Do you love your car? Are you the kind of person who stresses over every tiny scratch, scuff and chip? Then chances are you’ve already looked into ceramic coatings for cars.
A ceramic coating can be a good way to protect your car’s paintwork and enhance the finish. However, they can be expensive and difficult to apply. Additionally, some coating brands make spurious claims about what their products actually do.
So, to help you decide if a ceramic coating is right for your car, we’re going to have a look at what a ceramic coating actually is and what it realistically does.
What is a ceramic coating?
Ceramic coating is a liquid polymer sealant. It creates a permanent chemical bond with your vehicle’s topcoat and forms a physical barrier over the paintwork. Ceramic coatings are generally made from silicon dioxide and a mix of other chemicals depending on the brand.
What does a ceramic coating do?
Ceramic coatings are designed to protect your vehicle paintwork from damage by permanently bonding a long-lasting protective layer to your vehicle’s paint. They are generally used by professional automotive detailers and car enthusiasts to give a deep glossy shine with ultra-long-lasting durability.
This is what ceramic coatings are designed to do.
- Protects against physical damage
By forming a physical barrier over the paintwork, a ceramic coating is designed to protect your paint from scratches, chips, etches, scuffs and other physical marking. While it certainly doesn’t make your paintwork immune to this sort of damage, it does provide an extra protective layer against minor damage.
- UV protection
Over time, the sun’s rays can oxidise your car’s paint causing it to fade. A ceramic coating creates a protective barrier that helps to filter out the harmful UV rays before they reach the paint work.
- Protection against pollutants
There are a number of pollutants that can cause damage to your vehicle’s paintwork. Chemicals in fluids like petrol, coolant, motor oil and some cleaners can corrode your paintwork. Natural substances like bird droppings or tree sap can also corrode your paint if left to sit on the surface. A ceramic coating won’t be damaged by this kind of chemical corrosion and so will protect your paintwork from these kinds of chemical damage.
Even water can damage your paint. When water evaporates from the surface of your car, it leaves behind dirt, salts, minerals and any other contaminants that were present in the water. These deposits can solidify and etch into the paintwork. Besides creating a physical barrier, ceramic coatings are also highly hydrophobic, which means they repel water.
- Makes car easier to clean
Because of these hydrophobic properties, ceramic coatings make cars much easier to clean. Since the surface repels water, it’s easier to remove stains and the water beads off the surface.
- Enhances paintwork
A good ceramic coating will also enhance your paintwork, adding a depth, clarity and vibrancy to the vehicle’s finish. And because the coating is long-lasting, you don’t need to bother with regular waxing.
If you’re considering investing in a ceramic coating for your car, it’s important to be realistic about what the coating will actually do.
While it will add an extra layer of protection for your paintwork, it won’t create an impenetrable barrier that will stop any damage. Your paintwork will still be vulnerable to scratching and chipping, it just won’t be as susceptible.
While the coating does have hydrophobic properties, it does not eliminate the need for washing and it does not prevent water marks. You should still wash your car regularly and it will need to be properly dried to prevent water spotting.
Applying a ceramic coating
When it comes to applying a ceramic coating it’s worth thinking about whether you want to apply it yourself, or leave it to a professional car detailer. While the coating itself is simple to apply, to get the best results you will need to do quite a bit of work to properly prepare the paint. This includes thoroughly washing the car, using a clay bar to remove any stubborn contaminants, correcting the paint and fully cleaning the surface to remove any polish, waxes, oils or contaminants. This will ensure that the coating properly bonds to the topcoat.
Since ceramic coatings create a semi-permanent bond with the paintwork, any mistakes during application can be difficult and costly to fix. So, if you don’t have much experience with car detailing, it might be a good idea to leave this job to the pros.