During our recent training we teamed up with Auto Appearance Kansas City to coat a BMW X5 in our 10-year Fireball Dok Do Ceramic Coating. In this blog we’ll walk you through the process we used to prep and coat the vehicle from start to finish.
The X5 we were working with featured BMW’s Imperial Blue Metallic paint, alloy wheels, and the Black Optics Package for trim and plastics. Imperial Blue is a European blend with great depth and color complexity, and hardens in a tougher exterior layer than most state-side factory paints. However, the color’s reflectivity and depth makes defects, swirls, and scratches easily visible, and the harder paint is tough to correct. This means that when the X5 sustains paint damage, it’s very noticeable and can be difficult to correct. This makes the Imperial Blue X5 a perfect candidate for a ceramic coating.
We started our process with a general inspection and decontamination. Auto Appearance has created inspection sheets for identifying and annotating defects. Using these sheets, our installers were able to identify several problem areas in need of correction. After a careful, detailed inspection, we moved on to decontamination.
Decontamination is an essential part of any car’s pre-wash care. Contaminants like dust, dirt, and micro-debris can cling to your car, sometimes without you even noticing. If these aren’t removed before washing the car, the washing process can push them into the paint, creating new scratches and defects.
For decontamination, our installers used Iron Burn on the paint, wheels, tires, and glass elements. Iron Burn is a low-grade acid that eats away external contamination gently enough to leave the surface of the car completely unharmed. With the Iron Burn applied and removed, we moved into the washing procedure.
We washed the BMW twice, once with a low-ratio solution of shampoo and mostly water, then with a higher concentration that foamed. We used PH3 Foaming Shampoo, which comes in highly concentrated solutions so that installers get the most out of each bottle.
Once the foam layer had been washed and dried by hand, we moved onto paint correction. For paint correction, we used a selection of Rupes and Flex rotary polishers. This specific BMW needed a 3 step paint correction due to the hardness of the Imperial Blue paint and the depth of the scratches we were dealing with. A three step correction removes almost all the clear coat in order to buff out defects like swirls, discoloration, and water spots. Ceramic coating installers aren’t concerned about the loss of the coating because they’re going to recoat the car with Fireball ceramic coatings. Fireball coatings are harder and longer lasting than factory clear coats.
With Paint Correction under our belt, it was time to install our coating. We selected Fireball Dok Do for the BMW. Because the X5 paint highlights scratches so well, any defect can compromise the aesthetic of the car. In order to keep defects from ruining the vehicle's look, we selected the hardest coating. Dok Do's hard outer shell is rated on the mineral scale at over 9h hardness, making it more than capable of protecting the BMW's paint from minor scratches, erosion, and wear.
For application we used Fireball’s custom suede and foam applicator blocks. Installers face several obstacles when coating vehicles, not the least of which is applicator hardening. As Dok Do dries onto the applicator it begins to stiffen and offer significant resistance. If an installer doesn’t switch applicators in time, they could actually scratch the paint they just worked so hard to correct. Our installers had to switch applicators for every large body panel in order to avoid ruining all their hard work - and the customer’s car. Overcoming challenges like these in a controlled training environment helped our installers gain valuable skills and knowledge, allowing them to more easily navigate real-world issues when they arise outside of training. Our team of trainees coated the entire vehicle from bumper to bumper, from under the running boards to the middle of the roof. Once the Dok Do double-layer set, the BMW was done.
If you’re in the market for a ceramic coating, bringing it into your local Fireball Installer is the right move. All of our installers have been factory trained in an environment much like the one outlined above, so you’ll know that they are trained professionals. You’ll get a thorough, top-to-bottom inspection and correction like the one outlined here, and your detailer can help talk you through our product lineup to find which coating is best for your specific vehicle. If you’re in the Kansas City area, why not stop by Auto Appearance and get service from the same team that installed Dok Do on this BMW? Regardless of your location, if you’re looking for a ceramic coating, don’t wait! Choose Fireball for a company who delivers quality in every detail.