on top of your paint and is usually a combination of magnesium and calcium. These minerals are soluble in your town water and when the water evaporates from the surface the minerals are left behind causing unsightly water spotting. This type of water spot can be removed with specific chemicals and light polishing.

See our single and dual stage paint correction packages to restore these spots. The other type of water spotting is where the same minerals have been left on the paint for some time and has started to eat into the paint. This causes deep etching and proves very difficult to remove. Due to the excessive time involved to polishing out these defects we do not offer this service in a mobile sense as it takes more than one days labour. Keep posted for our workshop location at the end of the year.


If there is paint missing and the scratches show the undercoat or even the base metal then repainting is your only option.


Clear coat failure is caused by long term exposure to the elements. This comes in the form of bubbling, blistering and peeling. Nothing can be done to fix this apart from repainting. See your local body shop for a quote.


Throwing eggs may seem harmless but cause irreversible damage to car paintwork. The small hard shell fragments cut into the paint at the point of impact and can only be fixed from repainting. A premium quality paint protection like our Modesta Liquid Glass has been know to prevent damage in some circumstances.


It makes my blood boil when I see senseless vandalism. If your car is keyed unfortunately respraying those panels is your only solution.