Gone are the days when automobile enthusiasts must toil away their weekends’ washing and waxing their cars and trucks to protect their paint jobs. Car owners searching for ways to preserve their vehicle’s paint job now have countless options. From regular washing and waxing for the Luddites to longer-lasting protection like a “car bra” or a clear coating, there are possibilities at many price points.
Automakers use ceramic coatings because they are the best protective sealant for numerous automobile components owing to their high resistance to heat, abrasion, chemicals, water, and impact. Almost every part of an automobile, from the wheel hubs and underside to the cabin and engine, is coated with a clear ceramic spray. But they don’t usually apply this to the car’s factory paint job, which is where specialists like Elite Auto Works step in.
Car enthusiasts now know ceramic coating is the longest-lasting, most thorough option for this job. Ceramic coatings seal the gaps and voids in your clear coat using tiny SiO2 particles less than 100 nanometers in diameter. Carrier fluids evaporate as the coating dries, leaving a thin glass-like layer on top of your paint to shield it from almost any potential damage.
But for the discerning gearhead, the questions don’t end there. In the coming paragraphs, we’ll cover all there is to know about ceramic coatings.
What kind of ceramic coatings are there?
Ceramic coating is a hand-applied, liquid polymer that forms a molecular chemical link with the factory paint of an automobile, protecting it and enhancing its gloss.
There are only two major categories of ceramic coatings on the market today: “Professionally Applied Products” and “DIY Consumer Kits.” Both methods will result in nano-coating for protection, but they need entirely different amounts of time and money to set up.
Nanobond, Nexgen, XPEL Fusion Plus, Shine Armor, Opti-Coat Pro, C.Quartz, and Ceramic Pro are some of the many ceramic coating brands available for automobiles for personal and professional use.
The protection provided by Ceramic coatings lasts far longer than that of conventional waxes or sealants and does not need to be reapplied every few months. Instead, less frequent maintenance is required.
Ceramic coatings have long been a favorite of professional auto detailers, but only lately have their prices dropped to the point where they are affordable for the do-it-yourselfer. While it may be affordable, it’s still a precision job that requires a lot of preparation of the car in question, so for novices, it may be best to let a professional handle it still.
How do you care for a ceramic coating on a car’s exterior?
The typical ceramic paint coating still has to be cleaned often, despite its higher hardness and water-repellent characteristics. There’s no foolproof method to keep your automobile free from road filth, pollen, bird poop, and other such debris, but there is a technique to make cleaning far less frequent and tiresome.
- Wash your car two times a month using the 2-bucket method to avoid contamination of your soapy water
- Use a shampoo for ceramic-coated cars
- Avoid direct sunlight when washing your vehicle – bright sun encourages water spotting.
How long will a ceramic coating last on a vehicle?
Ceramic coatings make semi-permanent contact with paint, glass, plastic, and clear coat on vehicles. However, this protective layer is not bulletproof, literally or figuratively. Even the most robust ceramic coating loses its molecular structure with time, and at that point, it’s advisable to remove it and start over with a whole new coating.
A high-quality ceramic coating applied at home is expected to protect for 2 to 5 years. The following three conditions are required for such an extreme lifespan.
The right amount of preparation and execution. A ceramic coating will adhere better, penetrate flaws and porous regions better, and cure harder if applied to a clean car.
Quality ingredients. All ceramic finishes are different. Compared to premium 9H formulae, watered-down versions don’t stick as well or stay as long. The application of a suitable ceramic coating should be consistent and easy to control; it shouldn’t seem watery or sticky.
The SiO2 Concentration. For a ceramic coating, look for a container with a minimum silica dioxide content of 80% (SiO2). The higher the SiO2 concentration, the more hardy the cured ceramic coating will be.
How much is a ceramic coating?
The cost for professional ceramic coating applications ranges from $500 to $3,000. The price may seem lofty, but there are a few good reasons professionals charge what they do.
Ceramic coating products designed for use by specialists only are considered to be of such high quality that only trained experts should apply them. This requires specialized facilities, costly machinery, and specially trained personnel, all of which significantly add to the installation cost.
As attractive as the introductory price of $500 may seem for the ceramic coating application, the reality is that most automobiles need extensive preparation before getting this coating. Because of this, you’ll have to spend time and money washing surfaces with a clay bar, wiping them down with isopropyl alcohol, and polishing them with a microfiber cloth before you even think about applying a ceramic coating. Not convinced? If you ask any professional installer of ceramic coatings, they will tell you that the most expensive part of the job is the preparation.
Can A Car Enthusiast Put Ceramic Coating on Themselves?
Long story short: Yes, but an expert can do it best. Since there are now some more economical ceramic coating options on the market, experienced or thorough car owners can undoubtedly apply a ceramic coat themselves. One thing to keep in mind is that the paint job preparation might be more time-consuming than the actual application, and if you’re not what you’d call meticulous, your results might not be so satisfactory or long-lasting. If budget is your most important factor, we say go for it. However, if you have little time to work on your car or want to ensure the most resilient results, you should consider hiring an expert like Elite Auto Works to get the job done right.