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10 hour paint correction complete

The last owner of my P90D did a great job taking care of my car but always used automatic car washes. The finish had a ton of swirls and a lot of slightly deeper scratches. While the car looked okay from 10 feet away, any closer and the poor condition of the paint was obvious, especially in the sun. In the picture below, it’s easy to see the swirls on the panel right above the rear wheel. The level of damage was similar to that on every painted panel.


My wife watched the kids and let me have a whole day. After 10 hours, I was able to get about 95% of the swirls and scratches out. The paint was pretty clean - I tested a few panels with clay but there wasn’t any contamination to speak of. I had to use a pretty aggressive combination of Meguiars 105 and 6” Surbuf pads with a Porter Cable random orbital buffer with fairly high pressure and a number of passes (work down the polish, wipe off residue, check progress with LED light, repeat as necessary) to work out the defects. For the tighter areas like the rear of the car, the nose, above the door handles, and right above the windows, I used 105 plus 3” orange pads since I didn’t have any 3” Surbuf pads. They still worked well but took more work to get the same results.

Surprisingly the 105 worked down so well that I didn’t find it necessary to follow up with Meguires 205. I probably could have made the finish just a hair clearer had I done so, but since this is my daily driver and I was pretty tired, I didn’t find it necessary.

I elected to try 22ple HPC for the protective layer followed by 22ple VS1 Final Coat. That was my first experience with a modern coating and it was extremely easy with which to work. Expensive but if it really lasts 3-4 years then it’s worth it. The gloss and depth is pretty impressive.

I haven’t tried a full correction in years but had a great time and am very happy with the results. My back is still feeling it (this never happened when I was younger) but I can’t stop staring at my car now.

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Nicely done! I miss the days of spending 10hrs+ getting my car’s paint into tip-top condition. Luckily, my recently delivered CPO had almost flawless paint (they didn’t just do a lipstick wax job), so I’m prob just going to correct any “bad” spots and then seal with Opti.
Nicely done! I miss the days of spending 10hrs+ getting my car’s paint into tip-top condition. Luckily, my recently delivered CPO had almost flawless paint (they didn’t just do a lipstick wax job), so I’m prob just going to correct any “bad” spots and then seal with Opti.

Thanks and lucky you! I hadn’t seen paint as bad as mine in some time and so I had been eagerly awaiting the (relative) end of winter to spend some quality time with it. If you don’t have a preference for Opti, I can’t recomend the HPC highly enough. So, so easy to apply and remove. Awesome shine too.

Now you have to work on the paint correction for that kid's model s on the front lawn :)

Believe me, my kids have already asked. :)
Thanks everyone! Looking at the pics a bit closer, looks like I should spend some more time on the hood. :) I didn't have great access to it at the time, I had it in the garage under my lift since it was raining. I promise the other panels are much better!
Doing your own correction can be an exhausting but highly-gratifying experience. That's what I call ownership pride. I still have my old Porter Cable 7424 (non-XP) that I got a decade ago when I first started getting into detailing. Also still have my Makita rotary than I'd need to use on my other car with tougher paint. I didn't do the correction my S85 myself though since I figure it deserved a professional's touch.

Modern polishes seem to break down into finer bits well during the ending cycle of a pass that it's difficult to discern any noticeable improvement with either a finishing polish and/or finishing pad unless you're examining under good lighting and a loupe. You probably have paint in better shape than most others out there.

The downside to all this, of course, is that you're probably more paranoid of other people's dirty hands coming into contact with the surface because you're well-aware what's needed to fix their unintended blemishing. Good thing the coating's in place.

If you do another pass at your hood, be sure to post those 50/50 shots.
I recently detailed my white 2015 Model S after I took delivery. Similar to rudngo, the entire vehicle had swirl marks, some scuffs and light straight line scratches that you can see at an angle. I've read a lot of folks mentioning the Model S has very soft "paint", but my experience was different. I started with a Chemical Guys (CG) white hex pad and CG All-In-One polish and noticed some correction but there were still swirls remaining and the straight line scratches.


Swirls still remaining

Stepped it up to a CG orange hex pad, same thing. Tried using CG V34 with an orange pad, better correction but I ended up using CG V34 with a CG yellow hex pad (heavy), 5-6 passes. While this cleared up the paint swirls and scuffs, many the straight line scratches are still there. I decided to just use the V34 with the yellow hex pad on the entire vehicle then followed up with CG JetSeal. It looks a lot better but there's still some areas with those straight line scratches and some light marring (I think that's the correct term) from the V34/yellow hex pad. I'll probably try to tackle a few spots in the future to see if I can get some more correction.


Some horizontal scratches and light marring


After JetSeal
5-6 passes seems like quite a lot. Which polisher are you using? Maybe a bit more downward pressure is needed or slow the surface-passing speed? Or try polishes from another brand? In the distant past when I was more into this I was relying on Meg's, Menzerna, and Optimum. Different pad/polish combinations from various brands can finish-down quite differently.

I've heard that Tesla paint is relatively thin due to the strict VOC requirement in California, so be careful if you don't have a paint depth gauge to see what kind of margin remains otherwise you might strike through. Otherwise your results look way better from the original condition.
This was with an ultimate detailing machine which is quite old (purchased 8+ years ago) but it's basically a porter dual action polisher but with a little more power is my understanding. I started off only doing about 3-4 passes but I was getting better results with about 5-6 passes, even with the yellow hex pad (heavy). I was going pretty slow, maybe an inch (or even less) a second. I tried increasing the pressure as well and ended up using a decent amount for the rest of the car. I think I may just need a slightly more abrasive compound, like V32. My understanding is the M105 the OP used is closer to the CG V32 (heavy cutting compound). But, like you mentioned, I didn't want to continue eating into the clearcoat so I called it good with the V34, yellow pad, 5-6 passes.

I've heard the paint is "thin" or soft but I guess I'm still confused as to why that matters because my understanding is we're simply polishing/correcting the clear coat, not the actual paint (that would be bad). So even though Tesla (among many other car manufacturers) are using paints that meet strict VOC requirements, is the clear coat they're using softer or thinner? I wish I had a paint depth gauge just to see how much clear coat is actually being removed.
The clear coat is part of the paint system - it's the transparent paint that layers on top of the color layer (which sits on top of the primer). Once the clear gets too thin, the possibility of clear coat failure increases and may eventually get to the point where it starts flaking (like how the thin ice over a lake thaws out during the spring and cracks). The only way to fix that state is to completely respray the panel. If you're one of those obsessive types (like me) who wants to maintain "original factory paint," then the remaining thickness of that clear coat becomes pronounced.

You might want to try a polish from a different brand or it could come down to your technique and how well you leverage the process where the diminishing abrasives do their work. On the other hand, you might be working with scratches that are just too deep to correct without excessively thinning the clear out (although it doesn't seem like it in the pics).