So if you have looked at a few different detailing options from various detailers, chances are you have seen these terminologies being used when looking at options to improve the look of your vehicle’s paint beyond a simple wax and polish. If you have been around cars in any way over the years you would have most definitely heard the term ‘cut&polish’ used but more recent years have seen the term ‘paint correction’ characterised and used more specifically and sometimes interchangeably.
The main reason behind this growing distinction is really due to the advancement of the detailing industry, especially in the last 10 years, as it becomes more specialised. In decades gone by if you wanted to get paintwork buffed or fixed you would usually see a smash repairer or automotive painter as they would have the appropriate skills to tackle the problem but now with growing advancements especially with new models of machine polishers like the DA Polisher making polishing cars at a professional level more accessible to learn without having to do an automotive painting apprenticeship per say. As a result of these changes, more people have started to learn and develop these skills which have seen a push of development and significant advancement in the final stages of polishing as it becomes more of a skillset of itself. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for automotive painters to sand and buff their work and then has a detailer come in at the final stages to smooth out and perfect the paint.
So now you have some contextual background, let’s address the original question. So the main difference between ‘cut & polish’ and ‘paint correction’ is really found in the final product of what the customer is trying to achieve. A traditional cut & polish would generally focus on improving the overall shine and appearance by machine buffing the car with some liquid compound. A paint correction however would be describing a similar process but with more emphasis on addressing a specific issue on the vehicle like heavy oxidation, deep scratches, swirling, etc.
So essentially cut & polish and paint correction are the same thing meaning that they generally refer to buffing the vehicle with a machine polisher and compound with the main difference being what result the customer is wanting. As one is more general and the other more specific, time and therefore the cost between the 2 processes will vary also. As a cut & polish, or sometimes commonly referred to among detailers as a paint enhancement polish, is generally cheaper and more affordable than specific paint correction purely due to the time difference required as specific paint correction requires more focus on areas to remove specific issues and also may require multiple stages of correction (we will discuss multi-stage correction in another blog – stay tuned).
In the photo here we see 2 examples. The first being a before and after of a single stage paint correction to remove swirling scratches on a black Hilux. The second is a before and after shot of a cut&polish on a blueXR6 (paint enhancement polish) example.