Car Care

What is ceramic coating paint protection

If keeping your vehicle looking good matters to you, you could spend hours of your life washing, polishing and waxing the car. And despite your best efforts, it still gets dirty. The paint gets stained or chipped and all that washing can leave swirl marks and water spots behind.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a product that offered paint protection against environmental hazards, which didn’t need frequent reapplication and which made washing your car easier? It’s time to talk about ceramic coating paint.

This post is for you if:

  • You want to preserve your car’s paintwork;
  • You’d like to maintain your vehicle’s value;
  • You’re considering ceramic coating paint protection and want to learn about its benefits and limitations.

What is ceramic coating and what does it do?

Ceramic coating (you may also hear of it referred to as nano-ceramic coating) is a chemical polymer applied by hand onto the paintwork of a vehicle. Ceramic paint coating for cars bonds with the original paintwork. Depending on the exact formula chosen it’s a permanent or semi-permanent solution that is neither broken down by sun or wind, nor washed away by rain.

What does ceramic coating do?

Once bonded to paintwork, the ceramic coating creates a water repellant layer of protection that protects the car’s paint from environmental hazards. Car paint ceramic coating is often compared to PPF (protective paint film) or car wax. Ceramic coating for cars is much more similar in function to wax than it is to PPF. It creates a glossy finish, prevents dirt, grime and stains from marring the paintwork and makes washing the vehicle quicker and easier.

Benefits of ceramic coating

Before deciding whether to spend your hard-earned cash you’ll want to know a few things. Things like does ceramic coating work and if it does, what benefits does it offer? Listed below are the main benefits of ceramic coating:

  • Protection from UV rays – UV rays from sunlight break down car paintwork through a process known as oxidisation, think of it as sunburn for cars. One of the major ceramic coating benefits is that it prevents oxidisation, stopping your car from looking dull and faded. Even if you park in the sun.
  • Water-repellent behaviour – Ceramic coating is ‘hydrophobic’ which means that wet grimy water on the surface of the paint slides off. This effect also makes washing your car quicker and easier. And unlike wax, you don’t have to worry about washing ceramic coating away.
  • Protection from chemical staining – Airborne pollutants, tree sap, squashed insects, bird droppings and dirty or acidic rain attack car paintwork causing fading, spotting and other damage. The ceramic coating prevents these elements from attacking your car and damaging the paint. So your car stays smarter for longer.
  • A glossy showroom finish – Ceramic coating brings out the gloss and adds depth to factory paintwork finishes. Car owners who take pride in their vehicles love the idea of a layer that makes the car look better than it did, protects it from damage and reduces the labour involved in regular bodywork cleaning and detailing.
  • Long-lasting protection – Exactly how long ceramic coating lasts depends on the exact preparation used. But it lasts at least 3 to 4 times as long as a wax, and some formulas can offer years of protection.

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Disadvantages of ceramic coating

There’s a downside to everything. In this instance, it’s not so much a case of disadvantages of ceramic coating as limitations in what it can do. Here are some things ceramic coating can’t do.

  • Eliminate all danger of scratching – A ceramic coating will protect against fine surface scratches and swirls. It’s not strong enough to prevent scratches from getting your car keyed or to stop damage caused by deep pressure from sharp objects.
  • Prevent chipping – Ceramic coating won’t provide much protection from damage caused by fine stones or gravel in the road being pulled up by the wheels and hitting the paintwork at speed. It may reduce chipping caused by small stones if they hit at low speeds, but for full protection, you need something more robust than ceramic coating.
  • Eliminate water spots – Water spotting is caused when water droplets evaporate leaving minerals behind on the paintwork. The ceramic coating won’t prevent this from happening. It will however make the marks easier to remove.
  • Save you from having to wash your car – Ceramic coating cuts down on the work needed to maintain the condition of your paintwork but doesn’t entirely eliminate it. Your car will still get dirty, so it will still need to be washed. On the upside, having a ceramic coating will make washing the car quicker and easier and you won’t need to wax it.
  • Eliminate paint imperfections – If your car’s paintwork is scratched, swirled, chipped or damaged, applying ceramic coating won’t correct it. Get your car polished before coating to remove these imperfections. The protective layer locks in the current condition of the paint and you really don’t want to apply a finish then have to remove it to get at an annoying mark.
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Is ceramic coating worth it?

Applying ceramic coating involves an initial expense but once in place it improves the look of the car, helps to maintain the paintwork in good condition and adds value to the vehicle. It cuts down on the time required to maintain the bodywork and since a car with ceramic coating doesn’t need waxing it saves on the cost of the wax.

Ceramic coating isn’t a magic solution to all bodywork maintenance but it is one of the best paintwork protection products available on the market. Is ceramic coating worth it? If you value your car and want to keep it looking good, the answer is yes.

PPF vs Ceramic Coating

Another option to keep paintwork looking good is the application of paint protection film, also known as PPF. PPF is thicker than ceramic coating so provides stronger protection against rock chips, paint swirling and scratches but doesn’t have the same gloss enhancing properties. PPF isn’t hydrophobic so it doesn’t make the car easier to clean.

When considering PPF vs ceramic coating cost is also a factor. The cost of applying PPF starts at around £500. How much is the ceramic coating? It depends on the size of the vehicle of course but expect to pay between £150 and £400.

If you really want to go the whole hog the very best paintwork protection option is to apply a ceramic coating on top of a paint protection film.

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Ceramic Coating vs Wax

Wax and ceramic coating offer similar sorts of protection to a car’s paintwork, the crucial difference lies in how long that protection lasts. A single application of wax is undeniably less costly than a ceramic coating, but wax needs to be applied every 4 to 8 weeks. Ceramic coating lasts for at least 3 to 4 times as long. So when you compare ceramic coating vs wax over the long term the cost is very similar.

Do you need your vehicle’s exterior taken care of professionally?

Looking after your car takes time. If that’s time you’d like to put to a different use, get someone else to take care of your vehicle’s exterior.

Benefit from professional mobile detailing services, polishing, waxing, scratch removal or ceramic coating. You can also book a professional mobile valeting service or just a car wash service. The professional car care technicians are highly experienced and will come at the appointed time and location. You won’t need to provide anything other than access to the vehicle.

Takeaways

  • Ceramic coating provides long-lasting protection for your car’s paintwork and requires far less frequent application than wax
  • It’s most effective for protection against UV light and environmental pollutants
  • It provides less protection against mechanical damage such as chipping from flying stones

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Is caring for your car labour of love or just labour? Have you invested in any sort of paintwork protection?

Share your car care stories with us in the comments section below.

Img Source: Shutterstock/David Tadevosian

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