Jet black paint. There were no metallic flake in this paint for scratches and swirls to hide behind. Even the most casual onlookers will notice imperfections in jet black paint. But, when done right jet black paint provides a shine like no other color can.
Fortunately, for this brand new Dodge Challenger with optional "widebody" package the paint was untouched from the dealer. It had not been prepped or taken through any tunnel washes. This is a HUGE bonus for the owners. It meant that the paintwork had minimal defects to be remedied and a smaller investment for the owners.
Our goal for this gorgeous new vehicle was to get it looking its best and then protect it from the elements with a ceramic coating.
We began with a foam wash to provide ample lubrication, which will prevent any light scratches or swirls when done properly. Then the vehicle was rinsed and chemically decontaminated.
After the vehicle is clean and chemically decontaminated to remove any metallic particles a fresh piece of white clay is used to remove any further particles bonded to the paint. It is always surprising to find what remains on the paint.
The car was then dried once again and able to move onto the polishing process. We always polish the vehicle to remove any of the smallest bonded particles that are still left behind. Then the painted surfaces have the best chance of forming a strong chemical bond with the ceramic coating.
Not only did we want to prepare the surfaces for a ceramic coating, but we also wanted to remove any paint defects. Fortunately, the majority of the car only had lighter defect that could be removed with a single step paint correction (Premium Enhancement). This allows for light defect removal and also a high gloss, no haze finish. The fender flares on the other hand did not make it through production and shipping quite as well as the rest of the vehicle. During production they had been poorly sanded and rotary buffed,
This was no issue for us, but it meant that we needed to step up the process to a 2 step paint correction in these areas to remove the buffer trails and sanding marks. This is quite common on new vehicles, but can go commonly overlooked during manufacturing even on the most expensive of vehicles. The paint cooperated quite nicely and a crystal clear finish was restored.
After finishing the paint the wheels were removed for a similar treatment for the brakes, suspension, and wheels. The brakes and suspension were cleaned and steamed to remove any particles bonded in tight areas. The wheels were deep cleaned while off the vehicle as well.
After the extensive cleaning everything was ceramic coated with a high temp resistant ceramic coating and then cured with an infrared lamp. This coating makes a huge difference long term to keep these components clean. The ceramic coating will resist common tar deposits and brake dust much better than before. They will also be a breeze to clean.
After tidying up areas like door jams, exhaust, the engine bay, and interior we were ready to prepare the paint for ceramic coating. A specialized product helps remove any residual polishing oils to give a perfectly clean surface for coating installation. This step requires a high level of skill and experience on a jet black vehicle like this. If done incorrectly the combination of the isopropyl alcohol which removes lubrication and a towel will cause fine scratches, ruining the finish.
Finally, after installing the ceramic coating on the paint we were able to pull the Challenger out into the sunlight and see the fruits of our labor. And, wow this one did impress! Check out the final results.