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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Ceramic Wax

What experience does anyone have with the latest in waxes called "Ceramic Coatings"? They are supposed to last many times longer than any ordinary wax. Also a LOT more expensive. Considering it for my Lotus and my DD.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 06:41 PM
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I had a ceramic coating applied to my 2008 Lotus Elise SC. It cost me $2,000. Here are some observations in no particular order:

1. The biggest benefit from my point of view is that simply washing and drying the car leaves it looking like it was just waxed.

2. The ceramic coating is NOT a replacement for a clear bra. In fact, they put the ceramic coating on top of my clear bra (I was told by he shop that did the work that they use a different ceramic coating for the clear bra than they use when applying directly over paint, but I don't know if that's true).

3. Most of the expense is labor. First they have to wash the car and clay-bar it. Then you can get a "bargain" version where they only put on one coat, or you can get the "gold" version that is 5 coats. I got the 5 coats because I figured "in for a penny, in for a pound". The entire process took 4 days of elapsed time in my case.

4. I would be lying if I told you that the car looked materially different right after the application than it did after a real good wash and wax. The biggest advantage for me is that washing the car now is easy because dirt doesn't stick as easily.

5. From what I read, the ceramic coating does not last forever. it will eventually wear off (I read that a single coat can wear off in as little as a year or two, whereas 5 coats might last 5 years). I can't personally verify these claims.

6. Was it worth the expense? Well, it depends. I've already made most of the performance modifications I want to make to my car. So now I'm focusing on aesthetics. If I keep the car for 5 years, that's $400 per year for the ceramic coating. I figure it saves me a lot of time waxing my car a few times a year, and that's worth $400/year to me. If you don't wax your car a few times a year, and/or you plan to keep the car for less than 2 years, and/or you care primarily about handling and performance, then it's not worth the expense in my opinion.

7. In the end I'm glad I had the ceramic coating done but it's not the first place I'd spend the money on a Lotus. On the "pyramid of needs" I say this is something you want to consider only after you've already taken care of more basic needs like a sport exhaust, upgraded shifter, supercharger, brakes, suspension,etc.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 07:08 PM
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A few weeks ago I talked to a shop I use to have my Jeep Wrangler ceramic coated. They gave me a price of $350 which didnít include paint correction. They stated the bulk of the labor/cost is spent with paint correction.

They stated ceramic coating my Jeep should last approx 2 years

I didnít have it done, itís a Jeep after all.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 10:22 PM
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Ceramic Wax

Fellow LEO S4s owner had his car done this year. It looked absolutely amazing!! Itís expensive... but I think worth the $$. They told him it should last like 5 years.
Iím sure you will see at this years upcoming LOG.

When I first got my Lotus and was still single, I bought a small batch of the ultra expensive Zymol Atlantique Concours wax. The full size goes for $1643, but my small batch ran me $200.

Here is the link to the Atlantique wax.

https://www.zymol.com/atlantique.aspx

Yes... I was nuts at the time, but I can honestly say, that still to this day, it was by far the best wax I have ever used. My S4s looked amazing, the shine lasted all season, and I got tons of compliments. Ask Atwell.

So if it comes down to cost... I think I would rather put that money into stupid expensive wax, that you could use once a season that probably last you the 5 year life span of the ceramic coating, and that you could use on other cars in your fleet.

For that matter... go one step higher and spend $2,945 on the Zymol Vintage wax, and get free refills for life.

https://www.zymol.com/vintage.aspx

Just a thought.

Happy Waxing!

Dominick







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SS Cat Bypass Pipe, Micklewright Exhaust, Ram Air mod, 104 deg MOP Cam Wheel, HKS SSQV BOV, K&N Air Filter, Carbotech Race Brakes, SS Brake and Clutch Lines.

Last edited by yellow hornet; 05-29-2019 at 10:51 PM.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 02:41 AM
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Comrades,

I just can't spend as much or more on wax as I do for parts and head work when I rebuild an engine 😬. I've used Zaino for years - I used to think it was expensive until today - and I've been pretty happy with it. But, as they say, if you've got'em, smoke'em, so if a couple of thousand for a wax job is in your budget go for it.

Tom

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 04:08 AM
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Just like anything else, it's the prep that costs (in time, or $$$ if you have it done by a pro)

Good detailers like @O LEE O can spend several days carefully prepping existing paint before ceramic coating.

BTW, Ceramic coating the wheels makes them easier to clean the brake dust off!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 09:50 AM
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Good detailers like @O LEE O can spend several days carefully prepping existing paint before ceramic coating.

This is exactly correct. I just had my 1997 V8 detailed and ceramic coated earlier this month. It took them 2 days just on the paint correction (multi-pass polish) to remove all the previous swirls. I was told the Esprit is even harder to polish because it's fiberglass, and fiberglass will get hotter than steel during the polishing process, so they need to use lower speeds on the machine, which means more labor and there's also more risk for burning thru. They actually left more of the scratches than they preferred because they were scared to burn thru. Then the ceramic coating was applied and left to cure. The ceramic they applied is rated for 4yrs. Like other said above, my goal was to make it simple to wash and not have to wax, as I dislike that chore.

I have video of my Esprit before/after the polish process, and then after the ceramic is applied, but not allowed to attach mp4 files here. See if these links work:


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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 01:04 PM
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Looks great! The detailers must love doing those louvers.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 08:23 PM
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I just got mine back this week.

My black roof was not washed well over the two years it sat at the dealer so he corrected and buffed first. It is better than any wax I've seen. We'll see how it holds up from here.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
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I just got some Nanolex SISHIELD from Detailer's Domain. Seems like a great place and they also do detailing besides being the exclusive importer of Nanolex from Germany. Putting on ceramic coatings is all about the prep and paint correction. Actually putting the coating on is the least of the work. Although these coatings are advertised to last for years, in reality they start wearing off in as little as months depending on how you drive and if the car is garaged. They are supposed to stay cleaner, clean easier and better protect the paint. You can use a "booster" to extend the life of the coating. The coating is expensive but not so expensive as the stuff Yellow Hornet bought. Most of the cost when you have it done is the labor for the paint correction. I am going to try it on my DD first to learn how to apply the stuff.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 07:13 AM
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Since this is the first time I had a car paint corrected and ceramic coated, so I can't speak with any actual personal experience, but my guess is that future maintenance will be very simple. Whenever I think the ceramic coating is wearing off, then reapply another coat(s) of ceramic. I recently saw a car that was last ceramic coated 2yrs ago, and it still looked like it was just applied and felt slippery to the touch. If there is still at least one coat of ceramic bonded to the paint, then theoretically the paint layer is still protected and in same condition as the last paint correction, right? At least that's how my mind thinks of it, only time will tell, check back with me in 3 yrs! :-)
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-31-2019, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carbuff View Post
Just like anything else, it's the prep that costs (in time, or $$$ if you have it done by a pro)

Good detailers like @O LEE O can spend several days carefully prepping existing paint before ceramic coating.

BTW, Ceramic coating the wheels makes them easier to clean the brake dust off!
There's a Armor All Wheel protectant spray for a few $ that does the same. Lasts for ~6mo and the brake dust won't stick at all. before that i had 2+mm of brake dust coating my silver AWI's after trying race pads (lost 4mm of pads in 2 weeks of street driving...).

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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You can apply many layers of the ceramic coating, one on top of another. The more layers the longer it lasts. I guess you can also just reapply layers later but I am also guessing you must really clean the car well again to do that. As I said, I am learning about this stuff and if it is all it is claimed to be I won't be using wax anymore. Detailing is an evolving art, we used to just wash them, polish them, dry with chamious, and then wax them. Now we "paint correct", clay bar, and coat them. At least on my other car I don't have to paint correct and coat it, it's a Delorean! I fix scratches with sandpaper and a scotch-brite pad.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 06:13 PM
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There is a local high-end detailing shop here in Columbus that has posted a ton of detailed videos with really good background info on detailing in general and the ceramic coatings specifically. I'm sure they will answer any question you have in there somewhere.

Link to all of their video here --> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_V...H-WIq25oZWmQEg

They also sell a couple of ceramic coatings that I believe they are exclusive carriers for. I ordered a DA polisher and some other equipment from them and was pretty happy with the results.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 06:15 PM
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I have the ceramic coating from AvalonKing on my car. I clay barred it really well, then applied it. I don't think it needs days of prep work. I knocked it all out in about 5 hours. It makes removing rubber marks after a day at the track a breeze.

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 07:30 PM
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Well, I thought I'd jump in with my 2 cents since Carbuff (Atwell) has mentioned me and since this is what I do for a living.

First, it's the compounding/polishing that give the paint it's shine. We call that "Paint Correction". In simplest terms, compound/polish is like sand paper except they are very, very fine grits. What causes car paint to lose its shine are usually "swirls" which are thousands/millions of minuscule, very fine haphazard scratches causing an uneven surface on the paint. What these "swirls" do is "refract" the light as opposed to "reflect" the light. Refracting the light scatters it in all directions which causes the paint to look "milky" and it loses that deep gloss which is what we all want to see.

So when we compound/polish, what we are actually doing is "sanding" the surface to make it flat and smooth as possible so the light will reflect. The flatter, smoother the surface is, the shinier it will be.

Secondly, waxes, sealants as well as ceramic coatings are only "protectors" which is why we call it "Paint Protection". For all 3 variants, the key is to have these protectorants to lay down as flat and smooth as possible to maintain the shine you work so hard to get. In some cases, these protectorants can add some depth to your shine but your paint has to be corrected as best as possible to attain this added value.

In case some of you want to know, depending on the use, wear and tear and storage of your vehicle (and these are just some overview averages):
Waxes can last from 2-4 months Sealants from 6-8 months Ceramic Coatings from 1-5 years

Now when it comes to Ceramic Coatings, as most people have pointed out, the major cost factor is in the prep. Why you ask? Because the coating you are putting on is going to seal over any imperfections in the paint and will stay visible as long as the coating lasts. Not something I want my client to see all the time for a couple of years if you catch my drift.

Swirl Marks. What are they? Where do they come from? They come from you. You wash your car? You scratch your car. You dry your car? You scratch your car. You touch your car? You scratch your car. You can't get away from scratching your car but what you can do is minimize the scratching. If you grew up like me in the 70s and 80s, when you went to wash your car, if was most likely with Joy for dishes and a sponge. That was the worst possible thing you could do. DONT USE A SPONGE! (Atwell!!).

And lastly, I always chuckle when we call it "paint correction" because most of the time, we are correcting the clear coat which IS paint but it's clear. Only on older cars, before the 1990s, there was single stage paint and no clear coat. When I do the older cars, my pads get filled with "paint" that I am "sanding" off and it's quite visible where with clear coat, you don't see any color.

Now if anybody wants to go into Color Theory and discuss why we see what we see, I will be more than happy to discuss but not on this thread nor this forum nor on this media! That is something that is needed to discuss face to face!

Well, that wasn't 2 cents, was it? More like a buck fifty.

Later.............Lee
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O LEE O View Post

If you grew up like me in the 70s and 80s, when you went to wash your car, if was most likely with Joy for dishes and a sponge. That was the worst possible thing you could do. DONT USE A SPONGE! (Atwell!!).

.Lee
LOL,




Lee and I have a Running Gag between us (regards using sponges for car washing, which even Consumer Reports cautions not to do).



It is almost as intense as my Anti-Wing bias.


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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 02:33 PM
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I've read through all the text posted so far and have a question. I've heard that, upon re-applying ceramic coating, to remove the old stuff, if one wishes to do so, it must be sanded. True?

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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 02:45 PM
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I've read through all the text posted so far and have a question. I've heard that, upon re-applying ceramic coating, to remove the old stuff, if one wishes to do so, it must be sanded. True?
That's not true. Ceramic coatings are just a type of sealant. They wear off over time like a wax but they last much longer. I will say that the claims of 5 years of life for a ceramic coat is specifically for a super well maintained car that is garage parked and not driven too much. Most people likely don't have to coating last that long because the car is not regularly washed/waxed properly and is subjected to the elements more than a typical garage queen.
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 03:23 PM
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A bit of perspective. Here's a 34-way comparison of sealants and ceramic coatings over the course of over 1 year.


An $8 bottle of NuFinish stands up remarkably well to the much more expensive products.

Drives a Prius (clearly knows nothing about cars).

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