Ceramic Coating For Cars
Getting that perfect luxurious shine on the surface of your car is hard enough, and once you’ve finally polished it up like new, it never lasts for very long even with the most expensive wax job. Your car costs you a small fortune and keeping it sparkling clean costs you endless time and money you’re sick of spending. Still, every day you pull into the parking lot next to cars that shine stars in the night sky. What’s their secret?
Washing and waxing keep your paint job clean, and nothing will ever replace that. But that ultra-clean shimmer can fade in a short time requiring you to clean and wax again and again. Instead, applying a ceramic coating to your exterior helps keep your car’s paint clean and shiny for far longer.
Are expensive ceramic coatings right for your car? Does ceramic coating for cars really work the way it’s advertised, and does it actually save time and money in the long run? We’re here to answer all of your questions about ceramic coatings with our ultimate guide to ceramic coating for cars.
What Is Ceramic Coating for Cars?
Ceramic coating is an industry-grade chemical polymer solution that you can apply to the outside of your car to protect your paint and finish from dirt, dust, weathering, and chemical wearing. Ceramic coating is usually a clear solution that you apply carefully by hand creating a thin, hydrophobic layer over the surface of the vehicle.
The ceramic coating bonds to your vehicle’s finish and dries transparently, resulting in a crisp and clear look that maintains the original luster of your paint job. It lasts much longer than wax alone and protects your paint from damage due to abrasive particles and chemicals in the environment resulting in a fresh appearance that lasts longer between cleanings and a more durable coat that’s resistant to aesthetic blemishes.
Why Use Ceramic Coating?
It may well be true that you enjoy an afternoon out in the driveway washing and waxing the car by hand. If you’re like most people, though, this laborsome chore is a big time sink, and you wonder if there’s not a better way to keep your car looking clean and new.
While it’s true that you’ll still need to wash and wax to maintain your car’s coat, your fresh shine will last far longer between washes with a ceramic coating. What does a professional-grade ceramic coating do to protect the paint on your car? Here are four key benefits of a good ceramic coating product.
Protection from UV Rays
Paints and dyes famously bleach over time under direct exposure to sunlight, and even the industrial-grade paint on your car isn’t immune to the sun’s powerful rays. Over a long period of time, the paint job on your car can slowly lighten and fade due to long-term UV ray exposure especially if you live in a sunny climate. Ceramic coating can protect your car from harmful UV rays from the sun, helping to maintain the original hue of your paint job and keep your car looking its best out in the sunlight for longer.
Protection from Chemical Contaminants
Depending on where you live (and thus drive your car), your vehicle might be exposed to anything from salt from the ocean air to abrasive de-icing chemicals on winter streets. Chemical irritants can cause significant damage to your car’s exterior, and if left untreated and un-maintained, they can even cause permanent damage over time. A car ceramic coating creates a strong protective layer over your vehicle’s exterior that acts as a barrier between your paint and the harsh chemicals in your driving environment. Your ceramic coating will protect your car for longer and against more powerful contaminants than wax alone.
Water Resistant & Easy to Clean
A good ceramic coating is hydrophobic by its very nature, helping to repel rainwater and other moisture and preventing them from leaving behind ugly and harmful residues on the surface of your car. As a result, not only is your car less prone to showing dirt and residue between cleanings, but it’s much easier to clean when the time eventually comes. Ceramic coatings are slick and prevent dirt from clinging, keeping the car looking clean and fresh for longer and helping it maintain its color and brilliance.
Ceramic coatings are transparent films that create an opaque barrier between your paint job and dirty particles in the world around your car. Ultimately, the only thing that dulls the shiny appearance of your finish is dirt that discolors the paint and absorbs light rather than reflecting it. Since a ceramic coating keeps your car dirt and residue-free for longer than wax alone, your finish stays clear of blemishes and can proudly reflect light with its original full color and shine.
Types of Ceramic Coatings
There are a few different types of ceramic coatings available on the market today, and they each have their own advantages for car owners to consider before the apply a ceramic coating to their vehicle’s surface. While the coatings are not difficult to apply, they are semi-permanent and don’t come off easily. Not to worry, however, as they’re designed to protect your vehicle, and so long as you take care to apply your ceramic coating products properly, you won’t have any trouble no matter which type of ceramic coating you decide is the best ceramic coating for your car.
Polymer ceramic coating, or epoxy ceramic coating, is the most common type of ceramic car coating because it’s easy to apply and it’s ideal for most types of factory paint manufacturers apply to cars today. It’s also incredibly sturdy, as it creates a permanent bond between the paint and the polymer layer that’s extra-tough and resistant to damage from harmful particles. However, because of this chemical bond between the paint and the nano-ceramic coating, it can only be removed by a tough polishing of the exterior.
Quartz ceramic coating is less common and a bit more expensive than polymer ceramic coatings. The tradeoff is that quartz ceramic coating is even harder than polymer paint coating helping to protect the car against scratches and debris. Quartz coatings are also tougher to remove, but they maintain a long-lasting illustrious shine for as much as three years at a time. Quartz coating can be applied at home, but it’s often a good idea to pay for a professional to apply your quartz ceramic coating to ensure the job is done right the first time, since it’s so much harder to remove quartz ceramic coating.
Hybrid Ceramic Coatings
As you might have guessed, a hybrid ceramic coating combines standard liquid polymer coating with the extra-strength protection of quartz ceramic coating. Hybrid coatings create a nice hard shell around the exterior of the vehicle, but there is some controversy as to the efficacy of hybrids or even the very need for them. After all, a regular quartz ceramic coating already provides the extra protection afforded by the liquified quartz crystal, meaning that a hybrid ceramic coating product isn’t much more than a diluted quartz coating. It’s up to you to determine which type of ceramic coat is the best choice for your car depending on what you drive, where you drive, and how you drive.
Features to Look For in Ceramic Coating
Like any car product on the market, any ceramic coating top coat product is going to be plastered with supposed features and benefits trying to sell you on that manufacturer’s secret recipe for success. What should you really be looking for in a professional ceramic coating? What makes one better than another, and how do you know which ceramic coat to choose for your car? If you appreciate the convenience of not having to wash your car so often, then better dirt resistance is your top priority. If you value the brilliant luster of a shiny paint job, you’ll want the ceramic coating kit that offers the most clarity. These are the primary features you’ll want to be looking for to find the best ceramic coating for cars:
With regards to protective coatings, hardness refers to the ability of the ceramic coating to resist nicks and scratches. As a rule, the harder the coating is, the better a job it does at repelling these blemishes. There are varying levels of hardness in ceramic coatings, and you’ll often see a rating of 9H in ceramic coating products.
This is one of the “highest” levels of hardness you can find, meaning diamond-like hardness, although that can be a bit of a misnomer. Additionally, just because products claim 9H hardness doesn’t mean that they’re actually designed to that true specification. Before relying on the label, make sure to consult ratings and user reviews to learn how well the product works and whether it’s true to its word.
Clarity & Shine
While any ceramic coating will be a transparent liquid, you want to make sure that the ceramic coating you apply to your car is high-quality and adulterant-free. A low-budget ceramic coating might do a decent job at paint protection, but what’s the point if it dulls or discolors your paint job in the process?
Make sure to select a nano-ceramic coating with a truly clear coat that will show the true color of the car paint. Your ceramic coating shouldn’t bend or distort light, but instead should allow it to pass through unfiltered allowing the clean surface of your car to shine clearly and brilliantly.
Water & Dirt Resistance
Especially in harsher climates and dustier locales, you’ll want to protect your car with a ceramic coating that’s highly water-resistant (hydrophobic) and dirt-resistant. Some ceramic coating products are designed to shine and protect your paint but don’t do too great a job at actually repelling dirt and preventing it from sticking to your exterior. And if you’re still showing dirt, what’s the point of trying to make your car look good in the first place?
A ceramic coating with high water and dirt resistance is key to keeping your car looking clean and polished for a longer time in between having to actually wash your car.
Maintenance Reminders & Limitations
A ceramic coating might sound like a cure-all for your carwashing woes, but despite their modern manufacturing and innovative chemical technology, ceramic coating can’t quite do it all.
For example, you’ll still need to routinely wash and wax your vehicle to ensure that your ceramic-coated car has a fresh and clean appearance as often as possible. A ceramic coating makes a car wash much easier as it creates a slick surface where dirt doesn’t stick. You’ll enjoy less scrubbing and a quicker, easier job, but the job will still have to get done.
Even the best ceramic coating won’t protect your car outright from deep scratches. Be careful with ceramic coating products that are listed as “professional grade” and promise the sun and the moon when it comes to scratch protection. At the end of the day, when you’re flying down the highway, fast-moving debris or rock chips from the road can still penetrate a ceramic coating.
We’ve stressed the importance of a good hydrophobic ceramic coating to avoid the residue from water deposits on the surface of your car. However, just like with scratch protection, anti-residue properties in even professional-grade ceramic coating sprays tend to be overstated. While water will flow easily and freely from the top of your vehicle, the edges and sides of the car are still prone to water spots. You’ll want to keep your car dry as much as possible, and in icy and snowy weather, you’ll want to stay indoors as much as you can.
Applying Your Ceramic Coating
Getting a good long-lasting DIY ceramic coating applied to your car is easier than it sounds. Most ceramic coating sprays are easy to use, so you can give your car the treatment it deserves to look its best all the time. Still, there are several important steps in prepping your car before you actually apply that first ceramic spray coating. Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing, follow all instructions as provided by the manufacturer of your ceramic coating, and perform each of these steps in preparation to ensure that your coating lasts for as long as possible.
Hand Wash the Car
Before you do anything else, hand wash the car completely with soap, water, and degreaser to remove any grime and buildup on the exterior of the vehicle. This does, of course, mean that you’ll need a nice day to work outdoors when you won’t be interrupted for a few hours. For best results, use soft water if it’s available, and use new sponges & microfiber cloths to keep contaminants away from the vehicle during cleaning. Don’t immediately dry the car off just yet– there are a couple more steps to take before you do so.
Spray Iron Remover
While the car is still soaking, you’re going to spray an iron decontamination spray over the surface of the entire vehicle. And we mean the entire vehicle– paint, glass, rims, and all. If there are plastics on your exterior, do avoid spraying the iron remover over these, as it may discolor plastic pieces. Leave the soaked vehicle sitting for at least five minutes, and you’ll likely notice some purple liquid appearing (especially in the wheels). This is the result of the iron decon reacting with iron contaminants on the surface of the car. It also means that the product has done its job. Go ahead and rinse off the entire car again to wash away all of the purple spots and leftover iron decon spray. And, nope, it’s not time to dry just yet!
Clay the Surface
After rinsing and while still soaking, run a clay be over the entire surface of the paint. This will start to create a glass-like smooth surface over the vehicle and pick up any remaining ultra-fine contaminants, sort of like using fine-grit sandpaper (but for your vehicle). After you clay the surface of the car with a high-quality clay bar, you’re once again going to rinse the entire vehicle. Now, break out the towels, because it’s finally time to wipe the vehicle down.
Using a brand new microfiber towel, completely and thoroughly dry the entire surface of the vehicle. If you have access to an auto blow dryer, we recommend starting with that and then finishing with your brand new microfiber towel. Even though your thorough washing was meant to completely sterilize the vehicle, residue from the water you used to rinse can ruin your cleaning job with calcium deposits and other minerals. Make sure you open doors and windows to completely dry all of the cracks and crevices around the vehicle.
Buffer & Polish
To get the best results and protection out of your ceramic coating, you want your original paint job to be in the best shape possible before application. You’ll level your paint and grind down any minor blemishes on the surface using a dual-action buffer. Gently but firmly, go over the surface of your vehicle’s paint job with your buffer to polish any light defects and level the topcoat. It’s OK to use a light polishing pad without fillers, but don’t use any paint sealant or car wax.
In areas where there are more scratches or any swirl marks, you’ll want to be sure to use paint correction with multiple polishing stages going from coarser to finer. Obviously, you’ll get better results with a newer paint job, and your buffer can only restore very minor wear. The difference, however, can be enormous if you skip this step, so if you have access to a dual-action buffer, take the time to polish the car properly.
Clean with Isopropyl
The next part’s a little tricky. You’ll need to remove any excess oil residues from polishing, so you’ll use an isopropyl alcohol oil remover solution. You don’t want to do this while the vehicle is sitting in direct sunlight, so move the car into the garage first. Use a brand new microfiber towel sprayed with your oil removing solution and wipe over the entire surface of the car. Then, using another brand new microfiber towel (not the same one as the step above), you’ll wipe dry any remaining isopropyl after letting the solution sit for several minutes. Now, your car is finally ready for its ceramic coating!
Apply Your Ceramic Coating
Grab yourself another brand new microfiber towel, an applicator pad, and your ceramic spray coating. Put 7-8 drops of coating on your applicator and start working it around the surface of your car in a circular motion. Work in shoulder-width areas one at a time, going over each area of the surface no more than two times each.
After a pass through each zone, let the coating sit for about a minute, and you’ll notice small beats of condensation appearing. Use your fresh new microfiber towel to wipe away these areas. After you’ve gone over the entire surface of the car, you can use an LED light to find any areas where residue is still resting and needs to be wiped away.
After applying your ceramic coating, leave the car in place indoors for at least 72 hours, and do not wash the car for at least two whole weeks. Avoid taking it out in the rain, as contact with other liquids can slow and hinder the curing process. After your new coat has had time to cure, you’re fully protected from dust, dirt, rain, and more!
Scorpion’s Ceramic Coatings for Cars
At Scorpion Coatings, we’re proud to be an industry leader in protective coatings for cars. Our DIY ceramic coating is a clear coat that’s easy to apply to any car. Our products are made with lab-tested and verified ingredients to ensure their purity and safe use for vehicle paint coating. Why try the other guy? We’re a family-owned and operated business serving you from the heartland of America with a passion for beautiful cars. That’s why we offer the best nano-ceramic coatings in the business to give your car the shine and paint protection it deserves.
- Ultra Clear
- UV Resistant
- Chemical and Abrasion Resistant
- Repels Dirt and Water
- Super Durable 9H Hardness
- Superior Paint Protection
- No Barnacles
- UV Barrier
- Better Fuel Economy Long
- Lasting Shine
- Repels Dirt and Water
- 7 Mohs Hardness
Scorpion is the world-wide leader in truck bed liners and protective coatings and window film, located in Cloverdale, Indiana. Scorpion is a family owned and operated business since 1996 and continues to lead the way in protective coatings, ceramic coatings and window film. Contact us at (800) 483-9087 or EMAIL.