You might often find yourself drooling at the thought of never having to maintain your car, even drawn to the idea of spending big bucks to get a fresh coat of ceramic coating to make that a reality. Unfortunately, this might to be the case.
Having your car coated does not make it bullet-proof, and even if the marketing suggests that it requires no maintenance; it’s just that they decided that the difference between ‘little’ and ‘no’ is negligible, which it’s not.
So to fully understand what ceramic coatings are and what they’re about let’s start at the basics:
What is ceramic coating?
It is a liquid polymer made out of silicon dioxide which forms a nanoscopic exterior. This liquid polymer forms chemical bonds with the car’s paint which are hydrophobic (water-hating).
Advantages of ceramic coating
Easier to clean
Ceramic coating makes the exterior of your car hydrophobic, this means that it will repel water. Water, mud or any of the kind will slide right off making your car 10x easier to clean than usual.
Think of it as sunscreen for your car. Paint usually oxidizes and fades after continuous exposure to UV rays from the sun. The advantage with nanoceramic coating is that it protects your car’s paint from directly being exposed to these rays, and in turn significantly slowing down the oxidation process.
Ceramic coating forms a thin but strong layer on top of your car which can protect the paint from minor scratches and abrasions. It can even protect your car from naturally acidic contaminants.
Do you love how your car looks after a fresh coat of wax? Well, with ceramic coating you’ll never miss that look. Ceramic coating gives your car that glossy look which never fades!
Does ceramic coating live up to the hype?
Well in short, yes. If you know what you are getting. Here are some of the most common myths we see:
As much as manufacturers love to highlight this, it is simply not true. You need to be careful with your car especially while it’s curing after getting a ceramic coating. Not only that but it does require frequent maintenance and washes.
You might not have to wax it every now and then like you did previously, but there are other things you need to avoid and take care of so that your coating doesn’t wear down before it’s supposed to.
It is true that your coating might be intact even after getting a dent because it’s chemically bonded to the paint, but it might not fare so well from things that might leave a significant scratch. Rock chips and harsh brushes can definitely leave their mark on your new paintjob even after a ceramic coating.
As we mentioned earlier, it really doesn’t make your car bullet proof. Driving fast on a rocky road or having it parked near some rowdy kids can really take its toll. Depending on the size of the particle and the force it is thrown at towards your car, it can easily get through the ceramic coating and ruin the paint.
Not only that, but try to avoid car washes as much as you can. More often than not the brushes used in car washes have rough bristles that can end up leaving swirl marks on your car.
Covers up scratches
This is not true! If you already have swirl marks or scratches on your car, you should probably get them leveled before getting a ceramic coating. Ceramic coating is meant to protect your car’s paint; after curing and hardening it might actually amplify the imperfection just as it amplifies the gloss of your car.
This is called the magnifying effect and can leave you with more visibly noticeable scratches than you started with.
No water damage
Wasn’t the whole point of getting a ceramic coating to prevent water spotting? Well yes, and while most of the water splashed against your car’s body will slide right off, some pesky droplets might remain.
Here is where it gets tricky: contaminated water often contains minerals and dirt and, as this water evaporates, it will leave its residue behind, hence potentially staining your car.
How to maintain your ceramic coating?
Wash your car daily
This is essential. Washing your car daily will prevent water spotting, and remove any contaminants that might potentially stain your car. It sounds like the ceramic coating made no difference but it definitely makes washing your car a lot easier.
Use the two bucket method to clean your car; one bucket with soapy water and the other with clean water alongside a brush. Some things you must remember while doing this:
- Use washing brushes or a microfiber towel. These will be gentle and won’t result in micromarred coating.
- If you must wax your car, use carnauba wax. Not all waxes are the same, and many are mixed with cleaners which can seriously damage your ceramic coating.
- Do not use all purpose cleaners.
- Do not use detergents with a high pH, harsh shampoos or even suds – they are not made for cars.
Take care while it’s curing
You’re not supposed to wash your car for at least 12-24 hours after getting a nanoceramic coating. Not only that, but park your car away from trees to avoid leaves, pollen, bird droppings and sap from falling on it, which might ruin the coating.
What if my coating is damaged or wears down?
If you are involved in any kind of accident and your coating is damaged, make sure the new parts you order are coated. If your coating wears down in five years or so, you will have to get it re-coated. For this, your previous coat has to be completely removed before applying a new layer.
Getting a nanoceramic coating on your car is definitely not fool-proof. Although it comes with a lot of benefits like sun protection and a glossy finish; it can still get scratches from rock chips and stains from chemical contaminants if not maintained properly. The right way to go about it is to assess if it’s a worthwhile investment for you instead of just giving into the hype.