Is Ceramic Coating scratch proof?


Absolutely not. Whatever someone may claim, the current developed technologies do not allow for such behavior. Perhaps one day in the future, but the best Ceramic Coatings currently do, and they usually do it really well, is giving the coated surface scratch resistance.


That is thanks to its toughness once cured that has been measured and classified as 9H. We will explain what that means shortly.


deep scratch on a red car door

But first, we will get rid of a huge misconception that is running around the internet. If you do or have done some research about the hardness rating of Ceramic Coatings, you will know exactly what we mean!


 

Namely, if you check what 9H means you will most likely get an answer like '9H is the hardness level based on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.' That is so very misleading and let us tell you why so you don't get the wrong idea about Ceramic Coatings. Namely '9H' doesn't exist on the Mohs scale.

 

So, the Mohs scale was developed by a German mineralogist Frederich Mohs some 200 years ago and we've been using it since 1822 and are still using it to this day still. It was created to measure toughness ( resistance to cutting / scratching) and hardness ( resistance to breaking / chipping).


So for instance, you will find glass having a 5 on the Mohs scale while you will find diamond having a Mohs scale rating of 10!


Now by getting that information and reading the Mohs scale chart you might be lead to believe ( as many people do ) that Ceramic Coatings, once cured, have a hardness rating of 9 which would be the hardness of the mineral Corundum or Sapphire.


While in reality if you used any of these to cut or scratch the Ceramic Coating, the rock would likely cut not only through the Ceramic Coating but also likely through the clear coat, base paint layer, primer and would cut the metal surface itself.


That is why information on the internet is wrong and Ceramic Coating manufacturers give out vague information regarding this. If measured using the Mohs scale, Ceramic Coatings would get a toughness rating of around 6-6.5 in reality, depending on the product.



So what does 9H mean then?


Well, 9H is a toughness rating based on pencil strength. That chart goes from 10B ( softest ) to 10H ( hardest ) graphite pencils. Yes, that Graphite, the material Graphene is extracted from. The way they measure it is by using a device called Elcometer and a 9H pencil under a 45-degree angle. Then they drag it along the surface that has been Ceramic Coated and check for scratch marks.


Most Ceramic Coatings have a pencil toughness rating of 9H, while some claim to have a 10H rating even.


Now do not get us wrong, 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale for toughness, or a 9H pencil rating, is very impressive considering how extremely thin the Ceramic Coating layer is. It is a nano-thin protective layer that sits on top of the clear coat layer of your car's paintwork and it would still provide such impressive results. It will prevent scratches or swirl marks that would usually affect and damage the clear coat if it were not protected by Ceramic Coating.


If you want to learn more about 9H, you can read our article fully dedicated to that topic here.


It was important to us to educate the general public interested in paint protection so they do not think how Ceramic Coatings are some magical liquid capable of such extreme feats. They are amazing, but they are nowhere near scratch-proof.


swirl marks on paint removed by polishing


So, by having a car Ceramic Coated you will have no scratches or swirl marks anymore?


This one is also a bit tricky to answer. It is certainly possible depending on how you maintain the Ceramic Coating. It also depends mostly on its lifespan and how close it is to its maximum based on what the manufacturer of the product indicates.


Over time due to UV radiation, chemical damage, and time the structural integrity will start failing as the coating slowly decays. All of its properties will start weakening to the point of complete failure. Of course, a recoat is recommended on first signs of the coating failing, before that happens.


When weakened the coating might lose the 9H toughness rating in some areas resulting in possible damage to the coating. It will still try to absorb the damage that would otherwise go straight to the clear coat or even deeper.



How do Automotive Waxes and Polymer Sealants react to scratches?


Well, they do not really. While both Car Waxes and Paint Sealants have their own advantages, they, unfortunately, offer very little to no resistance when it comes to damage whether it comes in the form of scratching or swirl marks. They have almost not toughness or hardness to resist physical harm.


You can read more about Automotive Waxes by clicking here. You can also read more on Polymer Sealants by clicking here.



Our final thoughts on this matter


It is easy to get seduced or tricked into thinking that Ceramic Coatings are some magical force fields that prevent your car from taking any damage or any similar claims. With today's marketing, while it is regulated, the grey areas allow companies to make such ambiguous claims that leaves you wondering what is real and what is fake.


With no fault to yourself, you might find yourself in such an unsavory situation where you end up being played with a sour taste in your mouth and trust issues regarding Paint Protection products going further. No one can blame you. We have tested tons of different products since we have been in this business for a long long time and we have really seen it all.


swirl marks removed on car paint

With a lot of people reposting the '9 on the Mohs scale' thing, we are getting so many people coming to us misinformed with much higher unrealistic expectations, of the product in question. Some leaving disappointed thinking how a 9H pencil rating strength seems like it does nothing while in reality, it does, A LOT!


polished red car

We believe it is our mission to educate our customers, and now readers so you cannot be put in such a position. Ceramic Coatings are amazing. We certainly love working with them, we love them on our cars, and our customers love them on theirs. Because it has so many good benefits. One of them being the above discussed 9H toughness rating. While it is very reliable and very strong when it comes to everyday events, it certainly isn't invulnerable and will not prevent endless beating. It will, however, help prevent damage that would otherwise go straight onto your paint.


For some extra points you can check out our article on the best way to protect the paint of your car, whether it is new or you just want to keep it looking new for the forseable future.

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