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6 Step DIY Exterior Car Detailing Like the Pros

Nicolas Pazo owns a mobile detailing business in Massachusetts.

DIY Car Detailing at Home

As a professional detailer, I take pride in all of my work. Not only was I raised that way but I have to for my business. At the end of the day, I am responsible for executing a job that the customer is truly satisfied with. The job is very simple; our customers comes to us with something dirty and we clean it. Whenever we finish, the customer will come to see the results and they are amazed that the car is so clean. Yes, we do a great job but YOU CAN TOO. As the owner of a detailing company I wish more people detailed their car at least once a year on their own. It reduces the costs to the customer and routinely keeps up with all of life's messes that accumulate quick. All you need is some time, a few tools, and a little bit of guidance to get this done.

Soap Foam Pre Wash

BMW X3 soaking in the foam soap

BMW X3 soaking in the foam soap

Introduction

Car detailing or just cleaning can be a dreaded task for many. Most people just don't have the time to do it or would much rather be doing something else. It is a task that is put on the back burner more than you think. When was the last time you thought about cleaning your car? Probably the last time you were in it. Then you got out of the car and realized the million other things you need to do and now cleaning your car is an after thought again.


For the people that have finally said, "enough is enough" this article is for you. I will go over the process to properly washing your exterior and protecting your paint. Exterior washes and protection is essential to taking care of your car. Cleaning your car is comparable to getting the oil changed. It you don't change your oil, you can mess up the engine and other key components which then decreases the value and life of the vehicle. These engine repairs can be very expensive to fix, same with the exterior/interior cosmetic repairs. For example, if you don't keep up with regular cleaning, then you can mess up the paint on the exterior to the point you have to repaint. In addition, the upholstery in the interior can get stained, moldy, etc. As stated above, repairing a vehicle's paint or upholstery is not cheap either and will decrease the overall value of the car if not repaired.

Exterior Wash Steps

  1. Wheels & Tires
  2. Bug, Iron, Tar, Sap Removal
  3. Pre-Wash, Wash, Rinse
  4. Dry
  5. Clay Bar
  6. Protect

Wheel Cleaning

1. Wheel Cleaning

The first rule of cleaning anything you want to work from the top, down. Why? Because gravity brings anything that is up, down. So cleaning the wheels and tires should be done after the car is washed, right? WRONG. The first step to washing your car, should always be to clean the wheels and tires. They are really the only part of the vehicle that is in contact with something at all times. Whether it is asphalt, dirt, grass, sand, mud, etc. The wheels and tires kick up the dirt and slings it all over the sides and back of your vehicle.

First, I get a designated wheel cleaning bucket. I fill it with water, degreaser and wheel cleaner. The ratio being 4:1:1, respectively. You do not want to use the same bucket to wash your car since your wheels are the dirtiest part of the exterior.

When cleaning the wheels and tires, cleaning from top to bottom is the way you want to clean. The wheel and tires compartment of the vehicle is called the wheel well. The wheel well can be metal and painted, plastic or it can be lined with fabric. When the wheel well is painted or plastic, you will want to use a softer bristle wheel well brush. A wheel well brush has a long handle and is angled by the bristles to allow the brush to reach the hard angles and the wheel well area behind the tire. When cleaning this area, a good rinse to remove loose dirt is always recommended. Once rinsed, a cleaning solution helps lift stubborn dirt and the brush agitates the remaining dirt to the surface. The cleaning solution I use in a spray bottle is a degreaser with a 2:1. Some people use All-Purpose Cleaners instead of degreasers. In my opinion, I find that the cleaning power of a degreaser is more powerful than an All-Purpose Cleaner, making it more efficient. I am all for efficiency. For a cloth lined wheel well, you will use the exact same process and the painted wheel well. The only thing different is that you can use a stiffer bristle brush on the fabric because you do not have to worry about scratching the fabric. I find it way easier to use a stiff bristle brush because it really gets the tiny dirt and sand particles out of the fabric. If you have a drill, you can order drill brush attachments on Amazon.com, find them at auto parts stores in the car care aisle, even in Walmart and use those. It usually comes with an 4-6 inch extension rod for the attachment and comes with 3-4 different style brushes. I use the brush that is cone shaped, and looks like a toilet bowl cleaner. As a matter of fact, you could just use an unused toilet bowl cleaner. I like letting the drill do the agitating, which means less elbow grease that I have to exert. After this is all done, then we rinse and move on.

Whats next? Tires. Using the same degreaser solution we spray down the tires. I like to spray the wheels/rims with a wheel cleaning solution at the same time that I spray the degreaser on the tires. Let the wheel cleaning solution soak, penetrate and breakdown brake dust, iron fallout, tar, and dirt. This pretreatment step helps out exponentially when it is time to clean the wheels. While the wheels soak, I spray a little more degreaser on the tire and on my detail brush. Start scrubbing the degreaser with your tire brush, detail brush, or drill attachment into the tire. That dirty foam is all of the dirt, and prior tire dressings that have built up over time. This is so satisfying for me, I know it will be for you too. Once complete, rinse the tire off.

Now we get to our wheels. Wheels can be made out of many types of materials. Some are alloy, some are chrome, some are powder coated, etc. So make sure the cleaner that you use is safe for your specific wheel. P&S Brake Buster is my go to wheel cleaner, because it is safe for all wheels and you can use it on tires. Figuratively, killing two birds with one stone. Spray more cleaning solution on top of the remaining soaking cleaner and start cleaning. I use a wheel brush for the barrels of the wheel. A wheel brush is the floss for your wheels. It gets between the spokes and helps remove the built up contamination just like floss does to the plaque and debris in your teeth. After the wheel barrel is finished I clean the spokes of the wheel with a microfiber cloth. I work in a clockwise motion so that I can keep track of where I am and what has been done already. After about 2-3 spokes I wash my towel off in the bucket to remove contamination off the towel. To get into the lug nut areas, I use a small/narrow detail brush to get into those hard to reach places. If you are super detail oriented like myself then, hit the brakes and the brake pads with the same detail brush. Once complete, rinse and then repeat this on the rest of your wheels and tires.

Detailer Tip: Some wheels have tar and iron built up on the wheels, that will not come off with normal washing. No matter how many times you scrub the wheel, those little dots will not come off. At times, you might be able to dig your nail and scratch the top layer off but it still leaves residue behind. In these times, you can use a tar remover with a microfiber cloth and some elbow grease and remove the tar spots. Spray the tar remover on the problem area and let it dwell for about 30 seconds before scrubbing with your towel. Many companies make Tar Removers. Turtle Wax and Stoner's Car Care are readily available almost everywhere. No joke.

Iron Removal

There are many iron removing products but Meguiars is super is easy to find in all auto parts stores and at Walmart.

There are many iron removing products but Meguiars is super is easy to find in all auto parts stores and at Walmart.

This is what happens when the Iron Remover comes into contact with Iron contamination. This also helps break down some tar and other calcified contamination on the paint prior to washing the vehicle.

This is what happens when the Iron Remover comes into contact with Iron contamination. This also helps break down some tar and other calcified contamination on the paint prior to washing the vehicle.

2. Bug, Iron, Sap, Tar Removal

Pre-washing your vehicle is a vital step in car detailing. If your car is even moderately dirty, I find these steps crucial for safe, effective car detailing. The purpose of the pre-wash is to remove contamination/debris from the paint that could potentially scratch the paint during the washing step. Our goal is to safely remove the contamination by using a thorough cleaning process to get to get as close to the clear coat on our paint so that we can protect it with a sealant. We want to achieve this without adding scratches to the paint.

The contamination can be salt, sand, tar, sap, dirt/mud, bugs, bird droppings. All of which can damage a vehicles paint if left on it or if removed incorrectly.

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I like to start with the removing bug splatter by using a bug and tar removal. The bug and tar removers as mentioned in the wheel cleaning section can be found just about everywhere. Turtle Wax has been around for 70+ years and has a great consumer grade bug remover that you can find at any auto parts store and most super stores. The bug remover does the hard work for you, if you let it. Once sprayed on the problem areas, let the cleaner sit and penetrate the bugs so the bugs lift up off of your paint. The front of the vehicle is where you will find most bug splatter but don't forget to use some above the windshield and on the side mirrors. Work these areas with a microfiber cloth until bugs are removed and then rinse. The bugs splatter should be removed fairly quickly after letting the product soak on the problem areas for about 45 seconds.

Next, I work on removing any tar. Tar will be black dots that are raised off the paint. Tar will be found on the sides and back of your car right behind where your wheels are. The wheels pick up tar and asphalt from the road and sling it all over the sides of your car and then hardens. Using the same technique with during the bug removal, let the product work for you. The tar might be easier to remove with a Terry cloth, but just remember that a Terry cloth is more abrasive. Spray the cloth with some Bug & Tar remover to lubricate your Terry cloth prior to vehicle contact. Work these areas until, tar is removed.

Once tar is removed, my next focus is to remove the sap from the paint. Sap will be on your vehicle if you park under or near trees. If you don't like this happening, investing in a car cover or garage is a must. Tree sap is very dangerous to your vehicle's finish. Sap eats through clear coat quicker than you think. Clear coat is the clear layer of paint that is sprayed on most vehicles to seal in the pigment of the paint and to protect the paint also. The more layers of clear coat, the deeper the shine, and more protection that vehicle's paint has. Sap will terrorize that coat. To remove the sap, I like to use Stoner's Car Care Sap Remover. It is an aerosol can and removes heavy concentrations of sap fairly quickly. Goo Gone is another product that can be used, but be prepared for a sore arm and shoulder the day after. Stoner's Car Care sap remover is found in numerous auto part stores, Walmart and Amazon. While removing the sap, some will see that the sap did eat through the clear coat. Since you will be concentrated on the sap spot, you will notice that there is an indent in the paint. The indent will a have features of a valley where the clear coat has been compromised. If this occurs, you will want to get this fixed before further cosmetic damage starts to occur. The best immediate solution is to ceramic coat the damaged area once the vehicle has been washed and properly prepped. If you do not have access to a ceramic coating, making sure that the area is constantly cleaned and waxed is the next best way to protect your vehicle. In my experience, Sap must be removed as soon as possible.

Before we actually wash the vehicle safely, iron and other embedded contamination on the paint must be loosened and hopefully removed. The advantages of this step will be felt when you clay bar the vehicle in a later step. Iron and other minerals bond and adhere to the paint, making it really hard to remove them fully. Iron with look like orange rust dots on your vehicle, which is very noticeable on light colored cars. Or it can be other minerals that have calcified on your paint in the form of black dots. The contamination ruins the durability, longevity, the texture, and shine of the paint. The Iron Removing Sprays are acid based and will remove waxes and some sealants. The acid in the sprays will turn the contamination on your paint a purple color. The purple color lets you know there is a presence of Iron on the paint and that the chemical is working to loosen the embedded contamination. I spray the painted areas around the vehicle in between the windows and wheels. The doors, hood, side panels, and the trunk will be spray. NO WINDOWS. Rinse any overspray off of the windows. Let the product turn purple and soak into the contamination for 1-3 minutes depending on the conditions. If you see the product drying on the paint, respraying the product will help, or you can mist water on the areas that are starting to dry to keep them moist. After the product has dwelled on your paint for long enough, rinse the product.

The Wash

3. Pre-Wash, Wash, Rinse

Washing a vehicle has 3 steps. 1.Pre-washing; 2. Wash; 3. Rinse.

Pre-washing for me consists getting my 2 wash buckets set up. One bucket will be a soap and water bucket, the other being a clean water bucket. I keep my wash mitts and brushes soaking in the soap bucket. This helps loosen. lubricate, and soften the fibers and bristles before I use them. Every time that I use a brush or wash mitt on the vehicle, I will rinse it off in the clean water bucket. In theory, this will remove the dirt from my brush or wash mitt that I have picked up from the dirty vehicle. After the brush or wash mitt has been dunked in the clean water, it will get dunked back into the soap bucket to lubricate the brush or wash mitt prior to coming into contact with the paint again.

Now that my buckets are set up, I wet the whole vehicle and go around the vehicle with a detail brush and my two buckets. I focus on the details like the grill, the letters of the vehicle emblem, badges/lettering on the side of the vehicle, door handles, back-up cameras, and side mirrors. After these areas are hit, I foam the vehicle down with a foam cannon attachment and 4:1 water:soap dilution in the foam cannon attached to my pressure washer. Let the soap sit on your vehicle and drip down for about 3-5 minutes, depending on the environmental conditions. This foam soak is using gravity and the density of the soap to move loose dirt down and off the vehicle without contacting the paint with a wash mitt. In theory, the weight and thickness (density) of the foam soap will push the surface dirt off the paint reducing the amount of debris on the paint which reduces the risk of scratching your paint. When most of the soap has fallen from the vehicle, rinse off remaining soap.

FINALLY, we can wash the vehicle. Yes, after all those steps. Washing your vehicle prior to taking these steps WILL lead to damaged paint. There is no way around it. Thats why your car really is never fully clean and gets damaged after a drive-through car wash or an at home wash. Proper washing techniques are key in the success of maintaining your car. Some people use wash brushes, and in some circumstances, I do too. The circumstances are when the vehicle is massive and I can't reach a certain area, the vehicle already has damaged paint and the client does not car about the paint anymore (usually with older daily driven vehicles), or when I am washing boats and RV's. Wash brushes have bristles. Bristles will scratch if they aren't taken care of properly or if they are not lubricated properly with soap during the wash. The safest way to wash your vehicle is with a Chenile Wash Mitt. This wash mitt has fibers that look like plush fingers that grab dirt and stores it deep in the fibers away from your paint. If you use the same wash mitt over and over, always check for debris in the fiber prior to usage and clean after each usage. Remove the debris and rinse the mitt. If you think it is time to buy a new, it probably is. Do NOT use wash mitts that have debris or look like they have had long enough of a life. This can damage the vehicle and we got all the way here without messing up.

After we rinse the soap from the pre-wash, we will foam the vehicle again. I wash the vehicle windows first, and then from top to bottom. When washing the vehicle, I never make circular motions. Everything is side to side in a sweeping motion. I use overlapping passes so that I maximize coverage over the area being washed. After you get to the bottom of the vehicle and in between changing panels, you should rinse your wash mitt in the clean water bucket and then dunk it back in the soap bucket. I carry a squeeze bottle filled with a 2:1 water to soap dilution, and lubricate my wash mitt after rinsing and dunking my wash mitt in the soap bucket. I like to think that it is giving me a little more insurance and protection to deter any scratching from occurring. I continue around the whole vehicle and reapply foam to areas that start to dry while I finish up washing the vehicle. After the whole vehicle has been washed with your wash mitt, rinsing the soap off of the car needs to be done in a timely manner. Never work against gravity, let it be your ally. Rinse from top, down. If you work from bottom, up then you will continue to agitate the soap creating more soap. Taking more time than you need to take to rinse the vehicle. Smarter not harder. When the soap and water dries on your vehicle it will leave water marks that can be a pain to remove from your paint. Anyone that parks near a sprinkler knows the pain. Unless, your water system has a complete filtration or a water softener system, the water contacting your vehicle will be hard water. Hard water is water water that has not been filtered, leaving the chlorine and other minerals in the water which dry and leave the water marks. Some detailers use water softeners to help keep their machines (pressure washers, and steam cleaners) working longer by reducing mineral build up and they help ease the stress of drying a vehicle since no water spots form.

During the final stages of rinsing your vehicle, you may have missed a little bit of dirt here and there. The most common areas are on the back bumper, side mirrors, side panels close to the tires, or a spot on the grill are missed during the wash. Take your wash mitt from the bucket and just wash it off really quickly. This is an important time for inspecting your paint and seeing if you need to polish it or if you can go right into drying and sealing the paint. Your car is know in a condition where the paint can be assessed more accurately. If you do not see major scratches or swirls we can move on to drying the vehicle then sealing it with a ceramic coating or wax.

Drying Your Car

Dry vehicle with a leaf blower, or air blower first. This will remove large amounts of water at once. Then use a drying aid spray with a plush microfiber towel to get what is left over.

4. Drying Your Car the Right Way

Drying a vehicle is more important than washing the vehicle. Making sure that water spots don't pop up are key. Most important, is that our drying towel doesn't scratch our now clean surface. Even if the towel is the plushest towel money can buy, those microfiber towel can leave micro-scratches in your paint that only a polish can remove. In my experience, they key to drying a vehicle is air. Not letting it air dry but using a blowing machine. For example, a leaf blower, a metro vac blower or air compressor are air blowing machines. These machines are contactless and move large concentrations of water with ease. If using an air compressor, be careful that you are using an appropriate PSI setting. I would say anything below 70 PSI is safe. If you hit a piece of chipped paint with the air compressor, it can really ruin your day so BE CAREFUL. A safer route would be to use a Metro Vac blower or leaf blower. I use both. The Leaf Blower is used for the whole car and the the Metro Vac blower which is a small hand held blower is for the tighter areas like the side mirrors and front grill.


After I use the air blowers, I use a towel to finish up the drying step. Most of my clients have a small car care kit with soap, wash mitts and a drying towel. The drying towel I see the most, is the blue synthetic chamois. These work fairly nice when brand new, but become contaminated easily. When the contaminated drying chamois is used, it will scratch the paint without a doubt. I like to use very plush drying towels that are at least 24x36. This lets me dry a large area with one swipe instead of a large area with many swipes of a drying towel. I use a drying aid in unison with my drying towel to lubricate the surface and my towel for a smooth, scratch free dry. I mist the spray lightly on the vehicle and spray my towel 2-3 times to soften the fibers of the towel. This really makes a difference, especially with darker colored vehicles where scratches and swirls are more visible than light colored vehicles.

Detailer Tip: When drying the vehicle open and close all doors and wait one second. Sometimes, a stream of water will be knocked loose from the side mirrors or the door handle. Wipe these areas dry and keep on moving.

Clay Bar with North Shore Details, LLC.

5. Clay Bar Decontamination

A clay bar is used to remove the embedded contamination on your paint. Embedded contamination refers to the dirt and minerals that have lived on your vehicle so long that it has formed an adhesive bond. This adhesive bond will not be broken with a normal wash. No matter how many times you foam your car, you will not remove this contamination.

A clay bar is used after the vehicle has been properly washed and dried. Some detailers will properly wash the vehicle, then reapply foam without drying the vehicle. After they foam the vehicle they will clay bar the vehicle using the lubrication from the foam soap, then rinse then dry. I would leave that method to people who are more experienced.

For your Average Joe, I suggest that you perform the clay bar process after the vehicle is fully dry. Making sure the vehicle is completely dry will eliminate the chances of creating water spots. The whole exterior of the vehicle except the plastic trim or pieces, gas tank compartment, engine and tires can be clay barred. The windows, wheels/rims and painted parts of the vehicle can be clay barred.

In order to clay bar a surface, that surface needs to be lubricated properly. Most spray detailers, and spray waxes can be used as a lubricant. Check the label of the products being used. Make sure that it is safe to be used as a lubricant. I use Chemical Guys Clay Luber which is my lubricating spray of choice and the Chemical Guys Clay Bar together. I find that if you use a spray detailer/lubricant from one company and a clay bar from another company it doesn't work as well as working with in the same brand. Match the brand of spray detailer with the same brand of clay bar. In addition, make sure you have enough spray lubricant before you start this project.

Spray the lubricant on one panel at a time. Spray from top to bottom. Rip a piece of clay from the clay bar and flatten it like a pancake. I make the piece of clay as wide as my palm. Place the clay on the paint and start moving from side to side on the panel that is lubricated. If the panel starts to dry, spray more lubricant. You will feel the clay lifting up the contamination because the area will start to smooth out. It is audible as well. The noise will be scratchy at first but then you won't be able to hear anything as the clay continues to glide. Working the clay side to side from top to bottom, then up and down from left side of the panel to the right. This will make an imaginary grid lock pattern. Once the panel is completely smooth, use a drying towel to remove and buff off excess lubricating spray. The spray lubricant will act as your drying aid here. During this step your clay bar will become contaminated. You will need to reshape your clay bar by folding and kneading it to a fresh area of the clay bar. Once the clay bar starts to deteriorate or is dropped on the ground, THROW IT AWAY. Get another chunk off of the clay bar and keep on working. Using a small piece of clay at time will ensure that you are rotating out old contaminated clay for new clay. This is because smaller pieces of clay will deteriorate faster than big pieces of clay. Big pieces of clay can give you a false sense that you are using a clean part of the clay bar. In addition, if you drop a big piece of clay on the ground then you have to throw that piece away. I like to reduce my losses as much as possible.

Skipping this step, and leaving the contamination on the vehicle will erode the clear coat over time. Damaging your clear coat is easy to do, and expensive to fix. Preventive care is the best care out there. Buying a clay bar kit for $20 and spending an extra hour on your vehicle will save you thousands of dollars in the future.

Refer to video above as a demonstration to clay bar your vehicle.

Detailer Tip: If clay lubricant gets on any plastic trim, wipe off immediately. Sometimes this can discolor trim or leaving a streaky look to plastics. It isn't permanent, but it will look funky for a week or two if not fixed on site.

Ceramic Coating Installation

6. Protection

Before, applying any protection, now is a great time to apply tire shine on your tires. Most people buy oil-based tire shines that slings all over your freshly washed car. Leaving black dots all over your clean vehicle. Personally, I like water based tire dressings because it sticks to the tire better and leaves a flatter matte finish. It looks cleaner than a super oily look. For those that use oil-based tire shine, apply the tire shine before applying sealant to allow the tire shine to dry completely. Do not wait and do the tire shine as the very last step.

Besides, clay barring a vehicle. Protecting the vehicle is something that is very seldom done by my clients. I would assume that is the same for mostly everyone based off of my own clients. Paint protection is just as important as washing it. There are different types of paint protections available. Most consumers know of wax as paint protection. Yes, wax is a form of paint protection.

Waxes are blends of different carnauba or bees waxes and natural oils. Waxes are great for certain applications. I am a fan of certain waxes for deep warm colored vehicles that might be in a car show. A high quality wax can amplify the warmth of certain colors and bring out a natural shine that only waxed cars can display. Other than that, I am not a fan of waxes. In my opinion, the amount of work that goes into applying a wax is not worth it for the short lifespan of the wax. Paste waxes last anywhere between 1 to 3 months with weekly maintenance washes. In addition, paste waxes can leave your arm sore for a few days. Applying wax is time consuming. It involves working one section at a time. Let the wax set on the paint, it will start to haze (check the product for timing instructions) after 5-10 minutes depending on your environmental conditions, then buff excess wax off with a towel. Buffing the excess wax usually turns into a dusty mess. If the dust settles on any trim it will stain the trim. Taping off these parts will help reduce the chance of dust or wax damaging the plastic trim. Make sure to go back over cracks between the doors with a microfiber towel. To ensure a clean finished look, remove any excess wax that can be found in between the cracks of the doors, hood and trunk.

Another form of wax that is easier to use is a spray wax. Spray waxes do not leave behind dust like waxes do. Apply the spray directly on to the desired panel by misting it onto the surface (1-3 Sprays), spread the spray wax with a microfiber towel. Just remember, the more you spray, the more you have to wipe to remove the excess. Start with 1-2 sprays and if you need more then spray more. Let the spray wax haze slightly, flip towel to a clean side and buff remaining wax to a shine. That's it! These waxes are consumer friendly but I do not use them. Spray waxes seem to be watered down so much, that it effects the life span of the wax. These spray waxes can last anywhere between 3 days to 1 month. I have never seen one that has lasted a whole month unless the car has been garaged kept and is not a daily driver.

Synthetic and Polymer based sealants work better than waxes do as far a durability and hydrophobicity is concerned. Waxes will out shine these sealants but won't last as long as sealants. Waxes are more organic in nature which deteriorate quicker than Synthetic or Polymer based sealants. These sealants have chemicals like silicone and resins in them that help bond the sealant to the paint. These can last anywhere between 3 to 6 months. Some higher quality sealants can last up to a year. My experience with a synthetic sealant was decent. It lasted about 4 months on my old truck, and the application was less dusty compared to traditional waxes.

For my clients, my company uses Spray Ceramic Coatings and Spray Graphene Coatings regularly. Spray Ceramic coatings are Silica based which gels to the paint with a grid lock lattice for 2-3 months with proper maintenance washes. It provides water beading which sheds water and helps keep the dirt from sticking to the paint. It is applied just like a spray wax is but last exponentially longer than a spray wax. Spray Graphene Coatings are similar to Spray Ceramic Coatings except the coating is carbon based. Graphene coatings create a honeycomb lattice of protection as opposed to the grid lock of the ceramic coatings. This means the product has better anti-static capabilities, lower heat retention (deterring water spots), and last 2-4 months. I just started using the graphene coatings a month ago. So far so good on the vehicles it has been used on. I will be able to truly see the durability of the coating in the coming months and will have more content on this subject soon. Application of a graphene coating is identical to spray waxes and spray ceramic coatings.

My all time favorite paint protection is the ceramic coating. Not only is this the most profitable coating for detailers, but this is the best coating for car owners that do not want to spend at least $5000 to protect their vehicle in Paint Protection Film (PPF). Ceramic Coatings can be applied by anyone as long as you do your homework and learn the proper steps for installation. There are some that are more consumer friendly than others. I use Gtechniq's line of ceramic products for both auto and marine applications, and love the brand. The products are dependable and easy to use. I have heard that CarPro does have one of the most user friendly ceramic coatings available. I have not done my own research on that, but I continue to see from plenty of sources that it is recommended.

A ceramic coating that is installed correctly should last for at least 18-24 months. Which means that you do not have to worry about waxing your car 2 years. Ceramic coatings harden on the paint to form a sacrificial clear coat like layer that is scratch resistant and hydrophobic. The sacrificial layer makes maintenance car washes a breeze. If washed weekly, a vehicle can essential be cleaned completely with a basic rinse of the vehicle with a pressure washer. It adds a reflection to the paint like no other sealant can. No matter how dirty the vehicle gets, once washed, the vehicle looks brand new and scratch free.

For the few, who care so much about their vehicle that they want to apply a ceramic coating themselves. Check out the video above on how to install a ceramic coating and the necessary steps to perform prior to installation.

After your vehicle has been coated with your sealant of choice, you have so many options. You can grab your camera and take some cool pictures of your clean ride for social media, you can take it out for a drive, or you can just look at it and enjoy what hard work looks like.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Nicolas Pazo

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