I've been following the "Ceramic Coating" trend for some time now and if there is anything that's apparent, it is no snake oil. I'm sure in the next 5-10 years, wax and sealants are going to be a thing of the past. Anyway, so I figured I jump in and try this out. I thought about getting it professionally done, but where is the fun in that.
I went with the CarPro C.Quartz UK ceramic coating. I thought I was getting the "2.0" version, but to my surprise, I got the "3.0" version which is supposed to be easier to apply.
As for my prep work before I applied the ceramic coating, I washed the S4 like normal with few ounces of "SuperClean" in the soap to help strip all the grease, wax, and dirt away. From that point on I opted out of the typically clay bar for a no touch chemical clay bar process. Why? Well... clay bars are great for really really contaminated cars, my car was already detailed back a few months back when I got the car, and I garage it at home and at work keep it away from all trees. Yes, I know you can still pick up a lot of crap just from driving, but I don't live in area with tons of bugs and I haven't been on any long road trips. Not to mention I really wanted to see if a chemical treatment was just as good if not better than a clay bar. Once the wash was completed, I air dried it with electric air blower (I love this thing) and started the first decontamination treatment with CarPro Iron X.
Decontamination Stage 1:
Basically you spray CarPro Iron X everywhere on your car (avoid your brake rotors or any exposed metal) and let it sit for 5-10mins to react/disoval any iron contaminant. I think I had it on there for maybe 15min. Minus the bad chemical smell this give off, it is pretty cool how it turns purple (dark red) when the reaction with iron starts. I didn't see a lot of reaction on my car so that appeared to be good sign my car was already in good shape. That said, I'm not sure if this is a chemical trick or not, so I can't really say for certain how well this work. If you are looking for a warm fuzzy feeling, this might help with that.
Decontamination Stage 2:
This next step I knew was really where things would get removed. Just like the Iron X, I sprayed on the CarPro Tar X everywhere on my car's surface and allowed it to sit for about 10mins. Luckily this stuff smells pretty good (like Oranges) so no issues here. After about 10mins I went over it again with a wash meet and sprayed a little more Tar X to make sure I got all areas of the car and to help loosen up anything that the Tar X already loosened up. Finally I finished it up with a nice long water raise with my pressure washer. After air drying my car, it was butter smooth. This Tar X really did do a good time to remove all the crap.
Nothing special here just just a decent polish to help lessen any swirl marks or light scratching. I used a TORQX Dual Action Polisher with the red ultra light cutting pad.
IPA Wipe (Isopropyl Alcohol):
This is a new step for me but it totally makes sense. If you ever do any type of gluing or applying tape, you know the first step is to clean there surface with Isopropyl Alcohol. As we want the ceramic coating to bond as best as possible to the surface you need this wipe down to get it as perfectly clean as possible. Some people at this point will go back and do another wash, but a good IPA is just as good and faster in my opinion. I went with a 9:1 (water to 91% Isopropyl Alcohol) ratio and wiped down all of my car's surface.
I won't go into too much depth here as there is a lot of videos and sites that go over the steps, but in summary apply a little of the liquid ceramic coating on to the application pad and work on small 1 to 2ft areas at a time. This was likely the best directions I found:
Results & Thoughts:
While this stuff says you can put it on nearly any surface, I would avoid glass. Nearly all of my windows had hazing issues after another 2 days of curing. And yes I made sure to wipe it off good before it flashed. I can only guess that I didn't clean my windows good enough or something. I have some great glass cleaner/polisher called "Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner" that I completely forgot to use. Luckly it worked great to remove the ceramic coating from the glass. I did leave it on my headlights as there was no issues there. As for the rest of my car, I couldn't really say if this looks better than a traditional wax or synthetic sealant as I've never done that on this car. or this color before. Per my research it takes about 30 days for the ceramic coating to fully cure and become it's glossiest... so we will have to wait and see. I'll post some picture and video in a few weeks so we have a record of what it looks like.
I will say this is fair more expensive than a traditional wax, but it makes sense as this is marketed to last 2 years. Only time will tell.