Porsche does many things right, including its paint. It’s some of the best we’ve seen. That’s all the more reason to make sure it’s well cared for. From my personal experience with Porsches, paint damage is almost always either from poor wash methods or paint chips. I’ve seen brand new Porches at auto shows with scratches on them. I’ve also seen that the paint on Porsches chips on obvious areas such as the bumper and the hood, but also in front of the rear wheels. The Porsche 911 comes with Paint Protection Film from the factory in front of the rear wheels because the engineers know the paint will chip in this area. For Porsche SUV owners or diehards who drive their sports cars in winter in places where they use salt and sand on the road (Pennsylvania and New Jersey, anyone?) report that the paint on the bottom of their Porsches degrades heartbreakingly fast.
Porsches are heirloom vehicles. You want to do all that you can to protect your investment so it retains is look—and its value—for decades, even generations.
Some Porsches have special factory color options. If you’ve invested that extra money for that quality color, you surely care how it looks and ages!
Another factor contributing to poor wear of Porsche paint is the geometry of the vehicle. They have a flat plane that pushes the air up and over the car, grabbing rocks and debris, dragging them over the plane, and creating unsightly paint chips. And let’s be honest here: You bought a Porsche to drive and to drive fast. You don’t want to drive like an old lady because you’re afraid that some rocks will chip your paint.
Fortunately, you can protect your Porsche’s paint effectively and efficiently—with paint protection film (PPF), ceramic coating, and proper Porsche car-washing procedures.
Paint Protection Film
Do you protect your smartphone’s glass with a screen protector? Paint protection film is like a screen protector for your Porsche. It prevents flying rocks and road debris from chipping your paint.
PPF is best applied when a Porsche is brand new. However, you can apply it to a car you’ve been driving awhile. I help customers make this decision on a case-by-case basis. I’ve seen some vehicles with 8,000 miles that are still a great candidate for PPF. But you can only protect a new-car finish if you have a new-car finish.
PPF is a clear polyurethane film; it’s virtually invisible. PPF is engineered to be removable years after application—revealing the brand-new, factory-finish paint that’s been protected below. (However, I don’t recommend removing PPF before selling or trading in your vehicle because if you do so, the dealership is likely to think your vehicle was in an accident and repainted, which tanks the value. Let the new buyer remove the PPF to enjoy the brand-new paint.)
PPF is comprised of several layers: A release liner, then a layer of adhesive. Then there’s a thermal plastic impact layer, a layer of clearcoat that offers UV protection, a hydrophobic topcoat, and that’s all topped off by a gloss enhancer. The clear coat is self-healing, which means your vehicle will always look freshly polished!!
Can’t I buy a PPF kit and apply it myself?
Sure, you can YouTube it, but it’s not a DIY project. Much like you can YouTube “cardiac surgery,” but you shouldn’t perform it, and you can YouTube 737 piloting, but you shouldn’t try to land a jet, PPF install is a job best left to the professionals. More personally, I could YouTube “hair coloring,” but I’d never suggest to my wife that I save money by dyeing her hair. Consider this: Only 1 percent of trained PPF installers work in the profession after a year or two. It’s that hard to get it right and do it well.
Questions to Ask a PPF Installer
How long have you been installing PPF? Installing PPF is an art; look for an installer with many years—not months—of experience.
What brand PPF do you use? Recommended brands include SunTek, 3M, Stek, and Xpel. (Check the company’s website for the authorized installer; if the installer is not listed on the company’s website, consider that a red flag.)
Do you use a plotter to cut a pattern, or do you cut the PPF custom? A PPF plotter costs $10,000+; it’s a large capital investment, so an installer who has one is likely to be more experienced. My company uses our plotter to cut out patterns in the PPF, and then we carefully wrap the film around every possible edge of your Porsche. Firms that don’t use patterns cut each piece of PPF custom. They cut the film on your vehicle! To do custom work, many parts, such as headlights must be removed. (If you’re ok with your brand-new Porsche being disassembled, fine! I don’t see any value added by taking a Porsche apart to apply PPF.)
How long is your warranty? The warranty is actually provided by the manufacturer—not the installer. Look for a 10-12year warranty. 10-year films have an increased top coat, which means they will look better, longer. Some films have a lifetime warranty, but remember that’s a warranty, not a guarantee.
A ceramic coating, also sometimes called quartz, applied to your car gives it amazing shine. It also makes your car easier to wash—saving you time and money. You won’t have to wash your Porsche as often, and when you do, it’ll be easier to clean. Ceramic coating also protects your Porsche against UV damage.
Professionally applied ceramic coatings last for years. At Immaculate Paint Protection, we offer ceramic coatings with multiple-year warranties, with no special maintenance or servicing required. Compare that with a wax or sealant that might protect your Porsche for a few months.
The coating is a silica dioxide (SiO2)–based material or the newest technology available,
fluoro modified polysilazanes, that’s carried in solvent and applied onto the vehicle. The coating cross-links, or chemically bonds, to the porous clear coat, filling in the microscopic pores.
Ceramic coatings are especially beneficial for Porsche’s Adaptive Cruise Control and Active Lane Keep Assist. With a coating, the sensors stay cleaner, longer.
To apply ceramic coatings, first we thoroughly wash your Porsche—twice. We do a mechanical decontamination clay bar process to remove any bonded-on containments and we do a second chemical decontamination process to remove iron that settles down into the paint. Then we buff and polish it to a mirror-like gleam. My team wears gloves throughout this entire process to prevent any oil or contaminants from interfering with the ceramic coating bonding. We wash it again and wipe it with a special degreasing agent to make it “surgically” clean.
If necessary, we can do color correcting. Then we apply the ceramic coat. The number of coats vary by manufacturer. In most cases, more coats do not provide more protection. (Some installers use this sales tactic.) After applying the ceramic coating, we keep your Porsche dry and in our shop for at least 24 hours before you pick it up.
After having a ceramic coating applied, keep your Porsche dry for 14-21 days, ideally in the garage, to allow the coating plenty of time to cure. Sunlight helps too.
Can’t I buy a ceramic coating kit and apply it myself?
I don’t recommend it. A DIY spray coating might last for a few months, compared with years for a professionally applied coating. We have a very meticulous specific procedure we follow and expensive supplies and equipment—which is unlikely to be duplicated at home. Applying ceramic coating is an art; it isn’t a job for unskilled amateurs.
If you really want to apply a coating yourself, make sure you know how to operator a machine polisher. If you make a coating mistake, you will need to machine polish the coating off and start the entire process over again.
Questions to Ask a Ceramic Coating Installer
· How long have you been installing ceramic coating? Installing ceramic coating is an art and science; look for an installer with many years—not months—of experience.
· Is your shop climate controlled? For professional results, a ceramic coating must be applied in less-humid, temperate environments. I just spend $25,000 on air-conditioning for my shop to control our installation environment.
· How much paint correction will you have to do to my Porsche?
· How many coats of ceramic do you apply? Are you applying multiple coats because that’s best for the car, or is it easier for the installer to sell the ceramic coating if they promise they’re applying more coats?
Paint Protection Film + Ceramic Coating
If PPF is good and ceramic coating is good, are they exponentially better together? Sometimes.
A special, more flexible type of ceramic coating can be applied on top of PPF, giving you the ultimate paint protection available by us in our shop, saving you the hassle of running around to multiple shops.
One of the features of our SunTek Reaction PPF is that is has ceramic coating infused into the topcoat, which means you get PPF and ceramic coating at the same time. Our PPF offering SunTek Ultra PPF does not have a ceramic coating on it; however, you can put a ceramic coating on top.
Should you have ceramic coating installed to protect your PPF?
I believe that PPF on its own is fine for your Porsche. (Adding ceramic coating on top of PPF is quite frankly an easy upgrade or upsell for an installer.) However, if you would like to make washing your Porsche easier, then consider adding a ceramic coating.
Washing Your Porsche’s Paint
How do you wash your Porsche? Very carefully!
Even if you protect your Porsche with PPF and ceramic coating, it can still scratch with dirty sponges, snow brushes, and other paint hazards. The best rule of thumb is: Anything that touches your Porsche could scratch it. Most important: Don’t use anything that’s been in your kitchen sink on your Porsche—no scrub pads, scratch rags, never.
Don’t take your car to an automatic car wash (except possibly a touchless one), and never allow your service center to wash it. We give our customers a card to hang on their rearview mirror when their Porsches are at the service center that says, “Do not wash! You will be liable for repairs.”
If you take your Porsche through a touchless car wash, don’t apply any of their sealants because you already have a coating on your Porsche and these car washing sealants will mask or override the benefits of the ceramic coating. (If you’ve done this in the past, a decontamination wash will remove those.)
Instead, wash your Porsche yourself, using the two-bucket method. This is universally accepted as the best method to wash your vehicle. You use one bucket with soapy solution and one with clean water to rinse the wash mitt.
At Immaculate Paint Protection, we educate Porsche owners on how to wash your car from the beginning of the process to the end—a $250 value. We also give each car a complimentary wash.
To wash your Porsche right, invest in the right supplies:
o Fill one bucket with soapy solution
o Fill the other with clean water to rinse the wash mitt.
Grit guards: Place these plastic disks inside the buckets. They keep any grit off of your mitt and car.
Microfiber towels: You could buy colored towels use a color code system:
o Black towels for rims and door jams
o White or purple large towels for drying
o Red for interior
o Purple for leather
o Blue for glass
Two wash mitts
o One for the body
o One for rocker panels and underneath
High quality car wash soap, as recommended by your installer. Avoid wash/wax combinations because they don’t leave the Porsche really clean. (Trying to do two things at the same time often means you’re doing two things badly.)
Drying aid/detailing spray, such as Gyeon Ceramic Detailer.
Bug and grime remover, such as Gyeon Bug and Grime: Follow the directions on the label for safe use.
Use the least amount of pressure to wash and dry your car as possible. Drag the wash mitt and towel across the Porsche, using the weight of the towel to dry; don’t press. If you find yourself rubbing to get rid of something like a bug or tar, stop! You are going to scratch the paint. You need a special cleaning agent, such as Gyeon Tar, for whatever it is you’re trying to rub off.
If you ever drop a wash mitt or towel on the ground, STOP, set the towel aside, and go get a clean one. Never use a dropped mitt or towel on your car.
If you use these tips to wash your Porsche, it will look better than 95 percent of other vehicles on the road.
For paint protection film and ceramic coating packages, pricing, and more visit us at immaculatepaintprotection.com.
About the author: Bill Fetter’s passion for cars started at an early age, as he loved anything with wheels. Through his childhood, Bill observed his dad’s work as a mechanical engineer turned marketing manager and proud lifelong employee of General Motors. During high school, Bill honed his passion for cars by hand-washing and detailing his neighbors’ vehicles. Knowing he wanted to be in the automotive industry, Bill earned a degree in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. He’s worked as an engineer in the automotive manufacturing, medical device, steel industry, and pharmaceutical manufacturing fields.