What are Holograms?

What are Holograms aka Buffing Trails?

Holograms are the term detailers use for a specific type of paint defect. These often look like strange shimmering patterns (hence holograms) on the surface of the paintwork. These holograms can either run in straight lines or in random patterns which is far worse.

An unfortunate Toyota Corolla strewn with Holograms (buffing trails)

Holograms are caused by inexperienced or rushed machine polishing. Sadly, these are most often caused by panel beaters, staff at the car washes or worst case the 'detailer.' The polishing machines and using the wrong combination of their equipment such as pads or products is a large factor in causing holograms. 

Combine these together with bad experience or rushing a car, the unbalanced pad and incorrect combination leaves these 'buffer trails' or holograms as they move across the paintwork.

Lexus IS250 with holograms left by the owners local carwash.

You will find that almost all of these operators will be using a 'rotary' style polisher. These machines can be heavy, cumbersome extremely powerful. In fact, at Project Detail we only use our rotary polisher when completely necessary.

So in essence, holograms are actually scratches forming on the surface of the paintwork caused by the user. 

Lexus IS250 with holograms left by the owners local carwash.

How to remove holograms

The good news is that incorrect polishing or lazy polishing causing the holograms can be fixed. While the holograms are relatively superficial, proper paint correction needs to be performed in order the permanently remove the holograms. More on paint correction can be found here.

The paint correction will level out the surface and polish away the holograms. However, please be careful to make sure the detailer carries the work out properly, otherwise the holograms could get worse or maybe you will even get new holograms in the paintwork.

50/50 shot of the same Lexus undergoing paint correction. Left side shows corrected paint.

Using a proper dual action machine will also assist in removing the swirls caused by a rotary style polisher. These machines are more modern and with the newest innovation from companies like Rupes or Flex, removing the holograms and leaving a relatively swirl free finish is achievable.

If paint correction is not an option for you, the correct use of fillers from a glaze or similar product may also assist. These products will 'fill' the swirls and the fine scratches from the holograms making the swirls and holograms disappear. However, regular washing or use of strong chemicals may strip the glaze from the surface revealing the holograms underneath the paintwork.

If you would like more information regarding holograms on your paintwork or to discuss how paint correction can improve your paintwork, contact us

Project Detail are experts at paint correction and often encounter holograms in the paintwork of cars they work on.

How Quickly Can Bat Poo Affect My Car?

Is Bat Poo that Dangerous for my Car?

At Project Detail, we often receive phone calls either asking about the strength of our paint protection or if we can help somebody whose car has been defecated on by birds or bats.

Unfortunately, for those who have suffered visible signs of damage on their vehicle, guaranteeing successful removal is often quite difficult due to the nature of the damage. This is further explained below.

However, for those looking to prevent this damage from occurring, our series of glass coatings do wonders in protecting the paint both long term and from acidic etching or the elements.

As you will see below, a young owner of a new VW Polo in black came to us distraught as a bat had done it's business all over the roof of the new car. Unfortunately within a few hours, the highly acidic bat droppings had eaten into the car's clear coat. By the next day, the owner had tried to wash it off with water but to their dismay the stain would not disappear.

Wet-Sanding the Bat Droppings with 1500, 2000 and 2500 grit 

Even after polishing all the sanding marks, the bat poo stain remains.

If you look carefully at our photo's above, you can see the frayed cracked appearance. This is what acidic etching looks like when it's eaten all the way through your clear. Had the bat poo remained on the surface for another half a day, the clear coat would be peeling even though it's a new car.

We informed the customer that the likelihood to removing it successfully was less than 50%. We proceeded with sanding the area with fine grits of sand paper in order to remove the etching. However, it became clear quickly that the sanding was only going to assist slightly.

While the surface has become extremely glossy, the acid marks from the bat poo remain.

While the surface has become extremely glossy, the acid marks from the bat poo remain.

This is a key focus on why paint protection is extremely important. The finishes on our modern cars are not designed to resist certain elements like water marks, acid etchings or swirl marks. To find out more about our paint protection options check out:

If there is anything questions we can assist with, be sure to contact us here.

Top 3 Questions For Your Detailer

Are you looking for a better detailer? Or considering getting your car detailed? Project Detail aims to provide you with some interesting questions for you to not only think about but ask your current detailer or person washing your car.

The photo's attached are from 2015 new Porsche Cayenne. After explaining to the customer how improper washing methods from the dealership scratched his car he immediately asked what basic things could he do to improve his car.

1| Do you use a multiple bucket & grit guard system for washing?

The standard for detailing today in Australia should mean that any professional detailing or washing your vehicle should use multiple buckets combined with a grit guard system. This should consist of at least 2 but should be 3 buckets.

The idea behind the multiple bucket & grit guards is to create a system where sediment, sand and other debris that is washed and picked up during the wash can be filtered out.

The multiple buckets is quite straight forward, the first bucket is for wheels and arches only. Do not use this bucket for anything else, as the brake dust and metal particles can be very damaging to the paint. The second and third bucket are for washing the rest of the exterior. One bucket is for rinsing your washing medium only, and the other has clean shampoo.

At the bottom of these buckets contain Grit Guards. These are effective cages that stay at the bottom of the bucket. These let sediment, dirt and sand fall to the bottom leaving clean water above the Grit Guard.

This is very important as it one of the easiest but most effective ways of reducing swirl marks.


2| Do they use a sponge?

In addition to the point above,  we highly recommending finding out what type of washing medium your detailer or car washer uses. Do they use a sponge? Then stop them immediately. Other then using a kitchen scourer, a common car wash sponge is actually one of the worst things you can wash your car with.

Not only is a sponge abrasive (think sponges used for exfoliating skin) but it does not have the ability to successfully to pickup dirt. In fact a sponge simply holds and absorbs water and the dirt grinds beneath the sponge into the car's paintwork

We recommend a variety of better solutions. The most cost effective is using a microfibre mitt, these have microfibre noodles on a glove that physically pick up and remove dirt and debris. These are what most good detailers use in combination with the grit guard and bucket combination.

Other alternatives include using and dispensing microfibre towels or a more premium option is woollen wash mitt like this one found here:


3| How do you dry the car after washing?

Continuing with questions 1 and 2, unnecessary friction is what causes a lot of the scratches and defects present over a vehicle. After washing a car, drying off the car is the next important step.

Most people who wash their own car, do one of two things. They either leave the car to dry without wiping it off, this is good in the sense there is no friction so no swirl may be formed. However, it can also be extremely bad as watermarks and left over soap can dry and stain the paintwork forming water marks.

The second thing most people do is use a chamois to absorb and dry the car. A traditional chamois, leather or synthetic, is very grabby. It sticks to the paint with immense friction while it takes off the water. This leads to a lot of swirl marks and marring particularly on cars with softer paint or darker colours.

What we would recommend is switching to a quality microfibre made drying towel. Not only can these be used dry, they hold an amazing amount of water but also glide over the surface with much less friction.

For those wanting to be more thorough, having access to compressed air or investing in a mini blower can help dry the car without excessive friction and it also helps get all the water out of the crevices.

Another safe option is finding a quality spray wax or quick detailers spray, this acts as a fast and sprayable lubricant and use new microfibre towels. This is another quick way to dry the car and if you are not putting another product on will add a quick layer of protection.

For further information or if you would to find out more contact us here.