Sub $100 DIY Ceramic coatings - What's the worst that could happen?

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Phoenix
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2021 signature
First off, this would be on a white car so any imperfections would be hard to see. I guess I've read about how it needs to be evenly applied or there may be 'high spots'? What's the worst that could really happen if I totally fubar the application? It's not as if it's permanent?

This would be on a new 2021. I know I would do an Iron-X and clay, polish and IPA 1st, or is the polish not necessary on a new car?

Lastly, can any of the spray-ons compare to the ones you wipe on?
 
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sm1ke

Work In Progress..
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Canada
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'18 CX-9 Signature
I would polish anyway. You'll get rid of any micromarring that might have happened during the clay treatment, but you'll also ensure that you're working with as clean a surface as possible. I remember seeing a few CX-5/-9 owners who polished their brand new cars, and the paint looks so much better. One person did such a great job that you can't even see any "orange peel" effect on the paint, it was gorgeous.

Keeping in mind your paint colour, polishing isn't really necessary, but considering that you're going to add PPF, it would make sense to me to get the paint in pristine condition before you "lock it in" with PPF and a coating.

Strictly my opinion, but ceramic coatings aren't as durable as they are marketed to be, especially for a daily driver. Applying a coating seems easy enough if you follow the directions, with high spots being the only real concern as you mentioned. But those can be polished out after the fact, and the coating can be reapplied.

Based on your previous posts and the effort you put into research on other topics, I think that you'll end up doing a great job. Let us know which coating you go with! A DIY write-up would be much appreciated as well, if you're so inclined 😁
 
I applied a diy ceramic coating the day I brought my ‘21 CX-5 home, as I have done on several other vehicles. I washed and decontaminated, but did not polish.

I am not endorsing one product over another, as I am sure that there are many fine choices. But I use Optimum Opti-Gloss, and couldn’t be happier with the ease of application, the resulting sheen and hydrophopicity, or the longevity, which exceeds two years for my garaged car in northern Illinois.

These coatings are easy to apply, and really help keep the car clean. They do nothing for reducing scratching.

Frank
 
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HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
First off, this would be on a white car so any imperfections would be hard to see. I guess I've read about how it needs to be evenly applied or there may be 'high spots'? What's the worst that could really happen if I totally fubar the application? It's not as if it's permanent?

This would be on a new 2021. I know I would do an Iron-X and clay, polish and IPA 1st, or is the polish not necessary on a new car?

Lastly, can any of the spray-ons compare to the ones you wipe on?
Figure out first what the vehicle needs once you take possession. You don't want to rub anything on a car if it doesn't need it especially if it is abrasive, even micro abrasives as in clay or polishes.

First, thoroughly wash and dry then lightly run your fingers over the body panels. Fingertips are a miracle of nature--they can detect nano-scale imperfections. No blips detected? Skip the iron out treatment and clay on those panels. I wouldn't assume the vehicle has train or truck brake dust, environmental fallout, whatnot on the surface. Your finger tips can tell you. Your new vehicle would be transported with the protective sheets on the roof and hood. You may find no blips at all in which case skip the iron out and clay altogether.

Mine was a dealer service loaner sitting around in Cleveland for 6 months when I bought it. The hood and roof had blips; the side panels were smooth as a baby's bottom. Chemical Guys iron remover followed by Nu Finish got rid of almost all of the blips. Why would I bother with iron remover or clay on the side panels? I wouldn't. If I was especially fastidious I would have clayed only the hood and roof to get the last of the imperfections--maybe next spring.

Once you address the blips you are on to protection. Regardless of what you use, whether a polish like Nu Finish or a ceramic or even a wax spray you need to take some care. I would look for products that do not specifically call for rubbing off with a circular motion, by hand or by buffer. That's one possible source of micro swirls no matter what it is. Even when washing it is best to work back and forth along the front-to-back axis to prevent swirling.

What's the worse that could happen with DIY ceramics? Goggle around and you'll see how some folks didn't follow the directions and damaged their finish at considerable expense. No shortcuts. Also check the curing time. The car may need to be sheltered for a day or longer.
 
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I would foam cannon wash with CG Mr pink, then use Sonax iron and fallout remover spray if the surface feels rough when you put your hand in a Ziploc plastic baggie and run your hands gently over the surface. If not, then skip that and go straight to a Sonax polymer net shield ,spray on wife off product you can do every inch of your entire car in 15 minutes, including all plastic trim and glass as it's totally safe.. Easiest product you will ever use and will last 6+ months no problem. Results will be incredible with a deep 3d effect. Skip the ceramic hype. It's old tech
 
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Phoenix
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2021 signature
Rather than prep, I was more concentrating on the worst case scenario if IO goof up the application. I was every 2-3 weeks and usually apply Duragloss Aquawax anyway so I'm not sure of the marginal utility of ceramic in my case. And being Snowflake White I wouldn't be getting as much 'pop' on the color/reflection.

I am way overthinking this. Probably just some Duragloss 105 and call it a day (for 6 months) followed by AW each wash
 
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2014 Ford Explorer Sport, 2009 CX9(Wife's)
If you goof up, as sm1ke said, you can polish it off and recoat.
If you're anal like I was, you'll over-research, check, double check, triple check to make sure you don't have any high spots. With white, they would be much less noticeable than my red Golf.

I can't comment on durability, but I coated my car a little over 18 month ago and it's not showing any signs of degrading. I've only put about 8k miles on it since and it's garaged kept, so it's lived a relatively easy life. I used Gtechniq CSL and ExoV4. I hit it with their C2V3 topper every couple months as a diluted quick detail (50/50 with water) just to get any water spots left from a wash.

On my Explorer, I started using Griots 3-in-1 ceramic spray and I've been impressed.
Easy to apply (spray on, wipe off) and it lasts a good 4-6 months before it starts to degrade. No problem, just another quick coat after a wash and it's back.

One comment, don't buy into the hardness hype. I just see the ceramic coating as a long term sealant/wax. Scuffs/scratches will still happen.
 

skeptical

'21 CX-5 Signature
I now use exclusively (at least until something better pops up) the Jade product line on all my vehicles and most of the immediate family's motors. Been using Jade ceramic products for many years. However, they are not sub $100. It has been our experience that sub $100 products do not last. One sub $100 product hardened in the bottle before I could use it. They did offer to sell me another bottle at a 50% discount to remedy. No thanks.

My $.02 is to pay a bit more and get an excellent product. Do you really want to do all the prep work and such to only have to repeat again on short order?

Most recently we are using their Graphene Pro (so called 10h hardness). It is so hard and slippery that sometimes when I close the car door, my hand slips off and the door does not get enough force to close completely. So far nothing will adhere to it.

Have tried other popular brands out there and most with less than optimal results. Some of them are very poor quality and last a short duration. My goal is to apply once and not deal with it for at least a few years.

I would normally agree that a ceramic coating will do nothing to stop scratching. However, I had this unusual experience with my 21 CX-5. Vehicle is coated with Jade Graphene Pro. The other day, due to user parking error, the rear was too close to the garage door and when the tailgate was opened the bottom of the tailgate impacted one of the metal connectors on the garage door. Unfortunately, this has happed with previous year CX-5s I have owned and it scratches the tailgate (deeply) and you know how thin Mazda paint is. You would think that, by now, I would learn a lesson form this ;)

Anyway, I watched in horror as this unfolded knowing that I would soon be repairing this minor damage. To my surprise, there was zero damage. I had to check several times. I was scratching my head in disbelief. So based on this one time super scientific controlled experiment, maybe certain coatings can assist in scratch avoidance? 🤷‍♂️
 

HardRightEdg

US 2020 CX-5 Touring AWD Soul Red
The other day, due to user parking error, the rear was too close to the garage door and when the tailgate was opened the bottom of the tailgate impacted one of the metal connectors on the garage door. Unfortunately, this has happed with previous year CX-5s I have owned and it scratches the tailgate (deeply) and you know how thin Mazda paint is. You would think that, by now, I would learn a lesson form this ;)
I'm surprised you'd be so particular about car polishes yet have no car stops in the garage, even if it's just a tennis balls hanging from the ceiling. I've had something very similar to the following for as long as I can remember, chiefly for a minivan:


One per car--needed on only one front tire. I didn't attach them to the floor yet it takes a long time for them to walk out of position. A piece of tape on the floor to mark for repositioning is helpful.
 
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Phoenix
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2021 signature
I'm surprised you'd be so particular about car polishes yet have no car stops in the garage, even if it's just a tennis balls hanging from the ceiling. I've had something very similar to the following for as long as I can remember, chiefly for a minivan:
I have an even simpler/cheaper idea. Since Skeptical and I have the Signature with forward cam, I use blue tape (one to indicate when the car is safely in and one a bit further to indicate that the hatch will open safely) and then the red front camera guide to line up with, or pass, that mark.

PXL_20211217_135856931.jpg
 
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Phoenix
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2021 signature
Brilliant, Hal2. I'm gonna do this......................... Frank
Well, then for those with a Sig, you'll love this too. Easy to find by touch, the change camera view button, or the memory seat buttons - little rubber buttons, the peel off kind in the variety pack size at Walmart or Home Depot, maybe even the Dollar $1.25 Tree

PXL_20211218_065121906.jpg
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2014 Ford Explorer Sport, 2009 CX9(Wife's)
I have an even simpler/cheaper idea. Since Skeptical and I have the Signature with forward cam, I use blue tape (one to indicate when the car is safely in and one a bit further to indicate that the hatch will open safely) and then the red front camera guide to line up with, or pass, that mark.

View attachment 305634

I did something similar, but I painted a line instead of tape. We back our cars into the garage because we're on a alley and it's easier to back in than back out. For my Explorer, you back in until the line just disappears under the bumper from the rear camera.
Since we don't have to walk in front, I have just the one line and it's set up so the front is about 6" from the garage door. Gives the most space behind for walking/opening the hatch.

For my Golf, I have one of the studs painted black, so I just line that up with the passenger grab handle.
 
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2018 AWD GT Premium Red/Black
My 2 car garage has a support pillar essentially dividing it into two bays. I drive until the passenger door clears the pillar, which leaves enough room behind the car to open the rear hatch and stand behind it with the garage door closed.
 

skeptical

'21 CX-5 Signature
I'm surprised you'd be so particular about car polishes yet have no car stops in the garage, even if it's just a tennis balls hanging from the ceiling. I've had something very similar to the following for as long as I can remember, chiefly for a minivan:


One per car--needed on only one front tire. I didn't attach them to the floor yet it takes a long time for them to walk out of position. A piece of tape on the floor to mark for repositioning is helpful.
Thanks for the ideas folks!