Followers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of ceramic coating, and a big advocate of DIY projects.
On my TTRS I used CQuartz UK and the results were great. Over three years later and it’s still holding up well and has made cleaning and maintaining the car to be super easy.
Next I experimented with GTechniq Wheel Armor that was formulated specifically for wheels and I had such good results that I’ve coated multiple sets of wheels in it.
So when I got my Porsche, one of the first orders of business was to apply a ceramic coating!
I was curious to test something new, and the good folks at AvalonKing had reached out to me almost a full year ago and sent me some product to sample. At that time I didn’t really have a need for it, and briefly considered detailing my wife’s Ford Focus, but never really got around to it due to lack of time and interest…
With a new car, an unopened box of ceramic coating, and my usual batch of detailing supplies, I carved out a Saturday to go at it.
With my car being finished a beautiful metallic paint, a good detailing job can make all of the difference, so I wanted to make sure I did it right.
Unfortunately with over 60K miles on the clock by the previous owner, the car needed some polishing and paint correction before it was ready for the ceramic coating.
Onto the fun stuff!
The Prep Work for Ceramic Coating
I started with the Nanoscrub clay mit, which I swear by, and then busted out my orbital buffer for a two stage correction.
Stage 1 I used Meguiar’s 105 Ultra-Cut Compound with a microfiber pad, and Stage 2 I used Meguiar’s 205 Ultra Finishing Polish with a black foam finishing pad. I love this combo for pretty much any car color or job, and it cuts down on the guess work of trying different pads and polishes by going straight to the “tried and true.”
The prep took about 2-3 hours including wash, clay bar, and polishing. It’s a long job but totally worth the effort as the ceramic coating means you won’t have to do it again for several years, longer than most people own their cars…and with black paint, I really wanted to make sure it looked great before I “locked in” the finish with a coating and my car had some imperfections that needed removed that you can see below:
If you didn’t want to spend all of that time, you have a few options to cut down on prep time:
- Clay bar only – you could just clay bar the car and skip any kind of buffing or polishing. The paint will likely have some minor swirls and scratches, but for a light color, or a car where you’re not super concerned with perfection (e.g. my wife’s car, or a beater/daily), this is a viable option.
- Use an all-in-one polish – I like Menzerna 3-in-1 if you want to only do one round of polishing rather than a two-step process. It cuts down on prep work by about 50%, and still has enough bite to remove most minor to moderate swirl marks and scratches.
- Use a detailer to paint correct- Take your car to a nearby detailer to have them buff the car. No need to pay them to ceramic coat it as you can DIY that and it’s super easy, but outsource the hard work of polishing and paint correction. Make sure they’re not just hand waxing the car as the wax will all be removed and hand polishing is not strong enough to remove most swirl marks unless you’re really going at it.
Regardless of how you do it, make sure that at a minimum your car is as clean as possible and you’re happy with how it looks.
The ceramic coating acts as a (semi) permanent layer that sits on top of the paint, effectively sealing the paint in the condition it is prior to application for several years.
It does add an extra layer of gloss & depth as well, so it can cover up some minor imperfections, but don’t expect a miracle if your car is totally dull or the paint is absolutely wrecked.
Once the paint is ready, the application part is easy.
Pretty much anyone could do it that is capable of coloring between the lines.
The AvalonKing comes as a kit with everything you need including gloves, microfiber, applicator pad, and even a sticker.
To apply, you simply place a few drops on the applicator pad and spread on one panel at a time. Let it cure for 2-5 minutes and then buff it out, and go to the next section.
This is their fourth iteration of the product and it has been designed to be easier to DIY including a smoother application process as well as more of a haze so it’s easier to see and buff out without missing a spot.
There are only a few things you need to be careful of:
- Wavy finish from uneven application: try to spread it evenly, and you don’t need a ton of this to work. It’s a very small layer. If you goop this on too heavily you might have areas that are too thick and it could create a weird finish.
- Hazy finish from not being fully buffed off: the product should only sit for a few minutes at most. Make sure you fully buff it off after it has flashed / cured. If you leave some behind, it will have a bit of a hazy finish much like a wax would, only it’s much harder to remove.
- Overspray/spread on parts you don’t want coated: the coating does add some depth and darkness to certain areas, so be mindful of what you do want coated and what you don’t. For instance if you don’t want to coat your plastics or glass, then make sure you don’t get any on those parts otherwise you’ll be able to see the areas that came into contact with the coating (darker) and those that didn’t.
That being said, these are all fairly easy problems to mitigate.
For the first two issues, just take your time and don’t use too much.
For the last issue, I suggest coating darn near the whole car in ceramic coating.
On my Cayenne I did the plastic trim and glass, not just the paint, and I think that is my favorite part!
On the plastic trim, the ceramic coating acts like a trim restorer and makes it look new again. You’ll lose any fading from the sun or that worn-out plastic finish that cars get after too many washes for one uniform and darker color. I did everything from my windshield wiper cowl to the plastic on the rear view mirrors and it made everything look amazing.
On the glass, it acts like a permanent layer of Rain-X so you won’t have to use your wipers as much, and cleaning glass in the future becomes much easier as water and grime is less likely to stick to it.
I also did the door jambs and trunk lip as well, because why not!
The only thing I didn’t do is the wheels.
My wheels have some curb rash that I want to get fixed first, plus I’d like to do a really thorough application of the wheels including the inner barrels, which would require me to take them off one at a time, thoroughly clean them, apply, re-install, etc.
I will absolutely ceramic coat my wheels soon, as it’s probably the most beneficial part to coat in terms of time savings, but it was too much for one day without risk of being exhausted and getting sloppy, and there is really no need to do this all at once.
I’ve read people putting multiple coats of ceramic coating on their cars, and that’s an interesting idea. I only did one coat, and it was more than adequate, but might consider two coats for my wheels when I eventually do them. You could also consider “doubling down” on any areas that get a lot of sunlight like the hood, trunk, or roof.
Once you’ve finished coating everything let the car sit for at least 24 hours to fully cure; ideally let it sit longer if you can, or if you have to drive it then avoid rain or water.
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for!
After a few weeks, I’m absolutely thrilled with the results.
The car has an excellent shine and looks brand new, even though it’s a 6 year old car with 66K miles and notoriously difficult to maintain black paint:
The real test is when the car gets wet, as the primary advantage of a ceramic coating is it’s ability to repel off water…and after a particularly rainy week here in San Diego, I can confirm the beading is great, and the water absolutely repels right off the surface.
I can’t really tell any difference from CQuartz or GTechniq coatings I’ve used in the past, which is really a compliment to AvalonKing as I’ve been absolutely thrilled with those coatings in the past, and AvalonKing is slightly cheaper to purchase.
The real test will be how it holds up over time but after giving the car a thorough wash, the car looks even better than after applying it and it seems to be holding up nicely.
The windows also repel the water realy well, making the windshield wipers 10x more effective if not unnecessary as driving about 20 mph pretty much clears off all water anyway.
I’m also super impressed with how much better the plastics look, as well as had . This stuff is trim restorer on steroids, and unlike traditional trim restore products (that I’ve now all thrown into the garbage) this stuff doesn’t wash off every-time you clean the car. I only wish they made a tire shine like this!
The car has a much nicer gloss to it, and it’s great to know the paint has some protection to it as well.
The biggest advantage, IMO, is that cleaning and drying the car is now much easier, as less dirt and rain water sticks to the car in the first place so it gets less dirty, and when you do wash and dry it the car’s paint is nice and slick so it is easy to wash and dry, like the car was freshly clay bar’d every time you wash it.
Of course, even when the car is dirty, it looks better too, as you have added shine and again, a lot of the rain water and debris will slide right off the paint when driving.
One of my favorite hacks after the car gets wet (e.g. it has rained) is to drive on the freeway for a minute after a stops raining and all of the water flies right off – then you can park it in your garage and it is as-if the car never got rained on, completely dry and looking great.
Maintaining a Ceramic Coating
Maintenance is super easy, which is what a ceramic coat is all about.
Simply wash your car when it needs it (at least monthly IMO), never wipe the car with a dirty microfiber or without lubrication (e.g. water, quick detailer spray, etc.) and follow all of the best practices you would to clean a normal car…and for the love of god, do not use automated car washes (and if you really must, ensure it’s touch free).
If you want to really kick things up a notch, there are two products to consider:
CarPro Reset – is a car shampoo made specifically for ceramic coated cars and can help extend the life of the coating and keep it performing it’s best.
CarPro Reload – is a spray-on ceramic coating that can act as an additional (temporary) layer of ceramic to bolster the hydrophobic effects and also extend the life of the coating more. I apply this every 6 months or so to my cars and based on how the TTRS has lasted so long and continues to bead up water as if it were new, I’d say it works great.
You can buy both on Amazon here:
I’d also recommend investing in an electric pressure washer and foam lance, as that makes cleaning super easy and also clears out dirt from places you can’t reach easily by spraying soap/foam everywhere.
But if you change nothing to your car wash routine, that is fine too, you’re still way better off than without a coating, it just might not last as long or work as well over time.
In summary, I’m super happy with AvalonKing. The kit is super easy to apply, and as long as you do a decent job prepping the paint pretty much anyone who can “paint by the lines” is capable of installing it.
Compared to Cquartz and Gtechniq I believe this is absolutely on the same level, but the ease of DIY installation and slightly more attractive price point give AvalonKing an edge for those who like projects.
Disclosure: I was given this product for free to review; however, I was not paid for my opinions and would not have posted or reviewed anything I didn’t like and agree with.