Ownership of a vehicle comes with freedom, independence and a heightened sense of self-worth and value. It also means that you will need to take care of your vehicle.
One of the best ways to do this is by reading top car detailing blogs. These blogs can teach you new strategies while saving you time and money by avoiding mistakes.
What is Auto Finesse?
Auto Finesse is a UK based detailing brand that began with a man, his van and a passion for shiny cars. They started off as a valeting company called JB’s Valeting and built up a reputation for high quality work, then made the jump to selling detailing products in 2010.
The Auto Finesse product line includes everything you need from decontamination through to wax and sealant finishers. It also has a great range of accessories including squeegees, microfibre cloths and brushes. Their hardware range is particularly impressive, with products like the Creeper Seat and the Auto Finesse Black & Purple Brush set really standing out.
They have a very strong following and many of their long term customers are considered family. This is reflected in their approach to customer service and they regularly interact with their followers on social media, at events and at car meets. The company is based in England but they have 10 official distributors in places like Europe, South Africa and Australia.
Their branding is very distinct and they use a pin-up style from the 50’s to dress up their labels, posters and other visuals. This is a fun and interesting touch and they are the only detailing brand to do so. They have a restored VW van that they take to events and it is always painted to look like the pin-up girls they use in their branding.
James and the team at Auto Finesse understand that everyone is at different stages in their detailing journey, which is why they offer products in sizes ranging from 100ml right up to 5 litres. They also understand that not all customers have the same budget, which is why they offer their products at competitive prices.
Their products are very well-researched and designed, with over a decade of practical experience going into all their detailing products. They’re also extremely easy to use, and can be used by people of any skill level. This is one of the reasons why New Level loves working with them; their products make our job easier and more enjoyable.
What is Ceramic Coating?
The term “ceramic coating” gets thrown around a lot in car-care circles, and with good reason. Originally developed for the oil and space industry, this revolutionary technology offers your vehicle unrivaled protection and a deep shine that rivals even the best waxes or paint sealants. Its most notable feature is that it creates a hydrophobic layer that essentially repels water, so mineral deposits and dirt can’t bond to the surface and scratch it. This makes washing and cleaning your car significantly easier, and will keep it looking its best for longer.
It’s also extremely heat-resistant, meaning that your ceramic coat will protect the body of your vehicle from damage caused by hot asphalt or other extreme temperatures. This is another great advantage over regular waxes, which can melt or crack under certain conditions. Ceramic coatings can also be applied to glass surfaces, which is another major benefit over regular waxes, as glass is much more sensitive to scratches and swirls.
However, not all ceramic coatings are created equal. Some are consumer-grade and require a bit more work than others to apply, while others may simply lock existing imperfections beneath a slick, protective layer. It’s important to choose a professional-grade product that comes with clear instructions, superior customer service, and easy-to-follow application recommendations.
When you have your ceramic coated at a professional detailing studio, it will be applied only after the necessary preparation steps (wash, clay bar, paint correction, etc) are taken to ensure that the surface is in pristine condition. The ceramic coating will then form a layer of SiO2 over your paint, which is far harder than the bond of any traditional wax or synthetic sealant. This is why the best ceramic coatings come with a lifetime warranty against damage, unlike many other DIY products that only offer a month or two of protection before fading.
Despite its amazing benefits, there are still a few things that ceramic coating won’t do for your car. While it will significantly reduce the risk of swirls and scratches, a few quick passes of a cloth in the wrong direction will likely ruin your finish. It will also not provide an impenetrable barrier against rocks, rogue shopping carts, or tree sap that’s left to bake on your hood. However, it will dramatically reduce the need for frequent, brush-free car washes, and can help prevent acidic contamination from bird droppings or chemical stains.
How to Get Ceramic Coating on Your Vehicle
When properly applied, ceramic coatings can protect your car’s paint from the sun’s UV rays, bird droppings, road grime, acid rain, and other environmental contaminants. These silica-based liquid polymers form a hard shell that, when maintained with frequent brush-free washes and occasional application of a special spray, can keep your paint looking glossy and protected for years.
The most important step in preparing your vehicle for a ceramic coat is washing it with a wax-free, pH-neutral car shampoo. After washing, use a clay bar or clay mitt to remove any surface contamination that washing may not have been able to completely remove. If left unchecked, this contamination could wreak havoc on your paint and leave behind unsightly swirl marks and scratches.
Once you have your car as clean as possible, wipe it down with a microfiber cloth and isopropyl alcohol. This will help remove any remaining residues that can interfere with the adhesion of the ceramic coating. You should also look for any small flaws in the paint that may not have been completely removed by the two bucket hand wash or clay bar, such as watermarks or minor scratches. If these aren’t addressed now, they can remain locked in under the ceramic coating for years.
You’ll want to use a prep spray like Ethos Detox before applying the ceramic coating. This product will strip away any remaining waxes, sealants, or glazes, ensuring that your ceramic coating bonds to the paintwork and provides maximum protection.
Once the prep spray is dry, it’s time to apply your ceramic coating! Apply the product as directed using a coated applicator and work in sections. After applying the product, allow it to sit for 30 to 90 seconds before wiping it off with a fresh microfiber towel.
Some DIYers use products like Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat, which is a three-in-one waterless wash, wax, and ceramic coating. It has a rating of 9H on the hardness scale and is intended to last 3-5 years. Other users prefer a more professional-grade ceramic coating like XPEL Fusion. It’s a bit more expensive, but offers an independent certification to show that it’s of high-quality and will last longer than competitors.
Why You Need Ceramic Coating
If you drive a matte finish car or one with clear bra applied, a ceramic coating or a combination of the two will help you avoid paint chips and scratches from road debris. These protective layers can also help to hide minor surface imperfections, like swirl marks and contaminants, from view.
However, you must be aware that a ceramic coating is not a magic cure-all that protects your car from all harm. In order for this coating to do its best work, the paint must be in good condition to begin with. That means a lot of time spent claying and scrubbing with a quality clay bar, not to mention a lot of isopropyl alcohol spraying and microfiber polishing.
A professional ceramic coating application will take days to complete on a normal vehicle, and the cost isn’t cheap. Then there’s the ongoing maintenance of your ceramic coated car, which will likely require at least a couple bucket hand washings with the company’s pH-balanced car shampoo to keep it looking its best.
The biggest upside of ceramic coating is its heat, abrasion, chemical, H20, and impact resistance, which make it the ideal protective sealant for a car’s exterior, undercarriage, and engine bay components. These types of coatings are so durable and long-lasting that they can last a few years before needing to be reapplied. They’re also much easier to clean than waxes, which are often wiped off by the wind or rain.
Another great benefit of a ceramic coating is its water displacing and hydrophobic properties. As numerous videos have demonstrated, water, dirt, grime, and gunk encapsulated by the ceramic layer simply bead up and roll away from your car’s paint, leaving the surface almost completely devoid of liquid. This is far superior to most paint sealants, which are prone to water spots and dullness.
Lastly, ceramic coatings provide a high level of gloss and shine. This makes for a beautiful driving experience and helps your vehicle stand out in a crowd. That said, if you’re used to your car looking glossy and shiny, the gloss from a ceramic coating may seem disappointing at first. This is because ceramic coatings don’t automatically give you glass-smooth paint, and you will need to polish the surface before applying it.