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Paint Correction For Beginners - What Tools Do I Need to Fix Scratches in Car Paint?

May 18, 2021 4 min read

Paint Correction For Beginners - What Tools Do I Need to Fix Scratches in Car Paint?

In the first episode of Paint Correction 101 - we offered a brief overview of the process of fixing scratches and other paint imperfections using the Americana Global Paint Correction System.

This week, we're going to get down to details - starting with which supplies you should be using to follow the Americana Global process. In the video below, Ceramic Pro's Adam Cote will introduce which types of DA polishers you should be considering, the different cutting compounds (for 90% of paint correction work) and the pads we use with each step.



The Process for Polishing Your Car

If you’ve made it this far, then you’re most likely still interested in finding out how to perform a paint correction for your car on your own. That’s great! Keep in mind that the steps outlined below are general best practices, and your vehicle or scenario might require special materials or a different process.

Step 1 – Preparation

We mentioned this in Episode 1 of our Paint Correction series - but here is a refresher.

Before starting any paint correction project, you must prep your vehicle. The general steps for the preparation process are:

Wash your car: The first step is also called decontamination. This is where you’ll strip any standing dirt, debris, and contaminants from the vehicle’s paint surface. You’ll also loosen old layers of car wax and paint sealants at the same time.

Product to Use - Americana Global Ceramic Maintenance SOAP. It's a pH neutral formulation, that has strong surfactants and cleaning agents that will help remove caked on debris, old wax, and other surface contaminants. 

Decontamination Spray: This is where professional detailers vs DIYers differ. Most detailers prefer to use a clay bar or clay towel to remove the embedded debris in the clear coat. While this is rather effective, it’s also an area where mistakes and damage can be made. The key to effective clay bar is using lubrication – a LOT of lubrication. If you fail to do this – you can remove small parts of the clear coat.

To reduce the potential of damage, use a decontamination spray – which is an iron or fallout remover. This will “melt” iron particles like brake dust that can be trapped in the clear coat. Use as directed by the manufacturer.

Product to Use - Americana Global Release. 

Step 2 – Leveling

Leveling – also known as phase paint correction – is a three-step process that consists of leveling surface scratches, polishing, and protecting. For this step, you will need an electric polish (also known as a sanding wheel) as well as a cutting compound and several microfiber cutting pads. You can use a dual action polisher as well for optimal performance.

Here is what we recommend for the Americana Global Leveling Process. This will take care of 90% of most detailing paint correction projects on newer cars, trucks, and SUVs. 

Product to Use - 1500 Compound - This is our Medium Cut compound.

The Americana Global Medium Cut compound is infused with the most advanced Diminishing Abrasive Technology available to professional detailers today.

Our Medium Cut Compound was designed for maximum defect removal, longer product cycling, and impeccable finishing capabilities. This rapid cut and low dust formula are best paired with Americana Global Crazy Cut Hybrid Cutting Pads, Microfiber, or Max Cut Yellow Foam Pads.

Leveling your car’s paint surface entails the following three steps.

  1. Use a microfiber cutting pad and electric polisher to apply a cutting compound.
  2. Make sure to prime the pad. To accomplish this, place about 4 large pea sized drops on the pad (in a 1/4 formation). Spread the compound evenly across the pad. Once that is done, place another pea sized drop in the same location. Spread the compound evenly across your 2 foot by 2 foot section before beginning the cutting process. 
  3. Apply firm pressure to the polisher - but not too heavy. You want it flush on the surface, so the cut is level and smooth. For most cutting, setting the DA polisher between 3 and 4 on speed is recommended. 
  4. Take a gradual approach with arm speed. When cutting, you want to let the compound and pad do most of the work. 3 to 4 passes in a cross pattern works best. 
  5. Repeat this process for the entire vehicle or whichever area you are correcting

While many professional detailers prefer to color sand to level, this is not recommended if you are trying to DIY as it requires advanced knowledge and experience.

Step 3 – Polishing

Once the leveling step is complete, your car should appear smooth but with a dull finish. The good news is that is what polish is for.

Product to Use - Americana Global Finesse - This is our Fine Cut Polish

Americana Global Fine Cut Finishing Polish is the perfect final step in the multiple-stage paint correction process. It was engineered for superlative clarity and binary finishing capabilities.

When paired with Americana Global’s proprietary Orange, Black or Red foam pads, Fine Cut easily removes DA Haze from previous correction steps, swirls and wash marring, and micro marring.


  • Shake well before use.
  • Always prime the pad prior to starting your correction.
  • Use 4-6 pea size drops per 2-foot by 2-foot section.
  • Spread the Medium Cut compound across the entire working area before engaging the buffer.
  • Maintain a slow tempo and arm speed, with minimal pressure applied.
  • Do NOT BUFF the product until it is dry. Keep the surface area wet.
  • Remove residue with a clean microfiber towel.