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DIY Ceramic coating - don't waste money with a pro

Needsdecaf

Active Member
Dec 16, 2018
1,277
1,825
The Woodlands, TX
If your car is new, few weeks old, don't need to polish, imo. Also, when I tried decontamination on my Model Y, 3 weeks old from the factory, did not find anything to be removed, so you might not need this either. But definitely, you don't need to polish, don't waste your time on this with a new car. I used AvalonKing coating, it took me about 6hrs from start to finish (prep the car and coating the car). Also, I like to mention, any consumer coating will last you only 2 years max, whereas if you do professionally, it will last 5 years.
Yes, you save money. But if you can find a cheap professional, you might want to consider it. My co-worker had his car for $450, guaranty it will last 5 years, had I known someone did it for $450, I would not spend 6hrs to do it myself :)
The process is easy, it just takes a lot of time to do it. I would say anyone can do it if you have patience. Remember, the most important part it's buffing, you need to wait for 2 to 10 mins depending on your room tempature. If it's summer, usually 2 mins, then you need to wax if the towel. The best way it's to wait for ceramic the change it's color like the rainbow, then you need to wax/clean up with towel. I have weak eyes, so I did the timing.
Is worth it? Definitely big YES. Either you DYI or professionally is a must-have to me. Your car will shine, it will skid all water, also very easy to wash your car.

Every new car, all of them, have issues to correct when new. If you didn't find anything on your Model 3, you either weren't looking hard enough or don't know what you're looking for. I found TONS of issues on my Model 3, a March 2020 car. Most were no big deal. A few were bigger and I had them addressed when I had my PPF installed. And they aren't immediately apparent to like 90% of people. But when corrected, 100% of the people could tell the difference.

This is not a Tesla thing. In fact, Ferrari has some of the worst paint in the business from the factory!
 

pt19713

Member
Feb 5, 2020
987
1,269
Delaware
Wash Decontamination. Spray car using foam cannon with strip wash. Use microfiber cleaning sponge & bucket to then wash car down. Rinse car
* This step will remove any polish/wax that the dealer may have put on the car. I use Adams Strip wash

This stuff works great in stripping wax, is really cheap, and readily available at most chain auto parts stores and Walmart. You can either use it with a foam cannon or by a wash mitt by hand.

1626456623021.png



Their APC is also good and inexpensive. It'll need to be diluted depending on what it's being used on, but works great for the wheel fender liner, all weather floor mats (especially with a drill and brush attachment).
1626456811853.png
 

ucsdsig

Member
Sep 10, 2016
296
238
Los Angeles
Every new car, all of them, have issues to correct when new. If you didn't find anything on your Model 3, you either weren't looking hard enough or don't know what you're looking for. I found TONS of issues on my Model 3, a March 2020 car. Most were no big deal. A few were bigger and I had them addressed when I had my PPF installed. And they aren't immediately apparent to like 90% of people. But when corrected, 100% of the people could tell the difference.

This is not a Tesla thing. In fact, Ferrari has some of the worst paint in the business from the factory!
Yeah, and unfortunately when dealers prep new cars for delivery, they can actually do more harm than good. Polishers can cause lots of swirls/halos on the paint if not used properly.

Paint prep is essential before PPF / ceramic application.
 

eleven24

Member
Jun 20, 2021
292
1,246
Doylestown, PA
I call BS or you live in an alternate reality from everyone else. In reality this is an 8 hour job on the low end and a couple days on the high end.

A tad bit aggressive, but perhaps just a bit too much caffeine today?

Basing these times on how long it took me to do all of the above to a Ford Raptor, which is far more work than a Tesla. Granted, this was 18 months ago but I started just after lunch and was cleaning up everything and putting it away before it was dark. Decon, clay bar, polish, prep, apply coating & leave truck in garage (where it BARELY fit) for the weekend.

This was in April, which for my area probably means the sun sets around 7-8pm at that time of year. Not exactly a stretch to suggest I started around 1 and was all wrapped up by 7. Unless, that is, my clocks really do run in an alternate reality.

It would certainly explain a lot of things that happen around here.
 

eleven24

Member
Jun 20, 2021
292
1,246
Doylestown, PA
Yeah, and unfortunately when dealers prep new cars for delivery, they can actually do more harm than good. Polishers can cause lots of swirls/halos on the paint if not used properly.

Paint prep is essential before PPF / ceramic application.

Any car I get, whether it was a factory build to order or one that was on the lot, I always request that the dealer do no prep work to it in regards to the paint. Same for when I bring it in for service. I'm so particular about it that I have a "DO NOT WASH" sign that I hang from my rear view mirror.

I've found that car dealership "detail centers" are really nothing more than what you'd get from the local kids at a car wash fundraiser. Same sponge, same rag, same bucket of water for every car. Finish up with a quick detailer buffed on with a rag that is worn and abused to get the car sparkling, and off you go.

This is why it's an understatement to say that polishing is needed, even on a brand new car. Same applies from a Hyundai to a Tesla to a Maserati dealership.
 
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eleven24

Member
Jun 20, 2021
292
1,246
Doylestown, PA
If you're polishing in 60 minutes, that's where you're missing out on pro level. There's no way, NONE, that you're getting the same level of paint correction in 60 minutes as a pro would be. Can you get 70-80% of the way there? Maybe. And is that still pretty good? Yes. But after that, each 5% takes exponentially longer.

I'd agree and disagree with that. If we're talking about a new from factory car, it will be unlikely that I'll need to use anything but a light polish. If the paint needs more work, then it could be several applications of different grades of polish before getting to the finishing polish. That would likely push beyond just one day.

For a brand new Tesla, and especially considering the roof is all glass and requires no paint prepping, I have no doubt I'll be done the polishing in 60-90 min. Sadly, I probably have more experience doing this than many of those who consider themselves to be "pro". Not because I've done it professionally, but because it's been a 20+ year obsession of mine for not only my vehicles, but that of friends & family.

Yep, I'm the guy who goes to a summer house for the weekend and has half of the trunk filled with detailing gear. Oddly, I prefer that to sitting on the beach for hours.
 
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loanchau2k

Member
Nov 25, 2020
145
70
Fremont, CA
So if I assume this will take about 12 hours to do. Factor in my (or yours) hourly rate, equipment cost (not everyone already has all the kits), opportunity cost, etc. the quotes from local detailing shops don't sound too bad now. 😂
Yup, as I said in my previous post if you can find a cheap shop, you might consider it. I would let the shop do it if it was under $500, like my friend had for 450. Also, the shop can use professional-grade would last for 5 years. Consumer-grade that you buy over Amazon would last 2 years max. The question is if you can get the professional-grade bottle, would you DYI? I would say no since they are extremely hard to use, if you miss time on the buffing part, you might ruin your car.
So this kind of thing either you do it yourself, or hiring professional doing it, there are no rigth/wrong answers. It's up to you.
 

ucsdsig

Member
Sep 10, 2016
296
238
Los Angeles
Any car I get, whether it was a factory build to order or one that was on the lot, I always request that the dealer do no prep work to it in regards to the paint. Same for when I bring it in for service. I'm so particular about it that I have a "DO NOT WASH" sign that I hang from my rear view mirror.

I've found that car dealership "detail centers" are really nothing more than what you'd get from the local kids at a car wash fundraiser. Same sponge, same rag, same bucket of water for every car. Finish up with a quick detailer buffed on with a rag that is worn and abused to get the car sparkling, and off you go.

This is why it's an understatement to say that polishing is needed, even on a brand new car. Same applies from a Hyundai to a Tesla to a Maserati dealership.
Haha, I agree 100%. I contacted the Burbank facility to make sure they didn't "prep" my car for delivery. I actually wanted them to leave the protective plastic on but they couldn't do that since they needed to inspect for damage.

I'm glad I made this request because my friend tool delivery of her Model Y a few days after me. When I helped her look over the car, I was disappointed to see how poor of a prep job they did. The paint had serious halo/polishing marks. And the headlights showed the same type of damage and looked terrible. She has an appointment to get this taken care of, but hopefully the center actually has a skilled detailer (or can outsource to detailing company).

Thankfully my service center doesn't offer car washes anymore so I don't have to worry about that! :)
 

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