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Long-term Hellcat: Ceramic coating

by Patrick Rall on

After getting my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat through the break-in period, so I can freely exercise all 707 horsepower, the next key project was protecting the beautiful Go Mango exterior paint. For this, I turned to Eric Emery of Details Auto Detailing of Manton, Michigan. Details provides a range of services, but I was most interested in having some paint correction done before ceramic coating the car.

Going into this, I really wasn’t sure what ceramic coating was. People online are always talking about ceramic coating their vehicles, and when I bought my Go Mango Hellcat Challenger, regular readers stressed that I should get the car ceramic coated.

Eric from Details explained that ceramic coating essentially adds an extra layer of clear coat – “like wax on steroids” – which prevents contaminants from getting on the paint. The result is a car that looks and feels like it has been waxed for years on end, without actually waxing the car over and over again. After our talk, I scheduled Eric to come to my house to work his magic on my supercharged Mopar muscle car.

Since ceramic coating seals the exterior paint away from the environment in a thin, hard layer, it is important to make sure that the car is clean and that the paint looks good before applying the ceramic coating. If you ceramic coat over a scratch, that scratch will be there until the ceramic coating wears off or is removed, so before applying the fancy sealant, Eric gave my Challenger a thorough washing, a clay bar treatment, and the polished out a few scuff marks we found around the car.

While my Challenger had few obvious marks, there were some swirls in the paint and at spots – particularly along the trunk and the top of the fenders – the paint had a rough feel to it. The clay bar took care of the roughness and the polishing took out the swirls, leaving my Hellcat looking better than it did on the day that we brought it home, but Eric wasn’t done yet.

He finished the job by covering my car in CQuartz ceramic coating, sealing in my gorgeous Go Mango paint and protecting it for the coming years. When he was finished – some six hours after he began – my Challenger sparkled like never before. Better yet, it has rained several times since then and the water beads off of my paint just like it would with a fine wax job, while also continuing to be far shinier than an uncoated car.

It is hard to capture in the pictures, but when my Hellcat Challenger is parked next to another very new car with similar metallic paint and no paint protection, there is no question that my car gleams a little brighter. Also, having washed the car well since then due to the rain, it is just as brilliant as it was immediately after application.

My friends with ceramic coatings are right – it really does make an already-sharp car look even better, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in investing in the life of their paint. My car looked good before Eric worked his magic, but after the paint correction and the ceramic coating, it looks absolutely fantastic. If you live within a reasonable distance of Manton, Michigan, hit up Details Auto Detailing to get the same stunning shine that I have on my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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