Lotus Elan

Ceramic coating...

PostPost by: HCA » Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:08 am

Any good or nay?

I get ever increasing offers to purchase a treatment for my cars' paintwork. It used to be mainly from the US where I am still on the Corvette forum, but now it is turning and most ads are eminating from UK 'detailing' shops.

The marketing words get ever more technical - where it used to be just 'shield' it is now 'nano micro technology'

Is it snake oil, or am I missing out on a wonder cure where I never have to wash a car again.. :?:
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PostPost by: mark030358 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 12:36 pm

Feynlab.... enough said!!
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:45 pm

The real ceramic coatings require quite a bit of preparation before applying. I have applied Optimum Gloss Coat to both my Tesla and my wife's Subaru Ascent and the cars do stay remarkably clean even after weeks of not cleaning. Do you still need to clean your car? Yes. Do you need to regularly apply sealants or wax? No.

You will want to do an exhaustive paint correction prior to application as you will lock in any swirls or imperfections once applied. Be sure to follow the application process exactly. If allowed to dry, it will smear/haze and require quite a bit of cutting compound to remove as you are essentially applying a micro thin clear coat on the car.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:59 pm

From my limited experience with paint Ceramic coatings, i wouldn't use one.

People miss the fact Ceramic coatings still need topping with wax to prevent water spot issues, on top of that a ceramic coating needs to be applied by a Pro after a machine polish to get anywhere near "Years" from a coating. From my experience, an open ceramic coating will last 12-18 months in an everyday environment and maybe a few more months if the prep is perfect.

I have done some basic gloss tests for personal interest more than anything else, for me i use two thin coats of Fusso wax (£25 a tin) and top that with Anglewax fifth element (£15 for a demo pot) that lasts comfortably 12 months with a similar if not slightly better gloss levels and aquaphobic properties in an everyday use environment.

The main pro from a good ceramic coating is it's a lot harder so dirt doesn't tend to stick to it but as soon as you put a topper on to prevent mineral deposits issue you lose that.

Graphene Coatings are the new big thing, but i've not seen one used yet...... i believe they are very similar to Ceramics but with a better gloss level and no need for a topper.

So guess it depends on what you're using it for.........
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PostPost by: MrBonus » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:04 pm

Grizzly wrote:From my limited experience with paint Ceramic coatings, i wouldn't use one.

People miss the fact Ceramic coatings still need topping with wax to prevent water spot issues, on top of that a ceramic coating needs to be applied by a Pro after a machine polish to get anywhere near "Years" from a coating. From my experience, an open ceramic coating will last 12-18 months in an everyday environment and maybe a few more months if the prep is perfect.

I have done some basic gloss tests for personal interest more than anything else, for me i use two thin coats of Fusso wax (£25 a tin) and top that with Anglewax fifth element (£15 for a demo pot) that lasts comfortably 12 months with a similar if not slightly better gloss levels and aquaphobic properties in an everyday use environment.

The main pro from a good ceramic coating is it's a lot harder so dirt doesn't tend to stick to it but as soon as you put a topper on to prevent mineral deposits issue you lose that.

Graphene Coatings are the new big thing, but i've not seen one used yet...... i believe they are very similar to Ceramics but with a better gloss level and no need for a topper.

So guess it depends on what you're using it for.........


You don't need a pro to apply them but you should be comfortable with an orbital and how to properly remove swirl mark and imperfections prior to application. Most manufacturers of ceramic coatings recommend gloss enhancers, which are more like sealants, that require little more than spray on/spray off, not wax, as wax will cause the finish to haze.

Here is my never-in-a-garage daily driver, post ceramic coating:

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PostPost by: MrBonus » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:14 pm

Also, to be clear, I am not a professional, but I really really enjoy detailing. My Lotus is not ceramic coated, but it's used sparingly and garaged.

When I bought this car, the paint was a mess. Ton of scratches and swirls that could be seen from 10 - 15 feet. I used Meg's heavy cutting compound to remove the deepest swirls with my ZenTool orbital, then applied Oberk's cut then polish. I topped the paint with Chemical Guy Black Luminous Glow wax, as I like the depth of a wax on darker cars.

I feel like ceramic coating is overkill for a garage kept toy and frankly, regular waxes do generally look better, especially on single stage paints.

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PostPost by: HCA » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:56 pm

Those are two shiny cars and a credit to you!

I think you made the two operative words - enjoy and detailing! I am maybe the opposite to you, so maybe will continue my annual clean! To be fair, my Elan is garaged and not used much as I enjoy more working on it, and the Evora, also garaged but used for the more special occasion type runs with my trusty Skoda Felicia Pickup as my runabout and she is undemanding in the shine department!
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:50 pm

MrBonus, Gloss enhancers, Sealers are just other names for topper waxes, yes the wax helps with Gloss but it's more about mineral damage and a bit more longevity. They are just Ceramic coating compatible, as you say some waxes will react with Ceramics.

I agree Ceramics can be applied by someone that knows what they are doing....... I'm a painter by trade, not a detailer!! but imho Ceramic coatings are not for the beginner.....Of course, some detailing enthusiasts have the luxury of spending quality time getting a nice end product (often better than Pro's) but the Coating isn't the difficult bit (if you put it on in a cool dry garage it's actually easy) it's a bit like painting a car many hours of prep and 20 mins of application!! get that the wrong way round and it's very difficult to fix.

I agree though, there is nothing out there that can beat a top-shelf show wax for that wet look but it's a trade-off, Longlivity for Gloss!! even a show wax needs quality prep under it.
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PostPost by: 661 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:44 pm

I got a DIY ceramic product when I got the Golf new, and I've been impressed. I think the estimate of a year to 18 months of hassle free washing is about right.
Swiss wax said I could wax over the top of it, so there are options.
The 26 GTS has received Gtecniq ultra from a detailer. I have to say that is a different level.
So , my thought are that this stuff is great for a new car/paint or after (much) detailing. But there are many so-so products.
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:08 pm

I ceramic coated my Elise. Had it done by a local detailing shop that specializes in this (I had read about all the prep work and application requirements and warned not to screw it up as removal is very hard). The results were simply amazing and worth every penny. I’ve driven the Elise about 2000 miles this summer, but it still looks like the day it came out of the shop. A quick wipe down with detailing spray is all you need to clean it up from road dust.

You do need to do a maintenance coat once a year to keep the 3 year guarantee intact. I also had my wife’s Audi Avant done. It’s simply better than new looking.

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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:46 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URzgY-tN5pA

Don't be sucked in by the Gloss, the Gloss is provided by the prep!! the car actually loses a couple of Gloss units when the Ceramic is applied which tells you the standard of the paint correction required, then a topper is applied to prevent issues while it cures and gives you those few gloss units back.
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