This article is intended to clear some misunderstandings of ceramic coating people have. Whether I should get ceramic coating? Which coating product should I choose? What benefits can I get out of it? Below are 6 major misunderstandings of ceramic coatings on the market.
1. Your vehicle will be scratch proof
Some companies will even go as far as showing their coating being keyed or scratched with a lighter. The truth is, ceramic coatings are scratch resistant, NOT scratch proof. There’s a big difference. A fancy water resistant watch will work fine if you accidentally leave it on in the shower. Point a pressure washer at it for hours however, and you’re likely to run into some problems.
The same logic applies to your ceramic coating. If you follow proper safe washing procedures, you’ll see a huge decline in swirl marks and wash marring. If you wash your car with steel wool though, it’s not going to save you. When the crazy guy you cut off on the highway keys your car in the parking lot, you’ll be heading to the body shop no matter what. You’ll also be paying to replace your coating as well.
2. Ceramic coatings are meant for people who don’t take care of their cars.
The truth is the exact opposite. Despite their high levels of protection, the reality is that ceramic coatings just don’t like getting overly dirty. The best way to care for your coating is to wash it carefully, and often. The benefits of a coating are much more apparent when it’s kept clean.
3. Your vehicle will be protected from stone chips.
Ceramic coatings are not thick or flexible enough to absorb the impact of a rock hitting your paint at highway speed. The only way to protect your paint from stone chips is with a high quality paint protection film. These films tend to be much more expensive than ceramic coatings.
4. You can skip straight to applying a coating if your vehicle is brand new.
You’d think this one would be true, but it’s not. Unfortunately, most new vehicles will be delivered to their owners with defects in the paint. Sanding marks and holograms from improper buffing are the most common. Sometimes repairs are needed due to issues with the painting process or damage done to the vehicle after it leaves the factory. Car companies don’t spend the time or money to repair them properly, so these “fixes” will show up under certain lighting conditions.
If your car sat on the dealer’s lot for some time, it’s also very possible that it’s been washed incorrectly. That means it’ll already be covered with swirl marks. Unfortunately, this applies to every car company, from Hyundai to Ferrari. Your paint will need to be properly inspected and corrected before it’s ready for a coating, regardless of whether it’s new or not.
5. Anyone can apply a ceramic coating themselves.
The coatings that offer the most protection for the longest amount of time are for professionals only. The reason for this is that the coating is so strong that in the event something goes wrong it can only be removed by wet sanding. The companies don’t want the liability of you messing up your paint, so they only offer these to their accredited detailing businesses. There’s usually a process required to become an accredited detailer. It involves proving to the company that they are experienced and know what they’re doing. Finding one of these detailers will give you peace of mind knowing that they have the right skills for the job. At Prime Finish we offer CQuartz Professional and CQuartz Finest Reserve both are professional only coatings and only available through authroised installers.
Most ceramic coating companies have a milder “prosumer” version of their flagship coating that they offer to DIY detailers. It might seem like anyone can apply these themselves without problems, but that’s not always the greatest idea.
The application can still be tricky, and you need to have a very clean environment with perfect lighting to do a proper job. In my opinion, unless you have plenty of experience with paint correction, these coatings are also best left to the professionals to apply. These don’t need to be wet sanded to be removed, but if you have any leftover high spots it will certainly require compounding and polishing to fix. It’s not always as easy as the guys on the internet make it look.
6. Ceramic coated vehicles can be washed with water only.
Perhaps if your car is just slightly dusty, you might be able to get away with rinsing it off and blow drying it. If you’re going to touch your paint though, water is never enough lubrication on its own. Any company that claims you can use only water and a towel to wash your vehicle should be avoided. That will surely cause scratches. You need to use a soap that’s recommended for ceramic coatings.