Continuing from where we left off... again! So far, in Part 1 and Part 2 of this article, we have covered the introduction to 'How to protect car paint?'. We've explained what Carnauba Wax is, what properties wax has, on how to use car wax properly. We have also done the same for Polymer Sealants.
In Part 3, we will have lots to cover as we shall focus on Ceramic Coating, what it is, and why you should use it on your car!
To see Part 2 of the topic, click here to learn more about the abovementioned things.
You can also read in full detail about what Ceramic Coating is in a previous blog article by clicking here.
We will cover some basics so that you get a general idea of what you are dealing with. Let's dive into this!
What is a Ceramic Coating?
Ok, so Ceramic Coating is a SiO2 ( Silicon Dioxide ) based liquid that forms a hard crystallized surface on top of the clear coat of your car's paint, thus protecting it from swirls and light to medium scratches, also giving it superior hydrophobic properties and protection from UV radiation. It is also highly resistant to heat and has some resistance to chemicals.
Once it has cured, it will not come off as quickly as Carnauba Wax or Polymer Sealant would. You might even say that it coats your car's paint with a damage-resistant vest keeping the vehicle tucked in nicely for the next two years.
Of course, the two years is debatable since different quality Ceramic Coating might alter that number. It would also be affected by how you treated your car and the climate of your region.
Once correctly applied and given enough time to fully cure ( about a week ), the coating will have completely bonded with the car's paint and is there to stay. On top of all its protective qualities, it also covers your vehicle in a permanent glossy shine. The car's surface will be so slick that even dust will not stick to the paint and will simply fall off during driving. It is quite literally Polymer Sealant... but on steroids.
But Ceramic Coat Expert, if it is that amazing, why isn't everyone using it? Well, for starters, not everyone knows about it or has heard about it but never took the time to educate themselves on the matter. Also, that is where Ceramic Coating significantly differs from Car Wax and Polymer Sealants.
Ceramic Coating usually comes in a Kit. A 50ml bottle with a clear liquid inside. A small sponge block. And a small piece of leather-like cloth.
The idea is to wrap the piece of cloth around the applicator block, squirt a few droplets of the Ceramic Coating onto the cloth and apply the coating onto the car with the proper technique as per instructions ( we shall get into that ) after waiting a certain time, buff it off completely. After about 1 hour, it is recommended to repeat the process one more time. Once the second coat has been applied, it is left to initially cure for at least 24 hours, meaning no contact with outside elements, especially debris or water.
After those initial 24 hours, it will be hardened completely, and you are allowed to use your vehicle. But the curing process usually isn't done at that point yet. The Ceramic Coating will proceed to cure for the next 7 days, at which point it will be wholly hardened and bonded with your car's paint.
While testing, we have seen the coating resist mild abrasives though it can be removed with a polisher given enough time. Mud wouldn't stick and easily sprayed off the vehicle with a garden hose with low to medium pressure.
Using aggressive detergents such as dish soap or non-pH balanced shampoos didn't diminish the protective or hydrophobic qualities of the Ceramic Coating initially. Even though it would degrade upon multiple repeated attempts to use those high alkaline detergents, upon testing numerous brands, some would give out before others giving sub-par results.
In contrast, some would give results that would be dismissed as ridiculous attempts at marketing manipulation. Well, we have seen it all. Ceramic Coating truly has unique properties. Sometimes, if you aren't prepared, it simply leaves you baffled because people usually aren't expecting such behavior.
Some Ceramic Coatings along the SiO2 contain TiO2 ( Titanium Oxide ) to give the solution even greater strength once hardened. Today you have dozens of different Ceramic Coatings out on the market, with almost each of them differing in some way from the other. Some ceramic coatings are amazing, and some are just simply scams. Still, we have tested multiple popular products. Some are not so popular. And we will or already have posted test results in our Reviews section of the blog.
You can look them up and find the one you like which fits your criteria the most.
There are numerous questions that people are asking regarding Ceramic Coating, such as 'Is Ceramic Coat applied to new cars?', 'Is Ceramic Coating better than Wax?', or for instance, 'How much does it cost to get your car Ceramic Coated?', or even 'How long does it take to Ceramic Coat a car?'. There are tons of questions like this, and we are more than happy to answer all of them. We will dedicate an entire blog article just for that. Maybe even multiples, depending on the volume of all those questions.
We will also go into detail on how to prepare your car for Ceramic Coating, Paint Protection in general, and how to properly apply Ceramic Coating to your vehicle. The whole process, all tricks and small details that might give you the edge so you can perform that task with great success and leave yourself dazzled with the results for years to come.
We will give a short and clear summary listing all its features and grading them from F ( bad ) to A ( excellent ) compared to its competition for all products.
So to summarize, here are some notes about Ceramic Coating:
will last you up to 2 years ... A
high resistance to the elements ... A
medium resistance to damage ... D
doesn't have to be expensive but can be depending on if it is a DIY project or a professional is doing it for you ... C / E
straightforward application process but can be intimidating ... B
solid resistance to chemicals & degreasers ... C
Average grade: B / C
We had to give Ceramic Coating two separate grades because of the four paint protection methods (wax, sealant, ceramic coating, and PPF) we covered in this four-part article — ceramic coating is the only pro-grade method that can be done in a DIY fashion with some confidence and little training.
This means that while almost anyone without any training or tools can likely apply wax or car sealant, for ceramic coating, there's a lengthy and tedious preparation job that needs to be done beforehand, to ensure maximum adhesion. And while a car detailer working in a detailing shop will be the one to do all that prep work and installation, it is possible for a newbie (with proper education and a bit of training), to apply ceramic coating onto a car DIY-style. And solo. PPF, on the other hand, is at least a two-man job. And the difficulty level is way up there. So yeah, if you do it yourself (you'll still need a garage, all the tools, and the dexterity), ceramic coating your car can be cheaper. If you take it to a detailer, it's going to be more expensive.
But, as long as you know what you are doing, the Average Grade stays at a solid B. Still, suppose you find the process intimidating, which, trust us. In that case, you are not alone with that problem. You will find that a professional car shop will drain your wallet in no time for doing the same thing. They will probably, use a high-quality ceramic coating product, and they will most likely do an errorless job. Still, the difference in cost can be astronomical.
The main reason the price difference is so high is that the professional shops that are coating a car with Ceramic Coating will go to great lengths in their preparation work to detail the vehicle to its best before applying the coating. Our honest opinion is if you can afford it and you cannot be bothered to do it yourself, sure, pay a professional to do it. But, if you don't want to play a small fortune to get your car properly protected for the foreseeable future, then take some time, follow our guidelines, read a few reviews on which one to pick, and simply do it yourself.
At its core, it is not much different than putting on car wax or a car sealant. However, it is much less forgiving of mistakes and requires a controlled environment more than the other two. Once you test it out on another surface to see how to apply the product, buff it off and test if you've done the job correctly, we are sure that you can do this yourself, alone.
No help is needed as it is a one-man job.
So, the question is - 'Should you use Ceramic Coating on your car, or should you stick to Carnauba Wax or Polymer Sealant?'. Honestly? Go for the Coating. Why? Well, once trained, it is really not difficult to apply it to your car. Some might have a more difficult time because they don't have a garage or a driveway, but as long as you prepare the whole process, preparing the car to be paint-protected will probably take you 5-10 hours if you are a beginner. You are being thorough and not hasty or sloppy.
If you keep that in mind and the weather looks balanced as per instructions. There is no strong wind, there is no rain, the temperature outside is not like in an oven, and the car is not in direct sunlight.
And most importantly - for the next 24 hours, until the coating completely hardens, it will not rain, or there will be no harsh winds or storms, you are ready to go. I know that even reading that sentence raises your stress level probably.
Still, hey, once you accept that that is the procedure that you have to go through to get the desired results, it becomes much more manageable. Also, we remember using Ceramic Coating for the first time, and it really was an intimidating experience. We've had training, consulted colleagues that worked with Ceramic Coating, we've watched hours upon hours of youtube videos, and read everything there is to read about Ceramic Coating on the internet.
And still, it was scary. But after the first, initial coat, we realized that it wasn't really that different than applying wax or sealant. You get a completely different perspective once you have actually done it. So our suggestion is, to prepare your knowledge, prepare your car and just dive in. If you mess it up, listen, it is not the end of the world. In the end, you can try it again with new skills under your belt this time.
The price of Ceramic Coating is somewhat higher than that of a Polymer Sealant. Still, considering the effect you get and how long you get it, it is definitely worth it! Also, keep in mind how easily you can remove wax or sealants from your car just by washing your car, and you won't have those headaches with Ceramic Coating, which is perhaps even its greatest strength. Because you want your car protected, but you want that protection to stay on your vehicle without you having to babysit your car for the foreseeable future.
Regarding its high cost in case a professional does it for you. We advise against it unless you are wealthy and you have a brand-new car, or you have a showroom vehicle. The reason is that the price can be ten folds what you'd pay by just buying the kit and doing the detailing yourself.
Of course, not everyone has the tools skills, or knowledge required to perform a perfect job of detailing the paint on your car. Still, there are inexpensive ways to get decent results on a budget while doing it yourself. You do know that it will be protected with the highest quality coating in the business.
It will be done properly, but the price difference is so large considering with proper training and preparation, you can do this yourself and, at the end of the day, be proud of your achievement and save even up to a few thousand dollars in the process.
As was expected, we will push the last part of 'How to protect your car's paint?', namely Paint Protection Films, and some final thoughts and conclusions on the whole subject into Part 4 of this article, and you can click here to jump there right now.