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Why whatever do you mean? :)

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Some personal experience from an installer...

I've been installing ceramic coatings at a local detail shop and have some thoughts to share.


The vast majority of the cost of having a coating installed (industry doesn't like us to use the term "applied") is in the paint correction process. This can vary greatly and may take as little as several hours to a couple of days depending on the severity of the damage.


I have had numerous customers call on the phone for a quote and insist their car is scratch/swirl free expecting a drastically reduced price for installation. I always recommend they bring it in for a professional consultation and evaluation. Once they arrive and have the consultation, they are sometimes disappointed as I can easily point out the work needed, especially in direct sunlight! I will often perform a "Test-Spot"on their vehicle just to highlight the stark difference between properly corrected paint and what they actually have. This offers the most compelling evidence of the work needed as well as the how bad their paint actually is.



I have NEVER (thus far) seen a car that didn't need some level of paint correction. Even a brand new car driven over directly from the dealer showroom. They are frequently covered in marring and scratches because they refuse to pay for professional detailing services and instead want to simply pay some kid 9-10 dollars an hour to wash them. They get what they pay for. Owners are frequently pissed once I point out all of the "dealer damage" that exists on their showroom beauty.


As for protection that is often claimed, it is substantially less (in my opinion) than what they would have you believe. While no coating manufacturer claims absolute scratch resistance, they and their claims often lead consumers and detail professional installers alike to believe that the coating offers some substantial protection in scratch resistance. In my opinion, they offer only a marginal (at best) improvement.
Of course they always suggest "proper washing and caring technique", but if everybody did that there would be little need for any "scratch resistant" miracle coating. The truth is...You car will get almost as many scratches with the coating as without in my experience.


Water spots: Once again, In my experience the claims of protection are vastly misleading. Again the coating manufacturer will often recommend removing any standing water ASAP to prevent spotting. Well as mentioned previously, if everyone did that to begin with, there would be no need for these "miracle coatings". In my experience, these coatings will not prevent water spotting on their own. YOU have to change your surface care and maintenance in order to actually achieve eliminating water spots. Standing water if not promptly removed will more than likely etch right through any ceramic coating, right through any clear coat and in many cases leave irreparable (short of a re-paint) damage. There are products on the market that can temporarily hide the damage, but NONE that prevent it. Sometimes a compounding can remove them if they aren't too deep.

A ceramic coating may buy you a little more time to remove the water before permanent damage occurs, but it will not prevent water spots.



The claim of "self cleaning". This in my opinion is one of the most misleading claims ever! "Self cleaning" means it "cleans itself". Nothing more-nothing less! There is NOTHING about these coatings that is self cleaning whatsoever. This is yet another marketing claim that is intentionally ambiguous and specifically designed to mislead. When pressed on these magical self cleaning abilities, the manufacturer will typically respond by indicating that the coating provides a slickness to the surface that eases the removal of any dirt & debris. Well then simply say just that!

It is NOT SELF CLEANING! You still have to clean your car!



One characteristic that I see consistent with marketing claims is the shine enhancement and longevity. No doubt, ceramic coatings offer improved longevity when it comes to the duration of the shine and gloss. So long as you prefer the "synthetic" shine quality over a Carnuba "glow". With proper routine care (sound familiar?) Ceramic coatings will last substantially longer. In some cases years...again with routine care and maintenance.



Most of today's waxes realistically (from a visual enhancement perspective) only last a few weeks at best. That is not to say that the wax is totally gone. Technically, there is wax still on the car, but the vast majority of the shine enhancement is pretty much gone after about 4 to 6 weeks, and shine/gloss enhancement is one of the primary reasons people apply wax in the first place. "Sealants" are only marginally better.


The one thing that virtually all customers comment on when they come in and pick up their paint corrected and coated car is how awesome it looks. As you would expect right? Well, the biggest visual improvement is actually coming from a well executed paint correction process. That's what is creating the "wow" factor, not the coating.
The coating does help with the (synthetic looking) shine and will help to "lock-it-in" and do so for a much longer time than traditional waxes and/or sealants. That is the bulk of what a coating will do. Think of it more as a much longer lasting "paint sealant" than anything else.



So, are today's ceramic coatings worth it? Well, as always...that is up to the consumer. They do offer some substantial improvement over traditional waxes etc. I am confident in that.


My advice is to read the ceramic coating claims AND recommended after-care very carefully and be sure to get any warranty or guarantee in writing and read it too, very carefully PRIOR to investing your hard earned cash.



A lot of the information required to make an educated decision is not readily available or "marketed" to the consumer. It's up to you, the consumer, to demand it from the manufacturer. Keep in mind that most manufacturers have absolutely no interest in providing detailed objective and unbiased information to the consumer, even though they sometimes appear to. They are interested in communicating to the masses the "potential" of how their product could perform. And even at that, it is often not in real-world conditions, but in a "controlled environment".

You, the consumer, must obtain a clear understanding of what the product ACTUALLY offers and how it is backed up before you dive in and find out the hard way that it is not what you thought. Remember that with any product or service. The onus is always on the consumer to investigate and determine it's value. Marketing's job is partly to make you "feel" knowledgeable enough through their claims to make a quick decision to buy!



As always, an educated consumer is rarely disappointed. Do your research and due diligence...always!
 

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Yeah, that's what I said in my post as well. CQuartz finest makes no scratch free, 9h hardness, lifetime warranty claims. The paint correction is where the wow factor comes from, the coating is the icing on the cake. Basically the ability to not wax for years. It does add gloss for sure, and it has staying power. You have to use proper washing, and drying techniques always. My detailer did 25 hours of paint correction on my 3+ month old car. That's where the majority of the cost was, and if you take care of it, it will remain after the coating is worn off. With so many coating available to "reload" the water shedding/gloss properties, I have no plans to do a tradition wax/seal myself. Time will tell.

If you have ever witnessed the beaded water flow off your rained on car as you back out of a parking spot, leaving it completely water free, you will understand what a coating adds. You can of course get the same effect with other methods.

Look at Pava or swiftjr's cars and you'll see what's possible with wax/sealants. I'm just a no garage, wanna wash it and cruise, lazy Guy...so I went the coating route...not understanding that the paint correction would make such a difference on my brand new shiny (so I thought) car. Outside my detailers shop before I drove it home, all credit to him, I just maintain it ;)



A Guy
 

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You guys nailed it, the paint correction itself is what gives it the wow factor. They needed my car a couple of days to do the correction and coating. The results were amazing...and in a black car like A guy knows..every little imperfection shows. Here are photos taken right after they were done doing the paint correction, before they even added the coating. Like others have said, now you got a coated car, it's up to you to maintain it the best you can. 2 bucket wash method with a really soft animal fur type wash MIT...use microfiber towels or air to dry. It's worth the effort and you can keep your car looking great.
 

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Tshane72..
You car looks fantastic! Keep it up!

The intent of my post above was not to dissuade anyone from getting a ceramic coating, but more to educate them on what the real-world performance would be like. Ceramic coatings do offer some considerable advantages.


I bet it took a good couple of days to perform a thorough paint correction on your black beauty, but nothing...and I do mean NOTHING looks more bad-ass, and slick than a sexy jet-black car! Take good care of it, and enjoy my friend..



On the after-care and washing...believe it or not as a professional detailer once a car has been coated, I do suggest to my clients that it is perfectly fine on occasion to use a "touchless" automated wash. No brushes or anything besides spraying on soap, then rinsing. Most good quality ceramic coatings will be unaffected by the touchless washing method. Furthermore, most of these washes also employ a pretty good blow dryer at the end, further reducing your need to "touch" the car.

It does make for quick and easy washing and in my opinion, will less likely scratch the car than hand washing and drying. It is actually very good in that you aren't touching the car hardly at all except for some minor light wiping to get the last of any water.


One last bit of advice. Consider going back to your detailer and have him use a paint thickness gauge and measure and show you the current thickness. Depending on what level of coating service you got, there should be thicker readings on the gauge. Again this will vary on how well and how many coats were installed. Ceramic Pro (an industry leader in this space) typically suggests 4 coats of their 9H. This you can definitely see when using a PTG (paint thickness gauge). It will add several mils to the factory 4.5 to 5.7 mils that is typically what you will find on a stock Challenger. Document the additional thickness by simply taking some cell phone snapshots of the PTG reading when its on your car!

I would typically do this before and after the coating process to show the customer the difference. This provides them with a nice objective and scientific way to see what they actually got for their money. They like that! Also, to document the coating thickness. This can be helpful down the road if the client comes back with any issues.
 

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I don’t have Ceramic Coating on my Hellcat but I did on the Scatpack. The only “WOW factor “ was the water beading off the car. I only had the car for 6 months but it was a pleasure to wash. I rarely had to use the wipers. Not going to pay $12-15 hundred to make my car easier to wash though.
 

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Some more advice for anyone considering ceramic coating:


If you are savvy with a DA (dual action) polisher, consider experimenting a little bit. There are a number of ceramic coatings available direct to the consumer through detail supply companies.



As I previously mentioned the vast majority of the expense related to installing a coating is in the paint correction process. Think of it along the same lines as how important it is to properly prepare a car for a pint job. About 90% percent is the prep work. Its all about preparing the cars surface. In the case of ceramic coating, the process is less labor intensive than prepping a car for paint, but is equally important, and well within the ability of many, if not most DIY guys to achieve.


I will offer two methods to consider for the DIY option:


1) You could easily practice prepping and installing ceramic coating on your own car. I would suggest first simply practicing on the trunk lid only. The reasons for me suggesting the trunk lid are many.

-The trunk lid on Challengers is at a near perfect height from an ergonomic standpoint.

-It is frequently and for longer periods, exposed to direct sunlight which will make it easy to see your true results.


-The paint thickness is is adequate compared to vertical panels like fenders which typically will be thinner.

-If your initial results are less than satisfactory, and time is limited, at least its not "in-your-face" like the hood would be.


Keep in mind that minor errors when practicing your paint correction can usually be corrected with an adjustment in technique. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to burn through the paint!



I do not want to re-invent the wheel here. There is a tremendous amount of information on the web (youtube) for how to correct paint. Do some research and give it a try. You may actually find it very satisfying or even therapeutic!


When you are ready to install the coating, simply follow the instructions precisely. It really isn't that difficult. Apply only a single coat. This is important as it will make fixing any mistakes easy. Once you get the hang of it, proceed with a couple of coats as per manufacturer's instructions. If you goof up, it usually can be very easily corrected. Unlike painting!



There are a couple of methods you can opt for for here. If you need to remove ceramic coating before it has cured, simply use a solution of rubbing alcohol and water and it will usually wipe right off.
If you notice imperfections after the coating is cured, you can easily polish or compound off a single coat...no big deal. You are now back to square one. Try again...



2) Another option if playing on your beautiful car is not so appealing would be to search a few local salvage yards and buy a Challenger trunk lid, in the same color as your car if possible. Prop it up on a couple of work horses in the garage and have-at-it!
If finding a Challenger trunk lid is not working out, consider a Charger or Chrysler 300. Its all MOPAR! With some practice, you could easily coat your own car at a small fraction of the cost, and have fun doing it!



Added benefit.....this might make a great little "father/son" (or daughter) project! How awesome is that!!!
 

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Hired a local detailer near me.. He spent 3 1/2 days on it.. Like others have said the paint correction process is important and with the right guy.. The ceramic coating just highlights the correction work.. My guy used GTechniq coating.. For me the $ 1250.00 was worth it..Did the car and wheels.. Suppose to have a 9yr warranty, but we all know that sounds to good to be true.. will see..Had mine done beginning of May 2018.. It does make it very easy to clean and maintain..BTW, not a daily driver, kept in garage and only taken out a couple times a month, but it has been in a few thunderstorms, have yet to use the wipers, rain blows off ..
 

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I think I payed around 950 for my car to get the correction and the coating. Best thing I have ever done to the car. However the detailer who did my car, and they did a GREAT job, recently went out of business. Now there is no one within a 2 or 3 hour drive of where I live who does this. The coating is a little over 2 years old now, it's garage kept too, not driven every day. It seems to be intact still..I am going to start washing it with Hydro Cf Foam..it washes and coats the car all in one. Should last for 3 months or so..that will invigorate the coating and help prolong the protection. Cnumb and Coobie your cars look amazing!
 

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Drove mine right from the dealer to the detailed. Paint correction and CQuartz UK, wheels and interior protection ran me about 1000. Well worth it. I apply Reload monthly



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I think I payed around 950 for my car to get the correction and the coating. Best thing I have ever done to the car. However the detailer who did my car, and they did a GREAT job, recently went out of business. Now there is no one within a 2 or 3 hour drive of where I live who does this. The coating is a little over 2 years old now, it's garage kept too, not driven every day. It seems to be intact still..I am going to start washing it with Hydro Cf Foam..it washes and coats the car all in one. Should last for 3 months or so..that will invigorate the coating and help prolong the protection. Cnumb and Coobie your cars look amazing!
Thank you.My wife picked the color I picked the stripes':grin2:We are old farts now.We both wanted a challenger for the last 30 plus years but had kids to raise first.We finally saved enough $$ to pay cash for it this past spring.Hope we both stay healthy enough to enjoy it.:lol:
 

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I'm a DIY guy and have all the DA buffers, LC pads, CarPro nice MF towels, and wheel brushes and interior brushes and the likes. I probably have $3k or more in detailing equipment including different detailing products. I know I'm OCD about it for sure. I maintain and have paint corrected my big JD tractor 75hrs., GMC SUV 12hrs, Ram 3500 dually 50hrs, 2 Ford Fusions 12 has each, XT3GSX Cub 4hrs, CanAm 1000R 4hrs, 43' Toy Hauler RV 3 weeks 100s of hrs it seemed., and now my new Challenger 5hrs straight from the showroom. Once the paint is corrected and perfected it stays that way unless you mess it up with bad cleaning and maintenance technics.
Along the way I've used a lot of different products from professional detail supply houses like my favorite place for example Auto Geek in Florida, CarPro, ect...
I live in the country 10 miles from town with a 3000 foot driveway. You can imagine the washing technics alone I use to prevent any scratching and water spots. My suggestion to someone with a perfect paint finish that wants to keep it perfect looking with no swirls or spots.
Touch your paint only if you must. As pretty as it looks don't touch it. Never go to a drive thru car wash with swirling brushes you will regret that day and all your hard work will be gone and need to be done again!
Wash it yourself using the utmost gental care.
This is after you have paint corrected and coated/waxed/sealed your beauty and are maintaining your showroom shine to minimize any swirls or water spots. Which hasn't been discussed much here. High dollar coatings I have also tried but don't think they are worth the cost and must be left for a minimum of 12 hrs to cure. Perfect paint doesn't require a high dollar coating to stay that way and it won't keep water spots or scratches or swirls or bird crap from damaging your paint, that part will be left for you to prevent from happening. With a perfect paint finish on your car it's even more difficult to hide any marks that will surely appear and you'll think how the hell did that happen.
1st:
I use a dual water filter on my water faucet so I'm using purified water to reduce the chance of spotting.
2st use a good power washer, I have a Genrac 4 speed gas power washer it will remove most of what's on your car's slick sealed paint finish. Then I use 3 buckets, 2 for rinsing and 3rd one with my soap PH balanced solution and i use CarPro's Lamb hair to gentally as possible glide over the surface starting from the top of the car. I use a microfiber mit for the wheels. After a gentle washing I use a gas powered Stihl leave blower that blows 99% of the water off the slick cars finish and also blows out any water from the mirrors, handles, grills and so on so no drips will happen. Then I use a Carpro drymecrazy MF towel and glide it over any remaining areas generally.
Oh I use the same treatment on my wheels as I treat them just like my cars paint. One exception is that I use a long wheel brush that cleans the inside of my wheels so they stay clean as the outside painted surface.
I use tire dressing last if needed maybe once every 4 to 6 weeks.
There you have it a clean scratch, swirl free car. It'll only get damage if you mess up with your cleaning technics.

Now what do I have on my paint as far as protection goes you ask.
After all my personal experience and looking for ease of use and time well spent on keeping a perfect paint finish I have come down to using Mequiars Ultimate Fast Finish sealant/wax 3 coatings, it comes in a spray can about $20. It is easy, fast and very long lasting. They say 1 year I say I don't know because once a month I give my car a coating of Mequiars Ultimate Fast Wax about $10 as a maintainence coating. Its fast and easy to use also. I drive over 100 miles a day in my Challenger it gets spot free rinsed 2 to 3 times a week along with a blow dry from my Stihl leaf blower. She stays pretty and spot free with very slick paint. As stated earlier the dirt doesn't stick to slick coated well taken care of paint. Self cleaning no, but easy to maintain if done properly. For the last 12 yrs I've had the same 100 mile commute in 1 Chevy 1500, 2 Fusions and now my Challenger. All when sold looked as new as when I bought them except they had over 100k miles on them.
As I get older easier is better for me at 55 now.
My technic may sound like it takes a long time, but it really doesn't and in 30 minutes or less I'm done and my car is dry spot and swirl mark free. My Truck might get a real washing once every 2 to 3 month only rinse and blow dry in between washings. My Challenger that lives outside once every 2 weeks with all the commuting 100 plus miles each day.
Tractor after every hay cutting so 4 times a year.

Correct any paint imperfections, use you favorite sealant or wax a couple times a year and you can maintain the perfect look for a very very long many years with the right technic with minimal cost. If you are to lazy to do it yourself then find a good pro to do it but it'll still be up to you to maintain the finish. I enjoy doing it myself. Here's a few pics.
My JD tractor is 9 yrs old and lives outside and still looks new, my cars live outside, my truck stays in the barn with the SUV so even with them living outside in the heat and rain you can see they are stay looking new with proper care and good sealants and waxes. The Mequiars Ultimate line of products is really nice for a budget minded old dude like myself and it does excellent and lasts. I've used expensive ceramic coating on my old POS Fusions and tractor but I don't think they last any longer than the Mequiars Ultimate Fast Finish and for the price and easy and the little amount of time applying it hassle free you can coat your car about 6 times with one can of it with a massive cost savings and about 10 minutes of your time. Easy as spray and wipe. I've used expensive products and after all these years have come down to Mequiars. No I don't work for them I'm in the Commercial and Industrial air conditioning field living in the heat of TEXAS just trying to keep my toys looking new inside and out. Darker your paint the more hobby you'll have maintaining that perfect finish to stand out from the envious crowd of shiny perfect paint. Enjoying my new Challenger!!!! Wishing you all the best and Merry Christmas!
 

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Have a buddy who has a show truck, we were chatting says his detail place killer was. Does a ceramic coating on vehicles. Better shine no water spots. Wondering if anyone has done this , pros, cons. Or is just a good cleaning waxing job enough. Have a 2015 sublime green challenger .rt plus not a daily driver but when nice I have it out. Want to take to some car shows and cruises. North east ohio here.
Everyone here has great advice. It's what you're willing to spend and the time you're willing to invest in keeping the finish on your car in the best condition. I have looked into ceramic coatings and I'm still undecided. I have a sealer on my SP and a good wax. It beads water exceptionally well and is very easy to clean. One thing to remember is that no matter what you decide to do, none of the choices are permanent. I never drive my SP in the rain or any day we have inclement weather...I drive it only when the weather is clear. It's also garaged. So, for me, I'm not sure that the expense for a ceramic coating is justified.
 

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If you can do your own paint correction, and feel up to applying your own coating, then there is that, You won't get the longevity of a dealer installed coating, but you can get very close. If you can paint correct, wax, and seal, you can certainly apply a coating. Some like wax over a coating, like vinyl records over CDs, but even the best won't give you all the attributes a good coating will.

A Guy
 

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I had mine done for longevity of the finish, the plan is to hand the car down to a grandchild so I need the finish to last , I am not good at detailing so it’s better for me to have someone do it for me , now I just have to wash and dry . Have the yearly maintenance done and it’s all good .
 
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