What it means to remove swirls, scratches and water spots out of automotive clear coats
One of the most common problems people want to solve when it comes to improving the appearance of their car's finish is to remove swirls, scratches and water spot etchings out of their car's clear coat finish. Below Photographs Courtesy of MeguiarsOnline.com Swirls Scratches Water Spots
In order to remove any type of below surface defect out of a clear coat finish you need to carefully remove small amounts of paint surrounding the defect, (or defects), until the surface is uniformly level or flat. Of course some defects may be too deep to remove safely and in these situations you can often time improve the defect but not completely remove the defect.
In other words, in order to remove a scratch out of an automotive clear coat you must remove enough paint surrounding the scratch until the upper most portions of the surface are level with or equal to the lowest depths of the scratch or defect you're trying to remove. Does that make sense?
The idea being, you don't really remove a scratch, you remove the paint surrounding a scratch.
The problem with removing below surface defects like swirls and scratches is whether or not you have enough film-build
or paint thickness
to safely remove the defect completely without going through the clear coat and exposing the basecoat also called color coat. Generally speaking, factory clear coats are thin so you need to be careful and take the cautious approach of using the least aggressive product to get the job done.
If you remove too much paint and expose the underlying color coat the only way to fix the problem is to have the affected area repainted. The color coat is usually dull as it gets its gloss from the clear layer of paint.
And this classic! Swirls and Scratches Don't Exist