People often fall into the trap of thinking that new cars are easier to maintain. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The only reason why older vehicles require more time and effort is that their owners haven’t taken good care of them since day one. That brings us to the paintwork and how to keep it intact for as long as possible.
You see, although new vehicles look like they don’t need too much body protection, the only way to preserve the factory shine is to seal the paintwork with some sort of protective layer. Currently, ceramic coating is the best option on the market.
Let us quickly get you through all the important things you need to know about this popular paint sealant.
What is the ceramic coating?
Let us start this short discussion by explaining what ceramic coating is in the first place. To put it simply, ceramic coating covers the body of your vehicle with another hydrophobic layer that enhances its look and provides additional paintwork protection. You can think of it as a wax job, but far more efficient.
The formula of these products is mostly based on a chemical polymer formula that, when applied to paint, creates a semi-permanent solution that is able to last a couple of years. We call it “ceramic” due to the strong physical protection and ceramic-like visual effect you get at the end.
What are the benefits of a ceramic coating?
Although the world of ceramic coating is full of myths and common exaggerations, this protective paint treatment does provide some more than tangible benefits. Let’s take a look at a couple of most notable mentions.
- Protection from dirt and debris – Unlike car wax or thin paint sealants, ceramic coating creates a durable and semi-permanent protective layer that creates a 9H hard surface that has no problem dealing with common threats like pollen, tree saps, mud, rain, dirt, and smaller debris.
- Protection from oxidation and rust – The physical damage is not the only danger to your first car. The paintwork can be just as easily damaged by rain (it causes oxidation and rust) and even sunlight that degrades the colour. The hydrophobic ceramic formula provides efficient protection from both dangers.
- Improved shine and colour depth – Last but not least, we have to mention that, when applied, ceramic coating improves the paintwork’s colour depth and covers the vehicle with a pleasant-looking shine. Not glossy how some people like to describe it but rich enough and reflective.
What are the types of ceramic coating?
Much like any other car-care products, ceramic coating comes in a couple of distinct types aimed at the needs of different car owners. Although there are a lot of subcategories, we can divide them all into three major groups.
Sure, this may sound a bit like cheating but being able to marry the ease of use and lucrative price of car wax and some of the properties of ceramic coating, spray-on ceramic waxes are very popular in the entry-level price segments. These solutions are infused with a healthy dose of the polymer so they do feature hydrophobic properties but they are not as hard as nano formulas. Their life expectancy is up to six months.
This is by far the most popular and widely accessible ceramic treatment you can find in the stores. The great thing about DIY nano ceramic coating is that this type of sealant is very easy to apply even by novice drivers while the level of physical and element protection sits at the very top of the market. The longevity is not bad either – if you do everything right, you can get two good years of use before having to perform another treatment.
Professional ceramic coating
This solution is highly concentrated so it’s only logical to assume that it provides the best results. Still, you have to factor in some trade-offs. First, these products are often very expensive. Second, they need to be applied by certified professionals. If you are ready for this, you will get well above two years of protection.
What can’t ceramic coating do?
In one of the previous paragraphs, we have briefly mentioned that the ceramic coating market is filled with false claims and misconceptions. Here, we are going to try to shut down some of these myths because as efficient as it is, this treatment can’t perform miracles. So, here are a couple of things ceramic coating can’t do:
- Protect against physical damage – Ceramic sealant covers your car with one additional layer of protection but you need to be aware of the limits of this defence. Even if you have it on, hard scratches and swirl marks will still be the issue you have to keep an eye on.
- Eliminates the need for washing – The ceramic car surface is incredibly smooth and polished so it doesn’t pick up as many dirt particles. You do need, however, to wash your car every 2-4 weeks, as usual.
Are there any requirements for applying the ceramic coating?
Ceramic coating is a treatment designed to work on all types of larger vehicles (cars, trucks, vans, etc.), so in this regard, there are no limitations in using the products. However, if you want to apply the sealant, the surface of your ride needs to be properly prepared. Fortunately, this process is not too complicated.
First of all, you need to thoroughly degrease the surface. Wash the car with a gloss-free, wax-free soap and when you are sure the surface is clean, remove the small particles stuck into the paintwork with car clay. Leaving the dirt underneath the ceramic coating can cause permanent damage. Then, it’s time to polish the surface. Even if your car is brand new, the chances are the surface packs some small scratches and swirls that need to be addressed. Only when you go through these steps can you clean swipe the surface and start applying the sealant.
So there you have it – five things you wanted to know about ceramic coating but didn’t know where to ask. We hope that now you have everything you need to make your pick and protect your new ride with this popular treatment. The sooner you start investing in the protection of your vehicle, the fewer problems you will have along the way.
Derek Lotts is an experienced freelance writer and researcher. His main areas of interest are small business, home improvement, and sustainable living. He strongly believes in the power of sharing knowledge and ideas through the mediums of modern technology.