I want to thank Undrdog for letting me use this article.
Installing a car protective coating isn’t exactly rocket science. Still, doing it properly requires a certain amount of know-how in both preparation and actual application. If you’re considering doing it yourself, honestly assess your level of skills and knowledge first.
The most important step in coating installation is really the prep work. It’s what determines how well the product will bond to your vehicle’s surface, how well it will perform, and how long it will last. Ceramic coating prep is often complex and time-consuming. Depending on the condition of your car, it can even take up the bulk of the work.
If your paint has any swirls, blemishes, scratches, and chips, paint correction is a must before coating installation. For that, you need to polish off thin layers of the clear coat until the imperfections are no longer visible. Straightforward, right? Yeah, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, things can go sideways pretty quickly. An inappropriate cutting agent and pad can cause swirl marks, but also burn through your clear coat and expose the paint underneath. Additionally, if your paint is damaged more severely, you might have to resort to wet sanding.
Those of you with spotless new cars don’t generally need to perform paint correction. Still, there’s lots to do before you can start applying the ceramic coating.
First off, you need to wash the vehicle thoroughly with car soap. Then it’s time for paint decontamination: chemical (using iron & fallout removers, like The Purps) or physical (using a clay bar or clay mitt). If you don’t have issues with deeply embedded fallout, chemical decontamination will get the job done without the risk of causing any damage. Even if your ride is highly contaminated, it’s best to perform chemical decontamination first. This way you can reduce the likelihood of swirling and marring inflicted by the claying process. Then, if your paint still feels rough to touch, you will need to resort to claying – a risky, time-consuming process, but one you shouldn’t skip. If you do, the contamination will be locked in your paint for as long as the coating is on. Plus, you’ll experience underwhelming performance and decreased product longevity.
Finally, you want to wipe all panels with clean towels damp with denatured or isopropyl alcohol/body shop wax & grease remover. This will ensure that there are no leftover waxes or sealants on the surface. Once it dries, you can start coating.
The coating application process can be more or less complicated depending on the product you use. And although it’s generally not very hard to do, mistakes are common with inexperienced installers.
The thing is, there are numerous ways you can mess up a “ceramic” coating. Using too much product, improper techniques, and tools, distributing the product unevenly or poor buffing can lead to hazing, high and low spots, cloudy reflections, streaks, etc. If you don’t spot these mistakes right away and the product flashes, you’ll need to remove the coating from the affected area by polishing or sanding.
This is a frustrating process that takes a lot of time if you’re a beginner. On top of that, you risk damaging your car’s paint and setting yourself back hundreds or thousands of dollars.
At Pro Auto Spas, our technicians are trained by Kenny personally. No one gets to touch your car until they are checked out and certified. Experience is key in this sort of thing, as well as the proper equipment to measure clear coat depth, apply coatings, polish, and bring the absolute best gloss to your car. Come see us at either location–Downtown (2601 S. Buchanan) or Med Center (inside the Vintage Auto Haus building at 8201 W. Amarillo Blvd).