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Let's talk ceramic coatings


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Don't ever pay someone $1000+ to put any kind of "coating" on your vehicle.  These things are a huge ripoff.  

 

Now, if you want to tackle it yourself that's a different story.  Just understand that there's nothing magic about these coatings...the science behind them has been used for at least four decades now.  I've been detailing for nearly thirty years and after going through a coating phase, i'm back to quality polymer waxes.  They last about the same and are so much easier to apply.  But again, if you like the coating idea and can get it done yourself for under $200...go for it.

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19 hours ago, The Raven said:

 I've been detailing for nearly thirty years and after going through a coating phase, i'm back to quality polymer waxes.  They last about the same and are so much easier to apply.  

Really?  I've been detailing cars myself for about 30 years.... i don't know what wax out there lasts as long as a basic ceramic coating.... and as far as application, I've never applied anything that was easier to wipe on & off than the ceramic.

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1 hour ago, shudog said:

Really?  I've been detailing cars myself for about 30 years.... i don't know what wax out there lasts as long as a basic ceramic coating.... and as far as application, I've never applied anything that was easier to wipe on & off than the ceramic.

 

Like I said, I ventured into the world of coatings, and one of the big things that I learned is that people's definition of "lasts" varies greatly from mine.  I had both CeramicPro and CQuartz professionally done as promotional deals and found that both started to break down already at the 3 month mark.  Now, granted, even after a year, there was still some product left on the vehicle...but that's not "lasting" to me.  Less than 50% of the vehicle was protected at that point and when I inquired with the dealers they said "yeah you need to bring the vehicle in once a year for "maintenance""...problem is they charge for that...in the $300-600 range.  LOL.  That's not maintenance...that's a re-application.  So basically, when you spend $2k+ for a "permanent" coating...what you are signing up for is a very overpriced protection subscription where they re-apply the product once each year....furthermore, at least with CeramicPro, CQuartz, and (as I later learned) Adams Advanced, you are without full protection for most of that year. 

 

This is why I returned to just using good synthetic/blend waxes...there are plenty of good products in the class that last as long or longer than those coatings and cost a literal fraction of the price.  I am currently on Pinnacle Souveran and I generally re-apply 3-4 times a year, because I find that there are almost zero holes in protection at that point.  I've seen Souveran surpass the year mark according to other's definitions of "lasting" (meaning partial protection) and it takes me less than 30 minutes per vehicle to apply, so i'm hard pressed to explain to anyone why they should pay $1000+ for any coating.  I pay $50/bottle and that covers all three of my vehicles for at least a year.  My total detailing costs are less than $100/year and I have at least as good, if not better, results than those who pay $1000+ for coatings.  Yes I do it myself but if you aren't into detailing and want to pay someone it's still a fraction of the cost for the same results if you stay away from the overpriced coatings.

 

Every time I have this conversation with "coating guys" I always get the "yeah those coatings you tried are garbage...you need to try XYZ".  Sure...i'll just spend thousands trying everyone's favorite coatings.  As i'm sure you can agree - the detailing world is one of those places where everyone thinks the stuff they use is the best.  Once you've been doing this as long as we have you learn that there's no magic, and there's actually not all that much difference between brands in their respective tiers..  There's the cheap stuff and there's the good stuff.

Edited by The Raven
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I have two vehicles that I didn’t buy new. My avalanche and my wife’s Genesis. Both had an invoice for a very expensive dealer paint protection. Both vehicles shine like new. Ones an 02, one is a 2011. I probably wouldn’t spend the money. But the results are amazing.

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On 4/16/2024 at 10:47 AM, The Raven said:

Every time I have this conversation with "coating guys" I always get the "yeah those coatings you tried are garbage...you need to try XYZ".  Sure...i'll just spend thousands trying everyone's favorite coatings.  As i'm sure you can agree - the detailing world is one of those places where everyone thinks the stuff they use is the best.  Once you've been doing this as long as we have you learn that there's no magic, and there's actually not all that much difference between brands in their respective tiers..  There's the cheap stuff and there's the good stuff.

Interesting to hear.  My truck sits outside and it's been about 3 months now and the water still beads on the plastic bed rail and running boards, as well as the paint.  Im still happy with it, but that's doing it all myself for less than $100 ($160 kit total cost and I have over half left).  Good point about doing touchup/maintenance.  I'm already planning to do it in the fall, and that's with the "Graphene boost" shampoo and detailing sprays.....

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5 hours ago, shudog said:

Interesting to hear.  My truck sits outside and it's been about 3 months now and the water still beads on the plastic bed rail and running boards, as well as the paint.  Im still happy with it, but that's doing it all myself for less than $100 ($160 kit total cost and I have over half left).  Good point about doing touchup/maintenance.  I'm already planning to do it in the fall, and that's with the "Graphene boost" shampoo and detailing sprays.....

 

Yeah if that's all you're spending then I see no problem with that.  Some good waxes cost more than that.  The overriding point here is these $2k+ "permanent" coatings are a classic snake-oil style gimmick.  Someone figured out how to create a subscription service for auto detailing.  Pretty clever really.

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9 hours ago, The Raven said:

 

Yeah if that's all you're spending then I see no problem with that.  Some good waxes cost more than that.  The overriding point here is these $2k+ "permanent" coatings are a classic snake-oil style gimmick.  Someone figured out how to create a subscription service for auto detailing.  Pretty clever really.

 

We have a 2014 Buick Verano that we bought used that was ceramic coated before we bought it. It's what, 10 years now since it was done? It sits in the garage when not driven and not driven much. Few times a year for a few hundred miles and runs right off. A trip maybe once a year. Takes about 3 minutes to wipe down. We take it for a drive, and I wash it and put it away. That finish is about as slick as a finish can get. Water beads. Nothing sticks to it. Nope, not bugs, not road tar not even dust.  I have no idea what it was coated with. 

 

Is that a good finish or the result of sitting inside? 

 

 

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Been using this for quite a while, very easy on/off. Being were retired the vehicles don't sit outside in the sun everyday at work or in the sun commuting. Lasts longer. 

Spring application lasts until next one. Applied with a dual action polisher.

Best I've used and I tried many.

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I had my 24 3500DRW done by Bob Moses.  Cost me $1900 and I have a 8yr warranty.  There are some caveats to keeping the warranty though, Dont go through any car wash and only use DI water, use their soap and polish and once a year I gotta take my vehicle to them so they can check the coating and apply if needed.  

 

I bought a DI system and use their soap with a really good foam gun.  Washing my vehicle is pretty easy and never have to dry.  To me it's well worth it.

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2 hours ago, chopjaw said:

I had my 24 3500DRW done by Bob Moses.  Cost me $1900 and I have a 8yr warranty.  There are some caveats to keeping the warranty though, Dont go through any car wash and only use DI water, use their soap and polish and once a year I gotta take my vehicle to them so they can check the coating and apply if needed.  

 

I bought a DI system and use their soap with a really good foam gun.  Washing my vehicle is pretty easy and never have to dry.  To me it's well worth it.

 

$1900? Holy crap......

 

So when it rains does that void your warranty?  

Not sure where you live but it doesn't rain DI water here in Minnesota. 😉.......and who has a supply of DI water to wash/rinse a big truck?

Sorry, but that is crazy ridiculous......car washes are pretty much mandatory in Minnesota winters. 

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23 hours ago, BigMick2023 said:

 

$1900? Holy crap......

 

So when it rains does that void your warranty?  

Not sure where you live but it doesn't rain DI water here in Minnesota. 😉.......and who has a supply of DI water to wash/rinse a big truck?

Sorry, but that is crazy ridiculous......car washes are pretty much mandatory in Minnesota winters. 

 

Well bro, all I can say is that dirt, mud, and road grime does not really stick to my truck.  Sure it gets dirty but I don't have to scrub the truck.  I just use the Di water with the foam cannon and wash off with Di water and I don't have to dry.  I can wash my truck in like 20 minutes and it looks like the day I bought it.    The undercarriage is the only part that gets dirty but I use the pressure washer for that - when needed.   As far as DI water, I bought a system so I can wash my Harley, RV, Truck, and boat that's all been ceramic coated and it's night and day difference.  I guess we see value in different places.  I never have to wax my truck, never have to worry about the paint fading.   I live in Vegas so to me, it's worth the cost.  

 

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On 4/20/2024 at 6:33 AM, Grumpy Bear said:

 

We have a 2014 Buick Verano that we bought used that was ceramic coated before we bought it. It's what, 10 years now since it was done? It sits in the garage when not driven and not driven much. Few times a year for a few hundred miles and runs right off. A trip maybe once a year. Takes about 3 minutes to wipe down. We take it for a drive, and I wash it and put it away. That finish is about as slick as a finish can get. Water beads. Nothing sticks to it. Nope, not bugs, not road tar not even dust.  I have no idea what it was coated with. 

 

Is that a good finish or the result of sitting inside? 

 

 

 

Yeah...a good synthetic wax gives the same results.  10 years is due to the amount of care moreso than the product...but there still needs to be a good product there.

 

8 hours ago, chopjaw said:

 

Well bro, all I can say is that dirt, mud, and road grime does not really stick to my truck.  Sure it gets dirty but I don't have to scrub the truck.  I just use the Di water with the foam cannon and wash off with Di water and I don't have to dry.  I can wash my truck in like 20 minutes and it looks like the day I bought it.    The undercarriage is the only part that gets dirty but I use the pressure washer for that - when needed.   As far as DI water, I bought a system so I can wash my Harley, RV, Truck, and boat that's all been ceramic coated and it's night and day difference.  I guess we see value in different places.  I never have to wax my truck, never have to worry about the paint fading.   I live in Vegas so to me, it's worth the cost.  

 

 

Those warranty terms are made to make sure that the warrantor never needs to pay a claim.  Much like concrete paint.

 

But again, a good synthetic wax will give the same results.  

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I hand washed my truck this weekend and applied the SC3 detail spray that came with the kit.  Black truck, lots of chrome, it cleaned up nice & easy, and looks amazing afterward, got several compliments on it.

 

For me, that's the benefit of the ceramic coating - stays cleaner, longer, and easier to clean up.  Lots of products out there to give a great shine, but something that truly makes the truck easier to clean and keep clean is what Im after.  

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55 minutes ago, shudog said:

For me, that's the benefit of the ceramic coating - stays cleaner, longer, and easier to clean up.  Lots of products out there to give a great shine, but something that truly makes the truck easier to clean and keep clean is what Im after.  

 

I do the same.  Minus the detailer.  Literally all I do is wash, and dry, and my vehicles look showroom new.  I wash probably once every two weeks starting late fall through mid-spring (leaves, then salt, then pollen) but generally, once I get to mid-May, I might wash each vehicle once or twice more until November...with the exception of when my truck sees the trails.  Otherwise I can just dust them off cause they don't really get dirty.

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On 4/21/2024 at 6:00 PM, The Raven said:

 

Yeah...a good synthetic wax gives the same results.  10 years is due to the amount of care moreso than the product...but there still needs to be a good product there.

 

 

Those warranty terms are made to make sure that the warrantor never needs to pay a claim.  Much like concrete paint.

 

But again, a good synthetic wax will give the same results.  

I'm not so sure about that.  Maybe where you are located.  Bob Moses ceramic is pretty legit.  They have offices all over the SW.  As long as you do your part, they take care of you.  So far I've had no issues with them on anything I've taken to them.  

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