The Art of Ceramic Coating Care
By Chris Collier
Ceramic coatings complement paint protection film (PPF) as products that can be applied on top of PPF, making a client’s car easier to wash, clean and care for. For many, the ceramic coating is a supportive service compatible with PPF. For Wesley DePorter, owner/operator of DePorter Detailing LLC —Ceramic Coating Specialists in Hanover, Pa., the product is a primary source of revenue. His reliance on the product makes setting expectations and post-application maintenance crucial.
“On the initial sales call, I ask, ‘What are you hoping a ceramic coating can do for you?’” DePorter says of customer expectations. “If they’re looking for ease of maintenance and want a vehicle that’s easier to clean, I will push them toward ceramic coatings. But if they want to protect the car from rock chips and scratches, I push them to PPF. I don’t offer PPF, so I send them to my friend who does.”
Angelo Greco owns Greco Protective Films in Farmingdale, N.Y. Ceramic coating installations make up 20% of all projects at the company, which has offered the service since it opened in 2021. Greco, who agrees with DePorter on setting expectations before an installation, uses System X and Gtechniq ceramic coatings to get the job done.
“How do you maintain your car? Are you willing to put the time in to maintain the car or drop it off once a month? If you’re not going to do that, the coating will look bad,” Greco says. “If you don’t explain that to people, things can get hairy; especially when someone spends all that money on a car. Educating the customer is the number one thing to do.”
For the Future
In Greco’s experience, clients show up for routine ceramic coating maintenance. When a customer comes in for a full paint correction and coating, Greco often pro-vides post-care products as a courtesy.
“I’ll fold up a nice towel with a two ounce bottle of a spray, detailer or a glass cleaner,” Greco says. “It’s always something that allows a quick detail on the car. A lot of my customers enjoy getting outside to wash their car.”
Ceramic coating applications make up 25% of business at Showroom Solutions Plus in Medina, Ohio. Owner Tyler Yates founded the company in 2018 and has offered the service ever since. Yates and his team offer a how-to video on proper car washing techniques for customers to reference after a professional application. He says, “By providing a video to show them how we do it, it helps them stay on the same page.”
The video, titled “How to Wash a Ceramic Coated Car,” details crucial processes. Like Greco, Yates promotes proper maintenance by offering post-care products as a courtesy.
“We try to include a six-month booster. XPEL offers XPEL Ceramic Boost, and it’s a really good product,” he adds.
Post-application maintenance is integral for customers seeking a ceramic coating installation with long-lasting effects. DePorter constructed an e-book titled The Five Keys to Maintaining Your Ceramic-Coated Vehicle* to guide customers forward. He shared details of the e-book so fellow installers can implement something similar into their day-to-day operations:
“This Guide is designed for those who have already purchased a ceramic coating and want their vehicle to look its absolute best,” DePorter says. “It will break down maintenance to make it easy so you can understand exactly what will make your vehicle look its best for years to come.”
Key #1: Wash Regularly
• You need to maintain your coated vehicle. We recommend washing every one to three weeks (at minimum, once a month).
• Neglecting maintenance will lead to premature failure of the hydrophobic properties of the coating.
• We do not recommend drive-through tunnel washes, whether that be brush or brushless. Excessive use of tunnel washes will deteriorate the best qualities of the coating, rendering it useless.
Key #2: Use the Right Products
• When you follow the first key of washing regularly, you won’t need aggressive or harsh chemicals or cleaners.
• Regular maintenance makes keeping your coated vehicle easy to clean. The more often maintenance is done, the easier the maintenance is.
• Think about it in terms of washing your clothes. If you wear a t-shirt several times and get it dirty before you wash it, it will be harder to make it clean.
But if you wash your t-shirt after every wear, it is easy to keep clean. DePorter dives into products he recommends his customer use during the washing process: pH-neutral soap, a wheel cleaner and finishing touches.
Key #3: Use the Right Tools
“The absolute best way to wash a vehicle is with a hand wash at home,” DePorter says. “You will need three buckets, wash mitts and three grit guards. These grit guards will keep the dirt away from your mitts after you put them back in the buckets to either rinse out your mitt or get clean soapy water. At a minimum, pickup two wash mitts. You will want to use a separate wash mitt for your paint and for your wheels. You do not want to wash your paint with the same mitt you wash the wheels with.”
Key #4: Use the Right Process
• Start with washing the wheels, being sure to use your wheels bucket.
• For the paint: start from the top and work your way down.
• Go in straight lines with the mitt.
• Split the car in half, washing the top half first and leaving the bottom half for last.
• Rinse off the vehicle well to make sure to not leave any soap on the surface.
• Use the drying towel and dry in straight lines, not circular motions.
Key #5: Perhaps most crucial of all, Key #5 calls on clients to visit their professional.
*Contact Wesley DePorter, owner/operator of DePorter Detailing LLC
—Ceramic Coating Specialists in Hanover, Pa., for access to the full
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