Contrary to common assumptions, it is extremely rare a car leaves a dealership in pristine condition. Dealership prep and maintenance work often adds swirl marks to the vehicle due to improper techniques and an approach to detailing that sacrifices quality for volume. Just like you would prefer an auto mechanic who specializes in auto repair, you would want a licensed professional auto detailer addressing the cosmetic needs of your car. A proper detailing also helps protect your vehicle making it easier to maintain.
The car wash is the process of removing loose dirt from a vehicle in preparation for any exterior detailing process to be performed. Car washing can also be described as a maintenance procedure performed routinely after an auto detailing.
Auto detailing is part of a process that concludes with the application of a wax, sealant, or coating. The first detailing step is the car wash. Washing alone cannot remove contamination that has bonded to your paint. The deep cleansing of the paint is essential to the effectiveness and durability of the wax or sealant applied. A coating cannot be applied to a surface that is not surgically clean.
Polish is used to produce a shine by improving the clarity of your paint. A wax, sealant, or coating is used primarily for protection. But a high quality wax, sealant, or coating can also enhance the depth of polished paint.
It is a process of removing and or eliminating the defects in your paint (swirls, scratches, water spots, etched stains) by leveling the paint. The average person often does not see the swirls, but may see a loss of clarity in the paint. Most swirls can effectively be removed in a two-step polishing process. A two-step process would consist of a compounding step to remove the defects and polishing step to remove compounded haze restoring the gloss to the paint. Proper paint correction will take a minimum of several hours and often times multiple days.
These defects most commonly occur as a result of using an automatic car wash, as well as improper hand washing.