The method I use is wash, claybar, then Klasse All-in-One Polish, and then Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze.
Why? Because I’ve heard great things on the internet about this process. It not only looks great but also lasts a long time (over a year in many cases, but at least 6 months). I think this is way cheaper than doing the ceramic coating stuff and also more longlasting than the typical claybar/wax method that only lasts 3 months.
Not knowing anything about car wax, polish, etc
If you’re like me, you don’t know anything car detailing, claybar, wax, sealants, and all that. It all started when I started seeing “ceramic coating” advertisements after getting my new Tesla. The videos looked really cool showing how easily the water ran off the hood of the car. It just makes it seem like dirt doesn’t stick and everything falls right off so your car is clean and shiny forever.
It wasn’t until I seriously decided to do something to protect my fragile Tesla paint that I started to see all this confusing mess about waxes, sealants, polish, claybar, ceramic, synthetic, blah blah blah. Your head will spin!
Wax vs Sealant?
So the age-old comparison begins all over again. Should you use a wax or sealant? What’s better? Or how about using both?
- Natural carnuba wax has a nicer shine but only lasts a month.
- Synthetic wax lasts maybe 2-3 months.
- Wax are nice to work with because they’re soft and easy to work with. Also feels nice to touch.
- Sealants (are synthetic), still have a nice shine but much more durable than wax and can last 6-12 months (or even longer depending on how many coats). They also feel harder/tougher.
- Sealants have improved and many can look just as good as wax. There are even folks who prefer the look of sealant over wax (can also depend on your car color).
- You actually can use sealant first, and then put wax on top of it to get the best of both worlds.
Ultimately, it comes down to cost and work-time. For me, being that both cost generally about the same amount of time (but sealant takes more effort), it makes way more sense to go with sealant since they can easily last a year. Some will even last more if you do multiple coats. If you’re paying $200 for full detailing and wax, would you rather pay $200 every month or $250 every 12 months or even longer? [It’s a no-brainer for me.]
In terms of what is easier or harder to work with, it has to do with how soft it is and how durable it is. Just think about it. If it’s super soft (easy to put on, and easy to wipe off the excess), that also probably means it’s easy to be come off and won’t last as long. On the other hand… if it’s harder material (still easy to put on, but pain in the butt to take off excess), it will also stay on much longer.
The problem with ceramic coating?
But nowadays, you hear all this excitement and buzz about ceramic coating. It seems even specialty shops are out there just for this special service. And what the heck is so SPECIAL about it? Ceramic coating usually costs like $1500. So yeahhhhhh….I still wanted that cool shiny look but I wasn’t gonna pay that much. I found this nice little reddit post, which lead me to find out about Klasse car detailing products.
I do agree that ceramic coating is just another fancy term for “super longlasting sealant” that’s using the buzzword “ceramic” because it sounds all cool/gimmicky and can get people to pay more for it. Not surprisingly, since the word ceramic is already such a hyped up word in the tinted window industry right now.
All you need to know is it’s probably more marketing buzz than an actually brand new product. It’s even sold in a different way, going only through detailing shops instead of direct-to-customer (guaranteeing higher profit margins and maintaining it’s brand exclusivity). You can even buy the DIY yourself version. It’s like sealant, but lasts even longer and is even harder to apply. I would imagine the DIY version are basically sealants because I hear they don’t last beyond a year either.
Anyway. I won’t go into the science between all the terms. I’ll just tell you what I did and how much I loved the results.
- Is Ceramic Coating Worth It? Here’s The Truth: by Canadian Gearhead
Car detailing products used:
Klasse All-in-One 33oz ($37)
I buy this size because you use a little more of it. I imagine a bottle like this could easily last 3-5 years for one car.
This one you’ll use very very little of. Will probably last for the lifetime of your car easily 10-20 years.
Any claybar you want (hand bar, machine pad, special towel, etc)
I show some options below but these aren’t exactly what my detailer used. He had a clay disc specifically for black cars (since mine is black).
The safest option. Do it by hand. You don’t need a polishing tool, it’s cheaper AND SAFER. I probably recommend this if you’re doing it yourself for the first time and don’t want to risk any potential damage that a polisher might cause. It might also be faster by hand since you don’t have to spend any time wrestling with your tool and preparing it.
This is what many pro detailers might use to save time and I probably only recommend using this method if you know what you’re doing. The risk is if your claybar gets worn out, the high speed of the polisher will cause it to scratch your paint but it’s hard to see/feel/hear while you’re working since the machine and stuff everywhere makes it hard to notice. Then afterwards, you’re like OH SH*T!!!! Like I said, if you’re doing it yourself…just do it by hand where you can go slower and softer and notice everything going on.
If I had to be honest, these seem a bit gimmicky to me although they do have great reviews. Try it if you like it. It certainly looks to be very convenient and a great idea, nonetheless.
Car detailing process
STEP 1 – wash the car
- blow dry
- super-soft detailing microfiber towel to dry things off
Self-explanatory. I shouldn’t have to explain this.
STEP 2 – clay bar
- Use the claybar.
- Go slow and safely.
STEP 3 – two coats of Klasse All-in-One (polish)
- If applying by hand, do it like the karate kid. Wax on with one towel and wax off with another (clean one). Do one section at a once time.
- If applying by machine, you probably want to polish the entire car in one go and then take it off by hand with a towel.
- The general consensus is to do two coats (some even do 3). I’ve heard some recommend to do the first one by machine, then second one by hand. Honestly, I think you’d be fine either way (both on machine or hand).
As with anything, go very little or it will be very hard to take off.
STEP 4 – one to two coats of Klasse High Gloss Sealant (sealant)
- Same thing as Klasse AIO, but put very VERY LITTLE! Like super thin where you think it barely gets anything.
- This one is even thicker and much harder to remove so again, put VERY LITTLE!
Once done, that’s it! Enjoy your car’s super shine. Re-apply after some time or when you feel your car needs it again.
Reference links about Klasse products:
Handy information in here about how to use it and get the best results with Klasse stuff.