What is Ceramic Coating for Cars?

Some of our clients already know, but many do not. What is a ceramic coating for cars? In this write-up, we will discuss the wonderful world of ceramic car coatings. We will hopefully answer all of your burning questions in one, all-inclusive post. To know if you’re in the right place, here is a list of things we will be answering:

What is ceramic coating?

What does ceramic coating do?

How long does ceramic coating last?

How much does a ceramic coating cost?

How to apply ceramic coating?

How to remove ceramic coating?

If we don’t provide the ceramic coating information you’re looking for here, please reach out directly via any of the communications at the end of this post and we’d be happy to help!

What Is Ceramic Coating?

A ceramic coating for cars is a liquid polymer that is applied by hand, to the surfaces of your car. Once applied, the ceramic coating begins to harden, forming a chemical bond with the clear coat of your car’s paint system. This bond typically takes anywhere from 7-14 days to fully ‘cure’ or finish the bonding and drying process. In this time, it is recommended to not wash your car or expose it to any type of chemicals, including rain.

What does Ceramic Coating Do?

We know that ceramic coating forms a bond with your car's paint, but what does a ceramic coating do? Most importantly, it protects your paint. All of the same environmental hazards are still out there; UV damage, bug etchings, water spots, salt, de-icer, etc. The difference is those little pains will now either contact the ceramic coating and fall off, or they will stick to the ceramic coating and wash off much, much easier. Think of a non-stick frying pan.

A lot of these foreign contaminants are very hard to remove from your paint, which can really scratch it up. Due to it's chemical makeup, these things can't stick very well to your ceramic paint coating and can be removed effortlessly. A ceramic coating has an amazing ability to repel water and chemicals. This makes it much easier to prevent water spots and chemical staining. The coating can still get spots, but you have more time to take care of them than you would on your paint. Did you know you can actually dry your ceramic-coated car with water?! It's pretty cool to see!

The most important feature of ceramic coating is the super-easy maintenance. It takes hardly any time to wash and you won't have to scrub. A gentle hand wash will do the trick, every single time. Another ceramic coating benefit is you never have to wax for the life of the coating. This is huge! Car waxing is a time-consuming process and can be a pain in hot or cold weather conditions. With a ceramic paint coating, you simply wash, dry and you're done. Your car will look like it did when it was first coated.

Check out this short video of a clean car, one side is ceramic coated, one side is not. What a difference in water behavior!

How Long Does Ceramic Coating Last?

The answer to this can range widely. There are ceramic coatings that last 6 months, while some claim to last forever. Typically, the ‘lifetime ceramic coating’ involves return trips to the ceramic coating installer for maintenance and inspections. A good majority of ceramic coating applications last between 1 year and 5 years. Proper maintenance by the car owner plays a huge role in durability. I have seen 5-year ceramic coatings fail in one year because the owner constantly took their vehicle through the automatic car wash – a big no-no! So, the answer I always lead with for “How long does a ceramic coating last?” is “It depends.”

How Much Does A Ceramic Coating Cost?

Once again, it depends. Ok, I’ll give you a little bit more than that. A big part of ceramic coating installation is the prep work before the actual coating process. So, it does depend on the condition of that specific vehicle’s paint. Is it covered in swirls or brake dust? These things will create more prep work, which will drive up the price. Vehicle size is the other factor. Applying ceramic coating on a two-seater is going to cost less than it would on a full-size SUV. You can view our starting prices for different ceramic coating services to get a baseline idea.

How To Apply Ceramic Coating

To apply ceramic coating, you will need a microfiber applicator pad and several microfiber towels. Ceramic coating application can vary by brand, but we’ll stick with the general process for ease of understanding. Using the dropper from the coating bottle, you spread a generous amount of product evenly across your applicator. Working in a 2x2 area, take your applicator and apply left to right, back and forth. Once you’ve covered the area, go back over the coating in an up and down pattern.

This cross-hatch pattern ensures full coverage and no missed spots. Now we need to let the coating ‘flash’ or let the solvent carriers evaporate. The coating will turn a rainbow color, like an oil spot. This means it's time to wipe it away. Thoroughly wipe the area with your microfiber towel. Once you wipe the area, flip your towel to a clean side and wipe again, making sure all ceramic coating residue is removed. Complete this process around the entire vehicle.

How To Remove Ceramic Coating

Full disclosure, this is never fun. Remember how we said a ceramic paint coating forms a hardened bond with your car’s clear coat? Whatever reasoning for needing to remove the ceramic coating, it’s likely very hard by now. The best ceramic coating products out there can’t be removed chemically. This means it’s time to pull out the paint polisher, or buffer, as some say. It’s a very time consuming process. Wash the car and begin to polish the paint.

You’ll likely need a heavy cutting compound with a heavy cutting pad. You’ll visibly be able to see the ceramic coating removal happening. Just remember to switch or clean your polisher pads frequently. The ceramic coating will mar the paint as the polisher is working, but the more of this we can prevent, the better. Due to the scratching and marring, you’ll need to wash the car and polish the paint again after removing the ceramic coating. Fun times.

So, that's our ceramic coating rundown. Hopefully, we touched on something you were curious about and this information cleared up some things about ceramic car coating for you. A lot of can seem foreign or even intimidating if you’re new to it. Years ago, I was nervous about offering a ceramic coating service and hundreds of installs later, it’s my favorite part of my job. I really hope this article was helpful and informative. Maybe next time someone asks “What is a ceramic coating?” you’ll be able to fill them in!

Thank you for reading! You can contact us via any of the following channels:

Eric McKeown

SpeeDetail Mobile Auto Spa





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