When it comes to keeping your car looking good, ceramic coating seems to be king. Everyone and their uncle who knows a thing or two about car care has been talking it up for a couple of years now. But is it really all that great? How much of the hype is true, or is it just the current buzzword with nothing real to back it?
While it’s true that ceramic coating’s popularity has grown over the years, the hype around it is well deserved. But why? What makes it so cool? Why should you use it, and what can you use it on?
Before we get into all those fun questions, let’s start from the beginning in case you’ve never heard of this stuff before – or at least don’t know much about it: what is ceramic coating?
Ceramic coating is a type of liquid polymer that, once cured, forms a shell around whatever it was applied to. In this case, your car, but it can be applied to plenty of other vehicles like semis, RVs, boats, planes – you name it. You can even ceramic coat the glass door to your shower if you wanted to.
Most ceramic coatings are made from silica, the same stuff found in sand or rocks like quartz. Some have other metallic additives like titanium oxide for extra protection and shine.
Where waxing used to be the gold standard for keeping your car looking clean and protecting its exterior from the elements, ceramic coating goes a step further by providing long-lasting protection bonds to your car. Wax, by contrast, will degrade much faster, especially when it comes in contact with certain soaps, harsh chemicals, and UV light from the sun. A high-quality ceramic coating that’s properly taken care of can last for years, keeping your car shiny alongside plenty of other benefits.
Still have your attention? Let’s go a little deeper.
What’s the Difference Between Ceramic Coating and Clear Coat?
While ceramic coating is, indeed, a clear protective polymer, it’s not the same as a clear coat. A clear coat is what’s sprayed onto your car at the factory as a part of your paint job. Its main purpose is to protect the paint, adding a buffer between the paint itself and the outside world and adding shine. Indeed, the clear coat is what gives your car’s paint that shininess.
Conversely, ceramic coating is a protectant that can be layered on top of the clear coat. Think of it like the clear coat’s clear coat; the clear coat is there to keep your paint from fading away, and the ceramic coating seals everything in further.
Ceramic coating used to be a rather niche finish in the car detailing community but has gotten so popular that there are ceramic coatings for everything. You can apply it to anything: paint, glass, plastic, rubber. Every bit of your car’s exterior can be coated in ceramic.
But why on earth would you do that?
What Does Ceramic Coating Protect From?
The biggest benefit of ceramic coating is the sheer amount of protection it provides. No, it won’t turn your car into a tank or make it bulletproof, though it does protect against plenty of gunk your car deals with daily, such as:
- UV radiation from sun exposure
- Industrial fallout, dust, and grime
- Bird poop
- Water spots
- Tree sap
- Road tar
- Road salt
- Minor etching and light scratches
Some ceramic coats can even hide mild paint imperfections or help rejuvenate the clear coat by filling in shallow scratches. With that in mind, it’s not a cure-all; some scratches or exterior damage are so deep that they require other repairs. Still, ceramic coating is another layer of protection that makes it more difficult for that damage to appear in the first place.
What are the Benefits of Ceramic Coating?
Aside from protecting the car’s paint and clear coat, there are plenty of other benefits to a high-quality ceramic coating. These include:
- Hydrophobic properties – ceramic coating keeps cars cleaner for longer since nothing wants to stick to it; by its chemical nature, it repels water and other liquids and keeps grime from sticking to the paint.
- Easier to wash – because nothing wants to stick to the coating, everything washes off much easier… so much so that you can feel a big difference before and after you coat your car.
- Protects against paint fading – the UV protection keeps your paint from fading, something that’s especially important if you park your car outside without shade.
- Keeps your car looking new longer – in addition to making washing easier and protecting your paint, your car will stay looking new for much longer since everything is sealed in ceramic.
How Do I Take Care of Ceramic Coating?
Nowadays most ceramic coatings are pretty low maintenance. Just wash and wax your car as you normally would after your ceramic coating has been applied and has had time to cure. Depending on your coating, there might be additional steps to do during the drying steps or after your car dries from its latest wash and wax. With that in mind, be sure to save all care instructions that come with your ceramic coating.
How Long Does Ceramic Coating Last?
Much like care instructions, how long ceramic coating lasts depends on your chosen product and how well you maintain it. Generally, most coatings will last from 1-7 years, but again, this depends on the brand, their guarantee, where you store your car, how much direct sunlight exposure it gets, and how often you wash or wax it (ideally once a month).
Interested in keeping your car looking new and shiny with the added benefit of making it easier to wash? Get a hold of the helpful professionals at Dom’s Details by giving us a call or using the contact form below.