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ALL DETAILERS ARE NOT CREATED EQUALLY

There can be some confusion among customers on what a “Full Detail” involves. To some detailers this can consist of washing the vehicle, vacuuming the interior, wiping down the dash, and slapping some tire shine on. To others, this can consist of a thorough exterior wash using multiple stages of washing, chemical removal of embedded contaminates, clay barring the paint, washing the door jams, drying the vehicle, compounding and polishing the paint, ceramic coating the paint and windows, steam cleaning the interior and any stains…. Etc. The amount of services a professional, and experienced detailer car offer are nearly endless. To clarify for my customers, I am documenting what is generally included in my ceramic coating package. Options can be added and removed from what I normally do and will be priced accordingly.

Ceramic Coating is a fairly new product to the detailing industry. It offers unmatched protection, endurance, hydrophobicity, and gloss over outdated waxes and sealants. This is my most popular service sold when it comes to detailing, as well as the most labor intensive and expensive. Ceramic coating is considered a permanent, or semi-permanent coating that chemically bonds to the top layer of clear coat (or paint) on your vehicle. Because it chemically bonds, it will not break down over time with multiple washes (the longevity is dependent on multiple factors) like a conventional wax or sealant which will only last weeks or a few months.

Because of this long term bond, proper correction and defect removal of the paint surface is extremely important or you will essentially be sealing in the defects for years to come, as well as degrading the lifespan of the coating. My process is extremely detail oriented, and consists of multiple steps that take the better part of two days.

I start by fully inspecting the condition of the paint of the vehicle. This is to document any serious damage to the vehicles paint prior to even beginning the process, and communicating this to the customer. Next, I will thoroughly wash the exterior of the vehicle paying attention to areas that trap and accumulate dirt and debris. This also includes thoroughly washing the wheels in addition to using an iron-eating chemical decontaminate to remove embedded brake pad and rotor material from the wheel and brake caliper surface. After the paint is washed I will assess the need for clay bar treatment. If there is any embedded contaminates that did not get removed from the wash, a clay bar will gently remove them from the surface. If this step is not needed, it is avoided as clay bar will introduce slight marring to the surface. After the paint is fully denominated and dry, the surface or the paint is further assessed using a digital paint thickness tool. This is to assure there is adequate paint/clear coat left on the surface to remove imperfections and scratches. This is a very important step, as if the paint/clear coat is too thin, there is a risk of removing what is left of it and exposing whatever is underneath (seems extremely counterproductive). Notice the dirt trapped in the clay. This is after washing the car.

This is where the real time/skill/effort is put into the correction/coating process. Depending on the condition of the surface, this could consist of a light polish to remove very light imperfections before coating (usually on new vehicles). It could also consist of 2 or more stages of compounding and polishing with rigorous inspection between each stage and panel of the vehicle. This will, in most cases, leave your paint looking better-than-new.

After correcting the paint to its best self, living its best life, I will prepare it for the coating. I will fully wipe down each panel with a mixture of isopropanol alcohol and distilled water. The purpose of this step is to remove any and all oils that could be left behind from the compounding and polishing. If these are not removed prior to coating, it will affect the adhesion and longevity of the coating (think putting tape over something greasy or oily). Now that the surface is perfectly corrected and cleaned, the coating can be applied. This can consist of layering one or multiple coats of the ceramic coating (generally 1-3 coats). After the ceramic is applied, I apply a ceramic booster on top to protect the ceramic coating as it cures fort the next few days.

This package also includes a standard cleaning of all door jams, interior surfaces, and wheels/tires. All these surfaces can be coated as well, for an additional expense. Please contact me for details.

Now that your vehicle has been professionally ceramic coated, you’ll enjoy a cleaner vehicle between washes, and a vehicle that is easier to clean. There are things to avoid (like “soft-touch” carwashes) to keep your paint looking like the day it was coated. In my next blog, I will cover the proper ways to maintain your vehicle post-ceramic coating!

2 comments

  • Hey Bill,

    The variance in the price is due to the condition of the paint (how much or little damage is visible). Due to this there is not much you can do to change your final cost. I do usually ask to receive the car in a fairly clean state to give you an accurate quote when you drop it off. Thanks!

    Silas Pritchard
  • Hi Silas, I messaged you about ceramic coating for 2019 Tesla Model 3. $800 is a fantastic price and my question for you is, what preparation steps can I take on my own before a shop appointment to Decrease my quote and possibly Decrease the time you need to complete it if any?

    what’s the best way to be on the low end of that quote?

    Bill Blaney

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