We are a Detailing Shop specializing in Paint Protection, namely Ceramic Coating. Because of that, we tend to get a lot of questions and even suggestions from our customers based on their current knowledge of Ceramic Coatings.
That knowledge they have is, let's be honest, mostly acquired from the internet. And sometimes, more often than not, that knowledge is less true than it is. Sometimes it has some truth to it but is wildly stretched in some awkward direction. We are here to debunk all the common ceramic coating misconceptions that circle in the industry.
Lucky they came to us with that knowledge, and we had a chance to react to it and set their misinformation straight because, as with all things that do not come out as someone would expect them to, they do have a tendency to lead toward some sort of disappointment and future distrust.
As with all things in life, the same applies to Ceramic Coatings and the Car Detailing Industry in general.
Here we will share some of the things we heard over the years so if you, the reader happen to think those things, you will be enlightened! That is a win-win situation for both of us, for sure.
Let us jump into it!
What is the difference between paint correction, ceramic coating, polishing, or buffing?
Why this question? Well, this one is probably the most common one we get. People mix paint correction with ceramic coating, mixing polishing with buffing. And while all those things are closely related and complement each other in some way, they are all very different things.
So let us break each one of them into a separate definition:
PAINT CORRECTION - this is the process where you fix damaged paintwork. It can be deep damage ( all the way to the bare metal/plastic) or could be swirl marks in the clear coat layer of the car's paint. Common processes used while performing paint correction would be touching up paint chips or deep scratches, sanding, and polishing.
CERAMIC COATING - Ceramic Coating is a form of paint protection alongside others such as Automotive Wax, Polymer Sealants, and Paint Protection Film ( aka PPF ). It is a ‘sacrificial protective layer that goes on top of the clear coat layer of the paintwork of your car. It has many benefits that help maintain paint and ease cleaning.
POLISHING - Polishing is the process of cutting and leveling the clear coat layer of the paint to remove micro-scratches and thus bring out the shine. You can polish a car by hand using a microfiber applicator, and the polishing liquid or an easier method would be using a polishing machine ( orbital or dual-action ). Polishing is the same as if you were to use sandpaper. The liquid used for polishing has such a fine grit that the scratches it creates are visible only under a microscope and look like a mirror to the human eye, while in fact if you were Ant-Man it would still look like an extremely scratched surface.
BUFFING - Buffing a car usually refers to someone taking a microfiber towel and cleaning the surface of a car using circular motions. When someone says ‘It will buff out’ he/she refers to taking a microfiber towel, or some compound liquid, and ‘polishing’ the area to remove some dirt, surface damage, or scratches. After which, you would take a clean microfiber towel and remove the compound until the treated area is clean and shiny again.
buffing could also be called polishing in some cases, where both buffing and polishing would be part of a paint correction process.
ceramic coating, on the other hand, is a different category - paint protection.
paint correction usually comes before Paint Protection is performed on a car.
both Paint Correction and Paint Protection are part of the Car Detailing category.
What is the use of Ceramic Coating on cars?
Customers often come to us and straight-up ask us whether Ceramic Coating is even worth it, especially considering the cost. Sometimes we just plainly get tasked if Ceramic Coating is a scam.
Who can blame them, there are all kinds of information out there, and the worst thing is that there are all kinds of people out there trying to make a quick profit on the backs of others. All those things leave us with mixed knowledge about things, and we are all but left to wonder what to do next and how to do it.
A short but simple answer would be:
Ceramic Coating will give your can a glossier and shinier appearance, and it will give it hydrophobic properties ( it will repel water ). It will also enhance its resistance to UV radiation ( from the Sun ).
By creating a slick surface, dirt will not stick to the car's surface as much, and most dirt will fall off the car during regular driving.
The best part is that all of the above will be provided for a very long time ( at least a year, all the way up to 5 years depending on the product used and your maintenance ).
If you would like to learn more about Ceramic Coatings in general, we have a dedicated article on that topic.
Is Ceramic Coating on cars advantageous?
Following the previous question, this one we also get often, so let us take a look into this one as well.
A Ceramic Coating does the following for your car:
Water Beading / Sheeting
Increased UV protection
Dirt will not stick to the car surface that much anymore
Ceramic Coating compared to Automotive Waxes, or Polymer Sealants will last much, much longer, and more importantly, it will be resistant to chemicals whereas the other two will structurally fall apart when a stronger chemical is introduced.
Is there any real graphene in car detailing coatings that have graphene in their name?
This question became popular with the emergence of graphene coatings. People saw ads and educational videos about graphene, what it can do for humanity, and how strong it is, and naturally would come to the conclusion that graphene coatings would somehow make their cars bullet-proof, basically. That their cars would be protected somehow using science. But in reality, not many would stop and do the research needed to see how graphene coatings really work compared to how graphene works on its own.
This has set some companies the perfect opportunity to cash in on that misconception and lack of knowledge.
Shame on them.
There is real graphene in Graphene Coatings. It is however not simply poured into a Ceramic Coating to create a Graphene Coating. It is instead infused into the Coating during production preventing it from precipitating.
Even though Graphene Coatings are usually black in color, once cured, the coating will be transparent.
It is also important to note that a graphene coating installed on a car will not give it the same properties that graphene has.
Read our article if you want to learn more about Graphene Coatings.
Would adding graphene to a clear ceramic coating increase the durability of the coating?
Again, similar question. But there are all kinds of information circulating around the internet, plus if you are a creative mind, all kinds of ideas might pop into your mind.
But, to make it simple:
No, it would not. It might even make the Ceramic Coating in question unusable.
While Graphene Coatings exist, and they are nothing more than Ceramic Coatings infused with graphene to make it arguably stronger, the infusion process is done through a chemical process when the ceramic acting is made, instead of just adding raw graphene to an existing product.
So, just buying some graphene and adding it to an existing ceramic coating might actually be a bad idea because if you add too much, you might get an unfavorable finish or the graphene might degrade the quality of the ceramic coating you are using for the experiment.
After polishing and paint protecting my car, what is the best way to continue cleaning it?
A lot of people will straight up say that it doesn't matter. That you can wash the car with dish soap should you choose to do so, etc. While Ceramic Coatings will not degrade as quickly as Car Wax or a Car Sealant, they will still get damaged over time depending on the pH level of the chemical that is being used in the cleaning process.
The best way to maintain a car with its paint protected via Wax, Polymer Sealant, or Ceramic Coating is pH-neutral Car Shampoo to avoid dissolving the protective material.
While out of the three Ceramic Coating will resist wearing the most by far, it will, as well, eventually thin out to the point it loses its effectiveness.
We have a detailed guide on how to maintain Ceramic Coating, so you get the most out of the product you are using. Your car will thank you for it!
Why use ceramic coating instead of a paint protection film?
We hear a lot that PPF ( aka Paint Protection Film ) is just better than Ceramic Coating in every possible way and that you should just use that instead. And honestly, if you are loaded with cash, just go for PPF. But there is a caveat to the situation, though.
Paint Protection Film is a stronger and better method of paint protection for a vehicle.
Even with that, Ceramic Coatings still come on top because they are much cheaper, ceramic coatings are more DIY friendly, and are easier to maintain, and ceramic coatings can end up lasting longer compared to paint protection films.
You can learn more about paint protection film, their advantages and their disadvantages.
How to remove Ceramic Coating?
There are times when we are asked such a question, and we often get all kinds of different suggestions from our clients. Perhaps not that often, but still important nonetheless. We get questions such as 'Can I use bug remover to remove Ceramic Coating?' or 'Can I use Isopropyl Alcohol for the job?' and many similar questions as these two.
The best way to learn is through trial and error and believe us we have tested all kinds of chemicals from heavy alkaline to heavy acidic ourselves, so you do not have to!
There could be numerous reasons that Ceramic Coatings need to be removed.
You might be correcting some paint and want to ensure the adhesion of old and new paint, where a Ceramic Coating will definitely get in the way of a successful job. You might want to remove a Ceramic Coating in favor of Paint Protection Film ( even though that is not necessary ). Or you simply want to remove old Ceramic Coating, which is nearing the end of its lifecycle in favor of a new one.
Whatever the reason may be, people sometimes go to strong chemicals when wanting Ceramic Coating removal. This is not suggested as it might not guarantee complete removal while it may damage the paint underneath it and could also be dangerous if not properly handled.
We suggest machine polishing for the job.
Now, you will need a compound liquid - that is the more aggressive one compared to a polishing liquid. It is much finer and is typically used to bring out the shine in paint by leveling all the micro scratches that exist in the clear coat.
It will be time-consuming, but it is the only sure way that the ceramic coating has been completely removed.
And there you have it, guys! These are the most common misconceptions that we get in our shop. Let us know if there are more questions that need to be answered. Things that you are not sure of or things that you are interested in regarding Ceramic Coatings.
You can reach us on our Facebook group or via email.
Have fun detailing, and have fun protecting that nice paint on your car!