The Fundamental Variables of Paint Polishing:
Pt 7 – Paint Aptitude

Paint Correction Variables - Detailing Training - Paint Polishing Pt 7 - Paint Aptitude - Los Angeles Detailer


By Christopher Brown of OCDCarCare Los Angeles –


Paint Aptitude is the understanding of: different paint types, defects types, polishing equipment, chemicals, technology, and how these factors interact with one another, affecting the different stages of polishing. Essentially, paint aptitude is summarized as the cumulative knowledge of everything needing consideration during the paint correction process.

These evaluative skills require time, with and without buffer in hand, to develop and are not a result of a one book read or a single hands-on seminar. Paint aptitude demands continual training. So, any detailer wanting to stay with or ahead of the curve, should actively seek out information. The more knowledge a detailer has about: new and evolving paint types, products, machines, and related technologies the more they will strengthen their paint correction understanding, skill, and procedures.


Information Reigns Supreme in Detailing

It is vital that any detailer stay current with the latest information, since technology in car care is ever evolving– changing faster than ever. Information allows insights of how to possibly tackle a new paint technology when unexpectedly encountered on the job. Staying informed requires consistent and diligent approach to new knowledge. Detailers must actively seek information, surrounding themselves with resources exploring the technological advances of polishing or related concepts and products.

Similarly, constant self-evaluation of technique and information provide another means of obtaining and refining paint aptitude knowledge. A process which works today is not guaranteed to continue its effectiveness forever. This is why detailers must always stay engaged, interpreting how the paint is interacting with all of the variables available during paint correction. Constant mental focus is required, since all painted surfaces, even from the same factory, will not react identically during a correction session. Sometimes even adjacent panels, on the same vehicle, react differently to identical products and processes used on the rest of the vehicle.


The Importance of Paint Aptitude to Effective Detailing & Paint Correction


Paint Aptitude is probably the MOST important factor when approaching any paint correction scenario. Knowledge and experience provide the educated detailer vital information, allowing a quick approach of defect removal under all circumstances. Paint Aptitude allows detailers to quickly deduce and adjust product or equipment variables to achieve optimal paint polishing results.


A detailer with a developed paint aptitude quickly identifies defects and paint issues while quickly building an effective plan of attack. They will ask some or more of the following types of questions, in order to understand the situation, enabling them to form an optimal correction strategy:

► What type of paint is it—single stage lacquer, clear coat, or ceramic clear coat?

► Does the car have any repainted sections on it?

► How many times has the car been detailed, to what level, and by what process(es)?

► How deep are the majority of defects? And the deepest?

► What products or treatments are currently on the vehicles surface?

►What type of abrasive technology does a particular compound of polish have and how will that interact with the paint type?


These are but a few of the typical questions that a detailer must answer in order to correct paint.

The list of evaluative questions could go on and on. Most often, these questions build upon one another, illuminating clues that lead the way to solving the paint correction riddle. Knowledge and evaluative skills allow educated detailers to quickly deduce situations and come up with solutions on the fly. This is a VERY necessary skill, since problematic issues happen when least expected. Also, these evaluative skills allow educated detailers to work faster and more efficiently; increasing the speed, productivity, quality, and profitability of all projects.


Always Seek to Improve Skill with Information for Maximum Professional Gains

Knowledge coupled with precise technique and continual refinement are; above all, the most valuable assets to performing quality work. Paint Aptitude, when developed, becomes a large component of detailing success, providing a wealth of insights into most any detailing situation.

Some may not believe this is so, however consider this… Could any regular golfer, on his best day with the best clubs ever engineered, come ANYWHERE close to beating Tiger Woods using old clubs from the 1970’s?

NO, absolutely not.

Why? Because Woods has amassed a lifetime of knowledge and training, and is continually refining this skills, to eat ANY golf course alive.

To improve skill, or any endeavor in life, an individual must forever work at their craft. Seek the knowledge (of technology & tools) and NEVER stop refining technique. Technology, in the detailing industry is ever fluid, changing on a month to month or even day to day basis. Educated and skilled detailers can evolve and adapt, no matter how quickly changes occur because their philosophy of continual education and skill refinement keeps them informed.

Remember that learning is rewarding. Most everyone, professional or enthusiast, recalls the joys of their first major paint correction success. If you have read this far, it’s safe to assume that you love to correct paint and a challenging paint correction project still brings a smile to your face. Keep that good feeling in mind when learning new things, as you never know when it might be the difference between conquering or failing at a difficult detailing project.


~keep on buffin.


© Christopher Brown – OCDCarCare Los Angeles – – 2013


Click here if you missed Pt. 1 – 6 of the series: The Fundamental Variables for Optimal Paint Polishing 


For more interesting topics on: auto detailing, paint polishing, and car care please browse: OCDCarCare Los Angeles’s – Detailing Article Archive.

Christopher Brown