Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register
  • TMC Podcast #11 will stream live Saturday at 1PM PDT. We will be joined by special guest JT Stukes, a former engineer at Tesla. You can watch it live and participate in the chat on YouTube. We will addressing viewer comments and questions. For more information, follow the TMC Podcast #11 thread.

Suggestions or advice for DIY exterior? Thinking ceramic, Chemical Guys?

IamGaryGnu

Endless IBS
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2021
1,420
4,557
Central New Jersey
Hi all,
I know this can boil down to taste and opinion.
I also know some folks swear by PPF, and others...don't.
I'd rather not drop $7k if I can help it. I heard a good PPF installer will remove lights, door handles, etc. - I'm not sure I want to go in that direction.
I've had multiple new cars, German, expensive, yada, and never PPF'd or ceramiced - just good old fashioned wax.
But here we are.
I'm envisioning picking up my baby right after January 1st - will be pretty cold out.
I'm not planning to exterior wash the car unless necessary - and if so, I might run it through a brushless wash (I know, boo, hiss, I run my S550 through it often)
Once I get the pristine baby home, I'll likely have to quickly clean some road grime - figure a 5 mile or so drive from the car wash.
Then the fun begins.
I know Tesla has a reputation for some poor finishes or paint, and I've seen other reviews that said not realy any different from other manufacturers.
My plan at least at this moment, is to make sure the car is clean, and in my garage hit it with the 2 Chemical Guys products, one lays day a base and is only for paint (the spray) - the other one is a "gel" with ceramic and can go on lights, windows, etc. as well as the prior coat.
I'd be interested if anyone has any thoughts or expereince.
With my FOMO and neurosis, I can still be swayed to PPF, but between rashes, parking lot dings, etc. well - I don't expect the PPF to protect against THAT kind of stuff, and then the PPF itself may get damaged, etc. (though I think a heat gun can level it out)
I do plan to have the windows tinted.
Depending upon cost, I could also have a detailer do the ceramic, but with Chemical Guys, it looks like it would be about $100 for the products including spare applications and I'd have enough left over for my wife's Y when it comes in a few months.
I can also easily be convinced to look at Meguiars and any other brands; this stuff is dizzying!
Thank you again!
 

Bull

Chatting is great, just don't shoot the Bull.
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2020
790
2,162
Tucson, AZ
I was never in the PPF camp in the past. But after being talked into it on my 2021 pre-refresh MS I am a believer. I also got full body PPF on my Plaid as fast as possible. It protects in ways besides the obvious - scrapes, rashes, keys, rock chips front and sides, sun fade, oxidation, sap and bird *sugar*, etc.
In my area you can get full body Expel Ultimate Plus for about $4500. Ask about a cash price. It has always worked for me to get a discount.
Paint correction is not needed on new cars so you can save there. As long as they properly prep the surface you are good to go.
If you plan on keeping your car for a while I highly recommend PPF.
 

Bull

Chatting is great, just don't shoot the Bull.
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2020
790
2,162
Tucson, AZ
Good PPF installers will remove the cameras, spoiler, badges, and some trim. They don't remove the door handles and lights. Avoid installs that go around the badges and spoiler because you will see the edges. Also, make sure your installer can do the front in one piece (no seams). That will give you info on their skill level.
 

IamGaryGnu

Endless IBS
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2021
1,420
4,557
Central New Jersey
Good PPF installers will remove the cameras, spoiler, badges, and some trim. They don't remove the door handles and lights. Avoid installs that go around the badges and spoiler because you will see the edges. Also, make sure your installer can do the front in one piece (no seams). That will give you info on their skill level.
many thanks Bull, this sounds like no bull :) (see what i did there?)
I plan to keep the car 3 years, certainly not out of warranty.
If i put $7k into it, I won't see it back. I'm sure of that.
However, if it makes me feel $7k or more "better" then it is well worth it.
These things are really holding their value.
I was sure I'd get PPF, but now i'm kinda cheaping out, and wondering if it is really worth it.
the northeast winters can be nasty, and there is rock salt thrown on the roads. then in the spring, the potholes (from the freeze thaw cycle, and i think also the salt getting in the cracks and then more freeze/thaw) create asphalt pellets
on my current car, there were very minor rock chips on the hood, and i dabbed some touch up paint and it looked fine to me (plus my eyes are getting worse anyway).
i'm sure PPF would have protected...or the ppf itself would have been damaged.
the financial question, is if the car isn't stolen or totaled, how much more can I sell it for in 3 years if I have PPF versus not. I honestly think it would sell for about the same, or maybe $500 more if in better condition.
So while I"ve been reading about PPF, the more I think about it, the more i think it makes less sense to me.
I also do like running my car through the brusheless wash once or twice a week. with ceramic i might not, or i might continue to do so.
just really torn up about it decision-wise.
When my neighbor told me of a mobile guy he used, and would do the car for $3,500, i said, "why not?" - but that guy seems to have disappeared, so now it would be a week in a shop, and $7k. That's basically 7% of the car.
@Bull can you share what about your 2021 made you a believer? thanks again!
 

Bull

Chatting is great, just don't shoot the Bull.
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2020
790
2,162
Tucson, AZ
many thanks Bull, this sounds like no bull :) (see what i did there?)
I plan to keep the car 3 years, certainly not out of warranty.
If i put $7k into it, I won't see it back. I'm sure of that.
However, if it makes me feel $7k or more "better" then it is well worth it.
These things are really holding their value.
I was sure I'd get PPF, but now i'm kinda cheaping out, and wondering if it is really worth it.
the northeast winters can be nasty, and there is rock salt thrown on the roads. then in the spring, the potholes (from the freeze thaw cycle, and i think also the salt getting in the cracks and then more freeze/thaw) create asphalt pellets
on my current car, there were very minor rock chips on the hood, and i dabbed some touch up paint and it looked fine to me (plus my eyes are getting worse anyway).
i'm sure PPF would have protected...or the ppf itself would have been damaged.
the financial question, is if the car isn't stolen or totaled, how much more can I sell it for in 3 years if I have PPF versus not. I honestly think it would sell for about the same, or maybe $500 more if in better condition.
So while I"ve been reading about PPF, the more I think about it, the more i think it makes less sense to me.
I also do like running my car through the brusheless wash once or twice a week. with ceramic i might not, or i might continue to do so.
just really torn up about it decision-wise.
When my neighbor told me of a mobile guy he used, and would do the car for $3,500, i said, "why not?" - but that guy seems to have disappeared, so now it would be a week in a shop, and $7k. That's basically 7% of the car.
@Bull can you share what about your 2021 made you a believer? thanks again!
The usefulness of PPF certainly depends on the area you are located in. We don't have salt but we do have lots of sand and gravel. Just the 100 miles of interstate between Tucson and Phoenix will leave me with a half dozen new chips on every trip.
It is definitely harder to justify the expense when you are not keeping the car very long (and having to pay high price). In that case I might just do the front.
On my last MS the peace of mind was nice. I could walk past my car in the garage and not worry about accidentally rubbing against it and scratching it. I was no longer stressing over every piece of gravel that hit the car while driving. I did expect to keep that car for many years as is my style. Then the Plaid came along and I sold the MS after only 8 months. I do think the pristine paint and 10 year warranty on the PPF helped but the $$ amount difference is debatable. Seeing how nice the paint looked after 15k miles convinced me to do it again since I plan on keeping this car for many years.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: IamGaryGnu

IamGaryGnu

Endless IBS
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2021
1,420
4,557
Central New Jersey
The usefulness of PPF certainly depends on the area you are located in. We don't have salt but we do have lots of sand and gravel. Just the 100 miles of interstate between Tucson and Phoenix will leave me with a half dozen new chips on every trip.
It is definitely harder to justify the expense when you are not keeping the car very long (and having to pay high price). In that case I might just do the front.
On my last MS the peace of mind was nice. I could walk past my car in the garage and not worry about accidentally rubbing against it and scratching it. I was no longer stressing over every piece of gravel that hit the car while driving. I did expect to keep that car for many years as is my style. Then the Plaid came along and I sold the MS after only 8 months. I do think the pristine paint and 10 year warranty on the PPF helped but the $$ amount difference is debatable. Seeing how nice the paint looked after 15k miles convinced me to do it again since I plan on keeping this car for many years.
Thank you again.
I was originally leasing, until after 8 months of waiting, Tesla said the lease offer expired. Yeah, um, who's fault was that? so then I decided F it, i'll buy the beast, they really hold their value, and if shortages continue, it could actually go up!
next query to myself, is how long i'd hold, etc. - and I never will own a car out of warranty. I'll buy extended warranties, but I won't own out of warranty. so that's 4 years max. BUT, and it's a big butt, the 4680 cells aren't out yet, and HW3 isn't out yet. so, aside from everything else, that will be of interest to me.
I think the S will make me smile every time i'm in it. But, in 3 years, will there even be the comparable MS, or wil lit only be Plaid, or 4680 cells, or whatever?
I think the S (and yeah, okay, Plaid) are the most amazing cars on the road now. I couldn't justify the Plaid premium, but truthfully, I'm regretting not getting it already. At the same time, I'm $15k lower on the purchase than a current S, so the Plaid premium is even more extreme.
I can see myself getting out of the S in 3 years, and into another S, Plaid, or whatever (and I have a Y coming shortly for the wife, and a CyberTruck on pre-order but that may just be a lark)
Either way, I don't see a very long ownership.
I"m thinking save $6,900 and instead spend $100 on a self ceramic, and $10 for touch up paint, enjoy the beast, and worry less. At tleast that's what i'm telling myself.
I also think I will spring for tinted windows. My benz has a factory tint that is pretty dark, and I likey. add some heat rejection, and that will also maybe help with the range in the summer, though 400 miles should be plenty...
 

Bull

Chatting is great, just don't shoot the Bull.
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2020
790
2,162
Tucson, AZ
Thank you again.
I was originally leasing, until after 8 months of waiting, Tesla said the lease offer expired. Yeah, um, who's fault was that? so then I decided F it, i'll buy the beast, they really hold their value, and if shortages continue, it could actually go up!
next query to myself, is how long i'd hold, etc. - and I never will own a car out of warranty. I'll buy extended warranties, but I won't own out of warranty. so that's 4 years max. BUT, and it's a big butt, the 4680 cells aren't out yet, and HW3 isn't out yet. so, aside from everything else, that will be of interest to me.
I think the S will make me smile every time i'm in it. But, in 3 years, will there even be the comparable MS, or wil lit only be Plaid, or 4680 cells, or whatever?
I think the S (and yeah, okay, Plaid) are the most amazing cars on the road now. I couldn't justify the Plaid premium, but truthfully, I'm regretting not getting it already. At the same time, I'm $15k lower on the purchase than a current S, so the Plaid premium is even more extreme.
I can see myself getting out of the S in 3 years, and into another S, Plaid, or whatever (and I have a Y coming shortly for the wife, and a CyberTruck on pre-order but that may just be a lark)
Either way, I don't see a very long ownership.
I"m thinking save $6,900 and instead spend $100 on a self ceramic, and $10 for touch up paint, enjoy the beast, and worry less. At tleast that's what i'm telling myself.
I also think I will spring for tinted windows. My benz has a factory tint that is pretty dark, and I likey. add some heat rejection, and that will also maybe help with the range in the summer, though 400 miles should be plenty...
I can't argue with your 'enjoy the beast' logic. In fact I named mine The Beast. If I keep mine longer than the initial warranty I will definitely get the extended warranty. But who knows how I will feel about a new Plaid with a 4680 pack and almost double the range. I do suffer from the grass is greener syndrome.

I don't have much info on self ceramic. I was originally going to put Crystal Serum Light on my 2021 MS before going with PPF. I am under the impression that consumer level ceramics would need to be recoated yearly. Some of the pro level ceramics can go several years without re-coating. Not sure how they look after 3-4 years though.

Best of luck with your new beast.
 
  • Like
Reactions: IamGaryGnu
What are you looking to accomplish? It doesn’t sound like either product will deliver a lot of value for you. If anything Ceramic might be a better fit but only marginally.

PPF and ceramic are very different ways of protecting paint.

PPF is a physical barrier protecting from scratches and paint chips, for the most part. It can be as glossy as factory paint but it’s purpose is not maximizing gloss.

Ceramic is a coating that protects from chemicals, for the most part. It’s primary purpose is gloss: reducing how dirty the car gets, improving how easy it is to clean the car.

Ceramic will not do anything to protect from scratches or rock chips, etc.

Given you’re going with automatic brushless washes, ceramic coatings will make those washes a little more effective since less dirt will stick to the paint and the paint that does stick will come off easier.
 

cwanja

Active Member
Jun 14, 2021
3,626
10,835
Houston, Texas
If I keep mine longer than the initial warranty I will definitely get the extended warranty.
New Model S and X are excluded from the Tesla extended warranty.

I was thinking about posting earlier, but I will just say this - you are probably not getting your money back on PPF and ceramic. What you are doing is protecting the original paint (PPF) so at time of sale, it looks pristine. Ceramic will really only help you clean the car faster and maybe get a slight shine. If you do not want to do both and are wrapping the entire car, look for PPF that has a ceramic coating on top of it. The combo PPF might be a wash (price wise) since it is newer technology.

If you are looking at four to five years of ownership, I would just for a full frontal PPF and then consider ceramic. If you are inclined, you can also self-install ceramic coating. Depending on layers, would just take a day or so of your time (prep + application). The full frontal will protect your hardest hit parts of the car. And with the Model S, you might consider the rocker panels. You might even consider installing the rocker panel your self from @iyordanov store.

Edit: I just realized a lot of my thoughts are captured in @ninefiveone post. Another point - all of this after market stuff was new to me in 2019 with my first Model S. I ended up with a full frontal PPF and ceramic. Loved the protection and easy of cleaning the car.
 

oktane

Active Member
Oct 25, 2016
2,048
2,973
USA
In your case I agree full frontal PPF and ceramic. Plus the rear quarter panels or wherever Tesla has the protection.

I did full PPF because I'm paranoid and rock chips bug the crap outta me. By the time I selected all the areas I wanted covered it was easier to just do the whole car.

It is absolutely a losing money proposition. You will get none of that back.

If I had to do it again I might do a color change PPF. That way at least I'm getting a unique color for the cash wasted.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bull
After you said you like doing auto washes I immediately knew you didn't care that much about your cars overall paint condition long term so my advice is just do the ceramic coating yourself and walk away knowing the paint will never be as good as it was the day you take delivery. I'd recommend CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0 for a DIY ceramic thats what I typically use. For those of us who are anal & only hand wash with 2 bucket method and all that jazz and prefer to keep their car paint in pristine condition then I would def say I have FOMO not doing full PPF since I've gotten some rock chips in the weirdest locations that even the basic PPF wouldn't have covered me. If I were to upgrade to a refresh I'd def take the full PPF even if it hurt my wallet it wouldnt hurt my soul every time I did a wash to see a new rock ding in a random fender or door.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bull

iyordanov

Member
Global Vendor
May 31, 2021
403
722
Bay Area
Hi all,
I know this can boil down to taste and opinion.
I also know some folks swear by PPF, and others...don't.
I'd rather not drop $7k if I can help it. I heard a good PPF installer will remove lights, door handles, etc. - I'm not sure I want to go in that direction.
I've had multiple new cars, German, expensive, yada, and never PPF'd or ceramiced - just good old fashioned wax.
But here we are.
I'm envisioning picking up my baby right after January 1st - will be pretty cold out.
I'm not planning to exterior wash the car unless necessary - and if so, I might run it through a brushless wash (I know, boo, hiss, I run my S550 through it often)
Once I get the pristine baby home, I'll likely have to quickly clean some road grime - figure a 5 mile or so drive from the car wash.
Then the fun begins.
I know Tesla has a reputation for some poor finishes or paint, and I've seen other reviews that said not realy any different from other manufacturers.
My plan at least at this moment, is to make sure the car is clean, and in my garage hit it with the 2 Chemical Guys products, one lays day a base and is only for paint (the spray) - the other one is a "gel" with ceramic and can go on lights, windows, etc. as well as the prior coat.
I'd be interested if anyone has any thoughts or expereince.
With my FOMO and neurosis, I can still be swayed to PPF, but between rashes, parking lot dings, etc. well - I don't expect the PPF to protect against THAT kind of stuff, and then the PPF itself may get damaged, etc. (though I think a heat gun can level it out)
I do plan to have the windows tinted.
Depending upon cost, I could also have a detailer do the ceramic, but with Chemical Guys, it looks like it would be about $100 for the products including spare applications and I'd have enough left over for my wife's Y when it comes in a few months.
I can also easily be convinced to look at Meguiars and any other brands; this stuff is dizzying!
Thank you again!
Hey

Just FYI I make several DYI PPFs for specific high risk areas, so it might be worth a check. I use XPEL and 3M so it’s as high quality as a shop but cheaper as it’s partial and DYI:

Hood PPF

Headlights PPF

Fog lights PPF

Fenders + Rockers (covers more than the stock PPF)

Door Handles Guard

Also for the interior:

Door Sills PPF

I will soon add front bumper, trunk luggage impact area, full bottom rockers, door edge guards and door lower area PPF.
 
  • Love
Reactions: cwanja
I have never done PPF. A couple things changed my mind, first off tons of pics where gravel/debris just normal stuff on the road destroys the wheel well areas. Also, the german brands don't have painted surfaces literally right against the tire. It's plastic finish on any direct impact area. This is in my opinion a pretty big flaw for tesla.

Historically, I would just pay $700 to have the front bumper resprayed. But in light of all of the issues I went ahead and did partial PPF on the tesla.
 
  • Like
Reactions: IamGaryGnu

IamGaryGnu

Endless IBS
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2021
1,420
4,557
Central New Jersey
What are you looking to accomplish? It doesn’t sound like either product will deliver a lot of value for you. If anything Ceramic might be a better fit but only marginally.

PPF and ceramic are very different ways of protecting paint.

PPF is a physical barrier protecting from scratches and paint chips, for the most part. It can be as glossy as factory paint but it’s purpose is not maximizing gloss.

Ceramic is a coating that protects from chemicals, for the most part. It’s primary purpose is gloss: reducing how dirty the car gets, improving how easy it is to clean the car.

Ceramic will not do anything to protect from scratches or rock chips, etc.

Given you’re going with automatic brushless washes, ceramic coatings will make those washes a little more effective since less dirt will stick to the paint and the paint that does stick will come off easier.
thank you. I'm thinking when i get the beast, it will have clear coat and hopefully not much road grime. then i need to do "something"
the goto (which i frankly never did on a brand new car, in retrospect i should have) has always been a cleaner wax.
i'm viewing ceramic as a "super wax"
with wax, i can go through the unlimited monthly car wash and i know it acts a tad like a sacrificial layer. i think sometimes the car was deposits a tiny bit of wax, or i can threw a few bux down and get that, or even a rainx coating on the whole car, not just the windshield.
my car beads like crazy.
note, in the sun, looking closely i CAN see haze and spider webs, and swirls.
then again, it's a f'ing car.
with ceramic, i think it makes up a 9h hardness shell, and the car wash also can do "something" to that shell. there aren't many silver pieces, so i expect less visible swirls (and maybe the ceramic would help on the blue) - but if it swirls, so be it. next guy, in 3 years, can do a 2 stage polish and get it back.
i enjoy washing the car by hand in the warmer weather.
and i'm also fine running it through the wash. in the winter i will NOT hand wash, and the roads and salt are nasty here, so i like the winter washing just to get the crap off, and when it is covered in salt, and then you wash, it is a real contrast.
here, PPF is about $7k. i dont' want to spring for it, as i think i'll say bu bye and not get it back on resale.
so, i plan on a ceramic coat, and maybe a window tint, and call it a day.
not sure ho the ceramic will wear in teh car washes, and i think a coat needs to be professionally removed to recoat, versus me just using cleaner wax on a failing wax finish.
i think the ppf is the gold standard, which i'd rather not pay for.
i as before, welcome any thoughts, suggestions or advice.
 

thesmokingman

Active Member
Jun 21, 2021
2,090
4,427
Socal
Ceramic is not super wax, it's a semi permanent sealent but it differs from a sealant because it's a hard coating.

PFF is for physically protecting the paint from rock chips. It's best applied to the front of the car. This can be a real chore to install making it ideal to have a pro install, then you get the warranty etc.

Ceramic is great for keeping maintenance down as once cured seals the paint. It gives light protection from minor scratching but it's really for preventing things like pollen, sap, etc from sticking to the paint or whatever its applied to.

For me I had PFF professionally installed. And then I did the ceramic myself. That entailed buffing and polishing the rest of the car that the PFF was not applied to and then applying the ceramic. I'd do it this way all over again w/o hesitation, easily.

I'd add that I hemmed and hawed over which Ceramic product to get, the expensive $200 complete kits or the cheap $40 Amazon ones. I ended up with the cheap kit. It worked pretty great and I got a couple more bottles to do all the trim, wheels, our other cars.
 
  • Informative
  • Like
Reactions: cwanja and oktane

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top