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What is the point of machine polishing, for one it can transform your car or bike's appearance, removing unwanted swirls from previous poor washing techniques. It is required when we are applying a ceramic coating creating a high gloss 9H scratch resistant surface.
There are different types of scratches, ranging in severity? Scratches are ugly, and can lower the value of your car or bike, promote rusting that will cost a lot to repair.
What type of scratches are there?
There are 3 types of scratches as the above graph demonstrates:
clear coat scratches
Base coat scratches
Metal body panel scratches
Clear coat scratches - Level 1A and 1B: (No more than 102 microns deep) are superficial scratches to the very top layer and serves as a clear coat of protection to help maintain the paint colour. It takes the worst beating from the weather, including hail, UV damage, rain, and snow. The paint hasn't been damaged and you shouldn't need any touch up paint to repair however you should fix these clear coat scratches quickly before the sensitive paint layer is exposed to more intrusive damage.
Base Coat scratches - Level 2: (No more than 140 microns deep) penetrating to the layer directly beneath the clear coat. This protective component that keeps your car or bikes paint job looking crisp and clean. This level of damage can alter the look and colour of your car, ruining the perfect aesthetic of a smooth surface.
Primer scratches - Level 3: (No more than 178 microns deep) are the next level of scratches a vehicle can sustain. You will be able to see the vehicles metal body when the paint is scratched hard enough. This is the most difficult and will require paint scratch repair.
Metal body panel - Level 4: (Above 178 microns) If the scratch has hit the metal, you’re going to have to repaint or use touch up paint.At this depth you’ll see a silver color when examining the scratch, and, if left untreated, the surface will slowly transition to a rust.Neither waxes, glazes, or polishes will be able to fix a scratch that has punctured the metal, no matter what any “magic” product promises. If this situation has occurred, clean out the scratch immediately and grab some touch up paint as soon as possible.
Paint correction uses compound technology to remove clear coat scratches (1A). The level of clear coat removed varies on how deep the scratches are and requires an experienced eye to evaluate the degree or type of compound required, this process will remove level 1A and some 1B scratches from the paint. Deeper scratches (level 2-4) will only be reduced with rounded edges, lowering their visibility by improving surface reflectivity.
At Marque2valeting we value the importance of understanding and identifying surface scratches (Level 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4) .Paintwork correction and paintwork preservation are techniques that we incorporated into any buffing procedure. Different correction techniques may be used on some deeper areas, while preservation is used on the rest of the car. Combining the two comes with expertise, time and practice.
Scratches, swirls and holograms are all removable by machine polishing, however it is paramount that the whole process is underpinned by understanding paint, its structure, thickness and ultimately knowing how much is being removed each time the paint correction process is undertaken?
The car's paint thickness is measured in microns (µm), 1 micron is equivalent to one thousandth of a millimetre (1/1000mm). There are normally three layers: Primer, Base Colour Coat and Clear Coat (lacquer).depending upon the car's age and make.
Primer: The first layer applied and is designed to make the panel uniform and allow the paint colour to be evenly applied. Primer on modern cars is thinner these days due to advances in panel stamping technology, with panels supplied in better condition. As a result primer thickness these days, subject to the make of car, varies usually between 8 microns (µm) and 38 microns (µm).
Base Coat: The second layer is the base colour coat, a semi-gloss layer that actually gives the panel its final colour. These days it's much thinner than it used to be with flake or pearlescence added if required at this level. The thickness of this layer ranges from 13 microns (µm) to 38 microns (µm).
Clear Coat:This is an optically clear layer of lacquer designed to protect the base colour from UV degradation and oxidation. The thickness of this layer ranges from 38 microns (µm) to 102 microns (µm).
Ultimately this tells us the total thickness of the various layers on most modern cars is between 67 microns (µm) and 198 microns (µm). If you come across a panel or panels where the total depth is greater than 198 microns (µm), it is a strong indication the vehicle has been resprayed.
As a specialist and professional detailer it's critical we understand the factors that impact upon the hardness of the clear coat as the manufacturer will trade off between scratch resistance and gloss finish. For example some colours will exhibit a softer paint (Carbon Black will scratch easier than titanium dioxide-white pigmentation)
The type, make and colour of car will exhibit different levels of paint hardness, for example
Alfa Romeo, Daewoo, Ferrari (up to 2005), Fiat, Honda and Lexus will have a "soft" finish whereas Aston Martin, Bentley, Citroen Ferrari (2005 onwards), Ford, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover and Lotus will have an intermediate finish and Audi, BMW, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Porsche (up to 1998) and Subaru (Up to 2001) will have a hard paint finish. Understanding these factors is critical to a successful colour enhancement.
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