Should you be ceramic coating your interior?

Ceramic coating interiors?

While we certainly heard of ceramic coating exteriors, what about coating interiors and is it worth it?  First, we were non-believers in ceramic coating period!  However, we could no longer ignore the increasing popularity and thought we better have a second, more in-depth look at it especially with fellow car enthusiasts boasting about it.  In addition, with a quality ceramic coating costing $2,000 or more, we figured there must be value for so many people to be investing this much. We sought out a company with a great reputation, and as it turns out we were wrong in our initial assumptions.

ceramic coating

Ceramic coating for the interior really shines with cars that feature a ton of leather by adding an extra layer of protection. We are all way too familiar with the drudgeries of replacing leather on a Ferrari dash due to heat shrinkage. No, ceramic coating the interior will not save you from the consequences of repeatedly parking your Ferrari in an open parking lot during the summer months. That said, coating the interior will add some UV resistance. Moreover, the interior coating conditions and keeps the leather supple which in turn aids in the prevention of hardening/shrinking/wearing/tearing that ultimately leads to expensive re-upholstery.

Another benefit of the ceramic coating is that cleaning and maintaining your exotic is so much easier.  That extra layer of protection makes it difficult for dirt to stick to the leather or fabric.  The best analogy, that really describes what interior ceramic coating does to car interiors is the comparison of a non-stick frying pan.  Anyone who has ever cleaned a regular frying pan without the non-stick feature knows how difficult and time-confusing it is, and not to mention, how easy it is to cause damage.  The same exact thing can be said for leather or carpet, and lets face it, no one wants to replace leather prematurely on a Ferrari.

ceramic coating gtechniq

In summary, There are certainly some other benefits that are noteworthy, but to keep it simple: yes, we believe that ceramic coating is a worthy investment for your luxury or exotic car. To realize the benefits mentioned above to the fullest potential, we also suggest commissioning qualified individuals to do the job with high-quality products. Our expert detailing team, with 40+ years of professional luxury car detail experience, were trained to be Accredited Gtechniq Platinum Installers. To reiterate, much of the effectiveness of the sealant depends on the paint correction/preparation that takes place prior to its application as well which requires a skilled detailer equipped with proper tools. Factors such as humidity, temperature, and air pollution during application also determine the long-term efficacy of the sealant. Lastly, if the sealant is installed by a Gtechniq Accredited Dealer, a 5-year warranty is offered against stains and discoloration. To learn more about our luxury car detail services, please visit our Detail Services page.

Porsche’s PDK Transmission

What is PDK?

PDK stands for Porsche Doppel Kupplungs getriebe. This is Porsche’s version of a dual-clutch transmission. This system provides the smoothest and fastest shifts of any semi-automatic.

What Is Porsches PDK Transmission?

PDK stands for Porsche Doppel Kupplungs getriebe. This is Porsche’s version of a dual-clutch transmission. This system provides the smoothest and fastest shifts of any semi-automatic.

Doppelkupplung translates to “dual clutch” and the PDK automatic transmission is exactly that. It is effectively two manual transmissions inside a larger automatic transmission. Once a gear is engaged on one of the manual transmissions the next gear is preselected on the opposite manual transmission. As the clutch opens for the engaged gear, the next gear closes. This allows for instantaneous gear changes for agile driving. This system shifts faster than most other transmissions and never needs the clutch replaced – ever!

One clutch connects to the reverse, first, third, fifth, and seventh gears, while the other clutch controls second, fourth, and sixth. There is also no clutch pedal attached to the floor. An electronically controlled valve body corrects the clutch as needed. The PDK system is a wet clutch system, meaning it uses oil to lubricate the clutch. This keeps the clutch cool, so it is less likely to burn out.

Porsche’s PDK system has a long history. It can be traced back to the 956-era cars from the 1980s. However, the PDK system wasn’t introduced to the State’s models until 2009. The PDK system took Porsche 20 – 30 years to perfect and place in daily driver models. Some of the models that the PDK system is available in are the; 918 Spyder, 718’s, 911’s, Panamera, Macan, and the Cayenne. Many compare the PDK transmission to a racecar transmission or even better.

The PDK system is very dependable, however, there is some debate on its failure points. As they have aged it is clear some systems present issues over time. Vehicles that aren’t properly maintained or have deferred work, vehicles that are regularly tracked, or high mileage are the main contributors. Most of the time PDK transmissions aren’t repairable, they have to be totally replaced. This is certainly something to factor in if you are thinking about purchasing a Porsche with the PDK transmission system. Our sophisticated service team is available to advise on expected maintenance and overall cost of ownership to service your Porsche.

Used Ferrari 328 Buyer’s Guide Determining Pedigree

There are three main things we look at when we buy Ferrari 328s. In this article we will examine Pedigree, the second key item we look at.

In our previous article, Used Ferrari 328 Buyer’s Guide, we looked at how to determine the value of the car based on the options the 328 has and how those options factor into the supply and demand.  In this article, we will examine the Ferrari’s pedigree and how this will also play greatly into the cost of the Ferrari.

Pedigree is probably the most common thing overlooked during purchasing.  People are very quick to look at the options and people even know to look at the previous Ferrari service, but ask yourself, how does the previous life affect the cost.  How many owners has the 328 had?  How did they care for the car?  Was it garaged its whole life?  Was it in bad climates?  These are all very important questions that you need to look at.  You may find a car that has had 5 previous owners, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  You just need to make sure you have a clear understanding of where the car was, and how it was maintained with each owner, and really just do your due diligence.  Whether a car is kept in a garage is a pretty obvious factor, but maybe not always top of mind when purchasing.  Also, be sure to get clarification as to how the car was stored, was it a carport or an actual garage, etc.  We once bought a car that was stored in a barn and some type of animal had gotten in and eaten at the wiring.  Everyone also has different levels of how they care for their cars so it is important to find out as much as you can.

The last item to discuss in regards to pedigree is the climate the Ferrari lived in.  There are pros and cons to each weather extreme so it is important to know what to look for.  Cold, snowy weather can cause horrible rust situations and so if you know the Ferrari you are looking at is or has been in the northern climates check the car for rust.  Rust can be one of the worst issues to deal with so it is critical you know if the 328 has rust before the purchase.  On the opposite end are the Ferraris in the extremely hot climates.  The biggest issue these Ferraris will encounter is leather shrinkage and sticky buttons.  Ferraris are notorious for the leather shrinking and deteriorating on the dash and console in hot temperatures. We see this quite a bit, especially with the older Ferraris so be sure to examine the interior for this.  While every Ferrari enthusiast is probably familiar with the sticky button issue and knows that this will happen over time regardless of where the car is stored, hot climates will speed this process

You may also find out that the Ferrari you are looking at has been stored in a climate-controlled garage so it does not matter if it was in an extreme climate.  The owner may also seldom drive the car, or only drive it under good weather conditions, keeping the Ferrari in prime condition.  I point this out primarily so that you do not rule out any cars that are in any particular area where the weather may not be ideal, and truth be told, we see more people taking good care of their 328s than not.

Finally, considering Pedigree is a critical part of the purchasing decision and should not be overlooked. There is however, one more area you really need to examine before you select your 328. In our final article, we will detail Ferrari service and what you need to look for specifically, and what things will affect the buying decision.

Used Ferrari 328 Buyer’s Guide

Looking to purchase a pre-owned Ferrari 328? Read more to learn about the 328 and specifically how to determine the car’s value.

We have had a lot of interest and questions in regards to purchasing a used Ferrari 328 and I thought it would be helpful to outline a few of the key things I consider when I am looking at this particular model.  There are three key things I look at when I am purchasing a 328, first, determine the value, next, establish the pedigree, and last, analyze previous Ferrari service.   In this article, I am going to outline how I determine the value of Ferrari’s 328.

First, it is important to have a little bit of background on this model.  The Ferrari 328 is the successor to the 308 and was produced from 1986 to 1989.  The car is said to be a little more user-friendly, a little more drivable, and a little more technologically advanced than the 308.  The Ferrari 328, also like the 308, came in two different model variations, the GTS and the GTB; the GTS is the Targa roof and the GTB is the hardtop roof.  Ferrari produced about 7,000 328s over that three year time period, and they made five GTSs for every GTB made.  This obviously makes the GTB much rarer, and in a lot of cases, it will make it more valuable, which is going to be very important to know if you are buying a used 328. The car was produced very similarly from 1986 to 1989, except in late 1988 Ferrari started adding ABS breaks, and in doing this they had to make changes to the wheels.  This change is where the concave and convex wheels came into play.  Therefore, 328’s that were manufactured in the mid to late 1988 to 1989 are all equipped ABS.  Now that you have a little bit of background, let’s talk about what you need to look for when selecting your 328.

As I mentioned, there are three things to look at when buying a 328 and we are going to look at the first one, entry price, in more detail.  First, you have to know how much you should pay for this Ferrari and in order to do so, you need to first determine what it is you are getting.  Will you be getting a GTS or GTB model?  Will you be buying an early 1987 or late 1989 with the ABS?  How many miles are acceptable to you?   What condition 328 are you looking for, is a scratch okay, or does it need to be show-worthy?  And finally, how will all of these things factor into the cost of the car.

First, let’s consider the different options the Ferrari 328 has and how they will affect the cost of the car.  As mentioned, there were much fewer GTBs produced so this model will bring a premium as compared to the GTS.  Some people prefer the earlier cars over the ABS so sometimes the premiums will help offset the newer car vs. being an older car.

Second, and one of the most important things to look at when evaluating the 328 is to look at the condition of the car, especially the interior.  A great example is the first 328 that I bought.  It was a 1989 that was supposed to have 15,000 miles on it and when it came in, the interior looked like someone had been living in it.  The entire car had been painted by who knows because it was clearly not done by a professional.  As you can imagine this greatly affected the value of the car, and this was a very costly lesson for us.

The other two purchasing factors, pedigree, and Ferrari service, we will look at in further detail in our next article because there is so much that goes into these two items that could dramatically affect the cost of the car.  However, before you address these items be sure you have determined the value based on the options of the 328 and how these options factor into the economics in the Ferrari market.

Ferrari Timing Belt Replacement Process: Nuances and Costs

Check out the Merlin Auto Group blog. Learn more about Ferrari timing belt replacement, and why it is so important to some models of Ferrari automobiles.

As an exotic vehicle with an emphasis on performance, Ferraris rely on precision. The slightest deviation in structural integrity and/or assembly can result in catastrophic failures – extremely costly failures, we should add.

One critical area of a Ferrari engine is timing. Ferrari timing belts are notorious among owners as a trouble area – one that demands regular servicing on a more frequent basis than your standard vehicle.

Let's explore the nuances and costs of Ferrari timing belt replacement service.

What is a Timing Belt?

Having a mechanically sound mind is not a necessity for the majority of car owners. Every morning they can get into their cars, commute, and pay no mind of mechanics until the check engine light comes on.

Most Ferrari owners like you have a different mindset, though. To own and operate these exotics, you naturally appreciate and understand the fundamentals of the maintenance.

The timing belt of your Ferrari is what links together the operation of the engine’s valves and pistons. As the crankshaft rotates, the pistons cycle up and down within the cylinder. To optimally function, the cycle of the camshafts must be in proper alignment to open and close the valves at the right time.

This is a mechanical linkage between the crankshaft and camshaft, and with a Ferrari or any vehicle really, the timing of the valve operation is critical to engine performance and longevity. In most cases, manufacturers suggest servicing the timing belt or chain every 60,000-100,000 miles.

With a Ferrari, precision is paramount, and the slightest deviation can easily lead to engine failure. This is why it’s suggested a timing belt service is recommended every 3-5 years for a majority of Ferrari models.

The Difference

A timing belt service on a Ferrari can vary on cost depending on the model, but typically this type of significant maintenance rarely dips below $3,200. When a new timing belt is installed on your commuter Camry or other everyday cars, the bill barely rises above $1,200. The reason is because those cars are built for the day-to-day – not the performance mindset naturally embedded in every Ferrari owner.

Ferraris are reliant on precision, and this is a major contributor to the more expensive costs. Not only that, this is an area where nuances and quarks are subjective to each particular model. Regardless of engine displacement and design, each individual Ferrari model will be assembled in its own particular configuration.

Every element will need to be disassembled, handled, and reassembled not only with care but exactly how the Ferrari intended. The steps taken in the procedure vary greatly from that of a typical street car as well.

A Particular Process

Ferraris differ from typical cars in many ways. Why? Because a Ferrari is not your typical automobile. They are intended for a particular life, and this particular life often presents itself with in-depth and high-frequency services. Ferrari designers have taken the time to make these services as easy as possible.

In the case of timing belts, you will often find that most street cars have an internal timing belt hidden behind the water pump and timing cover, which will require gaskets and front engine seals to be replaced upon service. With a Ferrari, the timing belt is often externally mounted on the engine, which does make life easier on the technician in at least one area.

If you take a look at the 360 Modena with a mid-mounted engine, the process is vastly different from a standard road car; the placement of the engine doesn’t allow for the standard service. Ferrari configures these models from the factory with access points for servicing the timing belt. But these points are located below the vehicle and behind the driver and passenger seat. To gain entry to these access points, not only will the car need to be on a lift, but the seats will need to be removed as well.

Engine placement is just one issue. Next is cam/crankshaft configuration and how that corresponds to the model's engine. When servicing a timing belt, it’s imperative to have the crankshaft in the precise position. Mechanics know not to deviate the crankshaft from that position because if not completed properly, failure will happen – and quickly.

With that in mind, it's typical to find four overhead cams in a modern Ferrari. This means that the technician will not only need to know how to access and service the timing belt but will need to be aware of four different camshafts and how they line up during the installation.

Considering these engines have high RPM operation, even the slightest variation can lead to engine failure either immediately or not long after the timing belt replacement.

The Risks of a Poor Timing Belt Service

The chances are that a Ferrari is not the first performance vehicle you’ve ever owned. You understand the ins and outs of engine maintenance and that it's a very delicate operation. Tolerances, torque specs, and sequences are critical in regards to any part of engine maintenance, but the timing of an engine is a very sensitive manner.

If the valves aren’t opening and closing at correlating times, or if the piston isn’t at just the correct position when the spark plug fires, or if the belt tension isn’t just right, you can not only have poor running quality but can seriously damage the engine.

If the installation is poorly executed, you can wear the engine prematurely or run the risk of slamming a piston into a valve – something that can easily cost $20,000-$30,000. This is why setting yourself up with a technician who has the proper knowledge and experience with your exact Ferrari model is beyond critical.

Need some servicing? Contact us today to see how we can assist with your Ferrari’s maintenance. Timing services are imperative. Better safe than sorry!

Previous Ferrari Service Importance In Purchasing A Used Ferrari 308

Why is previous service history important when buying a Ferrari 308? Read more to learn some of the key items you should look for.

Purchasing a used Ferrari 308 is a big decision and one of the key factors to look at when determining value is the history of the Ferrari services and here is why.  First, maintenance is so important and it is not just the maintenance itself that is important, but who does the maintenance can be just as important.  For example, if you are looking at a carbureted Ferrari, you are looking at a very, very unique car that requires a technician with a unique skill to be able to work on a carbureted 308. And, since these cars are becoming rarer, it is becoming that much more difficult to find technicians with the experience and ability to service them.

Another very important item to understand when reviewing the 308 is to be sure you understand the difference between a timing belt service and a major service, and knowing exactly what Ferrari services were done to that particular car. What we see happen a lot is service centers performing timing belt services and calling them major services, and there is a big difference between these two, especially cost-wise. Therefore, it is critical when you are reading the service records to look at every single line item and make sure everything that should have been done for a major has been done and that there is not any deferred maintenance. To give you a specific instance, we once had a Ferrari come in with a major service in its records and we noticed that the cam seal and cam covers were not replaced at this time, which is typically when they are replaced; while this may not seem like a big deal, replacing these seals and covers can be very labor-intensive and add up to 20 or more hours of labor, which can end up costing quite a bit.


The reality is that buying and maintaining a Ferrari 308 is not that expensive as long as you know what you are buying up-front and do not end up with a list of deferred maintenance items. As long as you remember to look at the service records in detail and ensure the technician is experienced with a 308, then you should be able to determine exactly what kind of Ferrari you are buying. Whenever in doubt, find someone who can assist you in understanding the service a carbureted 308 requires so you are not blindsided after the purchase. As mentioned, if you take the steps beforehand, you will find that a 308 really is not that cost-prohibitive.


Used Ferrari 308, Determining Its Pedigree

What exactly does pedigree mean when looking at buying a Ferrari and why is it important? Adam Merlin explains what has helped him to determine a Ferrari with good pedigree and how it has saved him a lot of money over the years.

Pedigree is a very important factor to look at when you are looking to purchase a used Ferrari 308.  Knowing the number of previous owners, the extensiveness of service records and nuances can be critical in determining the Ferrari’s value.

First, the 308 was produced from 1975-1985 so finding a car with ownership decades plus is a positive.  What you want to see when looking at ownership is the fewest number of owners possible and someone who really cared for the car.  When you find someone who owned a car for thirty-plus years, chances are good that, not only did they take care of the car, but also that they can give you a lot of history you will need.

Another important consideration is the climate in which the car spent most of its time.  Due to the construction of the 308, they are prone to rust and rust is horrific because once your car gets it, it is nearly impossible to get rid of and it will almost always be a problem.  At the dealership, we will even pass on cars that are in great mechanical condition if they are covered in rust because it is that challenging of an issue to deal with. Now, that does not mean that a Ferrari in the north is bad because it was exposed to poor weather conditions because that 308 may have been properly garaged during cold months so be sure to investigate exactly how the car was stored.

Finally, service records and more specifically, the extensiveness of the records is very critical in determining pedigree.  Knowing all the service that has ever been done to a Ferrari can help you determine so much, how well the car has been maintained, if the car was regularly serviced at the correct intervals, did the owner skimp in areas if possible.  Further, buying a pre-owned Ferrari from someone who understands how to maintain these cars can be very valuable as well.  It is not rare for us to get owners who will sell us Ferraris with meticulous records of everything that was done in regards to the car including, not just the maintenance, but also insurance records and even key chains purchased for the car. We even will get excel spreadsheets at times notating all the Ferrari services performed.

To sum it all up, Ferrari pedigree is very important when purchasing any model and can affect pricing greatly.  Be sure to fully examine the number of owners the Ferrari has had over its life, the climate and storing conditions for each owner, and the completeness of the service records.  A careful examination on the front end of the transaction will help you eliminate buying a Ferrari that is in poor condition.

Maserati Service Schedules and Costs

Properly servicing your Maserati is crucial in maintaining excellent condition of your car over the years. Read more to learn when you should be servicing your Maserati and approximately what it should cost.

Maserati Service Schedules & Cost

As you can imagine, we are often asked how frequently Maseratis need to be serviced and how much it will cost. We thought it would be helpful to put together a schedule based on the manufacturer’s recommendation along with any notes we had. According to the manufacturer's current recommendations, scheduled maintenance should be carried out on your Maserati every 12,500 miles or annually, whichever comes first. For those that do drive their Maserati more regularly and tend to be meticulous about maintenance, our lead Maserati technician, who has been Master Certified since 2010, recommends visiting your service center at 7,500 miles to prolong the health of the motor.

Ghibli, Quattroporte (2014+), and Levante Maintenance

The latest Ghibli, Quattroporte, and Levante models all share a similar maintenance schedule. Annual services average $500-$600 to include basic maintenance such as an oil change and pollen filter replacement. Replacing the spark plugs is recommended every 3 years. The most comprehensive maintenance is at the 4-year service to include replacing the belts; the average cost of this service is $1700.

GranTurismo Maintenance

Scheduled maintenance for the GranTurismo includes very specific recommendations from the factory at each yearly interval. These services tend to range from ~$1400-$2,000 for annual maintenance. Every 4 years, it is recommended to replace the belts, in addition to other routine maintenance. Replacing the spark plugs is only recommended every 12th year on this model range, which is less frequent than other Maserati models.

M139 Quattroporte Maintenance

Like the GranTurismo, earlier Quattroporte models, powered by a 4.2L or 4.7L V8 motor, have slightly different recommendations at each service interval and average between ~$1,400-$2,000 for annual maintenance as well. Every 6th year, it is recommended by the manufacturer to replace the belts and spark plugs in addition to routine maintenance; this service interval tends to average around $3,000 to carry out.

M138 Coupe, Spyder, Cambiocorsa, Gransport Maintenanc

An earlier M138 Coupe or Spyder should get an oil change and brake fluid flush annually at a minimum. The average annual service expense is between ~$800-$2,400. It is recommended to replace the accessory belt and spark plugs every 3 years for this model range, which is where owners generally see the higher side of the above range.

General Maserati Maintenance

At each interval, the manufacturer also recommends inspecting certain components on your Maserati. Our service center performs a complimentary multi-point inspection that either your Service Advisor or technician can help you understand.

As with any vehicle, standard annual services are not the only factor to consider with respect to overall maintenance costs. For example, earlier Maseratis that were equipped with an automatic F1 transmission have a wearable clutch just like a true, 3-pedal, manual transmission would. Brake pads and rotors are another wearable item that will need to be replaced every so often. Gaskets and seals will eventually fail and require attention as well. Of course, miscellaneous repairs will increase in frequency as the vehicle begins to age.

Much like Ferrari, the Maserati models tend to suffer from the same cosmetic challenges with leather shrinking and sticky buttons/interior trim. While this could be categorized as †wear and tear†and usually found in examples that have begun to age, it's worth noting that addressing these cosmetic concerns can be a considerable expense. To learn more about these nuances, be sure to check out another recent article †Is Maserati Service Similar to Ferrari Service? â€.

Whether you need routine maintenance, more advanced repairs, or cosmetic refurbishments, our service center is fully equipped to service Maseratis of any vintage.

Deciphering Collectibility With Pre-Owned Ferrari 308s

With so many changes in the Ferrari 308 over the years, read more to learn what some of the changes mean in terms of collectibility, design and more.

Looking to buy a pre-owned Ferrari 308? Congratulations, you are looking at one of the best Ferrari models ever made in my opinion!   As you start your search online you will notice 308s priced all over the place and, if you are a first-time Ferrari buyer, you may become quickly confused and overwhelmed.  I thought it would be helpful to outline this model a bit and help decipher what makes some models more expensive and more collectible than others.

The Ferrari 308 was made in a Pininfarina design from 1975 to 1985 to replace the Dino 246 GT and GTS.  During that time frame, there were many different configurations, which is why some of the 308s are $50,000 and others are $500,000.  The early 1976 Ferraris are fiberglass cars so they will bring a premium just like today’s used Ferraris with a manual transmission, they will bring a premium simply because they are manual.  This 308’s body was made entirely of a glass-reinforced plastic, which made it very lightweight and Ferrari manufactured these until mid-1977 when they switched to steel bodies.  It is important to note that because these particular 308’s are the most collectible, that does not mean that fiberglass Ferraris are the most comfortable, fun, or easiest to drive, it is simply that Ferrari made fewer of them and they are of the most collectible 308s.

Ferrari also made carbureted Ferraris from 1977 to the early ’80s, which people speculate these to be collectible.  There are also fuel injected Ferraris, and then from 1983 to 1985, Ferrari made Quattrovalvole cars.  The Ferrari 308s came with either a GTB Berlinetta hardtop or a GTS Targa roof, so when you are looking at vehicles you need to consider first, do you want a removable top, or do you want a hardtop, and second, you need to understand that Ferrari made less Berlinettas so they will always bring a premium.

To recap, the most collectible, expensive Ferrari 308s will be the fiberglass cars made in 1976.  The second most collectible 308s will be the 1977 to early 1980 carbureted car and the 1983-1985 Quattrovalvole in the Berlinetta hard top roof.  The third most desirable 308 will be the GTS, Targa roof, version of the carbureted and Quattrovalvoles.   Finally, the least collectible of this model is the fuel-injected 308s.  Hopefully, this will help navigate the differences in the 308s, but as I always say, it is crucial to consider not just the cost of the actual Ferrari, but also pedigree and Ferrari service and maintenance required to make a good purchasing decision.