In a perfect world, every car would look like it just came off the assembly line. Unfortunately, we live in a world without washing or waxing to protect our vehicles from scratches, rock chips, paint stains, or fading UV rays.
The advent of modern ceramic-coated products has provided car owners with a significant weapon upgrade in the fight against the elements.
Don’t get us wrong. High-quality ceramic coatings are not going to make your car bulletproof. Nano ceramic coatings provide a remarkable array of protection outside body armor, which is expensive and heavy.
A ceramic coating will be your best option unless your Unimog is equipped with an aero armor worth $100,000.
What are Ceramic Coatings?
Before the invention of paint sealants, car owners swore by a jar of carnauba oil in their cars. Ceramic coatings are now a rage. Ceramic coatings are a liquid polymer applied to the car’s exterior. It is an automotive paint protection and treatment. Most ceramic coatings are made from silicon dioxide (SiO2), derived from materials such as quartz and sand. Some brands use titanium dioxide (TiO2) to add hardening agents. The glossy finish pleases the eyes, but the perks don’t end there. Nano-ceramic coatings of high quality penetrate deep into the pores of the clear coat and form a chemical bond with the paint. The top is a complex, smooth layer that dries to the same consistency as a shell. Ceramic coatings can protect your car from the following:
- UV radiation
- Chemical erosion
- Bugs, sap, acid rain, bird droppings, etc.
Ceramics are also naturally hydrophobic, which is a great bonus. They are naturally resistant to water and ice, which minimizes the possibility of stains. They prevent dirt, grime, and salt from tarnishing the paint. Ceramic coatings can last for a very long time depending on how well you maintain them.
What are the Different Types Of Ceramic Coatings?
There are generally three types of ceramic coatings.
1. Ceramic Coatings for Professional Use
Ceramic coatings of industrial strength are more challenging to cure and not readily available for mass consumption. These coatings are reserved for vetted and trained automotive detailing companies .
2. Ceramic Coatings for Consumers
Ceramic coatings for DIYers are more flexible and can be used for everyday tasks. They don’t cure as hard, which decreases their durability and glossiness.
3. Spray-On Ceramic Wax
The cheapest of all three, and it’s also easy to apply. Ceramic coating sprays don’t offer much protection. They are usually softer and more easily removed.
Is ceramic coating the same as Paint Protection Film?
Not quite. Paint Protection Films (or PPF) are thermoplastic urethane films that can be applied to paint. These PPF films can be compared to the protective screens you put on your phone. PPFs protect vehicles from light hail damage, flying debris, and rocks. Ceramic coatings and PPF share many similarities. Both are:
- You can block environmental hazards such as acid rain, smog, and snow.
- Reduce oxidation to slow down fade.
- Reduce chemical etching marks that are caused by minerals in the water.
- For many years, keep your car’s paint in good condition.
- Give your work an invisible finish
PPF is different from ceramic coatings in many ways. Let’s take a look at a few.
- PPF can be removed. You can remove the damaged panel if you bump your car in traffic. A ceramic coating will not come off as quickly.
- Ceramic coatings and PPF are made from different materials. It affects the installation time, cost, and timelines.
- While PPFs can mattify your car’s exterior, a ceramic coating will make it shine.
How to prepare a car for ceramic coating:
After a day of playing in the mud, imagine yourself wearing a black suit and tie. Unthinkable, right? Ceramic coatings are no exception. To achieve optimal results, you must first create the right environment for the coating. It’s not as simple as you might think. Here are the steps to prepare your car for a ceramic coating treatment.
Your car needs to be washed. We don’t mean just water and soap. Detailers will use high-quality cleaners that can remove sealants, waxes, and glazes. It is important to remove any remaining residue from the paint surface. The remaining particles can be a barrier between paintwork and coating, hindering adhesion.
Claying paint removes any surface contamination that washing could not remove. Because even small amounts of fallout can cause irreversible damage, this is crucial.
Even new cars need to be polished and have some paint corrections before ceramic coating treatment. Your shiny beast could quickly become an eyesore if not given the right finishing touches.
After much cleaning, washing, and polishing, the vehicle is given a final wipe-down to remove any remaining glazes or waxes. After all that, your car is ready to be coated with ceramic.
How Long Does It Take to Ceramic Coat a Car?
It all depends. Many coating projects can take longer or faster. The coating is usually applied in a matter of hours. After the coating layer has dried, the vehicle is placed in a controlled area. This is just one part of the process. Other factors are important in determining the time you will need to leave your car at the auto detailing workplace. Here are some considerations:
- Are paint chips on your vehicle?
- Do you have any nicks or scratches?
- Which surface area will be treated?
After assessing the condition of your paintwork, most professionals will give you an estimate. If your car has scratches or a damaged paint job, it may be necessary to correct the damage and apply the ceramic coating. It could take several days.
Benefits of Ceramic Coating
Any solution that contains chemical compounds will be resilient. Ceramic coating is no exception. Ceramic coating is durable and easy to clean. A ceramic coating has the following benefits:
1. Protects your car from UV Radiation
UV radiation can be harmful even if you don’t need to be an expert. Besides health problems, UV radiation can cause damage to your car’s paint. This is particularly true if your vehicle is always parked outside. Ceramic coatings reduce oxidation and UV damage and keep your vehicle shiny and bright for longer.
2. Protects your car from organic contaminants
Did you know that acids in the air can cause damage to your car’s paintwork? Ceramic coatings are a protective layer applied to your car’s paintwork. They prevent contaminants from adhering to the paint molecules. Ceramic coatings are becoming more popular as a result of rising air pollution.
3. Creates a Hydrophobic and Dust-Repelling Layer
Your car’s paint is filled with tiny pockets of dirt and debris that attract dirt every time you drive. Ceramic coatings work on a molecular basis to fill these pores and create a smooth, even exterior. This also allows dirt and other contaminants to slide off the surface so that you will see fewer trips to your car wash.
4. Provides long-standing protection
Regular car wax is prone to fading quickly, so it’s important to reapply regularly. It is, therefore, necessary to reapply every few months for it to be effective. Ceramic coating, on the other hand, bonds to your car’s paint and resists weather and vibrations. Nano-ceramic coatings are also resistant to oxidation. They protect your vehicle’s color for many years.
5. It Saves You Money
Having your car waxed once every three months can be a hassle. These waxing sessions can also be very costly. Professional ceramic coating is the answer. Although it is easy to dismiss ceramic treatment as an unnecessary expense, consider the larger picture. Ceramic coatings can last many years without the need to wax. You’ll end up saving more than what you spend.
Disadvantages of Ceramic Coating
Ceramic coatings are a great way to improve automobile care. However, there are some drawbacks. Let’s take another look.
1. Do Not Offer All-Round Protection
Ceramic coatings are not as tough as they sound. They will not protect your car against scratches, swirl marks, and rock chips. They can only reduce the harmful effects of these dangers. You’ll still need to deal with unwanted parking scratches.
2. Water spots cannot be removed.
Despite being hydrophobic, ceramic coatings are not immune to minerals or other particles in water. These particles can stick to the surface, forming water spots. They will usually disappear with good hand washing.
3. Car Washes Are Still Recommended
Ceramic coatings can reduce the number of trips to the car wash. This doesn’t mean that you should put it off for good. Regular upkeep is necessary to keep your car in tip-top shape.
The Five Most Common Myths About Ceramic Coating
There have been many false theories about nano-ceramic coated. We want to correct them. Here are some.
Myth 1: Ceramic coatings are entirely resistant to harsh chemicals
Although chemicals such as bugs and degreasers may not immediately melt nano-ceramic coatings, prolonged chemical exposure can cause damage to even the most durable. Preventing damage is better than treating it. Removing any inorganic chemicals from your car as soon as possible is essential. Before parking your car in the garage, make sure to clean it thoroughly.
Myth 2: Ceramic coatings are fireproof
This is an absurdity and completely false. Ceramic coatings are resistant to high temperatures, but they don’t inflame.
Myth 3: Ceramic coatings have self-healing properties
No car element can truly heal itself. Ceramic coatings cannot recover from scratches, bird droppings, or rock chips. However, you can use a ceramic topper or spray booster to restore worn-out coatings. These sprays contain SiO2 microparticles, which tighten the coating and replenish its Hydrophobicity.
Myth 4: Ceramic coatings are indestructible
Ceramic coatings usually come with a warranty lasting from a few months to several years. However, not many people claim that the coating will last forever. They are likely lying, even if the coating lasts forever. Although a well-maintained ceramic coating may last a lifetime, it will eventually wear.
Myth 5: Ceramic-coated cars only need water baths
A ceramic coating is not a magic bullet. Although it can withstand a lot of dirt and debris, it cannot withstand all you throw. To remove stubborn particles like tree sap, you will still need to clean your car with a cleaner. Use a shampoo that is safe for ceramic-coated cars. It would be best if you avoided shampoos that can alter the hydrophobic properties of ceramic-coated cars. A pH-balanced shampoo for cars that contains SiO2-based protectants can be used. You might be wondering if it is possible to do ceramic coating at home, given all the talk about the ceramic coating. We’ve mentioned the commercial-grade ceramic coatings available to consumers, but do you think it would be a good idea for you to tackle this task yourself? Let’s see.
DIY Ceramic Coating: Is it a Good Idea or Not?
For average car owners passionate about fixing things themselves, DIY ceramic coatings sound like a great deal. It saves you money and makes you feel satisfied after a long day of work. The best thing? The best part? You don’t need any training to master the process. DIY ceramic coatings can be tricky. DIYers have recently received a variety of watered-down, easy-to-apply versions of professional ceramic coatings. While some are great, others can be described as vegetable oil in an empty can. It’s easy to fall for less-than-perfect DIY ceramic coatings. If you do decide to go DIY, be careful. These are some general guidelines for DIY ceramic coatings. Keep these things in mind:
1. The coating can’t be applied in direct sunlight
Although a freshly coated vehicle may look like a million bucks in the sun, applying nano-coating directly in sunlight is almost impossible. Outdoor applications will likely need to be scheduled in the mornings or sunset.
2. Temperature is key
Pay attention to the temperature of your car’s exterior. If the substrate is too hot or cold, the coating will not bond. The coating will also flash almost immediately if the car’s paint surface is too warm. This can lead to a rough finish.
3. High Humidity Is a No-No
Applying a DIY ceramic coating to damp surfaces is a difficult task. Additional moisture can increase flashing, making buffing difficult.
4. The amount of formula used is important
There is no room for error once you begin to work on the coating. Too much formula will cause the coating to take too long to flash. The too-little coating will not last as long. It will be necessary to adjust the concentration, which can prove difficult at first. Careful, steady handling of the application Ceramic coatings will not damage the paintwork. You may not want to rush the process. A ruined coat can cause streaks, high spots, and hazing. Remember that the coating can’t be removed once it has been applied. You can only remove cured ceramic coatings by sanding them for several days.
5. You must do delicate prep work.
You might think you can apply a DIY ceramic coating to your car and forget about it. You’ll need to spend time polishing and cleaning your vehicle. The coating will seal any imperfections in the paintwork and protect it for life. This sounds like work. We recommend that you seek out professionals if you aren’t comfortable with DIY ceramic coating or if you want a better-quality ceramic finish on your car.
Final Verdict: Ceramic Coating is Worth It?
Absolutely! You can see that the advantages of ceramic coating outweigh their disadvantages almost every time. Ceramic coatings protect your car from grime and keep it looking newer for longer. They are also easier to clean and maintain. Ceramic coatings can seem costly at first. A full-service service from a professional car detailing company will cost you a few thousand dollars. It’s still a great deal cheaper than waxing every year. You can also opt for a lighter ceramic coating if you don’t have the funds. These are not as durable but still, work as well. Ceramic coatings don’t work for everyone. It all comes down to how well you care for your car. Consider the car you drive to determine if you require ceramic coating. Ceramic coating sprays are better if you lease a less expensive car. These sprays offer excellent protection and help to keep costs down.
A ceramic coating can do wonders for your vehicle. It protects your car from dirt and grime and makes it more appealing. You’ll be a star if you drive a mirror-shiny vehicle. We hope this article helps you decide if you’re still unsure about the ceramic coating. Please let the Montana Auto Pros team know if you have any questions about ceramic coatings. High-quality materials are used to make your car look like new. We also offer ceramic coating as part of our standard package. You don’t need to spend extra money. Contact us today to let us do our magic with your car!
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