Find the right ceramic coating installer for you
Choosing to get a ceramic coating on your vehicle is a huge step in the right direction to care for your vehicle long term and ensure it stays looking great for years to come. With that being said, finding the right installer for you can be challenging especially if you have no experience within the detailing and paint protection industry, but it doesn't need to be a difficult process and we are here to guide you through the process.
First and foremost, getting a ceramic coating is not a magic pill that will create a forcefield over your vehicle so before we even start looking for an installer we need to get your expectations realistic as an end user. To start you need to be committed to proper washing and maintenance, this means no more express washes whether they be an automatic tunnel wash or a cheap hand wash this is an industry where you truly do get what you pay for and those methods of washing while on the surface seem like a great deal they will cause damage to your paint and your coating once its on there. Next, we need to understand what a coating is, what it does, and what the benefits truly are. All a ceramic coating is at the chemical level, is a coating of silicone based polymers that bind to your paint by hardening into the pores of the paint (think a rock climber gripping into the cracks of a rock).
Now for what they do and the benefits, first and most importantly they harden to a super hard glass like layer over your paint. This lends itself to the super slick feel and the abrasion resistance they will provide. Now, when we say abrasion resistance that doesn't mean scratch proof, this means resistance from super light scratches like running your finger over a dirty surface. Due to the super slick nature you will see a self cleaning property, to make this simple it means dirt doesn't stick nearly as easily and is much easier to clean once it is time for a wash.
Now that you know what you're getting yourself into, it's time to find the right installer for you. While this may seem nerve racking it's really all about finding an installer that you feel is going to take great care of your vehicle and provide a fantastic service. So without further adieu here is what to look for when choosing the right installer for you.
A business's reputation can make or break them, we recommend this be the first place you look when finding an installer. The first place we recommend you look is at google reviews, this is a great way to find input from customers that were once in the exact same place with you and got their vehicles done by that particular installer. Keep a couple things in mind though, as a business having a couple of bad reviews is a perfectly normal thing. We are all human and make mistakes and from time to time that leaves a customer unsatisfied resulting in a bad review. With that being said we recommend avoiding places with a lot of bad reviews for obvious reasons its a fine line to walk but as a general rule of thumb we recommend looking for people with at least a 4 star average. Additionally in recent years buying reviews has become popular amongst some shady businesses. While a perfect 5 star review may sound great the reality is almost every business that's been around for any significant amount of time is going to have at least a few bad reviews.
This one is hotly debated in the automotive detailing and ceramic coating industry, but we recommend you look for an installer who has been through some sort of accreditation process. While this is not an immediate guarantee that you will be getting a top tier installer, being accredited does at the very least show they have had their skills validated and are serious about what they do. Almost every company requires accredited detailers to have attended an in person training where the installer is trained on all the proper techniques for both the preparation process as well as the application of the coating itself. For these reasons we recommend always going through an accredited ceramic coating installer.
This one cannot be stressed enough, ask your detailer what their process is and make sure they aren't cutting any corners. When you talk to your installer they should be more than happy to share exactly what is going to happen to your car during the coating process. The general process should include the following at a minimum; wash, decontaminate, polish, prepare the surface (panel wipe), apply the coating, inspect for quality. This may all be foreign to you so lets go over the steps and explain why each one is important.
Let's start off with washing and decontamination. These go hand in hand as the initial wash will remove loose dirt and debris from your vehicle then the decontamination process will remove stuck on and embedded stuff that a normal wash just won't quite get. Next is the polishing stage or “paint correction” as some detailers may call it, the polishing and correction stage is absolutely vital to the preparation process. Think of the clear coat of your paint like the surface of your skin, over time there is going to be a buildup of old, dead skin that builds up in your pores and a good exfoliation will help clear that out leaving your skin looking great right? Well the same thing happens to your paint now that its clean we need to remove all the old oxidized clear coat and surface imperfections from the paint so we can leave it looking fresh and new. Additionally most of the shine you get out of a ceramic coating service doesn't actually come from the coating it comes from this step right here. Unfortunately while being arguably the most vital step in the process this is often the one that get cut out when you find a cheaper installer, remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before the coating can be applied a panel preparation product must be used to remove any excess residue and polishing oils, if the surface isn't completely clean the coating will not bond so once again this step is absolutely necessary. Then finally the coating can be applied, once that is done any installer worth their salt will inspect the vehicle in both natural and artificial light to make sure no imperfections remain before delivering the vehicle back to you.
4: What do they ask you?
When you make first contact, pay close attention to what your detailer asks you and make sure they are asking the right questions. Remember earlier when we talked about setting expectations and long term care? Well your installer should be asking you some questions to make sure you are on the same page as them here is the list of questions we ask when we make that first contact with you:
How often do you wash your vehicle and when it is time to wash it how do you do so?
What about ceramic coatings caught your interest?
Can you explain what you're expecting to get out of your coating?
Now these are all very open ended questions on purpose they are specifically intended to give the opportunity to figure out exactly what you as a customer do and don't know, and to give us as professionals the opportunity to educate and inform you on anything you may not know. Simply put we don't want to sell just anyone a coating, we want to make sure you do your part to make sure you get the most out of it. While your vehicle may be your pride and joy once we have installed your ceramic coating our name is on it as well and we have an interest in making sure that coating looks great for as long as possible.
And there you have it, hopefully these have been a few easy tips to help you find the ceramic coating installer for you. With any luck the information in this article should help you find an installer with your best interests in mind to make sure you have a smooth experience during the coating process; and to ensure your car looks its absolute best today and for years to come.