We, as a generation, are probably the vainest group of people to have walked the earth. Every minute details of our life are now shared on social media, from what we had for lunch, what our pets were doing and how we look when we hit the gym last night.
This vanity is also reflected on the things we buy, where most premium smartphones are now sold with a glass back, not just because they look gorgeous but because they could be used as a backup mirror in case of emergencies.
The problem with glass-backed smartphones is that they’re also ridiculously fragile, which of course is ironic given that smartphones are exactly the one thing you’re going to be spending most of your time handling and dropping.
It’s not just phones; cars are also suffering from the exact same problem. It used to be that most cars come equipped with bumpers, so that whenever you hit something you’re not supposed to, which is everything, those bumpers will sustain most of the damage instead of the actual car.
In 2018, this is no longer the case. Most cars are sold without bumpers which is also ironic because now that the cars are filled with more technologies than ever before, primarily for safety and driver assistance, repairing them could cost you a lot of money.
There’s really no easy way to prevent those incidents without bringing those bumpers back but if you’re looking to simply give your paint an extra protection, ceramic coating might be exactly what you need as long as you keep an Elcometer 500 ready to keep it from being too thick.
What is ceramic coating?
If bumpers act like some sort of body armour for your car, providing protection against impact on your car, ceramic coating acts more like a second skin. In simple terms, ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that is applied at the exterior of your vehicle.
Ceramic coating utilises the principle of nanotechnology, using very small particles that form a fine layer of protection on your car. Because these particles are very small, they’re able to fill the pores on the surface of the car, making them not just water-repellent but also providing protection against UV exposure and chemicals.
Ceramic coating is also transparent and what makes it quite remarkable is that the chemical bond it forms with the surface is quite strong so that it won’t simply be swept away during a car wash or rain and it lasts quite a few years.
As such, if you’re tired of having to regularly wax your car every month or so, ceramic coating is a very attractive option as it provides similar benefits with the added bonus of durability.
What is ceramic coating capable of?
It might not matter much now that most of Australia is suffering from drought but if you ever find yourself in a time with heavy volumes of rain, you’d be thankful for ceramic coating’s hydrophobic quality.
The water itself isn’t the problem; it’s the dirt, grime and mud within the water that could bring a headache. If you’ve ever seen spots of dirt on your car windshield after periods of rain, know that they can be removed with a lot less effort in a car that’s been coated.
What’s potentially more attractive is that ceramic coating can be helpful against excessive UV exposure. Exposure to the sun can cause oxidation to the car, giving the car’s paint a faded and somewhat dulled look.
Australia of course, is an excessively sunny place, with endless beaches, clear blue skies and lovely coastal highways that double as a tourist attraction, which is precisely why having your car coated can prove to be highly beneficial in the long run.
What is ceramic coating not capable of?
It should be noted that ceramic coating is really, really thin so that even though it might help against minor scratches, it won’t help when you mess up on the parking lot. Grazing against the bush while approaching your driveway might be okay but it’s simply neither flexible nor thick enough to guard against deep gashes or heavy impacts.
So bear this in mind when you have the urge to drive to the Outback or the Ormiston Gorge or whatever because ceramic coating isn’t going to be of much help with those rock chips and pebbles.
I said before that with ceramic coating, you’re going to be saved from having to wax your car every month or so and that’s true but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be completely absolved of the responsibility of maintaining your car.
Any car that has been coated, especially if it’s being driven daily, is still going to need some washing, just with a lot less effort and frequency. You’re going to find that dirt can be more easily removed but it’s still going to accumulate on the surface over time if you neglect to wash them.
One other thing to note is that even though it is actually possible to apply a DIY ceramic coating kit by yourself, you need to take extra care when doing so. Remember that ceramic coating acts as a transparent extra layer of skin so it is important that the actual surface of the car is in pristine condition before you apply the ceramic coating.
Once you’ve coated the car, there’s little you can do to fix the underlying surface without actually removing the coating.