Ask An Expert About Detailing – Protecting Your Ceramic Coating

Ask An Expert About Detailing - Protecting Your Ceramic Coating

Photo Credit: Lithium Auto Elixirs

Back in February we started a new series with our friends at Lithium Auto Elixirs called “Ask An Expert About Detailing” and we’ve been featuring the answers to your detailing and car wash questions from Lithium’s founder Bill Crawley who has been professionally detailing vehicles since he was a young college student trying to pay tuition. Our goal in presenting this series is that you’ll get fresh opinions and direct feedback on how to keep your Corvette looking as good as it can be.

Got a detailing or car wash question for Bill? You can email your questions directly to [email protected] and rest assured you will receive a personal answer back from Bill. If we feature your question as the next topic for our Ask An Expert series, you’ll receive a $250 gift card to Lithium Auto Elixirs. Everyone who submits a question will be entered to win. This week’s featured question has to do with how to protect and preserve your Corvettes that have a ceramic coating.

Lithium Auto Elixirs

Featured Question from John F.

I had my 2016 C7 Corvette detailed and added a ceramic coating to the car. It looks GREAT. Water beads up and dust/dirt just washes off. Is there anything that I need to do to preserve the coating?

Lithium’s Answer

Thanks for reaching out. Those coatings are super tough, however, if you hit with an instant detailer every few weeks, which contains Si02 – the primary ingredient in your coating, this maintenance will add some good life to the ceramic and will keep it shining for years. These detailers are readily available. We make one called Color Crush, it has one of the highest concentrations of Si02 on the market. Car Pro and Adams also make good ones as well.

Also, integrating an “After wash product” into your washing routine will also help preserve the coating. You spray these products on while the car is still wet right after rinsing, then dry as normal. Good after wash formulas also have Si02 (but in lower quantities) however, good ones also contain paint conditioners and lubricants that help preserve the ceramic.

Then lastly John, when you wash the C7 make sure you use a PH neutral soap, as high PH soaps (i.e. dish soap) are like Kryptonite on ceramic coatings.

Do those few things and the car will look awesome for years.


The Solution

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Lithium’s Color Crush is a detailing spray that combines a cross-linked Pre-cured Polymer with Si02 that binds to paint and other surfaces which makes ceramic coatings more durable and longer-lasting. Color Crush goes on quickly and you can achieve a slick, hydrophobic deep glossy shine in just a few minutes. The water beading properties of Color Crush will leave you in amazement and the detailing spray is so versatile that you can use it on paint directly as well as chrome, windows (watch that rain bead right off) as well as wheels to help fight brake dust.

The SiO2 ceramic ingredient in this quick detail spray makes it like a hydrophobic shield on your paint. Ceramic quick detail sprays are going to change the game of quick detailing products. Not because they are efficient and fast, but because their level of added protection and value is unmatched. It won’t bring bad paint back to life, but it will make good paint look great! There is a curing aspect to Color Crush and you can also layer it on top of itself for even more awesomeness.

Lithium says you’ll receive a high level of satisfaction each and every time you use Color Crush on your Corvette, and if you’re not happy with the results, Lithium will refund our order. A 16-ounce bottle of Color Crush is only $19.99. Use promo code Vette20 and save 20% on your next order at Lithium Auto Elixirs.

Lithium's Color Crush

Detailing Questions and Answers

Thanks again to all those of you who sent a question to Bill Crawley @ Lithium since our last “Ask An Expert About Detailing” blog post. Bill responds to every question personally and as there is some great advice offered, you can read some of those questions and answers here:

Question from Chris B: My new C8 Red Mist Corvette is being produced this week! Was reading some of your Q&As, especially on not doing anything with new paint such as Clay. The dealer recommended that they do their Simonize Glass treatment before I pick the C8 up. What would you recommend I do to keep the paint shiny and clean if it has that treatment done? Or are there reasons I shouldn’t do the Glass treatment it all? Appreciate your opinion! Thanks!

Lithium’s Answer: Thanks for your great question. These are tough ones because we never want to stop or inhibit somebody’s ability to make a living. However, we know most dealerships do pretty well for themselves and much of their profits come from these types of upsells. And that is actually great, as everybody is in business to make money. We do not take issue with that. We just don’t believe that the paint should be handled that soon after coming off the line and for the most part you are paying probably $750 to $1,250 for a product that is not nearly as technologically advanced as some of the ceramic coatings are today. The other problem we have, although remember Chris these are generalizations and not always the case. At most larger dealerships they have a decent amount of turnover and a lot of times the folks doing these procedures are not that experienced. For our money, we say hold onto the care for a few months, then find a reputable detailer in your area that specializes in coatings and whose business depends on things being done right and have them coat your C8. Hope that at least provides you with an “alternative possibility.” Either way, you are getting a fantastic car and we hope you love it. – Bill

Lithium Auto Elixirs

Question from Ron: Initially, I used Iron X, then the clay bar, then a polish, then a ceramic coating on my Corvette to get it looking and “feeling” good and smooth. After driving it for a couple of weeks, I noticed that the paint surface was feeling a little “gritty”, like little pieces of small sand all over the top surfaces of the car. If I lightly use the clay bar again to remove the contaminants, do I have to start all over with the process that I mentioned above (Iron X, polish, ceramic coating)?

Lithium’s Answer: Thanks for your question. A couple of things here Ron; reading through your protocol, I think we may have a few issues, however first, I would like to clarify. When you say “Polish” do you mean wax or a polish Compound. If you meant wax – the first problem would be, you should never top wax with a ceramic coating. Wax is super soft, not very durable and quite slippery. Whereas Si02 or ceramic is very hard and durable. So to put a ceramic over wax would be much like putting concrete over peanut butter. Even Though the concrete is very tough it is only as strong as what you pour it over. So if it was wax, the ceramic coating is probably gone and that is why after only a few weeks the paint surface felt rough again. Therefore, you would have nothing to lose by re-using the clay bar. then re-applying the ceramic.

However, if you meant polishing compound, that product should not remain on the paint after you buffed it off and the Ceramic should still be there and intact. If this is the case you probably have a tree sap problem and that is what you are feeling on the surface. Because a good ceramic coat should not allow the iron and pollutants (the usual culprits) to embed themselves into the paint that quickly, but tree sap is another issue altogether. If this is the case, you can probably get away with a light clay barring and if the ceramic is good quality you would be fine (in most cases). A little secret we incorporate in these types of situations is to use a spray-on detailer that contains Si02 (most of them do these days) as your clay lubricant. It will help preserve the coat you already have on there. Remember that clay barring works because stuff sticks to and wedges into the clay, not because it is abrasively sanding down the surface. If you want to test if the ceramic is still on your car’s surface just hit it with some water and see if it sheets off or quickly beads up. If so, you are probably still well protected. If the water just sits on the surface, time to re-up. – Bill

Lithium Auto Elixirs Clay Bar and Luster Lube

Question from Sandy B.: I have a C7 2015 Z51, Velocity Yellow, with tiny washing scratches. I am a female with bad shoulders and back and generally wash the car with a good car wash and every other wash, use a detail spray. Doesn’t do anything for the scratches. I would be unable to clay bar the car and honestly, would be scared to death to do it. I saw you have a detail spray to use while car is still wet. Would that be the most appropriate product to use or do you offer another spray product and how often would it be used? I generally wax it with a spray wax before putting the baby to bed for the winter. Thanks for your help!

Lithium’s Answer: Thanks for reaching out, Sandy. What a great car and color, good for you! The micro scratches you have on the car are pretty common, we call them “love marks” as they occur mostly during the process of drying your car off or can happen from the occasional automatic car wash. As much as car product companies would like everyone to believe to the contrary, there are really no ‘quick fix products’ for these. Some waxes and so-called scratch removers may do a small amount of ‘filling’ and make the scratches look less noticeable, however, it is usually short-lived and they reappear on the next wash.

Also, you mentioned, clay barring the car and that the thought of it “scares you to death,” do not fear Sandy 🙂 as that would not help the scratch problem either. The good news is – it is still an easy fix. We recommend that you find a reputable Detailer in your area and have them do a “Paint Correction” on your C7 Corvette. During this process, they basically use a cutting compound and buffer to level out the clear coat and remove the scratches. Your Z51’s paint will look like glass again. Make sure you call around and get some quotes, as prices can vary a great deal from shop to shop. We would expect to pay anywhere from $250.00 to $350.00 for a really nice job. This may seem a bit spendy, however for a car that is 7 years old, it is due for a bit of love.

Once the paint is looking great again, you can keep it this way by either getting it ceramic coated, which if you have it done professionally can be fairly costly, $750.00 to $1,250.00 but will place a hard protective coating on the paint that will last for years. But, if you are not feeling the urge to dump that kind of money on the old gal, we would suggest (as you also mentioned), using an after wash product when drying off your car, this adds lubricants and conditioners on the paint surface while you are drying, which helps prevent these types of scratches. Also Sandy, only use high-quality microfiber towels when drying your car, beach and terry cloth shower towels are a definite no. We know some people who never touch their paint with a towel and only dry them with compressed air. Which is a bit extreme for our taste, but… Also, avoid automatic car washes as much as possible. Do these few things and you will be able to go much longer between visits to the detail shop. Hope that helps. – Bill

Lithium Auto Elixirs Color Crush

Question from Bob K.: How should artillery fungus be handled on car surfaces? I’ve been dealing with it on a number of cars for years. Tried clay bars, cleaner wax, plastic razor blades, rubbing compound, isopropyl alcohol, scratch remover. All without much luck. Need professional help! Thanks much.

Lithium’s Answer: Hi Bob, Thanks so much for your interesting challenge/question. We come from a much drier climate and thus do not have these types of issues to deal with. Therefore, our experience is pretty limited, (ok nonexistent) when it comes to artillery fungus. However, this does not mean that we are not endlessly curious and intrigued by anything to do with car protection. So we did some research and also reached out to a few friends in the know regarding this pesky little mold. We had some folks say that clay bars worked well on a short-term basis and made the spores easy to remove but they came back fairly quickly and that highly acidic chemicals killed the spores but they were really sticky and hard to remove their remains. So we started doing a bit of freestyle work in the lab today. With the theory that: if we could concoct a clay bar lubricant that had the right P.H. levels and some other chemicals that have worked well for us as fungicides and blend them into a nice slippery formula that would be good for clay barring. We might just luck out and come up with a way that the clay removes the spores and the spray we make, kills the fungus at the same time. Only theory Bob, and you may come back with 30 things we did not consider because of our lack of experience here- but what a fun experiment. Send us your information and we will send you a bottle of the mixture and some of our clay bars and we will officially deputize you as a Lithium Product Tester. The way we see it, you have nothing to lose and it may just work. Look forward to your comments. – Bill

Lithium Auto Elixirs

Submit Your Detailing Question

Got a detailing question for Bill for next month’s “Ask The Expert” column? Send us your car wash and detailing questions to [email protected] If your question is picked as the Featured Question, you’ll receive a $250 gift card to Lithium Auto Elixirs! Even if your question isn’t selected, you’ll still receive a response from master detailer Bill Crawley that will hopefully solve your issues.


Lithium Auto Elixirs


Ask An Expert About Detailing – Maintaining a Mirror-Like Finish

Ask An Expert About Detailing – Clay Bars and Lubricants


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