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How did you protect your cars paint & why?

Discussion in 'California' started by Monymgr, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Monymgr

    Monymgr Member

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    Like many have gone through I am starting to look into ways to protect the paint on my S70D which should be arriving in two weeks. After reading these Forums and a multitude of Google searches, I have to say, I am still clueless about which way to go. No one seems to explain why they choose their application or tells us about how their decision has played out.

    So my question to everyone, can youhelp me understand what you consider the best application and why to protect your paint? I would appreciate reading your comments. I live in Los Angeles where freeways and road debris are an everyday factor.
    Thanks All,
    monymgr



     
  2. dirkhh

    dirkhh Middle-aged Member

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    I didn't do anything. Why? It's a car. Yes, it's an expensive car, but it's a car. Not a piece of art, not an investment property.
    Others take tremendous pride in their cars, wash them every day, are obsessed with keeping them spotless. Mine hasn't been washed in at least three months, possibly longer. It tends to park on the street three or four nights a week (when our other EV is in the garage, charging). I have 11k miles on the P85D in about 8 months. It looks fine to me, but I'm sure the real enthusiasts would faint if they saw it :)
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I covered every painted surface with Suntek (Xpel is also popular). Mainly to protect from rock chips, but there have been a couple of mysterious paint scrapes that just washed off. I'm not fanatic about a car's looks, but for a somewhat pricey car it's a reasonable thing to do.
     
  4. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

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    I keep it parked in a garage at home and at work. :) Really, that seems to be one of the most effective things you can do to protect the paint is to park it indoors or at least in covered parking.

    - K
     
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Not driving it helps too :)

    However, I don't have the opportunity to park in a garage at home, so outside parking is what actually occurs. And if you've driven through Texas, Arizona, or Nevada, it's similar to sandblasting your car.
     
  6. Monymgr

    Monymgr Member

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    dirkhh,

    :biggrin: LOL! Love your response. Now seriously, you live in Portland. Leaving you car outside is a washing experience! Keep in mind we have a drought here and don't have those same natural amenities.
    Enjoy your weekend,
    monymgr
     
  7. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    Like Dirk, I did nothing to mine. I live on a dirt road and I hand wash it as needed. I bought Pearl White because I knew I'd be constantly dealing with dust and the potential for swirls. Hides things well and looks just fine, even when dusty. The other upside to white is if you get any chips, it's harder to see the contrast between white and bare aluminum.

    If I wind up configuring my X, it'll likely be white for all the same reasons. And I won't wrap or coat or anything it. I'll just drive it.
     
  8. Monymgr

    Monymgr Member

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    Thanks ohmman. My concern is that my car will be Midnight Silver and chips in the paint could end up looking light distant stars.
    :rolleyes:
     
  9. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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    Don't want to cross post. Read this. pM me if unclear.
     
  10. dirkhh

    dirkhh Middle-aged Member

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    That's one way to look at it. The washing / pristine look fanatics here in Portland (I personally know some) would strongly dispute your view. The rain is DIRTY. Seriously.
    It's my understanding that the car stays looking "clean and shiny" much longer in dry climates.
     
  11. Hello! This question gets asked all the time and the answer usually depends on what you seek. Just as a disclaimer, I am not a Tesla owner but certainly love to contribute where I can to help people make better judgments on their investments. Elon Musk's vision motivates and drives me. With El-Nino storm looming right around the corner, protection on cars has become quite a topic these days. Since I am a business owner, I will try to abstain from using brands and merchandise unless necessary. Additionally, this is geared as a general response since many people scout the forums looking for recommendations.

    1. Using an all-in-one wash
    An all in one wash detergent can be used to wash and protect the paint. This removes the cost and time involved in applying a dedicated protector on the paint. However, a lot of washes have extra 'carnauba wax' or polymer sealants that form a thin protective layer on top of the paint once you dry them. A product such an ONR(Optimum No Rinse) can work wonders in such cases while at the same time helping with the California drought. There are other products that do the same as well. The important thing here is to find what suits you and stick with it. The downside, elaborating more, is that you won't get extensive protection in harsher weather conditions(rains, storms etc etc). Detergents can price from $10-20 per bottle that can last you a year or two.

    2. Waxing/Sealing your Car:
    If you seek something that is budget friendly you can either apply a wax/sealant on your car or have a local detailer apply it to your car. I would suggest doing extensive research on that detailer prior to having them do your car since this becomes a long term relationship between you and the person handling your car. If you decide to do it yourself, the first thing to know is that most 'waxes' nowadays are pretty much sealants(including nearly all over the counter 'waxes'.) So wait what?

    Waxes are traditionally carnauba based and they offer protection from a few weeks to a few months. Claims have been made that they usually do better against environmental contaminants but there is no empirical evidence I am aware of that suggests that. The radiate a warm glow on lighter colors and a wet look on darker colors. They numb down the flakes on darker metallics too. However, this is just a personal observation. Sealants are made from synthetic polymers that are usually 'thinner' than traditional carnauba waxes. Overall, they last longer and enhance the flakes on metallic colors. Sealants usually have higher durability and lower cost. Application of either of these may vary on your detailer. Waxes and sealants overall are great options but require reapplication once or twice a year depending on how much damage(correlated to usually how much you drive) your car takes. I have applied a '6 month sealant' on a Lexus that drives through vineyards and the sealant was eaten through in 6 weeks tops! The same sealant lasted a year on a car that remained garaged for 4 days per week. Waxes or sealants on their own can average at $15-200 depending on the brand and components involved. You will have to contact your local detailer for regular waxing/sealing your vehicle.

    3. Coating Your Car
    The newer technology. There are several coatings out there that offer resilient protection for years. They require minimal maintenance along with lasting aesthetics but usually come at higher initial cost and toilsome application process. With waxes and sealants, you can do it yourself but with coatings, it's recommended to seek a professional near you to install them on your paint since they are less forgiving especially if you don't have experience installing them. Coatings can vary all the way from semi-permanent to permanent coatings. This includes coatings such as cQuartz, cQuartz Finest, Modesta, Ceramic Pro, 22PLE, Opti-Coat Pro, Opti-Gloss Coat and so on. They all have ups and downs, like everything in life. Some require regular maintenance from your installer while others can be set and forget in which case you need to be able to do it yourself. They all usually look great with slight variations that are marginally noticeable to most people. Most of the gloss comes from the prepwork required to install such coatings which involves intensive polishing(removing fraction of the car's clear coat by using abrasives) of the paint to remove defects(factory scratches/swirls etc) that could be locked under the coating. The prepwork varies from each coating installer. I would suggest contacting the relevant installer local to your area for more information. Price could go anywhere from $500-2500. Coatings are what I would recommend to someone who wants the long term benefits of waxing the car without actually waxing the car for years. Additionally, coatings provide superior protection as well since they are thicker and made from ceramics that are much chemically inert and mechanically resilient compared to polyurethane based sealants.

    4. Applying a Paint Protection Film
    Many people apply paint protection films to guard high traffic areas such as the cone, side mirrors, door/trunk edges, front bumpers, side skirts, front headlights, hood and so on. Paint Protection film offers superior protection with a high price tag, especially if you decide to wrap the entire car. Films have the additional benefit of surviving rock chips and road wear and tear. Some people have issues with how they look but if installed properly, they can look good. Depending on how old the car is, I recommend paint correction on areas where you plan to install the film as well. Let's say you have a Tesla that is 2.5 years old and you decide to get a clear protective film on your car. The places where you get your film, I recommend to have the defects on that surface removed. Price can go all the way from $1000-7000 depending on the condition, size, area coverage and expertise of the installer. Go for this option if you seek extreme coverage all over or on specific areas of the car.

    5. Mix and Match
    You can always mix and match. One of the most popular thing to do is to apply a film on high traffic areas while coating the rest of the car. If you plan to wax/seal your car(depending on the wax you use) while having a protection film on the paint, there is a chance that you may end up getting some of the product on the edges of the film. That can accumulate over time and look like a sore thumb. So if you do go with a seal/wax/film route, use a sealant that doesn't leave any crummy residue. An example of such products could be CarPro Reload or Opti-seal. If you haven't had your car yet and expect a delivery and want to coat/film your car, I recommend reaching out to a professional near you and set up an appointment ahead of time to make sure that you get your car coated/filmed as soon as as you get it. This would reduce chances of getting defects added to the paint. Go for this option if you want to take the best of different worlds.

    6. Final Notes:
    Now protecting the paint is good but there are more components that deteriorate with time. This includes trim and clear plastics/headlights/polycarbonates. With time they oxidize and we've all seen the car that's 8 years old with greyed out trim pieces and yellowed headlights. Certain coatings/sealants/films can help protect the color of these pieces. Another component is wheels where you can also apply protectors that help with brake dust build up. And then we have the glass which I think is important now with El-Nino hitting us soon. There are sealants that last for a couple of months and coatings that last 1-3 years on the windshield and windows. Then there are sealants/films/coatings for the interior too. The car's leather and carpeting takes regular wear and tear too. Dye transfers and regular stomping can have a toll. Overall, there are options for everyone. Most reputable products work and if you are reading this, you are probably an inquisitive and smart person who can filter out information to make smart decisions. If you're still lost, I recommend calling a local professional to help you make a suitable decision. My objective with this post here has been to provide you options. The choice, after all, is all yours! :)

    If you have any additional questions, you can reach me at my business e-mail which is at my website below. (Not trying to plug anything here. It's just that I rarely check the messages on the forum inbox)

    Thank you for reading.
    Warm Regards.
     
  12. Thundalicious

    Thundalicious Member

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    What's a ballpark figure for coating every painted surface with something like Suntek or Xpel?
    $500? $1,000? $2,500? $5,000.
     
  13. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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  14. Monymgr

    Monymgr Member

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    I wanted to give a quick shout out to Tomas and [email protected] Read Tomas' private message, link in his earlier reply and Fahad's response above. Both of them gave great responses to the question.
    Thank You!
     
  15. Branzo90D

    Branzo90D Salt and Pepper

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    NorCal
    Another shout out to Fahad. He is very "neutral" in his discussions and gives great general advice to allow you to make an informed decision. That being said, I decided to ask him to install Opti-Coat Pro Plus on my pearl white P90D after 3M Venture Shield was installed on the "road rash" areas of the car by A Shade Darker here in Santa Rosa. I am very pleased with this "blended" approach to paint protection. Total cost of $2,000 I found to be acceptable as I plan to keep the car for a long time - looking forward to 120kWh battery pack swap in the future, for example - and I would like it to remain in good condition. I look at those costs as maintenance
    to keep the car looking great. Previous experience with and without road rash protection tells me it is a very good investment.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________
    P
    90D
    powered by Solar City 5.25 kW system
     
  16. Bulletproof

    Bulletproof Vendor

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    Location:
    Hawthorne, CA adjacent to the Supercharger & Desig
    Paint protection film or vinyl wrap is a good way to protect your paint. Here’s an example of a wrap we did for our partners at Unplugged Performance.

    DSC_1241_BenEdit1-1024x683.jpg
     
  17. khalkhin

    khalkhin Member

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    I just had my Tesla fully wrapped in Xpel by Benjamin at Bemaro Specialty Films / Mobiletint.com. He owns the company and will personally come to your house to wrap your car.


    I can't say enough good things about this young man - he's someone that really cares about his craft and doing a good job, and the polar opposite of all the slash-and-burn types out to make a quick buck. Just to give you an example, I was floored when he brought out bottled water to clean the car and apply the Xpel - he wanted to avoid the potential contaminants in tap water! He put his heart and soul into the project and I couldn't be happier.


    And it's not just me - if you go on Yelp, every single review is 5 stars. Most of those are for window tinting, but the fact that every customer raves about him says something. Having a guy like this wrap your car is invaluable - after watching him, I realize it's a very labor intensive job and there are all sorts of ways to cut corners and screw the customer.


    How did I end up hiring Benjamin? Because my other cars are pretty much scratched all over the place, I knew I wanted something to protect the Tesla. I had considered using Opticoat and/or doing a partial wrap. However, the Opticoat seemed like it wouldn't offer much protection, and with a partial wrap Murphy's Law says that any area left unwrapped would be nicked up. So I went for the full wrap - and found Bemaro after shopping around.


    Bemaro and Xpel was definitely the right decision for me. The car is beautiful - you can't even tell the film is there.
     

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