Go here for general information on the benefits of ceramic coating your Model 3
Complete guide to DIY Ceramic Coat on your Model 3 from Reddit user Sirachacopter
Images and content archived from Reddit. View the original source here
In researching this project, I couldn’t find a singular, satisfactory source for all the information I needed, so I’m hoping to provide one here. I’m not an expert by any means but I’ve learned a lot and was really satisfied with my results. If you see something I missed or a detail to add, let me know and I’ll add it.
Encouragement: You can do it! If you do what I did, the overall difficulty of this task is probably a 3/10. The time commitment of this task was about 6 – 9 hours but I don’t think I was very efficient with my time and you probably wouldn’t be either. If you can’t get it done in 1 day, go up until polishing the vehicle and then do IPA wipe down and ceramic coating the next day. If you know what you’re doing and/or have additional sets of hands, the process could take 3-4 hours and hopefully my tips allow you to shave time too. No matter how long it takes,the trade off is hundreds of dollars that you would otherwise pay a shop and the win is the satisfaction to know you completed it yourself.
My car: 2020 White M3. 3 weeks old
Work space: Garage / outdoors.
Materials*: You could buy everything from Amazon, bought 70% IPA at CVS. Most people have some of these items already, this lists is made for the person who has nothing at all.
|IronX by Carpro||$21.99|
|Clean Slate by Chemical Bros||$14.99|
|Claybar by Chemical Bros||$19.99|
|VSS Scratch and Swirl Remover||$17.99|
|DA Polisher (updated)||$47.99|
|Chemical Guys Fine Polishing Pad||$12.90|
|70% Isopropyl Alcohol||$2.39|
|Cquartz UK 3.0 + Reload Spray||$66.99|
*not listed items you need: buckets, caffeine, beer.
Time: Amateur – 8-10 hours (up to 2 days) / Experienced 3-4 hours
Day 1: 4 – 6 hours
- Spray down your Car with IronX by Carpro, wait 5 minutes. Probably wouldn’t notice much.
- Wash your car with Clean Slate by Chemical Bros 2 buckets, be through, clean door jams and everything
- Dry you car with Microfiber Cloths
- Clay Bar with Claybar by Chemical Bros
- Polish VSS Scratch and Swirl Remover and DA Polisher and Polishing Pads Chemical Guys
Day 2: 2-3 hours
- IPA wipe down 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Apply Ceramic Coat Cquartz UK 3.0 + Reload Spray Watch Pan and don’t take yourself too seriously application starts at 8:50. You need to look very closely to observe the flashing, it looks a bit like an oily shimmer. Just apply, then wait about 1 minute or so before wiping down with the micro-suede cloth (included in kit).
- Apply 2nd Ceramic Coat (with more confidence)
- Spray down Reload then wipe off with microfiber cloth.
- Store your car in a garage or other covered space for 24 hours. You can also cure outdoors and in the sun, I waited 24 hours before trying this.
The M3 and paint correction:
I heard a great deal about paint correction from the pros and read a lot about it. Your paint isn’t going to be perfect even rolling off the assembly line and being delivered almost immediately after. This is because the cars are painted by machines, and machines make mistakes. I was told (unconfirmed) that certain Tesla colors have more imperfections than others. White is considered to be one of the best, MSM and Black some of the worst. Unconfirmed, I was told that the reason black is no longer the default color is because there were so many imperfections in the black paint.
So after going over my paint with a fine tooth comb, I found some imperfections. I believe the paint on the bumper looks less consistent than the hood/trunk. I had some slight surface scratching on the frunk of my own creation and the very bottom lip of the front bumper appears to not be as thoroughly coated, but who cares. It’s like having a pimple on your butt, nobody is gonna know except you. I tried my best to document the imperfections with pictures but that’s very difficult, they require the right light angle and lighting just to see them and IMO if that’s what you need to go through just to photograph, then for a daily driver, paint correction isn’t really necessary. For a show car, or aspiring show car, go for it. For the weekend warrior who is DIYing their ceramic coating, this is a time suck and a rabbit hole. If I were to do it all over again, I would ceramic coat immediately after getting my M3 and not bother with any paint correction or even polishing. My M3 came to me very nicely polished and it would save a lot of time to skip this step on a NEW sub 50 mile vehicle. Everyone’s taste will be different and paint job as well so I recommend taking a good look at your paint using some powerful LED shop lights and walking your vehicle to see if you can live with what you see.
Q. Why should you ceramic coat your Model 3?
A. Ceramic coating creates a semipermanent bond with the clear coat of your car. Once bonded it protects the car from chemicals, keeps the car looking cleaner with less maintenance and has hydrophobic properties. Professional coating costs ~ $2000 and up. Pro coats are not available to the consumer to purchase. The have higher silica content that can make them harder to apply. They can last 5-7 years. Consumer products last 2+ years and will give similar results.
Q.Can I ceramic coat my wheels and trim?
A. Yes, you can. From my understanding you can pretty much ceramic coat anything. I did the wheels and trim, but skipped the glass.
Q.What is a “high spot”?
A. A high spot is a rainbow swirly look that can appear in the ceramic coat if too much is applied and not evened out. It’s something a pro shop is going to use to try to talk you out of doing the ceramic coat yourself, but don’t worry, cquartz UK 3.0 is very easy to apply and despite my less than OCD application, I don’t see any high spots in my finish.
Q. How many coats of ceramic do I use?
A. Cquartz recommends 2 and no more than 3. I did 2 then sprayed down with reload.
Q. What is “reload”?
A. I was very confused by the naming of this product and never purchasing ceramic. Reload is a hydrophic finishing sealant. It helps to protect the ceramic during the curing process.
Q. How long is the curing process?
A. It’s not recommended to drive the car for at least 24 – 48 hours after apply the ceramic. The curing can take 5+ days according to carpro. No chemicals should be used on the car for 7 days.
Q. Can I get my car wet?
A. No water should dry on the car for 7 days. Avoid water, but if it gets wet, dry it off with a microfiber cloth.
Q. Is there any really specific time requirements to apply the ceramic?
A. YES,directions say that after you start apply the cquartz within 60 minutes you need to apply the 2nd coat / spray reload OR wait 12 hours before continue the process. YIKES, this stressed me out but with an extra set of hands, I was able to get 1 full coat completed in 30 minutes.
Q. Do I need an extra set of hands?
A. No, but It’s definitely helpful and will make the whole process quicker. It’s very helpful to have someone to go behind you and buff out the ceramic while coating the vehicle.
Q. How about them fumes from the cqartz?
A. They good. You could probably use a respirator, coat outdoors, or just get a little loopy from the fumes. Choose your own adventure here.
Q. How long does cquartz UK 3.0 last?A. It’s supposed to last 2+ years.
Q. How do I maintain my cquarts?
A. Carpro recommends washing the car with their product “Reset” then using “Echo2o” detail spray and “Reload” to finish/maintain.
Q. Why CQuartz UK 3.0?
A. I read reviews on a lot of different coatings, this seems like one of the good ones. Long lasting, easy to apply, well respected. You can research this to no end, but I also doing think you will go wrong with CQuartz UK 3.0 if you follow the instructions.
Reddit user’s experience ceramic coating a Model 3
Original post here by jamesclerkmaxwell4
I bought a nice wash mitt, grit guards for my buckets, and a good soap. As a new car, the washing part itself was quite easy. Drying, however, I found to be a huge pain – it took a long time and required a new microfiber towel every 1-2 panels to get a good, streak-free look (my water is very hard and will leave all sorts of marks if not perfectly dried). Side note: anyone else agree with me on this? I also noted that, despite using the two-bucket method and being fairly careful when washing and drying, I was developing some light scratches and swirl marks. This is when I decided to do a ceramic coat. I would have preferred a full wrap, but doing so is quite expensive, and I thought the ceramic coat would at least make washing easier and I would have to worry a little less about swirl marks when washing.
- Time to completion was indeed about 12 hours of active labor – it took me an entire weekend. Not for the faint of heart!
- I told my spouse I could probably shave some time off since it was a new car and wouldn’t require much polishing. Nope!
- At the time I did this, the car had about 800 miles on it, and had been washed (two-bucket method only) three times. In direct sunlight or under bright direct light, I could not believe how many scratches and swirl marks I could see! Unbelievable! If I had to order my car again I would choose a different color.
- Claybar-ing was easy, but at some point I noticed the clay was adding more scratches than were there before. I changed up the clay to a brand new one, which helped a bit, but not much. After talking to some detailers, I decided to only finishing claying horizontal surfaces – which are prone to collect more dust and other unwanted elements and thus are more important to clean.
- Polishing: I originally thought it wouldn’t be too bad – it’s a brand new car! I can do this by hand for the small number of scratches. Wrong! After I quickly realized how difficult polishing by hand was, I went out and purchased a random orbital polisher (by coincidence, the exact same model in the aforementioned video) and finished with that. Still took about 6 hours to polish the car, and even then there were still some scratches visible in direct light. Not showroom-perfect, but overall, it looked quite nice. I just couldn’t justify spending any more time on this step. I know this is a big no-no, as the ceramic will coat whatever scratches remain, but I was comfortable with my decision.
- Compared to polishing, prepping and coating is easy.
- I purchased the Gyeon Mohs Quartz Coating 30 ml Kit, and that was enough to do the entire car with three coats, with the exception of the back window and wheels. I could have done the back window too, but I wanted to experiment and see the difference between it and the glass roof. If I decide coating on glass is worthwhile, it’s easy to do the back window later.
- Waiting for 24 hours without being to drive your nice, super clean, polished car was hard!!
- Total cost with everything (including the random orbital polisher): ~$250.
Lessons I wish I was told before I started:
- If you care about small scratches and swirl marks, just do not get solid black paint.
- If you want to ceramic coat yourself, do so as soon as possible after delivery of your vehicle, to minimize the amount of effort required during polishing.
- Pay VERY careful attention when claying.
- Doing this indoor is necessary to avoid dust and other contaminants. Good lighting is a must. I bought two halogens lights, but even they were not enough (though I made do).
- Think carefully if you really want to spend 12 hours of active labor doing this. I’m glad I did it, and I learned a lot, but next time I will just pay someone to do it for me.
Now when I wash my car, the water beads off easily, and the car looks fantastic! I have not noticed any additional scratches or swirl marks from washing. Drying is a bit easier than before, but still does take a long time. Overall, I’m very happy with the results.
DIY Ceramic Coating from Reddit user Seabie
I took delivery of my 3 in February of this year (also multi-coat red) and did something very similar to what you are doing. I did have full front PPF (XPEL) installed the day after I took delivery, and then I drove the car for 3 months until temps warmed up. I did the following DYI:
- Two bucket wash
- Chemical decon using Optimum Ferrex (https://www.theragcompany.com/optimum-ferrex/)
- Clay bar entire car (used ONR for clay lube) (https://www.theragcompany.com/optimum-no-rinse-wash-and-shine-onr/)
- Single-stage polish using M205 on all panels not covered by XPEL PPF (https://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-Mirror-Glaze-Finishing-Polish/dp/B001O7PNXC)
- Full IPA wipe down, used Optimum Paint Prep (https://www.theragcompany.com/optimum-paint-prep/)
- Applied Optimum Gloss Coat over the whole car (https://www.theragcompany.com/optimum-gloss-coat/). Let the car sit in my garage for 24 hours after application
A friend of mine bought a White Model 3 and I did these same steps for him in July (he bought all the materials and the beer 🙂 Both cars are looking great.
Another Tesla Model 3 DIY Ceramic Coating
12 Hours Labor | 24 Hours Cure
How to wash, Clay, Polish, Prep, Ceramic Coat.
- Wash with the two bucket system top to bottom, a foam cannon is handy.
- Clay bar the whole car to get ride of contaminants.
- Polish using a random orbital polisher and M205 with a orange pad.
- Prep using Gyeon prep (or other like product)
- Unboxing of the Gyeon Mohs Kit
- Applying ceramic coating in a hatch pattern, work in 2×2 sections and wipe away after 10-30s
- ohhhh shinnnyy
CQuartz DIY coating a Model 3
Reddit user sitryd used CQuartz 3.0 and stayed within the CarPro family of products. Here is the steps sitryd used:
- Wash car, and rinse well
- chemical decontamination (IronX Spray)
- Clay Bar (used Meguire’s QD and a nanoskin pad, attached to a Torqx DA polisher)
- Wash, rinse, and dry
- Polish (Essence — NOT Essence Plus, which is a post-coat polish; Essence is a primer and eliminates the need to do most of an IPA wipedown. Namely, for some of the curvy bits of the car where I didn’t want to use a 5” polishing pad, I hand-applied the polish. If applied by machine, Essence doesn’t need to be wiped; if by hand, it does to remove any excess oils)
- IPA wipedown (Eraser, for the areas I applied Essence by hand)
- Cquartz 3.0
Short version is you can get away without a DA, but it’ll take a lot more time. The longest part by far was the paint correction (CQ3 is super fast to apply), and would take a lot longer without a DA. You just have to be sure to do an IPA wipe on any hand-applied polishes.
Other DIY Ceramic Coatings
TeslaMotorsClub member Beaver ceramic coated his Model 3 using two coats of GYEON quartz Cloth MOHS and let it dry for two full days. Even after 24 hours a thumbprint could be seen if he touched the car. He is very pleased with the results, saying “I love the results. I wipe down the car in one minute and it is shiny and looks like I just spent an hour washing it”
Forum member mjp462 did a ceramic coating on their Model 3 and said it looks amazing and is super easy to clean. They also coated the wheels with CarPro Delux.
Forum member turtlesz applied CQuartz over the painted surfaces of his model 3. “I first did a panel wipe with isopropyl alcohol/water solution to get rid of any residue or remaining dirt. Then I carfully applied the cquartz in small sections and would used microfiber cloths to wipe. Would only use each side of microfiber cloth 1 time and would rotate. I bought a 24 pack of Amazon brand microfiber cloths and went through 6 to do the whole car. Took me about 2 hours for the full process and I am satisfied with the results and glad I did it myself. Hopefully it lasts a while.”