A surface imperfection is an unwanted difference in depth, height or structure to the surrounding area. For example: a scratch, which is basically a sudden difference in depth with an edge that has an angle that is very different to the one of the surrounding area.
Causes of surface imperfections
There are many different causes to a surface imperfection, many of them refer to the mark that is left behind from either physical contact or chemical interaction. A few examples would be:
- A small stone being thrown up by the car in front of you and hitting your vehicle
- A shopping trolly bumping into your car
- A heavy and hard object touching your vehicle with speed
- Bird droppings
- Chemical etching
- A branch rubbing along the side when you drive to close to a plant
- A cat walking over the vehicle
- A sticky object that is being torn off the surface
- Heavy oxidation
- Chemical reaction with gas
- Polishing wrong, to deep, to rough
- Using the wrong procuts
- Using the wrong tools, or tool in a wrong way
- Wrong painting technique
- Certain processes of polishing
If the cause is physical contact, the mark that is left behind is thanks to the interaction between 2 objects. If one object has energy in a different direction then the other object, the objects that interact will have to absorb that energy by either deforming or transporting that energy to an underlying structure. In the case with vehicle surfaces, most of them deform. This can result in damage in the form of a scratch or the deformation of a structure.
types of surface imperfection
There are several types of surface imperfections, although you could classify them on the type of shape or form they have, it is more common to divide them into the sort of imperfection.
- Dent, can be removed by a bodyshop
- Scratch, can sometimes be removed by polishing and/or wetsanding
- Deep scratch, can sometimes be removed by wetsanding (or made less visible)
- Random Deep Scratch (RDS), can sometimes be removed by polishing or wetsanding
- Waterspots, can often be removed by polishing and sometimes even by claying
- Chemical etching, can be removed by polishing and in rare cases by claying
- Bird dropping etching, can sometimes be removed by polishing or wetsanding (depends on the severity)
- Swirls, can often be removed by polishing
- Paint defects, can sometimes be removed by polishing or wetsanding. Can also need a re-spray
- Holograms, can be removed by polishing with a finer polish or a Dual Action polisher
- Wetsanding, can be removed by following up with several steps of polishing
ng will remove deeper swirls, more oxidation, light chemical etching and can make a deep scratch less visible
The art of detailing/valeting
Detailing revolves for a large part around the knowledge and skill to know how to remove surface imperfection. These are often considered ugly and prevent the surface from looking at its best. Removal of these imperfections is not always easy and can take a lot of experience and practice. If done correctly the results can be stunning.
- This is a more long term solution for dealing with swirl marks and involves removing a thin layer of the clearcoat where the swirl exists down to a flat layer where there are no swirls. This requires a cutting polish and a lot of heat to be generated to achieve this and is therefore best suited to a machine polisher, although results can be achieved to a more limited extent by hand with plenty of patience and strength and stamina....
- Dried up polish can be very unattractive. It is also a hardened substance that can cause surface damage when rubbed over the paintwork. Although the detailer should have removed this, it can be encountered on some jobs. Dried up wax residue can generally be approached in the same way....
- Even though tires can have a big impact on how a car looks, they are often ignored. They get a quick wipe and then a new coat of dressing. But cleaning your tires properly can decrease the need for a dressing and can help a dressing to perform better for longer....
- A tack cloth (also: tack rag, tac cloth) is a special cloth/towel that is covered by a sticky substance. This allows it to grab dirt and remove it by making it stick to the fabric of the towel. ...
- Meguiars is an American manufacturer and seller of detailing products. They sell a wide variety of products and have different product ranges to cater for several different levels of experience....
- Hydrophilic is the opposite of hydrophobic, which means that it is a property of a molecule that "attracts" water. No real attraction force is involved though. In general hydrophilic substances dissolve easily in water....