We test a new ceramic coating promising a three-year shine for minimal upkeep so less buffing and more driving - win!
Most of us like the idea of a clean and shiny car but the realities of keeping it that way present all manner of dilemmas. You can get truly obsessive, spending all your money on magic potions, special cloths, buffing machines and the like and devoting your time to discussing them with fellow detailing fanatics. Then there comes the elbow grease and hours spent on your knees, worshipping at the altar of perfect, blemish free paint, polishing mitt on hand.
Or you can shrug, sling a sponge over it every now and then, try not to lose sleep over swirl marks or how many microns of paint there are left on your panels and get on with your life.
The big sell with coating systems like the one being presented to us by Surrey-based Renovatio Automotive Detailing is a cake and eat it solution of a long-term shine that, after the initial investment, requires minimal upkeep. That it also has a degree of scratch and stone chip resistance without the need for protective film is a further selling point, Renovatio boasting of "total car protection" rather than just ugly patches to protect "high traffic" areas. The number of supercars passing through its workshop - everything from Ferrari to Pagani - would suggest they're doing a good job convincing owners it works.
The exact properties of these coatings are closely guarded commercial secrets but Renovatio is keen to make a fuss of its exclusive deal with a new formula developed by SiRamiK. Renovatio has been using the firm's products for the last couple of years but this latest ceramic coating is said to take the process to a new level of protection.
It ain't cheap though. Using a 997 911 as an example (final costs depend on the size of the vehicle) it would cost £1,995 to apply, for which you get a guaranteed three-year shine on the basis you clean the car according to the prescribed technique and with the right products. Don't be too intimidated though - Renovatio says regular hand washing with ph-neutral shampoo is enough thanks to the promised self-cleaning and water repellant properties of the coating. Two-bucket fastidiousness is recommended but SiRamiK's accelerated testing regime of using an old, mud-covered sponge on a test panel would indicate the sheen is plenty tough enough to last the distance. Depending on use and exposure to contaminants you might need a top-up at the hands of an approved professional now and then but Renovatio can advise on a case by case basis.
The price is around twice as much as the existing SiRamiK product Renovatio has been using, material costs and the fact it takes four days rather than two to apply partly accounting for that. To give you an idea of the work involved the paintwork gets fully "refined" to "better than new" condition removing contaminants, scratches and swirl marks before the application process can even start. Boy Scouts with a bucket and sponge on bob a job week this is not. Before and after photos and the big sell can only get you so far though and to see if the SiRamiK coating really does work as promised we've taken Danny Milner's PH Fleet Lotus Elise along for the full treatment and will be reporting back over the coming months to see if it really does mean you can spend less time with the polishing potions and more time driving.
Which, ultimately, has to be a good thing.
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Two grand for a 911-size car? If I was that bothered I'd use a clear vinyl wrap instead.
stuart-b05 Oct 2015
It's also worth noting that I had this done on my E92 over here (cost around £800 with much cheaper labour rates). The car was in the shop for 5 days (full inside/out valet, protection of everything).
It was great, apart from the front, where after 3-4 months I noticed a huge increase in small white chips. I knew it wasn't me imagining things because I took pics before/after. After some research online I found other users of Ceramic Pro who also mentioned this - they put it down to the fact the coating made the whole paint much more brittle due to the layer over the top.
I have not done the same thing to my Z4 yet because I think it's going to be better having the protection done, then having an actual film put over the top - both on my door sills and the front bumper/bonnet.
More research is required... perhaps someone can chime in.
Rude-boy05 Oct 2015
£2k to cover a 911?
I'll stick to washing them when I feel like it and the odd valet here and there when i can bare to let anyone else near it with a cleaning cloth.