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What I learned about PPF/Ceramic Coatings and Tesla paint- the HARD way!

RachH

"Christine" Model 3 Blk Obsidian, LR, AWD
Jun 28, 2018
127
140
Denton, TX
Right, but the Euro mfgs use water-based paint as well, for the same environmental reasons.

There must be something else that causes all these paint issues. Perhaps the fact that, since the paint shop was (still is?) their big bottleneck, the line is programmed such that each car goes through far too quickly? That would be consistent with the observed spray patterns, with the underside of the trunk and frunk, the door hinge areas etc. receiving very little spray or none. Perhaps, aside from insufficient paint coverage, they also rush the curing.

Good point!!! Especially since it seems to be mostly on the Model 3's from what I have seen- and not the S and X. I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Regardless of why, which sucks, I paid a lot of money for this car and just bit the bullet and PPF'd the crap out of it and put ceramic on top. Here's hoping it holds up
 

Jazz_MIII

Member
May 14, 2019
117
57
NorCal
Living in CA for 20+ years ....you should compare our paint to the East Coast and you'll praise the CA paint jobs...! I am grateful we are environmentally considerate and I think that's a big reason why Tesla HQ is here, too! Stricter, sure...but for many good reasons :)
 

TeeEmCee

Member
Nov 16, 2015
901
727
Null
Living in CA for 20+ years ....you should compare our paint to the East Coast and you'll praise the CA paint jobs...! I am grateful we are environmentally considerate and I think that's a big reason why Tesla HQ is here, too! Stricter, sure...but for many good reasons :)

This whole "environmentally considerate" thing is such a gigantic load of crap though. California is easily one of the filthiest parts of the western world that I have seen. This reminds me of staring at this tiny patch of lawn in Iceland. Noname Iceland, nothing grows there, it's one big barren rock full of moss and a few blades of grass, and yet there was this small road-side lawn. Well kept and mowed, growing out of what couldn't have been more than one inch of "dirt" on top of the volcanic rock. And then I remembered the mountains of garbage around each 101 offramp between SJ and SF ...
 

RachH

"Christine" Model 3 Blk Obsidian, LR, AWD
Jun 28, 2018
127
140
Denton, TX
because it was TL;DR

Ok, maybe I am missing something? I was told, on this post by someone, that Tldr is ‘To long didn’t read’. And he wanted someone to do bullet points.

Is this a passive aggressive diss saying I looked for a cheap job or am I mistaken? It's hard to tell.

If your idea of 'cheap' is paying over $4k then I wonder where you are getting yours done. That is not 'cheap' at all. I didn't get the entire car done in PPL- just the front end and front doors- and ceramic over the entire car and they gave me a discount for paying cash. The price was about the same with others I checked with but this shop was closest to me.
 

hugh_jassol

Member
Jan 26, 2019
766
847
Los Angeles
Ok, maybe I am missing something? I was told, on this post by someone, that Tldr is ‘To long didn’t read’. And he wanted someone to do bullet points.

Is this a passive aggressive diss saying I looked for a cheap job or am I mistaken? It's hard to tell.

If your idea of 'cheap' is paying over $4k then I wonder where you are getting yours done. That is not 'cheap' at all. I didn't get the entire car done in PPL- just the front end and front doors- and ceramic over the entire car and they gave me a discount for paying cash. The price was about the same with others I checked with but this shop was closest to me.
I am/was trying to be funny. Cleary, it's "too soon" :)
 

RachH

"Christine" Model 3 Blk Obsidian, LR, AWD
Jun 28, 2018
127
140
Denton, TX
I am/was trying to be funny. Cleary, it's "too soon" :)

Ugh. Definitely too soon. Everytime I think about it I get irritated. In writing this original post it brought it all back in detail and I was pissed all over again. I even misquoted (and can't change) the guy who was actually really helpful to me- Mike at CITY TO CITY and NOT Coast to Coast lol. Not sure whether to laugh, cry or strangle someone- ok maybe not to that extreme. Though when the owner said to me 'oh we just tell people we will make it up to them'...grrrrrrrrrr I almost lost it.

I'm really glad you were just trying to be funny.... :)
 

Jazz_MIII

Member
May 14, 2019
117
57
NorCal
This whole "environmentally considerate" thing is such a gigantic load of crap though. California is easily one of the filthiest parts of the western world that I have seen. This reminds me of staring at this tiny patch of lawn in Iceland. Noname Iceland, nothing grows there, it's one big barren rock full of moss and a few blades of grass, and yet there was this small road-side lawn. Well kept and mowed, growing out of what couldn't have been more than one inch of "dirt" on top of the volcanic rock. And then I remembered the mountains of garbage around each 101 offramp between SJ and SF ...

To each their own, there are a lot of reasons we are one of the most sustainable + independent economies on a worldwide scale. 5th in the world, to be exact. California sets trends legislatively that affect the laws passed in D.C. that then set the tone worldwide for other countries to follow. Are we perfect here? No. There are a lot of improvements we can make to be better, but we are far better than most of the nation regarding the environment, at a bare minimum. Part of this drive is the fact we are a heavily agriculture producing economy and need to be environmentally savvy to provide the crops the US and other countries depend on to live. Almonds, avocados, wine (ha!), among others.

Depending on where you've visited there will be different experiences, no doubt! I am from both Northern and Southern CA so feel like I know a thing or two about the state ;) At least enough to have a qualifying opinion, lol.

Anyway, I guess my thoughts are my own as well and from my experiences...every time I've visited other countries, states, what have you...I've always looked forward to coming home to my state :)

Cheers! -jazz
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,736
1,703
Richland, WA
If you want to just be able to cruise through a touch-less car wash, get the whole car wrapped in PPF. It's about a $5k investment but it'll protect all your paint. Of course you have to use special drying towels, they're called microfiber. If the car is very clean and you have PPF on then you shouldn't have any issues with just using a couple microfibers and gently drying the car in a few minutes. Ceramic is going to help some, but from my understanding can still get swirls from sand and other grit during washing. I look at ceramic as a layer to protect the paint from being worn down and to improve the water beading characteristics, not as protection from swirls.

PPF should protect you from day to day washing hazards and the sand blasting. It's hit or miss with rock chips. PPF will greatly reduce those, but you certainly can still get a large enough impact that it scratches or chips the paint through the PPF. PPF can hide some light swirls that were on the paint to begin with, but if you want it perfect you really should have paint correction first, which is expensive due to the time it requires.

Any auto soap should be fine with PPF and probably fine with ceramic coating, I suspect you were given misinformation on that, if it came from the manufacture of the ceramic then it's possible the ceramic is a lower quality/different mix and/or the manufacture is trying to extend their warranty by having you go ultra easy on it. You do usually have to apply yearly refreshers with the ceramic, but they are much quicker and usually included in the cost of your initial application. Soap though, I've never heard restrictions with that...
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,127
986
Encino, CA
I am a huge fan of PPF and did my entire car in Xpel PPF. But it is important to seal the PPF. I personally did not do a ceramic coating, as I wanted to invest my money in full PPF. But I do seal my PPF with either Opti Coat Hyper Seal or TW Seal and Shine every 3 or 4 months. Then I maintain it with Technicians Choice Ceramic Detail Spray every other wash.

I have had the car for nearly a year and the paint does look scratch and swirl free.

BTW, yes, it helps to correct and polish your paint before installing PPF to get rid of any major swirls and scratches. But the adhesive from PPF will fill in nearly all minor swirls and scratches. If you are only doing a ceramic coat on part of all of the car, then a full and complete paint correction is much more important as, once the ceramic coating is applied, you are in essence sealing in any visible scratches and swirls.
 
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RachH

"Christine" Model 3 Blk Obsidian, LR, AWD
Jun 28, 2018
127
140
Denton, TX
If you want to just be able to cruise through a touch-less car wash, get the whole car wrapped in PPF. It's about a $5k investment but it'll protect all your paint. Of course you have to use special drying towels, they're called microfiber. If the car is very clean and you have PPF on then you shouldn't have any issues with just using a couple microfibers and gently drying the car in a few minutes. Ceramic is going to help some, but from my understanding can still get swirls from sand and other grit during washing. I look at ceramic as a layer to protect the paint from being worn down and to improve the water beading characteristics, not as protection from swirls.

PPF should protect you from day to day washing hazards and the sand blasting. It's hit or miss with rock chips. PPF will greatly reduce those, but you certainly can still get a large enough impact that it scratches or chips the paint through the PPF. PPF can hide some light swirls that were on the paint to begin with, but if you want it perfect you really should have paint correction first, which is expensive due to the time it requires.

Any auto soap should be fine with PPF and probably fine with ceramic coating, I suspect you were given misinformation on that, if it came from the manufacture of the ceramic then it's possible the ceramic is a lower quality/different mix and/or the manufacture is trying to extend their warranty by having you go ultra easy on it. You do usually have to apply yearly refreshers with the ceramic, but they are much quicker and usually included in the cost of your initial application. Soap though, I've never heard restrictions with that...

I got PPF on the entire front all the way to and including the two front doors. Not the whole thing.

Before they did the PPF they did a single paint correction on the whole car.

Then after they did the PPF, they put on the ceramic which has a 10 yr warranty. Only an official shop that is certified by the company can apply this specific kind. Then I have to go back once a year to the place that applied it (or another place that is an official shop that does it) to make sure I am washing it the way I am supposed to per the warranty and/or to check how it is holding up. Per the body shop they said I can't just use any kind of soap.

I'm looking for the absolute easiest possible way to wash my car and keep it looking great. Is that bad of me? lol
 
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RachH

"Christine" Model 3 Blk Obsidian, LR, AWD
Jun 28, 2018
127
140
Denton, TX
I am a huge fan of PPF and did my entire car in Xpel PPF. But it is important to seal the PPF. I personally did not do a ceramic coating, as I wanted to invest my money in full PPF. But I do seal my PPF with either Opti Coat Hyper Seal or TW Seal and Shine every 3 or 4 months. Then I maintain it with Technicians Choice Ceramic Detail Spray every other wash.

I have had the car for nearly a year and the paint does look scratch and swirl free.

BTW, yes, it helps to correct and polish your paint before installing PPF to get rid of any major swirls and scratches. But the adhesive from PPF will fill in nearly all minor swirls and scratches. If you are only doing a ceramic coat on part of all of the car, then a full and complete paint correction is much more important as, once the ceramic coating is applied, you are in essence sealing in any visible scratches and swirls.

Apparently I am not supposed to apply anything else to the surface since there is PPF, then Ceramic and then another layer of EXO on top. And it has a 10 yr warranty. All I have to do is just use a specific kind of soap (or if it's not too dirty,water and a micro fiber) and then it's clean and shiny. Problem is I live by the beach and I'm in a carport and not a garage so it's never really ever 'not too dirty'.

And they did paint correction before applying the PPF and Ceramic. Or at least they said they did. It looks really good when cleaned so I am guessing yes.
 

RachH

"Christine" Model 3 Blk Obsidian, LR, AWD
Jun 28, 2018
127
140
Denton, TX
If you want to just be able to cruise through a touch-less car wash, get the whole car wrapped in PPF. It's about a $5k investment but it'll protect all your paint. Of course you have to use special drying towels, they're called microfiber. If the car is very clean and you have PPF on then you shouldn't have any issues with just using a couple microfibers and gently drying the car in a few minutes. Ceramic is going to help some, but from my understanding can still get swirls from sand and other grit during washing. I look at ceramic as a layer to protect the paint from being worn down and to improve the water beading characteristics, not as protection from swirls.

PPF should protect you from day to day washing hazards and the sand blasting. It's hit or miss with rock chips. PPF will greatly reduce those, but you certainly can still get a large enough impact that it scratches or chips the paint through the PPF. PPF can hide some light swirls that were on the paint to begin with, but if you want it perfect you really should have paint correction first, which is expensive due to the time it requires.

Any auto soap should be fine with PPF and probably fine with ceramic coating, I suspect you were given misinformation on that, if it came from the manufacture of the ceramic then it's possible the ceramic is a lower quality/different mix and/or the manufacture is trying to extend their warranty by having you go ultra easy on it. You do usually have to apply yearly refreshers with the ceramic, but they are much quicker and usually included in the cost of your initial application. Soap though, I've never heard restrictions with that...

Unfortunately it's to late now to go full PPF since it already has Crystal Serum Ultra ceramic on the entire car plus the EXO on top of the Ceramic. It's definitely not a cheap ceramic because it was done professionally and is hard to remove (you have to sand it off) AND has a 10 yr warranty. I have to go once a year to have it inspected. Having a brain fart on what kind it is but I wrote it in the original post.

I am very familiar with microfiber cloths. A friend of mine was actually one of the original people who brought them to the US. Luckily I have a drawer full of them :) I just need to figure out what soap to use and/or water less option. I'm mainly worried about the sand that blows around and the dew in the mornings/night since I am at the beach and parked in a carport. It's definitely not 'normal' conditions.

UPDATED: I just looked- it's Crystal Serum Ultra. Here is a link: Gtechniq - Frequently Asked Questions It also gives the kind of soap to use.
 
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Gigaron

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jan 17, 2019
375
171
San Francisco
Any recommendations for PPF, Ceramic and EXO certified installers on the San Francisco Peninsula? Or bay area if none on the peninsula.
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,736
1,703
Richland, WA
Not cheap at all. I spent almost $4k for the PPF and Ceramic. Not sure how you came up with that.

That’s “cheap”, I was quoted between $5,000 and $5500 before tax for the PPF alone on the whole car and ceramic probably another $950 or so (since no paint correction needs done).

Now if you mean you didn’t get the full car PPFed, well then you can’t complain about the spots you didn’t cover.

Ceramic will not fully protect from swirls. It helps protect against bugs, hard water spots (still need to clean fairly quickly) tree sap and tar, and helps make it easier to wash/dry. It offers almost no impact protection and if you rub grains of rock (sand) against it there is a pretty decent chance it’ll swirl.
 
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RachH

"Christine" Model 3 Blk Obsidian, LR, AWD
Jun 28, 2018
127
140
Denton, TX
That’s “cheap”, I was quoted between $5,000 and $5500 before tax for the PPF alone on the whole car and ceramic probably another $950 or so (since no paint correction needs done).

Now if you mean you didn’t get the full car PPFed, well then you can’t complain about the spots you didn’t cover.

Ceramic will not fully protect from swirls. It helps protect against bugs, hard water spots (still need to clean fairly quickly) tree sap and tar, and helps make it easier to wash/dry. It offers almost no impact protection and if you rub grains of rock (sand) against it there is a pretty decent chance it’ll swirl.

As I said in the original post, I did not do the whole car- just the front including the front doors. I then got the whole car ceramic plus EXO. If I would have done the whole car then yes it would have been around $4500-$5000. I got a package deal and paid cash so I got a discount as well.

I know the ceramic does not protect like the PPF does and I didn't expect it to. After a lot of research I felt I didn't really need to do the whole car.

And as part of the PPF/Ceramic package I got, they included a one step paint correction for the whole car.

AND the reason I was upset is because they didn't do everything I paid for and they half ass'ed it to boot. There were swirls from the CERAMIC where it was done too quickly and they didn't let it sit the time it was supposed to sit before adding the top EXO layer.

All of this is why I wrote the post. So others would be informed on what to look for. I wasn't looking for advice since my car has already been done and I already did all of the research- including working with my body shop and a professional installer who does it regularly but thanks :)
 

RachH

"Christine" Model 3 Blk Obsidian, LR, AWD
Jun 28, 2018
127
140
Denton, TX
Any recommendations for PPF, Ceramic and EXO certified installers on the San Francisco Peninsula? Or bay area if none on the peninsula.

I would check out the Gtechniq website (I listed it above in one of the posts). They have all of the professional installers listed there. I would then check them out on yelp and/or other sites and see who seems to be the best option. Also ask any body shop contacts you have who they would recommend. I don't know anyone in that area so unfortunately can't help on that.

FYI, it can only be applied by certified professionals- the Ultra and EXO- so it's not sold to consumers. The reason being it takes a lot more technique to apply and it is REALLY hard to remove if you make a mistake. It has to be sanded off and from what I was told it is a nightmare.

It also has a 9 yr warranty so it lasts a lot longer than anything a consumer can apply.
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,736
1,703
Richland, WA
As I said in the original post, I did not do the whole car- just the front including the front doors. I then got the whole car ceramic plus EXO. If I would have done the whole car then yes it would have been around $4500-$5000. I got a package deal and paid cash so I got a discount as well.

I know the ceramic does not protect like the PPF does and I didn't expect it to. After a lot of research I felt I didn't really need to do the whole car.

And as part of the PPF/Ceramic package I got, they included a one step paint correction for the whole car.

AND the reason I was upset is because they didn't do everything I paid for and they half ass'ed it to boot. There were swirls from the CERAMIC where it was done too quickly and they didn't let it sit the time it was supposed to sit before adding the top EXO layer.

All of this is why I wrote the post. So others would be informed on what to look for. I wasn't looking for advice since my car has already been done and I already did all of the research- including working with my body shop and a professional installer who does it regularly but thanks :)

I didn’t realize the swirls were from the initial application!

This brings up an interesting question. We know you basically have to wet sand to remove it... but is it possible to polish the ceramic with an aggressive polish and then an additional application of the ceramic? Would that level out the swirls enough and then fill them in?
 

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