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3M Perfect-it III Paint Compounding, Polishing and Finishing System


The Market Leading Paint Rectification System by 3M

There is a wide range of different paint rectification systems on the market. Many of them rely on different products, from different manufacturers that can be less than harmonious, to say the least.

However, there are a few complete systems that are designed and produced by a single brand that allows you to take the guesswork out of paint rectification. From defect removal to finishing, the whole process is taken care of with compatible and harmonious tools – perfectly suited to be used sequentially.

One of the best complete paint rectification systems is the “3M Perfect-it III colour code system”. The name might sound a little gimmicky, but don’t be fooled. This is a comprehensive system and range of products that will transform the way you perform paint rectification. This system is favoured by car enthusiasts and restoration professionals all over the world, we highly recommend this advanced, easy to follow solution to anyone looking to achieve the ultimate blemish-free, high gloss finish.

One of the most common complaints with proprietary paint rectification systems is their complexity. It can take a little while to remember the process by heart, and often requires referring back to documentation (slowing down the entire process dramatically). But 3M have come up with a clever way to enable you to grab the right tool at the right part of the process.

Their beautifully simple, but incredibly effective colour coding method means you have a visual guide for each tool that becomes second nature incredibly quickly. This means no more rummaging around and deliberating what to use next. Just pick the right colour, and you can be back up and running in no time at all.

We are going to take a quick look at each of the steps involved in the system to give you an idea of how it works (and why we think it’s great).

Preparation – Dent Removal

3M have a wide range of different dent removal products that are each individually suited to different dents of different sizes.

Two of the products in this step are high quality 75mm sanding discs that are available in two different levels of abrasiveness. There is minimal clogging, and they can be relied upon to do the job time and time again.

The other two products in this step are manually operated sanding blocks. They are both 32mm in size which makes them perfect for the smaller defects that are unsuitable for the sanding discs we mentioned above.

3M use their Trizact technology on all of the products in this step. This basically means that new abrasive material is automatically exposed when the pad starts to wear out. It dramatically increases the performance and (most importantly) the consistency of the pads.

Once you are done you are ready to apply the new paint and the move on to step 1.

Step 1 – Compound

3m50417 2
The first step after application of the paint itself is compounding (which is colour coded green).Easy!3M recommend that you start with their green compound pad – which is great. It performs excellently and the compounding rate is more than acceptable. However, a little tip we like to give our customers here is to try the 04 compounding pad from BEST. It performs just as well (if not better) than the 3M pad, and is significantly cheaper.

The only problem is that it is not green, so if colour coding is something you need – you may have to remember this one exception to the rule.

Be sure to use the correct 3M 50417 fast cut compound for this step to ensure optimum removal of sanding scratches from refinished or original paintwork.

The final stage of this process involves using the 60671 high performance green polishing cloth to cleanup and ensure all sanding marks have been removed.

Step 2 – Polishing


Polishing is one of the most important parts of the paint rectification process. It’s also one of the most satisfying too. This step is colour coded yellow.

Use either 3M’s Yellow 75mm convoluted polishing pad or the 150mm version with 3M’s extra fine polish to get the maximum possible shine out of the paint.

Step 3 – Finishing

This step is colour coded blue and is the last colour coded step of the system.

3M recommends using their Ultrafina finishing fluid in combination with the 150mm Perfect-it Ultrafina SE High Gloss Pad which guarantees an outstanding finish.

This step is one of the most impressive of all, the results it produces are nothing short of brilliant. In fact, 3M won the body shop product of the year award for their Ultrafina finishing fluid, so it’s not one to miss!

Keep things organised and avoid cross contamination of products with 3M’s blue ultra soft polishing cloth ideal for removing excess residue and finishing surfaces.

Step 4 – Finish Protection

When you reach this step all the hard work has been done and your paint should be looking superb by now. The only thing left to do is to protect your hard work.

Use 3M’s finishing glaze to finish off the job. They can be applied by hand or by machine (and will ensure the work you have just completed stands the test of time).

Apply with the 3M high gloss polishing pad and buff with the 3M Superbuff Wool Head for the ultimate showroom finish. We would recommend the BEST alternative which is just as effective and offers significant savings, the BEST W6 Double-sided Lambswool Head is fast becoming the go-to option.


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