What are Swirls?

If you've ever spent time around someone who does auto detail, you've probably heard the term "swirls" before. And chances are, if you aren't a detailer yourself, the term flew right over your head. So lets clear things up a little bit.

The term "swirls" can be used to describe a few things. The broad definition is little scratches in the paint that show up, usually in a circular pattern, when a bright light (sunshine especially) reflects off the paint. To an auto detailer there are two more specific definitions that really tell us what is going on with the paint.

Wash swirls (spider web scratches, cobweb swirls) are the type of damage that comes from automatic car washes, dirty towels, and in general just touching the paint with improper methods.


Buffer swirls (holograms, buffer trails) are the type of damage that comes from improper polishing techniques.


Luckily a professional auto detail shop can repair this type of damage. Sadly, many cheaper shops will simply use a product called a "glaze" to cover up these issues. When this happens you won't know immediately, but after a few weeks or months, the buffer trails or spider web scratches will start to show up again and all your money you just spent getting the car looking good is down the drain.
Here at Finishing Touch Auto, we use high quality products and specialized techniques for completely removing scratches like this. We always guarantee our work and teach you proper wash methods to minimize future damage from washing.

Come visit us at 3130 Portland Road NE, Salem, OR 97301. We'd love to chat!