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Ceramic Strip Wash


teamcrossworks
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I was wondering how you would strip wash a car that has been ceramic coated?

 

A car came to me with significant swirls in need of correction but the owner said a ceramic coating had been applied recently. Normally I would strip wash, clay and polish. Any idea how to remove the ceramic coating or will it polish out with compound?

 

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You ask a question with endless answers. So let’s go one at a time. 

 

Can you strip wash a ceramic coating?  Yes, you can. It’s a waste of strip wash though since it won’t remove the coating. What cleans coatings is decontamination, not stripping the waxes off. 

 

Removing the ceramic coating is a big variable. What brand of coating is it?  Consumer grade coatings will come right off with polish. Professional grade coatings and you may be looking at taking a rotary to it with a compound or possibly even wet sanding. It depends on the product really.

 

Given that you say it’s got heavy damage, I’m assuming it’s a consumer grade product and will come off with polishing. Most likely a step or two with compound, then correction, then finishing to do it right. It may take a couple passes of each and the speed of the cut will vary based on your pads/machine. 

 

You will test for removal of the coating by applying water and seeing how it reacts. If it’s coated, you’ll know. 

 

And my typical disclaimer...for this type of work the value of a quality paint thickness gauge can’t be understated. You want to remove the coating, not the clearcoat. It’s easy to get carried away with aggressive pads/polishes and cause irreparable damage. You don’t want to remove more than the top 1/3 of clear coat over the lifespan. That’s where the bulk of the UV protection lies. Once that’s gone, you accelerate greatly the time until clear coat failure. A garage will help you to know exactly how much you’re removing. 

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One thing you should keep in mind with ceramic coatings is they are still prone (like any other finish) to collecting traffic/road film. I highly recommend using a powerful soap with a PH ABOVE 7 to help strip the grime off the paint. After a while it will begin to collect and make the paint not as bright. 

 

Use caution while using these soaps, don't work in direct sunlight if possible. If you are in direct sunlight just work one panel at a time but I strongly recommend it. 

 

To clarify, by "traffic/road film" I am talking about the stuff that leaks all over the road from other vehicles. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze, engine oil, hydraulic fluid, chemicals from trucks etc. When it rains, all of these fluids come to the surface and coat your car. The higher PH soap will actually strip these things off the paint whereas a PH neutral soap will not. 

Edited by cwp2016nd
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