Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Ceramic Coating - Yes or No

I've been hit with some medical issues recently so car hasn't been washed 2 mths. Front was flocked with bugs. Past experience shifting them has been painful. This time I just sponged over with autoglym shampoo then spread a thin cloth soaked in the same over the whole front while I 2-bucketed the rest of the car.
By the time I'd done the insects just wiped off with a wet sponge...so easy. Wish I'd known years ago.
And no wax or ceramic on my car at least a year
I have been super happy with the ceramic coating and less so with PPF. - TLDR

My experiences are different from most of the responders. I do NOT enjoy car detailing. I am not experienced at it and would not know if I am doing more harm than good. Historically my enthusiasm for cleaning a car runs out by the time I have washed it and so lovingly hand waxing previous cars has been a rare event and limited to trying to improve the finish with super resin polish.
As my MY was the first new car I was buying in some time (I tend to hang on to cars) and I planned to keep it for a long time I decided to try and keep it looking pristine for as long as possible. I decided to get PPF on the bumper, bonnet, headlights and door mirrors and Ceramic coatings on the whole car. For the paintwork I went with Gtechniq Crystal Serum Ultra because I was having it applied by a professional detailer anyway and the potential extra life of the coating fits with my plan to keep the car.
The car is only about 14 months old and done 13,000 miles but the paintwork is immaculate, not a swirl in sight. But the added benefit to me is that the car is so easy (and a pleasure) to wash. I have invested in a foam lance for the pressure washer, 2 buckets with grit guards, wash mitts and new microfiber cloths and towels. I do a pre-wash with the foam lance, rinse, main wash with the foam lance, stroke the mitts all over rinsing the mitts regularly, rinse and then stroke with the towels to dry. I use the word stroke because it is the lightest of touches. The time it takes is probably 15 minutes setting up and clearing away, 10 minutes washing and then 15 minutes drying all the nooks and crannies (by far the worst bit of the job).

Afterwards the paint looks glorious and feels like silk.

I know that the PPF is there for a different reason but the ceramic coating on the PPF (Gtechniq HALO) does not work or last so well and it does not have that silky smooth feel. The PPF is not invisible. There are little notches cut out on the corners to avoid overlapping. Cut outs around the badge and the USS’s and these edges are visible close up, although not as noticeable as the edge of the factory installed PPF on the rear doors for some reason. I do not have the same joy when washing those areas as the ceramic coated paintwork as the mitts and towels drag a bit on the surface and it does not have quite the same deep shine. But the question is has it saved me from lots of stone chips? Probably but how do you know what would have been.

I had both the PPF and ceramic coatings applied within a few days of receiving the car and based on my limited experience would definitely have a ceramic coating applied on any new car I get. PPF, the jury is out. I would say that a decision on ceramic coating is from the heart, I love the way it has kept the car looking and feeling. The PPF is more a decision of the head, I know it is a good thing but I don’t love it!

I should also mention the Gtechniq ClearVision Smart Glass coating applied to the cars glass. It makes the glass very easy to wash and water streams off the windscreen making visibility very good. Two things I have noticed though is when a wiper passes over there can be a slight milky appearance for a second before it clears, not sure if it is caused by this product and secondly once dried if wiped with a cloth with any lint the lint gets left on the glass. Other people’s experience would be useful.

I am not claiming that you cannot do better with more work or with different products, but I am very pleased with my MY ceramic coating, it has made it very easy to keep it looking fantastic.
My car is currently at the detailers, replacing the PPF on the front bumper after a slow speed mishap with a stone wall. Whilst there, getting a top up of the Gtechniq Halo ceramic for the panels with PPF, and EXO applied to panels without. Car was last ceramic coated 3 years ago.

Whilst I understand the merits of using proper wax and certain DIY ceramic products, I don't have a garage, time is tight and weather is variable. So sending the car to the detailers to apply a ceramic coating once every few years, rather than spending my time and negotiating with the Scottish weather is worth it for me.

WRT PPF, It seemed a good idea at the time, on a brand new car. Not sure if I'd go that route again. The front bumper scrape cost me £130 to repair, and the PPF did help to protect most of the paintwork underneath whilst it ripped the film to shreds but It's cost me several multiples of the paint repair to remove and replace the PPF. I was thinking of leaving it off, but looking at the car front on I can tell it's a slightly different shade to the existing PPF covered panels.

PPF Damage:


Paint Damage:

  • Like
Reactions: Bootneckshuffl
The PPF is more a decision of the head, I know it is a good thing but I don’t love it!

:) Agree with that.

[PPF] Cut outs around the badge

My detailer took the badges off (and put new ones on top of the PPF)

There are definitely edges to the PPF, but not very noticeable so possibly the detailer I went to took more time / trouble (and no doubt charged me accordingly ...)

I took an MS to have PPF applied. The car closest to mine in price had an extra nought - a very depressing visit!

The time it takes is probably 15 minutes setting up and clearing away, 10 minutes washing and then 15 minutes drying

I don't even do that, so I don't get the chance to notice the joins :) ... occasionally let the supermarket bucket brigade wash it, but that's it for me.
I snowfoamed mine once but the amount of sufs going into the stream put me off ever doing that again. I also didn't think it made any real difference to speed of 2 bucket wash. Rarely do I bother polishing or even washing but it is kept in the barn.
So sending the car to the detailers to apply a ceramic coating once every few years, rather than spending my time and negotiating with the Scottish weather is worth it for me.
Pfft. That's part of the fun :)

Seriously though, if you're going to get ceramic, then going to a detailers is the best option if you don't have the time/ability to polish it beforehand.
I was going to ceramic coat my car (I picked it up in winter, so I needed to wait a few months)

Instead what I did was use a ceramic snow foam when washing the car.
You of course dont get that initial protection but the results are staggering.

Especially since the cost of a bottle was £19 from Halfords (I used Auto Finesse Lavish)

I am due to do another wash in a couple weeks. Will end up sticking with this inexpensive solution for now.
In my experience definitely yes.
On collection the paint on my car was truly awful. I had a full paint correction, polish and Gtechniq Crystal Serum Ultra applied by Bellissimoto in South London and I would absolutely do it again.
As many people have mentioned it doesn't protect against stone chips and bad washing (local car wash 😨) but it does make washing and getting a really good finish much quicker and easier. In my experience it does appear to add some scratch protection.
I do a 2 bucket wash with wax free car soap and dry with a microfiber towel once a month and it comes up like new. The dirt falls off and it always looks like I've spent an extra hour polishing but I've never put any wax on ever. The occasional going over with gtechnic ceramic sealant and it comes up like a mirror with much less effort than you would expect.
There are a few scratches where people have pushed past the car etc but less than a hand full in 18 months of ownership and I'm apparently the only one who can find them. Some scratches I've noticed previously (like when the dog jumped up at the door 😱) seem to have disappeared (perhaps the coating repairs itself somehow or the ceramic sealant has some filler action). No scratches have got through the paint.
The next car I'll get the even harder black ultra sealant done.
  • Like
Reactions: Genie
Interesting, I would have thought a ceramic sealant over a ceramic wax would not add much…. I may give it a try as I like the simplicity on meguires hybrid ceramic.
For me the Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic was really easy and seemed to offer protection but the finish was not super. Maybe I was using too much or something. Or maybe I needed another step in addition to rinsing and drying. Apply the Gtechniq C2 after I dried the car made it shinier. If you are happy with the finish Meguiar's provides then Gtechniq C2 may not help much.

If you have tips on how to use the Meguiar's, I'm all ears.
About 2 months after I pickup my M3LR in blue, I booked mine in to get PPF on the front and ceramic coating on the rest of the car. Used Ceramic Pro in Glasgow UK, Cannot fault there work. They did notice a couple of stone chips after they started the cleaning. Now I cannot stop seeing this :(

But even after the laziest of washing it comes out super beautiful. Water just beads off.
So, like one of the earlier posters I am definitely not a fan of spending 3-4 hours each time I want to make my car shine like new again. However, I do enjoy washing my car and my wheels, and since I believe most people here on this forum also wash their cars much more than they detail them, I am going to suggest something here that worked wonderfully for me with my Lexus 2016 RC200t with a beautiful Infrared color that even after 88k miles still shined like brand new using this method.

So, I would wash the car using only a car wash specific product, and then 1-2 times a year I would spend the additional 2 hours using a clay bar to remove anything that had adhered to the surface. Then, after each and every single wash I would Spray on Turtle Was Spray and Wax, purchased for about $6 at Walmart. I would spray this product on the still wet (after washing) car, and then use about 3-4 new chamois to dry off the car entirely, including opening the doors and drying the painted areas that are not seen when the doors are closed. I know many of you are going to doubt what I'm saying here, but I would say that my Lexus looked 95% like it did when it was brand new after using this inexpensive product, and being so simple to apply, I don't even really know how long it kept the hydrotropic (water beading?) properties, cause more than likely I was washing the car again before finding out. I also used Spray and Wax on my Wheels, which made washing and cleaning them 10 times easier, as the dirt just came off with a wet rag.

So, I hope that this information helps. One thing I'm not sure about since there is so much talk on this Forum about how soft and of "poor quality" the Tesla paint job is, I am hoping to eventually try to lightly clay bar my car and then use the very same techniques that I have described above.
I wouldn't clay unless I was doing a polish afterwards. Even if you ignore the micro scratch concern, there's always the danger you'll drag something along the paintwork. But we all have different risk profiles and if it works for you, then that's fine.

There are a lot of similar products to the Spray wax you mention that work really well as a drying agent and give you a great shine and a bit of protection for little effort. I used to used Sonax BSD during the winter when it was too cold to wax and it lasted for weeks at a time.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Whyone
I agree 100% with both the comments about using the clay bar. Pre-prep, i.e. making sure that the car has been thoroughly washed B4 claying is very important, and then I will always use a brand new clay bar which should never touch any surface other than the paint surface itself. My "wetting" agent of choice while using the clay bar is a Quick Detailer product. Applying a good wax almost immediately afterwards is essential to keep any particles from the pristine clean surface.
In my personal and professional opinion, a Tesla needs ceramic coating and PPF. I will not go into ceramic and ppf brands here because I don't want people to think I am spamming the group. I am trying to answer questions that keep coming up - in a neutral way. This thread has quite a few.

  • Bugs -- SONAX makes an insect remover that works well. Pre-rinse the front side of the vehicle. Before you wash, spray the insect remover on the windshield, bumper, grill, mirrors, etc. Wait a minute or two. Then use their insect removal sponge (WET) to remove the bugs.
  • Clay Bar -- I subscribe to the theory that clay bar without polishing creates micro marring and scratches.
  • Wax. It belongs on a shelf next to your slide ruler. :) If you are not going to have your car done, get a good spray ceramic and do it yourself every few months. It is not going to protect like a true ceramic but it will outlast and outperform a wax. Heck, even a spray and seal.
  • Ceramic - There are a handful of brands that truly produce a glass-like surface on the outside of your vehicle, multiple times harder than paint. Don't waste your money or time with the cheap stuff.
  • PPF - Not all PPF is the same. Here is what you need to ask for. A ceramic-infused PPF followed by PPF specific ceramic base and top coat on the PPF. With the exception of a 'full hood' you want all parts plotted NEVER CUT ON YOUR VEHICLE.. On full fronts etc, ask them to wrap all exposed edges. They will have to cut that short around corners and curves but its a much cleaner look.
  • If you are an avid DIYer and not going to do ceramic Rupes makes a product called Uno Advanced that this applied with a buffer and I love it.
I use a DA but do have a rotary, simply because the DA is lovely to use, the rotary is an absolute pig plus high points/swage lines its so easy to overheat the paint and burn through - only used by me for really bad areas as its a lot quicker to sort out the paint correction needed.
Do you know if the Makita DPO600 (Random Orbit Polisher LXT) is a DA? I can see a DA Makita on Amazon for >£800 but it is mains powered and I know I'd cause more damage with the lead than I'd fix with the polisher... I have a bunch of LXT batteries, and the only other LXT polisher I can see is the DPV300 Sander/Polisher.
Paint has a level of hardness - the lighter the colour the harder it is, White is very very hard, black is super soft - darker colours suffer swirl marks far more easily and even if you wash carefully you cant avoid some light swirls.
To see those swirls - look at the panel like you would a mirror and look for the sun - all the swirls will be seen, swirls impact on the light refraction, DA polish the panel and look again at the sun - the difference is staggering - it results in a deeper looking colour and almost a wet look. a good waxing - a pea size blob of R222 in your palm, rub your hands together then massage it onto the panel - you will look a twat, leave for about 5 mins and buff off - do it panel by panel, don't leave wax to dry because its hard work getting it off and carnauba doesn't leave white marks if you accidently get it on plastic trim.
I wish I saw this before buying a black one...
Chips - maybe have PPF to front end and if you don't have mud flaps do the sills and leading edges of the front wings too. Chipex kit for touch ups.
Do tesla offer PPF application as a paid service option, or can anyone recommend someone who can do it near Glasgow?