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Thread: Ceramic Coating - What's the catch?

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    Ceramic Coating - What's the catch?

    Hi all,

    I've been doing my research regarding ceramic coating and I believe I have a pretty good understanding of the advantages. (Easy to keep clean, no extra waxing needed, makes the car extra shiny, etc..) I think I also understand the disadvantages (Expensive to professionally apply, will not protect against chips / major scratches, etc...) but I still have a few questions that remain. I would greatly appreciate any input from someone who has applied a ceramic coat to your CX-5.

    My questions are:

    1) I wax my car with a synthetic wax, Nu finish, twice a year - spring and fall. How does a ceramic coat compare to a regular wax maintenance in regards to protection from micro scratches, contaminates, and paint fading?

    2) Does ceramic coating really protect from UV radiation or paint fading more than a synthetic wax?

    3) Does it really protect from micro scratches? For example, if someone was to improperly wash your car or (god forbid!) run through an automatic car wash does a ceramic coat resist the "swirl marks"?

    4) Given that there is a variable to the professional labor applying it, are all professional level brand of nano coating created the same? Or are some brands better than others?

    Thank you all for your time and responses, I greatly appreciate your help!

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    Looks like you really take good care of your car.
    I was also curious about ceramic coating.
    I do have experience with liquid wax, more specifically Produxa,
    It's advertised all over facebook, decided to just order it, after initial use, I decided to order 2 more bottles.
    Love this thing.

  3. #3
    Registered Member Ride92's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcticshade View Post
    Hi all,

    I've been doing my research regarding ceramic coating and I believe I have a pretty good understanding of the advantages. (Easy to keep clean, no extra waxing needed, makes the car extra shiny, etc..) I think I also understand the disadvantages (Expensive to professionally apply, will not protect against chips / major scratches, etc...) but I still have a few questions that remain. I would greatly appreciate any input from someone who has applied a ceramic coat to your CX-5.

    My questions are:

    1) I wax my car with a synthetic wax, Nu finish, twice a year - spring and fall. How does a ceramic coat compare to a regular wax maintenance in regards to protection from micro scratches, contaminates, and paint fading? A coating will negate the need to wax the car twice a year. It's essentially adding a very thin layer of glass like material to the top of the clear coat. The professional coatings often have a 10+ year life span and require a certified installer to install them since if there is an error the only way to remove those coatings is by wetsanding them off and polishing the panel again. A prosumer quality coating, one you will be able to order on line usually have a life of 3-5 years depending on the coating. They aren't quite as durable but more forgiving to install and get right. If you make a mistake, streaks, high spots, etc, you can remove the coating by polishing, no need to wet sand. They are very resistant to micro marring and swirl marks as well as acid etching from say bird droppings.

    2) Does ceramic coating really protect from UV radiation or paint fading more than a synthetic wax? The UV inhibitors in coatings are just as good if not better then what you find in synthetic waxes, as because it is more durable they remain on the paint far longer offering more protection for longer. If you wax 2x a year and the wax is gone after 4 months you have un protected paint.

    3) Does it really protect from micro scratches? For example, if someone was to improperly wash your car or (god forbid!) run through an automatic car wash does a ceramic coat resist the "swirl marks"? yes and no is the best answer I can give. Coatings are very hard, often 9h hardness level. they resist marring and swirls pretty good but they are not impervious to them. Once you coat your vehicle, and begin washing and what not, you might start to see some marring and swirls, especially if you take it thru a swirl-o-matic car wash. But the good thing is, is that for the most part, your coating is getting marred or swirled, not your actual paint and clear coat. Now deeper scratches will penetrate the coating and damage the paint no matter what you do. if after 3-5 years of your coating and the life is just about run out, a light polish will remove the marring and swirls since it's in the coating and you're removing the coating, not a layer of clear coat.

    4) Given that there is a variable to the professional labor applying it, are all professional level brand of nano coating created the same? Or are some brands better than others?
    a bit of a a confusing question really. Professional level coatings can only be purchased by certified installers. The manufacture holds training coarses for such certification and like I said earlier they last 10+ years and are very hard to remove if a mistake is made. If your looking at what can be purchased online from Carpro, gtechinq, 22pple, Gyeon and other such companys that's a different story, they are more user friendly. For the most part all the pro level coatings are about the same, whether it's Cyrstal serum professional, opti-coat pro, ceramic-pro, they are all about the same. it's more of a personal preference of the install which one they are certified in installing and comfortable using. The prosumer level ones are about the same as well with some being easier to install while other last longer but a bit harder to install.

    Thank you all for your time and responses, I greatly appreciate your help!
    when I first bought my CX-5 the dealer "washed" my car for me before taking delivery, They used an old bucket and red shop rags to wash the car. I walked into the service area later Saturday afternoon and found them doing that. Being a detailer I just about lost it! the car was riddled with scratches and swirls with less then 25miles on the odo. I went home, polished the car with my DA polisher, did a panel wipe down and installed Optimum Gloss coat. It was very easy to apply and has lasted about 3 years for me with regular maintenance washes and the occasional treatment of coating extendeder like reload and hydroblue. When my wife bought her Black GLE350 used, I polished the vehicle and coated that with Cyrstal Serum Light, a prosumer version of Cyrstal serum professional, and topped it with EXO V3. A bit harder to install but not to bad, that coating seems to be holding up much better then the Gloss coat and is still going stong 2.5 years in with almost no signs of wearing out. I highly recommend CSL topped with EXO and have them on the self waiting for warmer weather to reapply to my car. Hope that helps
    Just Giver!!!

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    Excellent post by Ride92, pretty much everything you need to know is covered.

    The only thing I might disagree on personally is the advertised life span of these coatings - some say 10+ years, but in reality it's more like 5, or even less. It really depends on how the owner treats their car. I.e. if someone coats their car with a 10 year coating, and washes it 3 times a week, stores it outside, drives it year round, etc., then the coating won't last as long. But if that same person applies the same coating and only has to wash it once a week due to the car being garaged/stored most of the time, the coating will last longer.

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    Thank you very much for your help Ride92, you answered all my questions.

    My intention is to find a certified detailer to apply the professional level coating. I don't trust myself with the prosumer version plus I like the longer lifespan of the professional level.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcticshade View Post
    Thank you very much for your help Ride92, you answered all my questions.

    My intention is to find a certified detailer to apply the professional level coating. I don't trust myself with the prosumer version plus I like the longer lifespan of the professional level.

    Thanks again!
    Expect to pay close to $1000 or more for those. The cost is due to the labor needed to polish the paint to perfection before hand. Coatings hide nothing, unlike waxes. If there’s swirls, marring, or scratches you’ll see it thru the coating. Probably a 2day process unless there’s several people working on the car
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride92 View Post
    Expect to pay close to $1000 or more for those. The cost is due to the labor needed to polish the paint to perfection before hand. Coatings hide nothing, unlike waxes. If there*s swirls, marring, or scratches you*ll see it thru the coating. Probably a 2day process unless there*s several people working on the car
    Yes, I am fully prepared for the cost. To me it is worth for the long term peace of mind and never having to wax again.

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    I did the full thing on my CX-9 - full front paint protection film (PPF) and 10 year Opti-Pro+ coating. Cost was close to $3K.

    Honestly, the PPF is worth it given the huge front end and thin paint. The ceramic coating, I question. My big issue is that you have no measure of how it was done or if it was done correctly. You just have to accept the fact that it was done and hope you did not get ripped off.

    On my son's Mazda 3, we just do a wash and Ice-Wax twice a year and honestly, the water beads up just the same and sheets off just the same. Honestly, water beads and comes off my old CX-5 just the same as it does on my ceramic coated CX-9.

    What I am basically saying is that it is a completely un-controlled thing that I would not do again if I was not doing it myself. If someone can point me to some data (not just company marketing stuff) with real life use, I would love to see it.
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    Does it make sense to just pay for paint correction and apply the ceramic coating on your own? This is what I am considering. I was quoted $100-200 for paint correction (4 month old car, garage stored)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aces72Aces View Post
    Does it make sense to just pay for paint correction and apply the ceramic coating on your own? This is what I am considering. I was quoted $100-200 for paint correction (4 month old car, garage stored)
    I would consider that because $200 is pretty cheap.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aces72Aces View Post
    Does it make sense to just pay for paint correction and apply the ceramic coating on your own? This is what I am considering. I was quoted $100-200 for paint correction (4 month old car, garage stored)
    It definitely makes sense if you're comfortable applying it on your own. Some coatings are easier to install than others, like Ride92 said. I'd suggest practicing the ceramic coating application before actually applying the coating, considering how hard it will be to get off if it's installed incorrectly.
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    Registered Member Ride92's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aces72Aces View Post
    Does it make sense to just pay for paint correction and apply the ceramic coating on your own? This is what I am considering. I was quoted $100-200 for paint correction (4 month old car, garage stored)
    I’d be very leary of anyone charging only $100-$200 for a full paint correction. Good work is rarely cheap and cheap work is rarely good. Depending on condition of the paint and how many stages I would need to correct it, I’d charge $400-$600 for a full correction. I charge about $150-$200 for a full detail for a car the size of the CX-5, that interior and exterior with a wax or sealant applied, no correcting
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    A detailer in Charlottesville is an authorized Modesto Ceramic Coatings shop.

    Prep for ceramic coatings is around $250, depending on how much work needs to be done.
    The 3 year product (#BC08) costs an additional $855 to apply.
    The 10 year product (#BC04) costs an additional $1,500 to apply.

    The same guy charges $1,700 to install X-Pel film:
    -Bumper
    -Hood
    -Fenders
    -A pillars
    -Leading edge of the roof
    -Headlights
    But he does not wrap the outside mirrors.

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    Had a certified professional install CQuartz UK on my 2016 CX-5 over 3 years ago. Paint still looks like new and sheds water as well now as it did when first applied. Well worth the $600 it cost me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride92 View Post
    I*d be very leary of anyone charging only $100-$200 for a full paint correction. Good work is rarely cheap and cheap work is rarely good. Depending on condition of the paint and how many stages I would need to correct it, I*d charge $400-$600 for a full correction. I charge about $150-$200 for a full detail for a car the size of the CX-5, that interior and exterior with a wax or sealant applied, no correcting
    The breakdown on my work was $175 for the paint correction. This of course, was on a brand new car, so maybe that impacted the price.
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