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1 day ago
Harker Heights Ceramic Coatings

This #c6 #Corvette #grandsport #americanmuscle #musclecar was a bit of a challenge. In a previous life, a clear coat was applied to the top of an existing (and perfectly good clear) with out any prep work. The upper clear began to fail and oxidize after just a few years. Any amount of correction on the failing clear resulted in the removal of it, leaving blotchy spots with the original clear showing through. It required a decent amount of wet sanding and elbow grease, but we got her to about 98%, barring a few minor high risk corners and edges. She’s now protected and going to be headed back to her rightful spot as queen of the garage in #austin. She is #dailydriven. Enjoy this rare 2012 only OEM color #carbonflashmetallic on this beauty!

#Instaauto #fastcars #carlove #car #carstagram #caroftheday #sportcar #supercars #carlifestyle #fastcar #cars #sportscars #americanaglobal #ceramicpro #supercar #exotic #exoticcars
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1 day ago
Harker Heights Ceramic Coatings

Finished up #paintenhancement and one year #ceramiccoating on this #C6 #GrandSport #americanmuscle #corvette - visit us at to get yours booked! #instaauto #fastcars #carlove #car #carstagram #caroftheday #sportcar #supercars #carlifestyle #fastcar #cars #sportscars #americanaglobal #ceramicpro #supercar #exotic #exoticcar ... See MoreSee Less

When is the best time to get a clear bra, and why?

You're going to think this is a sales pitch, but it isn't - the answer is "immediately."

The short answer is, that automotive paints are thinner than ever, with some auto detailers refusing to even polish or compound (paint correct / paint enhance) some new cars due to the thickness from the factory.

Anecdotally, we have had some Tesla owners take delivery of their new Tesla Model Y at the Austin dealership, drive it up to us in Harker Heights, or home to Killeen/Copperas Cove, and it already is covered in chips. Especially when we are talking about sports cars such as the C8 Corvette or a BMW M8 Competition we did - they already had a significant amount of chips even though they still had temp tags on the car.

Ok, so what gives?

We want to protect the environment, but there are other effects.

Did you know that the historically frail Apple charging cables result from environmental protesting? In 2009, Greenpeace lobbied for "Green My Apple" - they asked Apple to remove PVC from their charging cables. Apple obliged but now their cables are not as durable. This is why Apple's cables don't survive any abuse, while third-party companies' cables do. The lobbying to remove PVC created an entirely new market for third-party accessory makers that might not have existed to the extent that they do today had Greenpeace been unsuccessful in pushing for the removal of PVC.

"Ok, so what's your point?"

The auto paint industry is the same. As a result of lobbying and regulation outlawing certain amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), automotive paint has switched from solvent-based paint to water-based (or waterborne) paint.

The benefits of water-based over solvent-based paint are:

- Better for the environment, according to the EPA
- Healthier to apply to those in the industry due to fewer airborne toxins
- New products
- Cleaner and brighter than solvent-based paints

However, the one "benefit" for the automotive industry is a negative for our auto detailing industry and relates to clear bra and paint protection/paint enhancement:

"Less Clearcoat Needed. - For multiple hues and striping, waterborne paint has an advantage when it comes to spraying due to a thinner application. It takes less clear coat to even out the surface for the different layers."

What does that mean for us?

That means that while we are making things healthier for those working with automotive paints, while we are doing better for the environment, we are making clear bra an absolute necessity for new cars.

The paint is so thin that there is very little rock chip protection. This goes for sports cars along the rocker panels, and where the tires kick up rocks, it goes for just about any forward-facing surface of any vehicle, regardless of sportiness. With Tesla, many owners choose to clear bra / PPF their entire car because the paint is notoriously thin (above and beyond the issues with water-based paint mentioned above).
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Can you remove bird poop etching?

It is so surprising to many people that bird poop will etch through your paint, but it happens all of the time. It can even damage your clear bra. No typical auto detailing will solve this - and if you wait long enough, even a cut and buff (compound and polish) might not be enough.

It's incredibly imperative that you remove bird poop as soon as possible (and even bug guts).

Why does bird poop etch / damage paint?

Birds have no bladder. That sounds pretty convenient for us mammals that have to do number one and number two, but for your paint - it's not great news.

Birds have an organ called the cloaca. Poop is mixed with uric acid from the bladder like a paint-killing witch's concoction, and then deposited on your vehicle with no care for the money you spent on clear bra and/or ceramic coating. How dare those birds!

The pH levels of uric acid are around 3-4.5. Just for a frame of reference, everyone is taught about hydrochloric acid in school, which is around 1-3.5 on the pH scale. So that nasty acid no one wanted to touch in high school and junior high because it was so acidic - something similar is getting dropped onto your ceramic coating or clear bra.

When the vehicle paint or clear bra heats up during the day, it expands. The bird poop is allowed to seep into the surface, and when it cools off (which seems like never in the Killeen area in the summer, but we digress), it contracts around the acid. Over time, this permanently damages the paint.

Ok, but can you fix it?

Yes, we can fix it - if caught early enough. If too much of that Killeen heat is expanding and contracting it in, only a wet sand or clear coat/paint respray will fix the issue.

Ultimately, the goal is to get that poop off of your clear bra, ceramic coating, and paint ASAP! Ceramic coating will provide a bit of an extra layer of defense on top of the clear bra, so that is one of the many reasons we always recommend ceramic coating even if the clear bra is hydrophobic as is.
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What is paint enhancement and how does it work?

Paint enhancement, also known as paint correction, polishing, compounding, buffing, cutting and buffing - and more broadly, as a subset of auto detailing, is the process of removing swirls, scratches, holograms, marring, and other defects from your vehicle's clear coat (paint) using various chemicals and a machine polisher.

Wow, that's a lot!

We mention all of these terms because they are frequently used interchangeably to mean generally the same thing - restoring your paint to as close to as possible, or better than, factory condition.

Even brand new vehicles off of the lot will often have imperfections in the paint. Some, like we discussed in another question and answer, are actual paint or body defects from the factory (we have seen painted over fuzz, bubbling, denting, dinging, scratching, lack of paint - you name it). Other issues usually revolve around improper washing techniques at the dealership, or people rubbing up against and scratching the paint (especially if the vehicle is kept in a high-traffic area, such as the dealership showroom).

For people not buying a vehicle brand new, or perhaps they have owned their car for a short while, this is usually needed after some time of washing, and having the vehicle being exposed to the elements. Over time, vehicles will get scuffed and scratched, and the shiny new paint is now duller and swirled paint.

So what is it?

Paint enhancement is most commonly used in auto detailing to restore the shine of the paint using (typically) a machine polisher, polishing pads, and either polish or compound and polish. Compound and polish are both gritty substances that clean the surfaces by abrading the surface, even if ever-so-slightly. Think of it like toothpaste - toothpaste is a gritty substance that cleans your teeth and makes them shine in a much similar manner.

Compound is a heavier grit substance, and polish is finer. They are often used interchangeably, but sometimes just one, or both, or more than one type of each is needed.

You can polish some things by hand, but larger defects will require a machine. We primarily use Flex cordless polishers at Harker Heights Ceramic Coatings. Other brands you might have heard about are Rupes, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, and more.

We use these machines, polishing/cutting pads, and product (compound/polish) to reduce or eliminate scratches, swirls, and other defects, and return your car or truck to its original (or near original) shine.

What is it not?

Sometimes, when clients see "paint correction" listed as a service, they assume it is the process of fixing rock chips, dings, dents, hail damage, or altogether repainting. Unfortunately, we do not perform any of those services.

Can paint enhancement remove all defects? How does it work?

We have a more in-depth answer in another question and answer, but the answer is really - it depends. It depends on the depth of the defect/scratch/swirl, how much clear coat is left that we can polish/compound, and a lot of other factors
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Can you remove swirl marks from the paint?

In most cases, we sure can! This is the most common type of defect auto detailing / ceramic coating / paint enhancement clients are concerned about, and these are also the biggest culprit for making the paint almost have a dull appearance. Usually, when people think of paint correction and ceramic coating, they think of these swirls. Clear bra / paint protection film will hide most of these scratches and prevent rock chips, but clear bra is not always budget-friendly and also more difficult to do on older vehicles.

What causes swirls?

The most common cause of swirl marks in your car's paint that we see are from the automatic car washes in the Killeen/Harker Heights areas, and just improper washing techniques over the years. Unless your car is garage-kept and rarely driven, dark paint is bound to get some swirls. Washing a car with a two bucket method, not mixing wheel rags with paint rags, amongst a ton of other tips we go over in our aftercare section of our website, isn't exactly a fast process. That's why we love clear bra so much, as it is self-healing and incredibly forgiving if you brush up against it while the car is dirty, or accidentally rub too hard to remove a hazard like bird droppings or bug guts.

Some other factors that can lead to swirl marks in your vehicle's paint:

1. Polishers or buffers with the wrong combination of pad and material choice. This is most common on vehicles that have had body work done. Most paint and body shops do not properly finish off the polishing stage of the paint because it takes too much time and effort, and they are trying to pump out vehicles because they are usually on commission. They are counting on our clients to not notice the swirl marks. Additionally, we have seen this issue with auto detailers that are maybe not experienced enough or not using enough lighting to see them until it is too late.

2. Using towels or rags that are either degraded and have become harsh/rough, or have the wrong material in them.

3. Utilizing dirty towels to wipe dust and other contaminants off the paint. Have you ever kept a rag in the car for probably too long to wipe stuff off the paint without even thinking about it? The dirt gets trapped in the rag, and then you rub the paint with the dirt.

4. Sort of hand and hand with the above, wiping a dirty car with a dry towel, even softly, can scratch the paint. Remember that dirt is actually pretty abrasive, and can swirl your paint.

5. Car covers. If any dirt gets under the car cover, or a car cover itself gets dirty on the underside, the car cover rubs the paint with dirt on it, just like a dirty towel. If the car cover is on the car outside, it's even worse because wind will make the cover flap and rub against the paint. Even if it's not dirty, it could scratch. We have even seen car covers completely rub thru the clear coat.

Remember that any time you touch your car's paint, you risk swirling it (even if you have a ceramic coating), and might need a paint enhancement/paint correction after.

Why are they so bad on dark-colored vehicles?

Swirl marks and scratches appear to our naked eye as white in appearance when the light reflects off of them. So on a white or silver car, they are much more difficult to see. As you get darker and darker in paint color, they become more obvious. This is also why our shop walls are painted a matte / flat black color. When we are conducting paint enhancement/paint correction and ceramic coating on your vehicle, we WANT the scratches to stand out to us so we can see them more effectively. This little bit helps us see them, whereas if the walls were a semi gloss or gloss white, the scratches and swirls may be washed out by reflective light while we are polishing.
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We are a Ceramic Pro certified installer! Ask us today about our Ceramic Pro packages with warranty and how our work will be associated with your vehicle on CarFax! Ceramic Pro offers six month (Sport), two year (Bronze), five year (Silver), and lifetime (Gold) warranties.

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