Ceramic coatings may be fairly new to the car detailing scene, and there is plenty of reason to be wary. If you are possibly going to drop a thousand, you want to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth. Even then, whose to say that the product itself is actually any good? Well that’s why we are here to help. Let treat this like a check list with three main hurdles. Cost, maintenance, and benefits. If you can tick off all three, then they are the right product for you.
Before we get started, lets demystify ceramic coatings. What exactly are they? Well, a ceramic coating is a chemical coating for your car that creates a hard layer to protect the underlying paint. This is done by molecularly bonding SiO2 with resins and additives so they harden. Adhering it to the surface in the process. Depending on the additives, the coating may also be hydrophobic, scratch resistant, chemically resistant, UV resistant, or all of the above.
So, the first hurdle, maintenance. Where a coating will provide beautiful protection, it does need to be properly maintained. When a car is coated, you will need to use specific shampoos, and will no longer be able to safely use drive-through car washes without worrying about damaging the coating. It will need to be done by hand, and done with care. However, unlike a wax, it does not need to be reapplied once every three months or so. Instead, you will want to give it an annual touch up with a hybrid coating. This reduces a lot of the maintenance work over the course of a year, but at the trade off of needing to do this all by hand. If that is not a hurdle, then you can check that off the list.
Next is the cost. Getting a ceramic coating is not typically a cheap process. Where the coatings themselves are usually quite cheap, they are labour intensive to have applied. When you pay to get one done, you are not really much for the actual bottle of coating. Instead, what you are paying for is the labour intensive process of getting one done. This includes giving the car a deep and thorough clean, decontaminating the surface, and then buffing and polishing the paint to a mirror shine. Only after all of this is a coating ready to go on, because you want that paint to be immaculate before you lock it in. Finally, the coating is applied. Depending on the product, this alone can take between 24-72 hours depending on the number of coatings, curing time, and if any other equipment such as curing lamps are needed. Where this can run north of a thousand dollars, if you are comfortable spending that, then check it off the list.
Finally come the benefits. This will vary from driver to driver, but as mentioned before a ceramic coating can have a range of benefits. They can protect your vehicle from all sorts of day to day damage, and keep it looking like new. If you are just looking to keep your car looking immaculate, this could be the option for you. Who doesn’t love showing off their ride? But there is also the added benefit if you are in an area with lots of rain, dirt, snow, dust, or any other environmental hazard. If the look and protecting your car is important to you, then check that last one off the list.
This naturally leads to the question, is this product right for you? Well that all depends on what kind of driver you are. If you are a regular driver who is not too bothered by the condition of their car, or is looking to keep things as cheap as possible, they probably aren’t the option for you. However, if you are into taking care of your car and making it really shine, it may be the right product for you. A good coating will keep a car shining for years to come, and make it look basically like new. The main thing we advise is to talk to your detailer about which coating they use, and the kind of care that they will give your car.