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Paint Correction + Ceramic Coating Question

Boson12

Member
Oct 6, 2019
21
16
Los Angeles
Hi all,

I'm a novice to how car detailing works as I've never really given much thought to how I could be "protecting" my car paint when I used to drive ICE vehicles. However, the teslas just make me feel... different.

Anyways, my question is if I were to undergo a paint correction prior to getting a ceramic coating would the paint correction damage my paint over a period of time since the process requires removing some of the original paint? I understand that the ceramic coat will protect the paint, but I'm concerned that over time the ceramic coat will wear off and leave the thin paint leftover from the correction, potentially causing more issues.

I may be overthinking this issue, but the thought of removing paint for a correction does concern me. Additionally, if the ceramic coat wears off over time, does this mean I have to get a ceramic coat done every 3-4 years? I'm also concerned ceramic coating will become a recurring cost as I was quoted about $1300 for a 2-step paint correction and a ceramic coating (with a 3-year warranty) for my black model 3.
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,031
889
Encino, CA
Hi all,

I'm a novice to how car detailing works as I've never really given much thought to how I could be "protecting" my car paint when I used to drive ICE vehicles. However, the teslas just make me feel... different.

Anyways, my question is if I were to undergo a paint correction prior to getting a ceramic coating would the paint correction damage my paint over a period of time since the process requires removing some of the original paint? I understand that the ceramic coat will protect the paint, but I'm concerned that over time the ceramic coat will wear off and leave the thin paint leftover from the correction, potentially causing more issues.

I may be overthinking this issue, but the thought of removing paint for a correction does concern me. Additionally, if the ceramic coat wears off over time, does this mean I have to get a ceramic coat done every 3-4 years? I'm also concerned ceramic coating will become a recurring cost as I was quoted about $1300 for a 2-step paint correction and a ceramic coating (with a 3-year warranty) for my black model 3.

Here is a very helpful video that was just published on Youtube by Brian with Apex Detail which addresses your question of how much clear coat is removed when doing a paint enhancement or correction. He showed that when he did a very light polish with a polishing pad, no detectable amount of clear coat was removed. With a one-step correction, he removed 0.2 mils of clear coat. And with a two-step correction, he removed .3 to .4 mils. Of course the amount removed can vary due to the type of polish and pad used, but that at least gives you some idea. A professional detailer should have a clear coat thickness meter and should be able to give you a sense of how thick your original clear coat is before the paint correction is done. If for example your original clear coat is 3.0 mils thick, then it may be 2.8 mils thick after a one step correction and 2.6 or 2.7 mils thick after a two-step.

If you or the detailer measure the clear coat thickness in multiple locations on the car, you can then decide how aggressive you want to be.

As for your other question about the life expectancy of the ceramic coating, you can maximize the life of the coating by washing the car on a regular basis and also applying a ceramic boost spray every 3-4 months. This replenishes the ceramic in the coating, rejuvenates the gloss and protective properties of the coating, and extends the coating's overall life.

 
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showbbq

Member
Jan 8, 2021
86
60
Houston
As long as you're not wet sanding where they can take off aggressive amounts of clear coat you'll be ok. A pro should also be able to tell you the level of defect removal they're going for (eg. 90% correction etc). How long a ceramic coating lasts depends on the conditions your paint is exposed to and if you take care of it.

Nowadays there are quick detailing sprays with varying levels of ceramic in them that may last a couple of months. DIY products are only becoming easier to use so I wouldn't stress about having it professionally coated repeatedly.
 

JDMerica

Member
Mar 18, 2021
185
173
Virginia
As long as you're not wet sanding where they can take off aggressive amounts of clear coat you'll be ok. A pro should also be able to tell you the level of defect removal they're going for (eg. 90% correction etc). How long a ceramic coating lasts depends on the conditions your paint is exposed to and if you take care of it.

Nowadays there are quick detailing sprays with varying levels of ceramic in them that may last a couple of months. DIY products are only becoming easier to use so I wouldn't stress about having it professionally coated repeatedly.

Yeah, back in the day ceramics used to be a pita to put on and take forever. Nowadays these graphene/ceramic sprays are holding up almost a year in cases and work very well. It's makes DIY much easier for the newer detailer.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,031
889
Encino, CA
If you are looking for another option to remove light to moderate swirls and scratches and to add gloss without removing too much clear coat, you may want to consider using this product from Xtreme Solutions, LVR 403 Polishing Glaze:


Rather than removing clear coat, this polish fills in scratches and swirls with a durable and high-quality acrylic. I have personally used it on my wife's Honda Accord and was blown away by how well it worked. I found out about it from Brian with Apex Detail. Here are a couple of his videos on it. As he mentions in the second video, the combination of LVR 403 topped with Xtreme Solutions Poly Seal hybrid sealant is an awesome combo:


 
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Boson12

Member
Oct 6, 2019
21
16
Los Angeles
If you are looking for another option to remove light to moderate swirls and scratches and to add gloss without removing too much clear coat, you may want to consider using this product from Xtreme Solutions, LVR 403 Polishing Glaze:


Rather than removing clear coat, this polish fills in scratches and swirls with a durable and high-quality acrylic. I have personally used it on my wife's Honda Accord and was blown away by how well it worked. I found out about it from Brian with Apex Detail. Here are a couple of his videos on it. As he mentions in the second video, the combination of LVR 403 topped with Xtreme Solutions Poly Seal hybrid sealant is an awesome combo:



Thanks for your detailed response. I was also wondering if maintaining my ceramic coating would be as easy as simply applying the "ceramic spray" every 6 months after having the first paint correction and ceramic coating professionally done. I'm still hesitant as the paint correction process physically removes some of the clear coat, but I am now understanding that this is simply the process of the paint correction.

My goal is to try to protect the paint as much as possible via the ceramic coating by applying a spray every 6 months or so. Would this be sufficient to maintaining my ceramic coat and preventing further swirl marks?
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,031
889
Encino, CA
My goal is to try to protect the paint as much as possible via the ceramic coating by applying a spray every 6 months or so. Would this be sufficient to maintaining my ceramic coat and preventing further swirl marks?

Ceramic coatings do offer some protection from swirl marks and marring, but they are not scratch proof. All it takes is one bad car wash to put a bunch of scratches or swirl marks into your coating. If you want to minimize the risk of inducing swirl marks, hand wash the car yourself (i.e. never take it to a commercial car wash) and use proper products and techniques.

Unlike ceramic coatings, Paint Protection Film (also known as PPF) will offer tremendous protection against scratches and swirl marks. PPF has self-healing properties. Any minor to moderate scratches disappear as the PPF is heated by the sun. The drawback to PPF is that it is expensive. A whole-car Model 3 can run around $5,000 for PPF. Because of the expense, many people opt to do a partial PPF - they put PPF on the most vulnerable parts of the car (for example, the front bumper, hood, front fenders, and rocker panels) and then put a ceramic coating on top of the PPF as well as the rest of the car.

Since I plan on keeping my P3D for 10 years, I got the whole-car PPF done a day after delivery. I skipped the ceramic coating and apply a ceramic-infused spray sealant once every 3 months.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,031
889
Encino, CA
Would you say $1300 for a ceramic coating + 2 step paint correction be a fair price in the Los Angeles, CA area?

I personally do not know since I do my own paint correction/polishing and I have not had a ceramic coating professionally applied.

If I were to get a ceramic coating, the first thing I would do is research on which specific coating I want. There are many different coatings on the market, at different price points and with different warranties. Then I would ask the coating manufacturer for a list of several local manufacturer-authorized installers. I would then contact each installer for a price quote for a 2-step correction plus the application of the coating you are interested in.

I personally would place experience and quality over price. Like any other profession, the more established and experienced an installer is, the more they charge.

A respected car detailing professional on TMC named Jason The Beaver in Oregon once recommended Mighty Fine Detailing in Van Nuys. I would contact them for a quote along with 3 or 4 other manufacturer-authorized installers:


One last thought. If you wanted to save some money, you could do the paint correction and ceramic coating application yourself as a DIY project. Instead of putting $1,300 into the pocket of an installer, you could put some of that money towards you own DA polisher, pads, and other detailing supplies. There are some consumer-grade coatings that are supposedly easy to apply and more forgiving than the professional grade coatings.
 
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Mutant

Member
Oct 20, 2020
38
43
Waterloo, ON
Another thing to ask with a professional coating is what are the conditions for warranty. Most SiO2 based professional coatings typically required some form periodic application of SiO2 topper (typically annually) by the detail shop which may not be included in the initial coating price. Even though it may be more expensive, you may want to consider Opti-Coat coatings which are SiC based. These coatings do not require any toppers (or specific periodic maintenance from the detail shop) for the warranty to be honoured. In fact the warranty is registered directly with Optimum through a third party such that if the detail shop that applied the coating is no longer in business, the warranty will still be honoured. Opti-Coat Pro provides a 5 year warranty and Opti-Coat Pro+ provides a 7 year warranty. Usually the price difference between the two coatings is typically $200 as Pro+ is a two step application versus a 1 step application for Pro (material cost + additional labour).
A respected car detailing professional on TMC named Jason The Beaver in Oregon once recommended Mighty Fine Detailing in Van Nuys. I would contact them for a quote along with 3 or 4 other manufacturer-authorized installers:

This detailer is listed as an authorized Opti-Coat installer even though their website seems to mainly promote CQuartz coatings.

You were most likely quoted a two step correction because you have a black car which shows all imperfections in the paint. If you are concerned about maintaining as much clear coat as possible for longevity and health of the paint, you may want to live with some small imperfections and only have a one step correction applied before a coating is applied.
 

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