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Dealer ruined my C5 ceramic coating

Old 10-09-2018, 08:05 PM
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CraigA
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Default Dealer ruined my C5 ceramic coating

CLIFF NOTES: Local dealership with good reputation for taking care of Corvettes ruined my ceramic coating and is taking no responsibility for it.

I wanted to pass along some information regarding an issue I am having with a local Chevrolet dealer. Recently, the harmonic balancer in my C5 needed to be replaced. I searched on this forum, and others, to find some recommendations on where to take my car. This dealer came recommended as one who both does good work and takes good care of Corvettes. Also, the dealer’s Corvette mechanic was recommended as doing good work. The mechanical work was done well, and my issues with this dealer have nothing to do with the mechanic or his work. I had this car professionally paint corrected and ceramic coated a few weeks before having this work done. Here are some photos of the car after it was corrected/coated, and as it was delivered to the dealership for service. The paint was as close to perfection as possible on a 17-year-old car:


After paint correction/coating 1

After paint correction/coating 2

After paint correction/coating 3

After paint correction/coating 4

When I picked up the car, there isn’t a panel that isn’t covered in swirls. It’s obvious the car was carelessly washed while at the dealer. However, the dealer is taking no responsibility at all, telling me instead that the car wasn’t washed there. Here is the car after visiting this dealership for service:



After dealership 1

After dealership 2

After dealership 3

After dealership 4

I’ve been attempting to work with the service manager, as well as the GM/owner of the dealership. The dealer claims that Corvettes are never washed, except at the request of the owner, therefore my car wasn’t washed. It’s a long story – I’ve talked to the service manager, the GM/Owner, they had me take it to their body shop for review, etc. The GM/owner and service manager are telling me their body shop says it didn’t happen there. The body shop manager is telling me I can quote him as saying he never said that, and he has no way of knowing what goes on in service. I have ample evidence to support my claim, and have provided it.

This dealer is telling me to pound sand. I spent a good chunk of money having the paint corrected and coated, and to fix the damage will cost more. I’m assuming this is why they are dodging responsibility. Regardless, I wanted to put this out there not just because I’m disappointed, but to remind anyone who cares about the finish on their car to do a better job of documenting than I did. It might sound a little much, but I would recommend walking around your car with the service manager, and even taking pictures with the service manager present if you drop your car off for service. If anything, you wouldn’t have to mess with the nonsense I’ve had to, and it’s more likely they would know you are paying attention and take better care of your car.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:20 PM
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Isn't ceramic coating supposed to protect the paint from swirls when being washed up to a few months? How do you know you were given the service of a ceramic coat?
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:47 PM
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I do not believe you got a ceramic coating. I think you paid for a wax job and was over billed.
Take a half day and correct your paint issue. It's not hard. Or go back to the guy who "waxed" your vette and have him do it for free.
Good luck.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:57 PM
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Sounds like quite the mess. Hopefully you and the dealership can come to some sort of agreement to make things right.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by road pilot View Post
I do not believe you got a ceramic coating. I think you paid for a wax job and was over billed.
Take a half day and correct your paint issue. It's not hard. Or go back to the guy who "waxed" your vette and have him do it for free.
Good luck.
I understand why you would think that. The paint in the after photos is swirled pretty bad. But there isn’t a question as to whether it was ceramic coated. The detailer is a member here, a perfectionist, and has also coated my daily driver. There are other forum members who have had work done by him. The coating is not in question.

Ceramic coatings will not protect against swirling, if incorrect wash methods are used. They may help some. The ceramic is great for shine and shedding water. Nothing sticks as well. Washing and drying are easier.

But dirty towels will still swirl it

The same person coated my daily driver over six months ago. I care for it the same. The paint is still perfect after months of daily use and many washings.






Last edited by CraigA; 10-09-2018 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:44 PM
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Did you tell/ask the dealer to not wash it?
I used to have a big sign I hung from the rear view mirror that read "NO WASH" and "NO LAVAR" (Spanish) to prevent just this kind of thing.

Last edited by Dark Sarcasm; 10-09-2018 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:46 PM
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by chris308 View Post
Isn't ceramic coating supposed to protect the paint from swirls when being washed up to a few months? How do you know you were given the service of a ceramic coat?
Originally Posted by road pilot View Post
I do not believe you got a ceramic coating. I think you paid for a wax job and was over billed.
Take a half day and correct your paint issue. It's not hard. Or go back to the guy who "waxed" your vette and have him do it for free.
Good luck.
Gentlemen, I am the one who Polished and Ceramic Coated Craig’s Corvette. I can assure you it was polished and coated correctly. I rotary polished the car to remove the swirl marks with M105 as the paint was very hard. I followed it up with the D/A and Carpro Essence to remove any buffer trails that “may” have been induced during the Polishing step. I preped the car with Carpro eraser and applied the Ceramic Coating. I’ve detailed several hundreds of vehicles with a 5 star reputation including other vehicles of Craig’s.

Please before you assume something atleast ask the facts.

You are assuming that once the car was washed the “wax” as you stated came off and showed the swirl marks that were never removed in the first place. That’s what you’re insinuating.
I remind you the dealership said they never washed it so they are lying because they would have to wash the so called wax off to reveal the swirls!

Instead let’s go off of dealerships prior history of damaging car finishes for years. There is a term for it “DIS” dealer installed swirls!

The real issue here is that to fix the scratches that were instilled into the ceramic coat will take more work than the original job did in the first place and that will be very expensive, they do not want to fess up to it.

Finally, Ceramic Coatings are “resistant” to swirl marks not impervious to them. Under the care of an inexperienced detailer (I use that term loosely) at a dealership this outcome can and will happen.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:51 PM
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The following is only my opinion. I have been a professional pinstriper for more than 43 years now. I have seen many aftermarket coatings come and go. They make a lot of claims about how they protect your paint and will never come off. They are supposed to be a barrier between your car and the elements. There are no products on the market that I cannot wipe off prior to pinstriping so that my work will stick to the actual paint of the car, despite dealers telling me I cannot stripe their cars so that the paint will not come off. IMO, basically you got the overpriced wax job, literally and physically. They are all crap and none of them live up to their claims. Better get your buddy to re-buff or DIY and save a lot of money.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by striper View Post
The following is only my opinion. I have been a professional pinstriper for more than 43 years now. I have seen many aftermarket coatings come and go. They make a lot of claims about how they protect your paint and will never come off. They are supposed to be a barrier between your car and the elements. There are no products on the market that I cannot wipe off prior to pinstriping so that my work will stick to the actual paint of the car, despite dealers telling me I cannot stripe their cars so that the paint will not come off. IMO, basically you got the overpriced wax job, literally and physically. They are all crap and none of them live up to their claims. Better get your buddy to re-buff or DIY and save a lot of money.
Paint thinner and or mineral spirits will remove most of any such Coating of course.

The cost of paint coatings is not from the coating itself it’s from the several hours of paint correction that it takes before the coating is applied.

You say it’s an “over priced wax job” but members that have Coatings applied can attest to the benefits.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by striper View Post
The following is only my opinion. I have been a professional pinstriper for more than 43 years now. I have seen many aftermarket coatings come and go. They make a lot of claims about how they protect your paint and will never come off. They are supposed to be a barrier between your car and the elements. There are no products on the market that I cannot wipe off prior to pinstriping so that my work will stick to the actual paint of the car, despite dealers telling me I cannot stripe their cars so that the paint will not come off. IMO, basically you got the overpriced wax job, literally and physically. They are all crap and none of them live up to their claims. Better get your buddy to re-buff or DIY and save a lot of money.
This coating is not intended to last forever, or protect against everything. The point of this thread was about the dealer washing it poorly and swirling it up. And claiming to have not washed it. Not about whether it was coated or whether coatings are worth it.

From having it on my daily driver it is worth it to me. Always looks good and is very easy to maintain. It won’t last forever and that was never claimed.

Last edited by CraigA; 10-09-2018 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:12 PM
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The ceramic coating forms a semi-permanent bond with a vehicle’s surface, resulting in a ‘sacrificial’ layer that will not wash away under cleaning or rain, or break down over a short period of time. In fact, usually, it lasts years.They repel dirt and water like nothing else, which makes them easier to clean. Their hardness helps to prevent swirl marks and marring from washing.

Interesting - so the dealer must have washed, scrubbed and buffed with a dirty pad or really put some effort into compromising this new process?
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:20 PM
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Sorry to hear about your issues with trusting someone else with your car. I have learned from my mistakes and I now do this with every time I hand anyone the keys to either one of my cars. Think about it for a moment, we all inspect a rental car with a company rep when you pick up a rental, yet we toss the keys to our Corvettes without any issue. Well I got burn once, ONCE. Now I have drafted a document similar to what the rental car companies use to highlight any issues with the car and I go over it with the shop manager when i drop off and pick up the car. I have a note inside the car that says DO NOT WASH, and I am certain to write that on any work order as well.

I hope this gets cleared up for you.

And to those commenting on the durability of ceramic, most ceramic coating companies will void a warranty if the car is run through a mechanical car wash.

Last edited by zipity; 10-09-2018 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by warren s View Post
The ceramic coating forms a semi-permanent bond with a vehicle’s surface, resulting in a ‘sacrificial’ layer that will not wash away under cleaning or rain, or break down over a short period of time. In fact, usually, it lasts years.They repel dirt and water like nothing else, which makes them easier to clean. Their hardness helps to prevent swirl marks and marring from washing.

Interesting - so the dealer must have washed, scrubbed and buffed with a dirty pad or really put some effort into compromising this new process?
Im not sure what they did. Whether it was run through a mechanical wash or hand washed. Either way - wiping it clean with dirty towels or washing it with dirty equipment will swirl it up.

I do know that I have none of these issues with my daily driver and have washed it many times. It still is free from swirls and looks great.

I also know the corvette was free from swirls when it was delivered to them.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by zipity View Post
Sorry to hear about your issues with trusting someone else with your car. I have learned from my mistakes and I now do this with every time I hand anyone the keys to either one of my cars. Think about it for a moment, we all inspect a rental car with a company rep when you pick up a rental, yet we toss the keys to our Corvettes without any issue. Well I got burn once, ONCE. Now I have drafted a document similar to what the rental car companies use to highlight any issues with the car and I go over it with the shop manager when i drop off and pick up the car. I have a note inside the car that says DO NOT WASH, and I am certain to write that on any work order as well.

I hope this gets cleared up for you.

And to those commenting on the durability of ceramic, most ceramic coating companies will void a warranty if the car is run through a mechanical car wash.
Thank you. You can bet I’ll be doing something very similar next time. I learned my lesson.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:55 PM
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ask the dealer if they have cameras and if they do then ask the gm to go over the video with you
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by neutron82 View Post
ask the dealer if they have cameras and if they do then ask the gm to go over the video with you
I was originally told they had cameras and it would prove they didn’t wash the car. The next day I was told the video didn’t exist and had been erased already.
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:59 AM
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Imho, the OP is obviously pretty upset about this situation. I suggest you get a quote to repair from your detailer, and take the dealership to small claims court. Sounds like they aren't interested in talking anymore. Then going forward, I'd leave the vehicle in a museum as it's pretty clear this ceramic coating is about as durable as whip cream.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:36 AM
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Name of dealership??
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:30 AM
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I HATE to say it but I agree with the above post....its a "he said, she said". Kind of like the recent supreme court battle we just went thru. Have it re-done and consider "small claims court". Damn, I hate dealerships.
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