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"Teslas have a soft clear coat." Fiction or fact?

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by milleron, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. milleron

    milleron Member

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    I've often read about some problems with Tesla paint when the company was new, but I thought I'd more-recently read that these problems had been corrected.
    Then, I took my brand new MS to the detailer who is the only installer for Suntek and Opti-Coat in my area, and he told me that Teslas still have a "very soft clear coat."

    Is there any truth to that statement about currently manufactured Teslas, or is this dude simply uninformed?
     
  2. Tdriver

    Tdriver Member

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    There is no way Tesla would produce a car with a "soft" clear coat or base coat for that matter..........silly statement.
     
  3. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    I think it's a myth. It's more that the popular Tesla colors are ones that show off scratches really easily, while other automakers love their generic silver or metallic brown/gray colors that hide clear coat scruffs. That and a large car inevitably leads to more mishaps from people walking too close to your car or parking too close to shrubbery.
     
  4. Jimmy 1

    Jimmy 1 Member

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    It is true. California EPA laws make them use softer paint. Way softer than any car I have owned, and this is my third Tesla. All of them were soft. Which is Ok, but you have to take care of them. I use ceramic coating to make the issue go away. Zero scratching issues. And no, I do not sell coatings.
     
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  5. Jimmy 1

    Jimmy 1 Member

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    Which detailer in Columbus? I know a few.
     
  6. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    There are frequent comments about "soft paint" here and if you Google the term, you get many references to TMC (and not much else).
    EPA rules will soon require that all car paint be low VOC (not just California).
    If you look through car paint web sites, they all talk about water based paints and nobody complains about "soft paint". Many sites tout advantages of water based paints.
    PPG makes water and solvent based car paints and they have this to say:
    "Less odor in the work environment and improved air quality are a few of the environmentally progressive advantages PPG waterborne holds over conventional solvent-based systems. Yet it does so without sacrificing color-matching capability and performance. In fact there’s good evidence that PPG waterborne is simply a better refinishing system than solvent, since the majority of collision centers in the United States that have made the switch to PPG waterborne are located in National Rules areas and are not governed by stricter VOC compliance regulations."
    The PPG Waterborne Advantage Vs. Solvent
    How Waterborne Paint Is Changing the Auto Industry | SEMA
    Water Vs. Solvent - Super Chevy Magazine

    I think that "Tesla soft paint" is an urban myth... (or rather TMC myth).
     
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  7. Canuck

    Canuck Well-Known Member

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    Link please? I say this is BS because it doesn't make sense. Nothing is gained environmentally by making a company use "softer" paint. I also doubt that hardening chemicals used by other automakers in their paint are banned in California.Until someone provides a link to support this statement, my bet is that it's a good line to use to sell wraps and coatings. The paint on my Tesla is no different or softer than on any of my other vehicles, as far as I can tell.
     
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  8. Jimmy 1

    Jimmy 1 Member

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    Hard Paint and Soft Paint – What are your polishing choices? | Ask a Pro Blog
    My hatred of clear coats
    What is the meaning of soft paint?

    I have no skin in this game, bottom line...the paint on my Tesla is softer than any of my other cars. Read all you want, debate all you want. Go to a tesla Showroom, where people have rubbed up against the cars all day....see lots of scratches. But who cares, lots of cars have soft clear coat. You just have to take care of them differently. You just need to know how.
     
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  9. BluestarE3

    BluestarE3 Active Member

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    Did NUMMI manufactured cars have "soft" paint as well? After all, they were located where Tesla is now and would have been subject to the same California regulations.
     
  10. mal_tsla

    mal_tsla Member

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    Detailers normally know what they're talking about when they say a car has soft or hard paint.

    In my amateur detailing of my own cars of various makes and cars of friends and family, it's pretty evident which cars have softer paint than others by the way the polish behaves on the machine pads.

    I have a black Infiniti Q50 alongside a multi coat white Model X. Having polished paint on both for paint correction purposes, I can say with confidence the white paint on the X is much harder than the black Infiniti. But I can also say that our old silver Infiniti had much harder paint than the black.

    I think it's not necessarily brand but also color choice. Darker, solid colors tend to be softer than whites or silvers.
     
  11. Canuck

    Canuck Well-Known Member

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    The question is whether the California EPA laws make Tesla use softer paint -- as some people allege. If that's the case, then we should be able to link to facts to support this allegation. I don't believe the paint is softer on my Tesla than other vehicles and I've been in the showrooms and don't see all the scratches you claim. But I'm no paint expert. I also don't trust detailers telling people these things in support of selling a $10k wrap.
     
  12. mal_tsla

    mal_tsla Member

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    Plenty of Japanese cars have very soft paint. My dad and I detailed his old Honda pilot and the paint was very very soft. Swirls came out immediately, but we had to carefully control the polish breakdown or else the finish was marred.

    A hard paint will behave very differently in those situations.
     
  13. Petra

    Petra Member

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    As a hobbyist, I'd say that Tesla's clear is somewhere around medium hardness based on how it corrects. Yes, Tesla's paint shows marring and scratches but it doesn't correct like really soft paint... with my 2015 S, I actually have to finish it out with a medium-light cutting pad since a standard polishing pad doesn't quite do it. Really soft paint, on the other hand, usually requires a more gentle approach.
     
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  14. ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️

    ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️ Fritterer and waster of hours in an off hand wayer

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    I have a black Tesla and only look closely at other cars with black paint. I have yet to see one from any other manufacture that doesn't have swirl marks in the direct sunlight. FWTW
     
  15. mal_tsla

    mal_tsla Member

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    I kept my old coupe swirl free for years. Paint was super soft. Lots of careful washing needed to keep it clean. Sure looked pretty when freshly washed, though!

    IMG_7959.JPG IMG_7960.JPG




     
  16. ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️

    ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️ Fritterer and waster of hours in an off hand wayer

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    That would be impressive. Most of them come from the factory with swirl marks as far as I can tell. I had one of my doors replaced and painted by a certified shop. Still swirl marks. Complained, took it back, left it for a day to be repolished. Still swirls. I'm sure I could take pictures of my car and you wouldn't see them but in the right light they are plain as day.
     
  17. Max*

    Max* Banned

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    *sugar*, before I joined TMC I had no idea what a swirl is. And I'm 100% sure my other cars had swirls on them.

    So whether the paint is "soft" or not (I don't know, I don't care), the TMC effect is for people to notice every little spec of dirt/scratch on the cars and attribute it to Tesla's soft paint/etc.

    To be fair, I do have more rock chips on the Tesla than I did on my previous car. But I attribute that to a larger surface area. Though I guess it is possible it's "soft paint".


    It's a car, I use it as a car, it takes me from place A to place B. I've taken it to brushed car washes (the horror, more swirls!).

    I understand people who don't think this way, I just don't agree with them. Meh.
     
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  18. Mark Z

    Mark Z Active Member

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    The thinner paint and clear coat requires less paint used for touch ups. It's a challenge to keep it thin enough.

    I don't wash Model S very often. Could a layer of dust help protect the finish? I only wash the paint when necessary, ideally, before the Tesla Owner's Club brunch every two months. The windshield and side glass is cleaned every week or two.
     
  19. croman

    croman Active Member

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    California EPA rules mandate use of water based paint. Other states/nations don't have that strict requirement and so they can use solvent based paint which is more durable. Not sure about "soft" as that is a relative term but in my experience my black LEAF has no issues or scratches over 3 years whereas my Tesla within 6 months had 3 scratches despite ceramic coating and front XPEL. NUMMI closed before CA paint rules came into effect.
     
  20. Timothy Meredith

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    Definitely soft. I have opticoat and xpel, my detailer has worked on tons of teslas and says they're all really soft compared to range rovers / other cars he works on.

    I love the car but this is one of the only "soft spots" i have about the car. I love black when its clean but next one might be silver because of how extremely easy it is to put swirls in it.
     
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