Ceramic coating is a buzzword for a sealant that chemically bonds to your vehicle’s paint creating a long lasting, highly protective finish.
Ceramic coatings are great for repelling dust, bugs, tree sap, etc and make it easier to clean your Model 3. It’s also highly hydrophobic, meaning water beads off very easily. It’s basically a semi-permanent wax for your Tesla.
There is some misinformation online – ceramic coatings do not protect against rock chips, door dings, or normal scratches. It is a hard coating that can help protect against minors scratches or swirling.
Can I apply a ceramic coating to my Model 3 myself?
Ceramic coating is a relatively new method of protecting a vehicle’s paint and clear-coat finish. It is quite costly, but when applied professionally, typically comes with a 5-7 year coverage, and even a warranty from some of the more reputable detailing shops.
Typical DIY ceramic coatings can take up to 6 hours to apply (not counting any paint correction), so consider what your time is worth.
If you don’t perform the steps correctly or wait long enough for the flash period to happen, it can leave wax-like residue marks that won’t come off without some light polishing.
If you are looking for step by step information on Tesla Model 3 Ceramic Coating DIY click here. In that article, Reddit user Sirachacopter says “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, it’s very easy to apply”
Why get your Tesla Model 3 ceramic coated?
Ceramic coating does not protect against rock chips, scratches, or swirls, but what it does do is provide a more resilient surface on your paint that makes scratching it more difficult (small scratches like from rubbing against your car), and it also causes water to bead up as if the car has been freshly waxed, making the vehicle easier to clean.
- I’ve had Ceramic Pro 9H added to the car for a number of reasons. When applied by a certified shop, the prep cleans up any paint imperfections and adds a (slippery to the touch) multi-layer clearcoat that beads up water like a freshly waxed car. Clean up is easy. Brake dust comes off the rims so easily. src
- I ended up getting both the Suntek PPF and 2 coats of ceramic coating, since I drive up and down the 101 Hwy so much. I love it. src
How much does ceramic coating a Model 3 cost?
Prices range, depending on the product used, and if the shop provides a multi-year guarantee. Here are some specific quotes for having a TM3 ceramic coated:
- In Nebraska, $3500 for paint correction, paint protection film (PPF) from the a-pillar forward, window tint, and ceramic coating src
- In San Diego, $899 for Opticoat Pro, and $1299 for Opticoat pro plus for ceramic coating a Model 3 src
- In Canada, PPF and ceramic coating is “close to 5 or 6000 here” src
Why does ceramic coating a Model 3 cost so much?
The quality of the ceramic coating is highly dependable on the quality and smoothness of the paint before the coating is applied. Cleaning, detailing, and correcting paint is the first step in achieving a high quality ceramic coating, and those steps can take up to 8 hours even when done by a professional. The process typically includes washing, washing again, decontaminating, clay bar application, paint correction, polishing, alcohol wipe, and then finally the ceramic coating.
Applying the ceramic coat is a done-by-hand process which takes another few hours to do well.
The actual ceramic product costs less than $100, but it’s the amount of time involved that makes this process expensive.
Unlike a typical wax or detailing project, the ceramic coating is a semi-permanent bond with your paint that can’t easily be removed to get at the paint underneath. With wax, after a couple washes it wears off and paint correction could be done.
How long does it take to apply a ceramic coat to a Model 3?
Applying a ceramic coating to your Tesla will likely take only a couple hours. If you have issues in your paint that you need to buff out or correct first, then it could be a multi-day Model 3 project (see above).
Is it necessary to perform paint correction before I get my Model 3 ceramic coated?
If you have Model 3 paint issues, scratches, swirl marks, orange peeling, then you’ll likely want those corrected before a ceramic coating chemically bonds to your flawed paint.
If you don’t have any paint issues, or you aren’t super picky and you want an overall shine and easy-to-clean surface, then you can skip the paint correction – but do so at your own risk (see the ‘ceramic coating regrets’ section below)
Is ceramic coating necessary on my Tesla Model 3?
Absolutely not! Most people purchase a ceramic coating to make cleaning their Model 3 easier.
Think of it as a “permanent” wax. I spend literally minutes a week maintaining the cleanliness of the M3 versus hours maintaining the high quality paint on the Porsche.Wattsworth, forums.Tesla.com
If the cost worries you, consider doing a paint protection film on the front portion of the car and skipping the ceramic coating. Or, if you’re the handy type, you might want try to DIY Model 3 ceramic coating yourself.
Does anyone regret getting their Model 3 ceramic coated?
If there is anybody, there sure aren’t many of them – the forums don’t have any threads that I could find about people regretting a ceramic coating.
The only regrets I could find were related to not getting a ceramic coating, or not getting one soon enough:
- A common regret is not getting their Tesla Model 3 ceramic done when their car was new
- Some Model 3 owners regret not getting a ceramic coating sooner – now their ceramic coating has sealed in scratches and rock chips
- Others regret are not first getting paint correction done first and now with the ceramic coating, the paint flaws are forever visible
- If you are planning on applying any stick on accessories, like a front license plate holder, or a spoiler etc, then hold off on a ceramic coating on your Tesla, or at least hold off on that area of the Model 3. The ceramic coating is so smooth that even special automotive tape doesn’t hold for long
Should I get my chrome trim ceramic coated?
Ceramic coating can be applied to all parts of your Tesla Model 3 – including trim and wheels. As long as the coatings instructions don’t tell you to keep it off of the trim, go for it! If you plan on doing a chrome delete kit, do that before you apply the ceramic coating or the chrome delete parts won’t stick well.
What about my Model 3’s windows and windshield? Can I get ceramic coating on those?
Some ceramic coatings are rated for glass, but others may affect the Model 3 cameras. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations (or make sure your detailing shop follows them!) to see if it is rated for use on windows.
How long does ceramic coating last? Does the ceramic coating need to be reapplied?
If a professional shop does your Model 3’s ceramic coating, it will likely come with a warranty of 5 years. Some more expensive coatings will come with a 5-7, or even in some cases a 9 or 10 year warranty. These coatings sometimes require more extensive curing steps including using heaters to cure the coatings.
Doing your Tesla Model 3 ceramic coating on your own, the products available to the end consumer are usually of a lower/less permanent quality and may need to be reapplied in 2 or 3 years (there is some speculation that the quality of products are the same, and if you use a heat curing process you can achieve long lasting results). Check for the ceramic coating’s manufacturer recommendations before you buy.
How do I wash my ceramic coated Tesla Model 3?
Ceramic coating is designed to stand up to normal car washing procedures. There are a few things to keep in mind, however:
- Be sure to use an automotive soap that isn’t a wash & wax product combined. You don’t want any wax in your soap.
- Ceramic coating is supposed to help keep dirt from sticking, so if you spray your car first with a hose, most of the dust and grime will come off.
- When washing your car be sure to use a clean, soft car wash cloth or mit, and avoid swirling motions. Also, if it’s getting dirty, swap to a clean mit to avoid scratches.