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Average Cost Of Paint Correction : Don’t Overpay For Results

Understanding the Average Cost of Paint Correction

The average cost of paint correction continues to climb in the detailing industry but the question is why? Whether you’re a car enthusiast seeking perfection in your vehicle’s appearance or someone simply wanting to learn more, this guide aims to help not only help you with a paint correction, but also understand it’s cost. 

Key Highlights:

  • The average cost of a paint correction varies between $500-$2000
  • The pricing depends on the size, damage, and services provided
  • You can save a ton of money by doing it yourself at home
  • If you’re a beginner you should do it by hand
  • A professional shop may be required depending on scratches or fades
  • A paint correction can exceed factory requirements

What’s The Average Cost Of Paint Correction In Cars? What’s a Paint Correction?

The average cost of paint correction in vehicles ranges from $500-$2000. Paint correction is completed in stages where stage 1 ranges from $500-$800 and Stage 2 or higher varies from $1300-$2000. This purely depends on features included, and the size of your vehicle. 

Often misunderstood, paint correction is a meticulous, detail-oriented process that involves the removal of paint defects and imperfections, such as swirl marks, scratches, and orange peel.

When performed correctly, it can bring back your vehicle’s paint job to its original shine and gloss and sometimes even exceed factory specifications.

Understanding the Basics of Paint Correction

‘Paint Correction,’ a term recognized heavily amongst auto detailers and car enthusiasts, encompasses a three-step process. This process involves waxing, compounding, and polishing, using tools like a buffer pad, polisher, compound, and more.

The objective of paint correction is to improve your vehicle’s overall appearance by removing imperfections; restoring color depth and shine.

The Impact of Paint Correction on Vehicle Appearance

From swirls and scratches to the rust spot that won’t be able to hide under a clear coat, paint correction targets all.

Upon completion, your car’s paint job can look like it just rolled off the dealership lot. This process ensures that every car gets individual attention and leaves with an enhanced look regardless of the size of the vehicle.

Related: Is Car Detailing Worth It?

Here at my own house, we believe in the “dollar technique” which is pretty simple. We stand 5 feet away from a vehicle and hold out a dollar bill.

We believe we’re completed with a paint correction when we can read the serial number off of that dollar bill. 

Difference Between Regular Wash and Wax Vs Paint Correction

Unlike a standard wash and wax that cleans your vehicle and applies a layer of protective wax, paint correction requires intensive labor.

rubbing compound

To the left is some readily available and easy to use rubbing compound. I use this stuff myself as it’s cheap, works great, and helps remove swirls, scratches and color depth.

Swirl marks and other similar imperfections need to be removed through polishing and compounding processes, something a simple wash and wax won’t be able to handle. Hence, not every vehicle wash concludes with a paint correction job.

How Much Does Professional Vs Personal Paint Correction Cost?

How Much Does Professional Paint Correction Cost?

Average Cost Of Paint Correction

Arriving at the exact cost of paint correction can be a variable affair. The price range varies, depending on factors like the size of your vehicle, the extent of damage, and the reputation of the auto detailer you approach. There’s many factors so let’s get started.

Determining Factors in the Cost of Paint Correction

The cost of paint correction isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation, as it primarily depends on the size of your vehicle and the level of detailing required.

An inspection of your vehicle by hand under different lighting can help identify these details. The type of swirls and scratches present and how deep they are also impact the cost.


To the left is an easy to use polish I utilize. This restores the reflection and shine of your vehicles paint.

The average cost of paint correction varies so much because it truly is a lot of work. Detailers need to remove any surface contaminants first so they don’t add a single scratch to your car. Otherwise they just push more dirt in which may cause more scratches and swirls to appear. 

Comparing Average Prices Among Auto Detailers

Detailers price their services differently due to factors like level of expertise, location, and overhead costs. An experienced pro might have a higher rate per hour but also provide an unmatched finish and quality. Consider this when comparing cost per detail of paint correction.

Why Does Price Vary Among Reputable Pros?

Several factors cause the price to vary among reputable pros. This includes the overall cost of their high-grade materials, application fees, and the installation of a suitable workplace with adequate lighting conditions for correction and inspection.

Therefore, you should expect to pay a premium for their expertise and quality results.

In Case You Missed It: Should You Detail A New Car?

There’s many different options that a shop might include as well. It’s important to find out which shops are in your area first and then get an idea on price/what’s offered.

Some shops offer a wax or sealant with their paint correction and some don’t. Make sure you know what you’re getting before you pay top dollar.

How Much Does Paint Correction Cost At Home?

Average Cost Of Paint Correction pro shop

If you’re looking at cutting the cost of paint correction, DIY (what we’re all about) could seem attractive. It’s essential to consider the time and money associated with procuring the appropriate tools and the effort required to learn the correct techniques.

Depending on the type of products you use, the average cost of paint correction at home costs between $50-$150. Once again, this is only an average, using high-end products will cost significantly more. 

Required Tools and Materials for DIY Paint Correction

DIY paint correction actually doesn’t cost much or require much at all. You can do this all by hand but for the best results I recommend a dual action polisher. If you’re literally brand new, do it the first time by hand.

Potential Risks and Benefits of DIY Paint Correction

The benefit of DIY paint correction is the cost saving, but it brings along risks. The process can be labor-intensive and demands precision. Any wrong move can leave your panel with more damage than before. Hence, for those untrained, the DIY route may take much time and work.

While I state it can damage your paint, you only need to really worry about this when using power tools.

Performing a paint correction is essentially using circular motions to buff the surface free from scratches and restore it’s color depth. Using a buffer you can burn through the paint causing damage. 

With Dual Action Polishers or by doing it by hand, damaging your vehicle is literally slim to none. It may require some time to get used to the process but I promise, once you get it, you’ll be proud of yourself and love the results. Start with one panel and then eventually work around the vehicle until every panel is flawless. 

Comparing the Cost of DIY Vs Professional Paint Correction

While the upfront cost of DIY is lower, in the long-run, it might just match up to the cost charged by a professional detailer. How?

Imagine the cost of a professional polish job being part of a comprehensive paint correction vs the cost of procuring equipment, learning the craft, and potential mishaps in the DIY approach.

As we make mistakes, it only naturally costs us more in products. Shops order everything in bulk and typically get a much better price than what we do on the retail end. 

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Most of the time, it’s honestly better to do this yourself. If your vehicle has incredibly dull, faded paint from uv rays, or severely scratched paint, then it might be better to look into a professional shop.

For newer vehicles and well kept vehicles, you should be able to do this all at home by hand.

What Role Does Ceramic Coating Play in Paint Correction?

Average Cost Of Paint Correction painted

A detail often overlooked in discussions around paint correction is the role of ceramic coating. It acts as a defensive layer, protecting your paint from further damage. However, it comes at an additional cost.

The good news, is once you get it done, you only need to touch it up every couple of years and apply a “touch up” product to it to preserve it.

The Importance of Ceramic Coating in Paint Protection

Ceramic coating acts as a protective shield for your car’s paint job, enhancing shine while defending against swirl marks, scratches, and rust. It outlasts the traditional sealant solution, making it a favorite among car enthusiasts.

To the left is an upkeep product for ceramic coating. Apply this after having your car ceramic coated to keep up on it. Ceramic coating wears down after time but this will help preserve it.

Regardless of which way you go. Make sure you always keep a protection product on your vehicle. 

Average Cost Of Paint Correction With Ceramic Coating?

The cost of ceramic coating is in addition to the paint correction cost. However, considering its longevity and protection it offers (which keeps your car’s paint job looking newer for longer), it might just be an investment worth making.

Upon researching into this, the average cost of a paint correction with ceramic coating usually costs between $800-$1200. 

A well-applied ceramic coating can last for years, but its longevity can be influenced by factors such as maintenance, exposure to harsh elements, and the quality of the coating product itself.

How to Keep the Average Cost of Paint Correction Down Without Compromising on Results?

paint correction at home

The key to balancing cost and quality is knowing where to spend and where to save. Get different estimates, compare past work, know what to ask for, and most importantly, maintain your newly corrected paint.

Selecting a reputable detailer with a proven track record can make all the difference. This way, you pay for quality and get profitable results, reducing the need for frequent touch-ups and repairs.

Always get estimates from multiple detailers and inspect their past work. This helps you understand the value you are getting for your money. It also gives you an idea of the result you can expect.

Top Tips to Maintain Your Vehicle’s Paint After Correction

The most effective way to reduce the cost of paint correction is to maintain your paint correctly. Regularly wash your vehicle using a gentle microfiber towel.

At this point as well I’m sure you can see why the average cost of paint correction procedures continue to increase (like everything else does). Regardless, it’s a great service to do or have completed!

Avoid automatic car washes as they can cause micro-scratches. With proper care and attention, your painted automotive will continue to dazzle and uphold its value.

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