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DIY detailing for Model Y

Many of the discussions around here regarding detailing revolve around PPF and professionally applied ceramic coatings, all to the tune of thousands of dollars. What about those of use who don't want to put out that kind of money? And those of us who'd like to do some of those things ourselves. That's me.

I've had my Model Y for a year. I've only hand washed it (no commercial washes). I've wanted to do more for the paint, but as they say the perfect is the enemy of the good. You can spend so much time and effort on everything needed for a great result and in the end I just wash it and that's it.

I'm thinking about doing some easy not-super-permanent ceramic coating. I'm good at washing. I've got a pressure washer, foam cannon, microfiber wash mitts and towels. Before I do any coatings I presume I need to decontaminate with chemicals and clay bar (both of which I've never done). Then cut and polish (again, never done, but wanting to learn). Then finally apply a coating and enjoy the shine.

I've looked at videos by Pan the Organizer, Chris Fix, and looked at the detailing Reddit. Looks easy to get carried away. I just want to get good enough to do my own car(s).

Any advice?
 
You're about a year into ownership already. If you want to do ceramic now, it will probably require some paint correction not just decontamination. You'll want to get any paint imperfections fixed before ceramic now.
Yeah, that's what I figured. When I was talking to a pro about them doing it when new, they said they'd paint correct even on a new car.
 

Kairide

Member
Jul 13, 2021
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1,051
CA
You don't necessarily need to worry about paint correcting as much as PPF. I ceramic coated a 2 year old Audi and all I did was wash, decontaminate, alcohol spray, and buff. Ceramic coating is just a longer lasting chemical paint protection that makes cleaning easier due to hydrophobic properties and adds a longer lasting shine. Honestly it wasn't worth the hassle. It looks good when you first apply it, but just like any wax or chemical paint protection, it fades with time.
 
If you want to try something that is not too difficult, and not too permanent, take a look at Mothers CMX ceramic spray coating. It's sold at Walmart for about $17 and lasts about 4 months.

Wash the car, clay bar it, wash again, and then apply the CMX and let it cure. If you like the results, just reapply CMX every few washes to maintain the protection. If not, like I mentioned, it only last a few months max, so there is nothing preventing you from moving on to something more expensive.

If you want to try paint correction, Harbor Freight sells a 6" Bauer long throw random orbital DA polisher for $100 that is pretty decent. Meguiar's 210 Ultra Pro finishing polish is a safe choice for bringing out the gloss in your paint before applying protection. Meguiar's ScratchX 2.0 is also pretty safe if you have some minor scratches. If your paint requires anything more aggressive, I'd pay the money for a pro to do the paint correction.
 
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So today I rinsed the car with the pressure washer, sprayed with the foam canon, rinsed, washed with a wash and rinse bucket using a mitt, then dried. Then I applied this Radiant. Used that because wife gave it to my son and I as a Christmas present, so since I already had it on hand I figured I'd go ahead.

It's late and you're supposed to let it cure for 30-60 minutes. I'll have a better idea in the coming days how much it helped, but since it's getting dark and it hasn't cured yet there's not much feedback I can give. It was easy to apply.
 
So today I rinsed the car with the pressure washer, sprayed with the foam canon, rinsed, washed with a wash and rinse bucket using a mitt, then dried. Then I applied this Radiant. Used that because wife gave it to my son and I as a Christmas present, so since I already had it on hand I figured I'd go ahead.

It's late and you're supposed to let it cure for 30-60 minutes. I'll have a better idea in the coming days how much it helped, but since it's getting dark and it hasn't cured yet there's not much feedback I can give. It was easy to apply.
Hadn't heard of Radiant, so I may give that one a try. The DIY ceramic solutions are pretty decent (IMO) for those of us who aren't willing (or able) to drop >$1k on a professional ceramic coating. I use Hydro SIlex:


Produces great results, and at a cost I find reasonable.
 

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