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Acceptable scratches


Adam Tarbox
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I know this is a tuff question, but for a daily driver, what is an acceptable amount of surface scratches? A percent is a bit vaque to me, I need to know what is acceptable to you and to a professional detailer. Attaches are my scratches, and now I feel I have to tear down the paint sealant and do paint correction all over again

20181119_212501.jpg

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Honestly, "acceptable" is in the eye of the beholder (read: owner). Especially for a daily, chasing perfection is near impossible and will drive you insane. Same goes for black cars but that's not different story! So for a daily, I consider 90% good enough. And maybe a bit less before winter since it's just going to get beat up anyway. 

 

Your pic is good but it lacks some context. I figure percentage by the overall look on the surface. Are the scratches only seen at certain angles that no one besides you will really even notice? Are they on a really visible part of the car like the hood or driver door, or a more discreet area like the roof or rockers? Answers to those and other questions drive how I approach correction.

 

Personally I'd wait on any further correction until spring. When it comes time, hit them with CP and/or HCC just to see what could happen. In the end, since the average person doesn't get on all fours, twist awkwardly and try to catch just the right light to see scratches like many of us 😁, I'd say you'll be good when the car is shiny!

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3 hours ago, Adam Tarbox said:

I know this is a tuff question, but for a daily driver, what is an acceptable amount of surface scratches? A percent is a bit vaque to me, I need to know what is acceptable to you and to a professional detailer. Attaches are my scratches, and now I feel I have to tear down the paint sealant and do paint correction all over again

20181119_212501.jpg

 

You ask a loaded question as far as what’s acceptable on a daily driver. 

 

We aim for what I would call “eye clean.” This means in the sunlight, you don’t see any/many scratches. Under the lighting we use, you may still see some imperfections. It’s part of why softer light or rolling a vehicle into the sun if it’s available is part of our process. 

 

As far as what’s acceptable as a professional, that comes down to what the client paid for. If you paid for a single stage polish, it is what it is. Most of our polishing is sold in stages. This means that you get one, two or three steps of polish and what comes out...comes out. People go for those options because it has a defined price. If you want total paint correction, it’s hourly and the bill can add up fast at $85/hour for just polishing.  For a pro, the question is did we provide what we said we’d deliver?  And did we manage expectations?

 

With all of that out of the way, don’t get carried away chasing imperfections. Particularly in a daily driver. It’s not worth it. Keep in mind that every time you polish, you’re removing clear coat. You don’t want to remove more than 1/3 of the clear in the life of the vehicle before you lose UV protection and accelerate clear coat failure. That’s the reason we advocate the use of some kind of paint thickness gauge. Particularly if it’s someone taking money to detail. 

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@falcaineer and @shane@detailedreflections have you well taken care of. It takes a little bit to realize that perfection is something that 99% of us just do not need or need to go after. This should be reserved for the ultra show cars such as pebble beach type judging, other than that realistically there is no need to chase that perfection it has a much higher chance of destroying the paint. 

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I am in agreement with @shane@detailedreflections and @falcaineer with one adjustment.   Shane has a Q&A section that has some good feedback on heat and humidity. Chris commented about the winter and vehicles getting beat up, so wait until spring, which I agree with for northerners.  Being that you are  in Alabama, you get the same weather I do in South Carolina, so I actually suggest doing the vehicle in the November or February range.  Yesterday, I did an Equinox and it was a perfect 71 degrees out and the humidity was around 50%.  You can’t ask for a better day to spend outside, although I would have preferred being on a golf course...

 

i have done my fair share between May and September and those 95 degree days with 80% or more humidity are not only painful, they make many of the products more difficult to work with.

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@RayS brings up a good point...didn't even notice where you lived. I used to live in AL (Maxwell AFB), so remember that weather well. Thanks for keeping me honest, Ray. :thumbsup:

 

I should also caveat my inputs were more for the average detailer, not a pro.

Edited by falcaineer
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I did forget that that cutting wears away the CC, but since getting the car, I never did a real paint correction until a couple of weeks ago. We had three day holiday, so for three days, I detailed this car, taking step by step methodologies to make the paint perfect. Now I see blemishes as shown the above pic, it eats at me a bit. I am thinking I should have gone more aggressive now. Maybe the MF pad and the orange correction solution. This is the problem with a white car. 😉

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19 minutes ago, Adam Tarbox said:

I did forget that that cutting wears away the CC, but since getting the car, I never did a real paint correction until a couple of weeks ago. We had three day holiday, so for three days, I detailed this car, taking step by step methodologies to make the paint perfect. Now I see blemishes as shown the above pic, it eats at me a bit. I am thinking I should have gone more aggressive now. Maybe the MF pad and the orange correction solution. This is the problem with a white car. 😉

 

Its white and most likely only visible in harsh lighting. The more aggressive you get, the more cautious you need to be. Granted what you’re using isn’t particularly aggressive, you still want to have good practice. 

 

Chasing perfection is a futile effort. At least not without a vast array of resources. For reference, most of our work is done in one to three stages of polish. People don’t usually want to pay for the true correction when you can get great results without that kind of expense. That being said, we do use different polishes and pads than are offered here. But the Adams products work well. 

 

Don’t sacrifice clear coat protection for perfection that won’t be achieved and won’t last in the end. 

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