Avid readers of my blog may notice that this is my second post about Rehab Detailing in just a few months. There is good reason for this: my wife picked up a new 2017 Tesla Model S sedan recently and it too received the full spa treatment, like my Audi. This time we dig a bit deeper, with some amazing before/after videos. Check it out!
Right at the turn of the year we traded in the wife’s 2-year old Tesla for a newer Model S sedan. This new upgrade provided us a few benefits such as AutoPilot v2 and the facelift front end. At the same time we’ve lost a few features such as the upgraded stereo, and rear heated seats. In the coming months I’ll provide a full review of the car, and compare/contrast it to prior iterations we’ve owned.
When we acquired the new car it had 3 miles on it. Yes, only three! We drove it home, parked it for two days, and then drove it over to Rehab Detailing. It reached their door step with a mere 16 total miles, ready to have the paint protected for the road ahead. Note that we purposely had Tesla leave the white shipping wrap on the car, so that the paint would remain protected during those dozen travel miles from our home, over to Rehab. This meant that Ross and his team could have the car in as original condition as possible.
Here are some photos of the folks at Rehab Detailing getting the car unwrapped, and giving the car its very first bath:
If you’ve read my prior Rehab review, you’ll recognize the menu of items we had selected for this visit, as it is very similar:
- Paint Correction
- PPF Full Front End
- Ceramic Pro Coating
- Wheels Off w/Polishing
- Nano-Ceramic Window Tint
- Interior Vinyl Wrap
Other than the interior bits, and the wheel removal detail, this list identically matches the work on the Audi. Though where the Audi was Nardo Gray, and the paint was in fairly decent shape from the factory, the Tesla paint was not even close to being as ready-to-go. Here are three close-up photos showing what the car looked like when the wraps came off:
Later in this blog post I’ll show you some before/after videos — it’s truly incredible what some elbow grease and know-how can do for your paint. But before we get into the real nitty-gritty of the car, let’s take a look at why you’d want to spend your money having this type of work performed.
Rather than ramble on with just my own thoughts on this matter, I decided to bring in the man himself, Ross Miller. As the proprietor of Rehab Detailing, and the individual who performed almost all of the work single-handedly on the Tesla, he is the automotive detail authority in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Here are some of the highlights our conversation:
Ari: How long have you been working in the automotive detail industry?
Ross: I’ve been doing custom car work professionally for over 25 years. Around 9 years ago I started my own business, which has shifted heavily to a focus in automotive detailing around 4 years ago.
Ari: What is one of the most unique or memorable vehicles you’ve had a chance to work on recently?
Ross: Perhaps one of the cooler cars we worked came in this past summer. We did some work on a BMW M4 GTS in Frozen Space Gray, which is a Matte gray finish from the factory. We had to use a special matte paint protection film, which was both interesting, and challenging. The other thing that was really wild about that vehicle was the factory roll cage, in that we had to crawl around it in order to tint the rear window.
Ari: Okay, let’s talk Tesla. My PDF receipt you provided defines the paint correction line item as “removing surface imperfections and restoring the true paint color” — can you elaborate just briefly on what that means?
Ross: Most people are familiar with the term buffing & polishing, which is just one component of paint correction. Paint correction actually corrects the paint, at a nearly microscopic level. Using various tools and chemicals we’re able to remove unwanted particulate from the paint, and polish the clear coat, amongst other processes. In short, paint correction helps so that the paint has a strong depth and luster. When done correctly, it should look vastly different than a car next to it that doesn’t have the work done.
Ari: As the photos and videos of this blog will show, the car arrived to you with a fair amount of scratches even as a brand new car. Is this common? And how did the paint condition of this solid black Tesla compare to other manufacturers?
Ross: Sure. We’ve done our fair share of Tesla vehicles, and the only thing I can really say there is that their product’s paint quality seems to be on par with about half of the manufacturers out there. That said, each color has a different expectation. In the case of a pure black non-metallic paint, like your car, it becomes more time consuming and difficult to correct than some other colors. That is true of any manufacturer, and is the nature of black non-metallic paint. As for the second part of the question, there are certain brands that come pre-swirled because of their importation process, such as Aston Martin, or Ferrari, which tend to have specific marks that are just due to their transport process. All cars still can use some amount of paint correction, even new as you saw with your car.
Ari: For the sake of my readers, I wanted to explain a little bit more about ceramic coating. In simple terms, I know it provides a coating that protects the car’s paint from the inherent swirling that is going to occur from washing the car. But from your mouth to my ears and my reader’s eyes, what are the reasons you suggest people get Ceramic coating on their car?
Ross: A lot of paints, especially black paints, tend to be very soft from the factory. So when you are able to do a ceramic coating, it provides a very hard coating that helps to protect the paint from typical wear and tear. The coating we use is also chemical resistant, which provides added protection from things like tar, bugs, bird droppings, and things that might otherwise etch into your car’s clear coat. Ceramic glass is just one option we offer when it comes to protection. Another option is paint protection film (PPF).
Ari: In the past you and I have talked about the differences between ceramic coating products versus paint protection film (PPF). In just a few words, tell me where you see these two being different, and where they overlap — and why someone might choose one, the other, or both.
Ross: The real advantage comes from how the car is being used. For example, a car that is being daily driven, on the express way let’s say, that is where PPF makes sense as it provides a lot more resistance to things like rock chips over ceramic glass coating. On the other hand, a show car benefits from ceramic glass coating as it still provides some protection, but with a more glossy, beauty-enhancing finish over PPF. That said, with the current technologies and as they continue to grow, the lines between ceramic and PPF continue to blur. Of course, no matter how you plan to use your car, I always suggest some level of protection for any vehicle. Or motorcycle, or boat, or kitchen/bathroom. 🙂
Ari: Lastly, one thing I get asked by a lot of folks, especially Tesla owners where perhaps this is their first “special car” or whatnot, is simply where do they start? Obviously they can call or email you and have a dialogue, but do you have any simple suggestions on a jumping off point?
Ross: I think we’ve touched on two of the three reasons why people get ceramic coating or PPF. First, people see it as protection for their investment. It adds immediate value, and potentially resale value to the car. Another is beautification, where you want your car to look its best and stay looking its best. But the third reason is often overloooked: maintenance. With a properly done coating your car tends to stay cleaner longer, and in turn is easier to clean. That is where this coating can make a big difference for folks, saving you time during and between car washes.
Ari: Thanks as always for your time, I’m sure my readers will appreciate it!
Throughout the process, Ross kept my wife/I informed, advising us immediately as to the condition of the paint uncovered once the white vinyl shipping wrap was removed. He also teased us along the way with before & after videos, with short clips that showed various panels as they were polished up.
Amazing as what you’re about to see may be, trust me when I say that in-person the paint shimmers in a way you can only partially enjoy in video form. Without further delays, here are some before/after videos to show just what a proper paint correction will do to your paint. (See remainder of blog post AFTER the videos)
Front Trunk (Frunk) Videos – 3 Parts – Before, During, After
Rear Left Videos – 2 Parts – Before & After
Rear Left HIP Area Videos – 2 Parts – Before & After
Rear Right Panels Videos – 2 Parts – Before & After
Rehab Detailing spent countless hours working on the car, and the videos above help to showcase the results. Once the car was polished and complete, the final steps could be taken to ensure it would stay that way. First was to install paint protection film (PPF) across the entire face of the car. As noted earlier, this provides the highest level of protection from salt and other debris that blasts you on the expressway. We plan to take road trips with this car, so we wanted the most aggressive protection available.
Here are two photos of the PPF being installed:
Once the PPF was complete you’d barely know it was there. Having a competent shop like Rehab Detailing install your film is important, to avoid bubbles, mismatched seams, and to get a proper wrap. If done wrong the film can peel. If done right, you’ll have long-lasting protection!
Final steps on the black exterior paint included ceramic coating for on-going protection in the areas that the PPF was not installed. We opted for two layers of hard ceramic, and one top-coat. Depending on how you maintain your car will determine if/when you need to re-polish and re-apply. Many folks go 3-5 years after a full detail. Our plan is to revisit Rehab Detailing as needed, but given our love for the local touch-wash we may find ourselves needing annual visits. Still, you can re-polish a ceramic car for cheaper, and more often, than you can with paint. At some point you’ll burn through the clear coat of paint— so even if you plan to use a touch wash like us, there is still value in ceramic!
Last but not least, window tint was applied, using film that is also ceramic based and provides increased heat resistance in the summer. This includes the windshield, too! Final touches then included some interior metallic-finish vinyl to cover the hideous interior wood. And with that, we were done and ready to go!
We’re quite happy with what Rehab Detailing was able to do with our brand new car. Whether you have an old car that needs brought back to new, or a new car that simply needs protected, the folks at Rehab Detailing are there— they are truly a turn-key outfit, and Cleveland’s premier automotive detail shop!
Have any recommendations for places down in Columbus? And, do you mind sharing the cost for all this work?
Ian- scope of work performed here is around $5,000 with the extra hours put into paint, including the ceramic, tint, PPF, etc.
Right now Rehab is running a 10% off deal on some items. You may want to reach out to them. I think they also have access to enclosed trailers if you want to utilize their services from afar.
Columbus shop to consider:
I haven’t used them before but have heard their name
Great info and insight, especially for us “newbies” to the luxury car department.
Do you know if it’s ever “too late” to get the PPF or ceramic coating? I’m going on a year of ownership now.
It is never too late. However, doing paint correction and then coating the car when it is new should provide the least amount of labor hours necessary, making the job the least expensive. By taking a car that is a year old you may need just a touch more time/labor to get the paint back to “like new” — but the sooner you do it the better. If you’re thinking about doing it, sooner is always better than “later” when it comes to any sort of paint protection!