Recently, Chino our detailer, completed a certification course in the use and application of ceramic paint protection. Its a service new to us that we now offer to our customers. I wanted to take a bit of time on this blog post to talk about what it is and what it does. Before I do that its not a bad idea to have a quick overview of paints and protective coatings. For those that feel that reading that is like watching paint dry (sorry) skip to the bottom for what ceramic coating can do for you and your car.
A brief look at the evolution of automotive paint
The original paints of the days of the first production cars was not actually automotive paint, it used linseed oil resin as a binder and caused a long time to cure and dry. With the advent of more cars going into production all over the world DuPont developed a paint that was specifically made for the automotive industry that dried in under two hours. Plus it had the added benefit of the revolutionary idea of paint colors other than black. In the 1950's car paint advanced with synthetic formulations and primer was used prior to painting to help stop corrosion and rust.
Through the 1950's to the 1970's paint protection appeared in the form of an acrylic lacquer coating applied to as the final coat on cars. These top coats lasted about two years before they started to degrade and required consistent wax applications to keep the paint looking 'fresh'.
In the 1980's auto manufacturers were looking for something better - and coupled with the environmental standards of reducing VOC's (volatile organic compounds) a basecoat and topcoat solution was created. In part, this was also driven by consumer desire to have paints last longer as they were keeping their vehicles longer.
Clearcoats continued to evolve over the next 20 years through 2000, largely driven by the need to reduce environmental footprints and save time in the manufacturing process. The latest iteration that involves solvent based primer, basecoat and clear coat are all applied successively and then allowed to 'bake'
Waxes and other car protection products
In the 1800's the first coating to help protect the lacquer on horse carriages was developed in Germany and made from animal fat. As mentioned above in paint development there was an evolving need for paint protection to keep pace with the changes - not to mention animal fat was probably not going to catch on. Paint polishing compounds have actually been around since 1900 as a method of keeping a shine on paint. Its origins can be traced to Frank Meguiar (yes, that Meguiars wax you can find today) as an offshoot of the furniture polish he had developed. This development continued with George Simons who created a cleaner wax for cars that contained carnuaba wax (often called Brazil wax as it comes from palm trees native to that area) and the term 'Simonize' was coined. Partway through the second world war the first liquid car wax (Turtle wax) was developed followed by DuPonts development of polymer sealants in the late 1960's
With clear coats arriving in the 1970's advancement in protection products continued and products like detailing clay began to emerge in to 1990's. By the 2000's companies like PPG were developing products to help reduce the effects of ultraviolet light and acid rain. By 2007 companies were advancing ceramic coatings or nano-coatings. Nano meaning billionth of a meter as it dealt with filling in paint in areas as small as that size and protects paint from all kinds of issues including bird droppings, UV light (sun damage) etc. If you want an idea of how small a nanometer is its about the length your fingernails grow in one second.
Why have us Ceramic coat your paint?
Ceramic coatings are the next step in paint protection, and way better than animal fat if you read the top of this post. They do need prep work and they do need a clean surface free of contaminants though to work properly and provide maximum protection. Its not just a claim of protection though - we warranty it for 3, 5 or 7 years depending on the package you select.
To begin with we strip all of the old wax and contaminants off your car, then go through paint correction (which includes cutting and polishing) and if needed clay bar your vehicle before we start the ceramic coating. The coating is then applied in a dust free environment and allowed to cure for 24 hours. Some of the benefits include:
There is more to doing a dyno run than simply driving into the dyno cell and pushing your foot to the floor. In fact much of what happens when we do one is all about preparation. Most of our time is spent doing the prep work and making sure both the car and the area is safe.
Any vehicle we test goes through an extensive series of checks prior to being moved into the dyno Lab. This includes everything from checking the tires for age, tread depth, speed rating and pressure as well as the torque values on the lug nuts. We also put the car on the hoist and give it a thorough inspection and look for any panels that may need to be removed so we can get attachment points to secure it. Typically on sports cars like a Ferrari this could be something like a diffuser at the rear of the car.
Next is sensor connections, and depending on what the customer is looking for they can be anything from Lambda, boost, back pressure etc. We often have requests to see how well an intercooler is working and we can measure the temps of the air going into the intercooler and the temps coming out of it to get a good idea of how effective it is.
Calibrating the dyno is a critical step. The computer is given the values for the car prior to the car even running and setting the values for the starting ramp in km/hr for the car etc. The car is then started and warmed up by driving it an easy pace on the dyno, making sure all coolant, oil temps and oil pressures are good and all systems are functioning. Once this is ready the car is brought up to full speed, and then let to coast so the computer and the dyno can determine parasitic losses from the flywheel all the way through the driveline to the wheels. We usually do this a few times to get an accurate reading of the losses
The Superflow Dyno we use automatically calculates and corrects for barometric air pressure, Inside temperature and humidity. It doesn't just check this once - we do it continuously through the pull to ensure the most accurate results
Performance Pull. Only once all of the above has been done, the straps holding the vehicle down are rechecked, and the sensors checked and ready to go, do we do the final pull to see what kind of power is made. All of that is displayed in real time in the control room and on a big screen in front of Stefan, our dyno guru. Stefan has well over 30 years in Europe in Canada doing exactly this. We've often had comments that it looks like a space launch as Stefan can also have a computer with him in the vehicle to adjust fuel tables and any other a parameter. With that car at full speed and the fans pushing thousands of cubic feet of air it sounds like it.
Lets be honest - if you read this far you really want to see what that all looks and sounds like. This is not an exhaustive list of prep work or all that goes into a dyno run but we always get requests for more detail and we are happy to oblige. The video is just below but I will close on this: We do this level of prep and attention to detail for each and every car we test and tune. From motorcycles to Ferraris and all things in between. Would you really want to take your car to anywhere that does less?
In an earlier post I talked about the construction going on at RSP. As part of the fabric of the community and as part of the desire to serve our customers and drive the economy, our construction efforts continue.
We are enhancing our parking lot and the entry ways to our facilities and the progress is visible.
Its a full time effort to manage that part of the infrastructure on its own. The mountain of dirt in the front is much smaller and the curbs are now in, as are the sidewalks and the base and wiring for the LED lamp posts. So far we have added over 3500 metric tonnes of gravel (about 120 dump trucks) to the parking areas in preparation for the first coat of asphalt.
We are working on more than just curbs, but also curb appeal. We are updating the entryway to a custom glassed in enclosure to enhance the look of the building as well as the customer experience. The time and effort we put onto our facilities is a reflection of the same attention and detail we put into servicing your vehicle.
New Curbs and Sidewalks
Entryway and sidewalk, with a view of customer parking (including accessible parking)
New entry way. The existing doors in the background will go and the new entry will have a custom built glass enclosure.