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2016 ELR Perf Black Cashmere/Kona
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to apply ceramic coating to my "new" ELR, like I have done to my other vehicles in the past.

Step 1:
Wash car with a dish washing solution or with a soap you know will not add layers of sealant, protection of any kind.
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Step 2:
Iron out to remove any industrial fall out, brake particles that stick to paint.
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Step 3:
Dry Car.

Step 4:
Clay Bar
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This step requires a bit of finesse, in that you are using feel and touch as you "drag" or slide the clay bar across your vehicles paint. You spray an area with lubricant, and you can feel the clay bar "catching" as you glide it over your paint surface. The clay bar picks up a lot of contaminants that washing along cannot remove. Your paint will feel "soft" after a good clay barring. I think this is the step that gives the least amount of satisfaction for the effort and time required, but it is one of the most important in order to get a really good adhesion (whether you use wax or a sealant).

Step 5:
You need to assess the level of "damage" that your car finish has endured.
Things like scratches, scuffs, dings, paint marring, wear and tear to decide on what kind of polish and polishing pad your vehicle requires. My vehicle suffered from surface wear and tear on the center of the hood where there is a crease that divides the hood in half. It looked like it was rubbed and scuffed over time that the crease was dull and scuffed. My overall paint condition was good, except for one deep bumper scuff, and stone chips.

So I went with a quality polishing pad by 3M (don't skimp out on the cheap stuff, because the pad is a crucial item).
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designed to polish for shine, as well as effective in removing scuffs and surface scratches. Remember to rinse off your pad frequently with water.

I obviously used a hand polisher (Milwaukee battery powered polisher) in order to achieve the proper amount of cutting and polishing, with the least amount of physical effort. It has adjustable rotary speeds depending on your needs and product used.
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There are many great products out there for polishing and restoring paint finish. Based on my needs, I went with
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Menzerna Final Finish 3000. Again, I am not telling you to use this version of product, but Menzerna offer many different types of product depending on your needs and levels required (sometimes you may need two products, one to cut and remove damage, and the other to restore shine and gleam.). What I LOVE about Menzerna is that there is very minimal residue left behind when removing the compound, as well as it does not leave a white haze on rubber nor on black satin trim panels. This stuff rocks!

You will want to invest in a stack of
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as well as panel removal tools to help you get into the nooks and crannies of your vehicle in order to remove the polishing residue with the microfiber towels.

This step is really rewarding as you begin to see what your paint may look like once paint corrected, as the results begin to appear for all of your hard work.

Step 6:
Now is the time to address any stone chips and scratches to cosmetically hide the damage that your paint has incurred over time.
There are many products out there and I went with
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a product that was available for my ELR (WA384A paint code) because of the "blending" solution option and because of the fact that I prefer working with a small paint brush to apply the paint (I can control quantity and placement - much smaller tip size helps in filling in stone chips. If you get to much paint on the outer part of the stone chip, this kit comes with a hard rubber block that you wrap the (the green bluish rag that is to the right of the microfiber towel in the photo above) green bluish rag around. You apply blending solution to the rag and rub it over the stone chip that you painted over (wait 3 - 5 minutes after touching up with paint) and it rubs off the paint leaving the stone chip in tact with the touch up paint. It works really well in helping hide the stone chip so that the touch up paint is as discreet as possible, removing the over touch up paint as well as smoothing over if you "blobbed" too much paint into the stone chip.

Step 7
Wipe down the vehicle panels with either a panel wipe product or in my case I used a 70% distilled water with 30% isopropyl alcohol mix, using a fresh clean microfiber towel.
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Step 8:
I went with what I feel is the ceramic coating that offers the most protection (in a consumer product) as the priority, and does offer a really good shine (almost as good as some other product that offer ultimate shine at the expense of durability) as an investment for all of my hard work at this stage. Gtechniq CSL Crystal Serum Light (sorry, I exceeded the number of attachment for one post) available in 30ml or 50ml quantity.
At this stage of the game, you are going to need a clean environment and at least 24 hours of no rain nor precipitation of any kind.
The kit comes with an eye dropper type dispenser (I hate that, most ceramic coatings come in a bottle you tilt upside down to dispense the product onto the applicator) and a small applicator that you use to apply the product.
At this point, applying the product is straight forward as the goal is to cover the entire surface area that you are working with. I would suggest the panel size your working with, so that you get uniform coverage (for example, the front fender, or the front bumper) as a starting point. If your attacking the hood or roof, then you will need to divvy that up so that you get uniform coverage.
Now you apply the product by wiping in one direction, and then the other. Now your going to learn about flashing. Flashing refers to the visual effect this evaporation gives off – the applied surface will begin to look iridescent, almost like an oil slick. You will notice the product to appear to mist into liquid particles, similar to when moisture hits your windshield and begins to change from a vapor to water particles. At this point, I would then pass over the covered area in a circular motion once again to cover the entire area. Temperature and humidity will affect the amount of time that the flashing process occurs. I was working on a humid day with temperatures above 80+F, but I was in the shade. The flashing took approximately 5 minutes to occur. From this point on, a microfiber towel will remove the coating residue and leave behind a NON slick surface, and shine.
The shine will deepen once the product cures. But before the product cures, you might want to consider a second coating. If you do apply a second coating, you can do so within 12 hours or so (the next day). At this point of the game, it's totally worth it to do so to get maximum protection. Be forewarned, that if you decide to apply a second coating, you must do so prior to the 24 hour period because Crystal Serum Light will not adhere a second coating if you wait too long.
And finally, you should not allow the surface to get wet within the next 24 to 48 hours. And you should not wash your vehicle after applying Gtechniq ceramic coating for at least a week.
I really hate doing paint correction, but the investment in the short term (how much better your car's paint looks) and the long term (your car stays cleaner, longer, and dirt doesn't stick to it as much as a non protected finish) maintenance is greatly reduced.

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