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.
- Yes, more videos of rotary polishing techniques (DA ones will be following soon as well), this time for panels with sharper edges and contours and as an example the wing of a Jaguar XJ was used. two videos here, covering roughly the same point....
- Many detailers will post up pictures of their vehicle showing great beads, and then claim their layer of protection is very old. However, that doesn't add up. When a wax is a few months old, it doesn't bead very good anymore, and that is normal. So how did this person manage to use a normal wax and get such great beads after all that time? Because he used a QD!...
- A fallout remover is a special product aimed at decontamination that has the chemical ability to help you to remove iron(III)oxide particles from a surface without having to remove them mechanically. These particles are loosened up via a chemical process, that allows for them to be rinsed off safely. This product is sometimes also called "Iron-X". This is not the name of the liquid, but a productname of Carpro Trading Ltd, which is only one of many fallout removers on the market....
- A wrap is a plastic film that can be applied over a surface. This can be done instead of a respray. The film can easily be removed after a while, and doesn't need much work afterwards. Applying a wrap is referred to as "wrapping"....
- The rotary is often considered to be the adversary of the Dual Action polisher. It is a polishing machine that uses only 1 type of motion to create a polishing effect. It is very good at cutting, works quicker then a DA, but also requires much more experience and knowledge to use properly. Many consider the rotary a medior or senior level of experience machine....
- Over time, certain detailing products clog spray heads. Typically this is due to either the thickeners in cleaners congealing and blocking the orifice, or sealant polymers curing inside the spray head assembly. Either way, a clogged spray bottle can render useless a perfectly good detailing product, and possibly prevent you from completing a detailing task. This is a guide on how to remedy this issue....