Protect your car’s paint and make it look shiny? Seems like a win-win. What’s the deal with ceramic coatings for cars?
We find out.
What is a ceramic coating?
In a nutshell, it’s an extra coating applied to your car’s paint. This coating comes in liquid form and dries hard over your paint, acting as a ‘sacrificial’ and hydrophobic layer. Sacrificial as it helps prevent minor scratches and hydrophobic as it can bead away and repel water.
Additionally, ceramic coatings can leave your car looking extra shiny with some applications described as ‘looking like glass’.
What does ceramic coating protect against?
Depending on the type of product, ceramic coatings can resist:
- Chemicals: for example, you drive in puddles of dirty water which dry, leaving road dust on your car.
- UV damage: a huge advantage of ceramic coatings is that they can protect against sun damage. You may have seen faded and flaking paint on older cars.
- Bird and tree debris: tree sap and bird droppings can have acidic properties which stain car paint. Furthermore, ceramic coatings can protect against light scratches from twigs or leaves
- Light scratches: as mentioned above, ceramic coatings can act as a sacrificial layer that protects from light scratches. These can come from trees, people brushing past your car or car washes for example.
- Water: of more specifically; rain. The hydrophobic properties of ceramic coatings bead and repel water. This is beneficial as it reduces stains and streaks on your paint.
How do I get a ceramic coating?
Ceramic coating can be easily applied at home or, of course, you can pay a professional to apply it.
As ceramic coatings are extremely popular now, there are many options from SuperCheap Auto, Repco and Autobahn. The most popular ceramic coatings for car lovers are Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wax, Mothers CMX and Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax. These products usually last a few months, depending on where you park your car and how you use your car.
Professional ceramic coatings can be much more durable and offer more protection. In fact, some boast up to a 7-year lifespan. Some services offer a mobile option while others require you to leave your car with them. Depending on the age and condition of your car, applications can take several hours.
DIY Ceramic Coating:
With the products available from auto parts retailers, applying your own ceramic coating is a popular option. Turtle Wax, for example, is a simple ‘spray-on, wipe off’ product that works wonders on most car paint surfaces.
The hard part, depending on the condition of your car, is preparing the paint for ceramic coating.
Older cars need to be thoroughly cleaned before applying ceramic coatings to prevent grime or dust from getting trapped under the ceramic coating. Furthermore, depending on where you park your car, some grime and grease can actually prevent ceramic coatings from sticking.
How to prepare your paint:
1: Wash the car. Make sure to use only specific car wash liquid and a clean microfiber wash mitt or cloth.
2: Clay bar: This process takes some elbow grease. Rub a clay bar with car wash liquid over your car’s paint to remove any dust stuck to the surface. Some dust particles can become embedded in the clear (surface) coat, clay barring removed this.
3: Polish: Depending on your car’s paint condition, you may need to use a polishing compound to correct any light scratches. Polishing compounds can remove these imperfections. Give your car a quick once-over with a clean microfibre cloth after polishing,
4: Ceramic coating time: Reading the directions of your ceramic coating. Most are a simple ‘spray-on, wipe off’ product which literally means you can spray the ceramic coating on your paint surfaces and wipe it off. It’s easiest to go panel by panel, being careful not to miss any sections.
Note that ceramic coatings are transparent which can make applying them hard to see.
Following these steps may cost a chunk of a Saturday afternoon, but the results are well worth it. Ideally, you’ll give your car a thorough spring clean before applying a ceramic coating.
Ceramic coating cost:
DIY ceramic coatings start at around $35 for a container of ‘spray-on, wipe off’. One container can do around 3 SUVs worth, depending on how many coats you plan to apply. If applied correctly, the ceramic coating can last several months.
Professional ceramic coatings start from around a few hundred dollars and can go north of $3,000. Naturally, this depends on the size of your vehicles, current condition of the paint as it may need significant preparation and the quality of the ceramic coating.
Is ceramic coating right for my car?
Yes – is the probable answer. No matter the age of your vehicle, new or used, ceramic coatings can offer excellent paint protection. Still unsure? Talk to a retailer or professional to find out what option your vehicle matches.
If you’re selling a car to take advantage of the used car prices boom, adding an extra layer of shine and protection can really make the vehicle stand out.
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