There are many ceramic coatings available today on the market. While quality ceramic coatings provide easier maintenance and some protection, there is a lot of incorrect information circulated about ceramic coatings. We would like to point out one thing right away: ceramic coatings do not protect against everything on the road. In fact, there are several misconceptions about the benefits of ceramic coatings that we want to set straight so that those interested in ceramic coatings can have accurate information and realistic expectations for optimal decision making.
1. True or False: Ceramic Coatings are Permanent
False. While ceramic coatings form a permanent bond to the clear coat on the surface of a vehicle, this does not mean the effects of the coating are permanent. The reality is that environmental stressors such as sun exposure, dirt, salt, and even washing your car will contribute to the breakdown of the coating over time, just as they would to vehicle paint without any protection. Typically, ceramic coatings will last anywhere from 2-6 years depending on the quality of the coating and it’s intended use.
2. True or False: With a ceramic coating, I will not have to wash my vehicle
False. While a coating changes the surface tension on the clear coat and makes the surface slick, thus resulting in dirt bonding less easily, a vehicle with ceramic coating is still susceptible to getting dirty. Ceramic coatings help with the maintenance and make it easier to wash the car as it will cut down on the amount of washing needed. The vehicle will also stay clean for a longer period of time, however, ceramic coatings will not but eliminate the need to wash your car.
3. True or False: Your vehicle cannot get wet right after ceramic coating is applied
This is partially true. The vehicle should not get wet for 48 hours after coating application. However, the car can technically get wet as long as it is dried right away. Since the coating is in a much more sensitive state immediately after application, the chance of the coating etching or having spotting problems is much higher within the first couple days after application.
False! Unfortunately, many detailers and ceramic coating companies endorse coatings for their scratch resistance and will make false claims that they are ‘scratch-proof’ to rock chips. This is untrue. While some coatings may offer some scratch resistance, no coating is scratch proof.
Ceramic coatings offer hard protection and they will help prevent some marring and swirl marks, but ceramic coatings are not scratch proof. A poor car wash could result in small scratches even if the vehicle has a coating. Proper maintenance and good washing techniques are vital to keeping your coating in good condition. Ceramic coatings act as a sacrificial layer that when damaged or worn out can be removed and replaced as necessary.
5. True or False: It is easy to apply Ceramic Coatings
This depends. There are a number of consumer-grade ceramic coatings widely available today that have a fairly easy application. However, before you can apply a ceramic coating, the surface has to be free of blemishes. The condition of the paint will determine the complexity of this process. Paint correction is highly recommended before any coating is applied since the ceramic coating will act as a semi-permanent layer on the vehicle paint. Each coating installer will have a different method but at Elite Auto Spa we recommend washing, claying, and polishing the car prior to installation of the ceramic coating. Without taking the necessary steps pre-installation, the ceramic coating will seal in defects that were on the surface paint at the time of coating application. Furthermore, the lifetime of the coating will be impaired without proper application.
6. True or False: All Ceramic Coatings are the same
False. As touched upon in some of the above sections, there are varying degrees of quality with ceramic coatings and thus a varying degree of price points.
All ceramic coatings are going to protect your vehicle the same. All coatings are durable, shiny and they will last longer than waxes or sealants. Coatings differ in the thickness, level of durability, longevity and gloss.
Coatings essentially fall into one of two courts: consumer grade ceramic coatings and professional grade ceramic coatings. Professional ceramic coatings are thick, and often require multiple steps to cure. These ceramic coatings provide the best durability and aesthetics. Professional ceramic coating companies, such as Modesta and CQuartz Finest, require the installer to be vetted, trained on their product, maintain a good reputation and may have other requirements such as access to infrared lamps for proper curing.
On the other hand, consumer grade ceramic coatings can be purchased online by anyone and typically require only a single stage for application. They are much easier to apply but they do not cure as hard as professional grade coatings and thus you will not receive the same depth of shine and durability as you will with professional grade ceramic coatings.
As with anything in the automotive protection industry, we always recommend our customers do their research before choosing any service. With ceramic coatings, there are a wide variety of products available on the market so it is important to understand the various benefits in order to meet expectations.