If you’re looking for a sleek, protective shield for the exterior of your vehicle, ceramic coating might be a fitting option for you. This liquid treatment is an automotive solution meant to keep your car looking pristine day in and day out. Not only does it combat dirt and grime build-up, but it also boasts superior paint protection. Many car aficionados are turning toward ceramic coating as a means to keep their vehicles looking fresh off the sales floor for years to come.
Still on the fence about ceramic coating? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about ceramic coatings and why you might want to consider installing one on your car or truck.
What is a Ceramic Coating?
A ceramic coating is a treatment and protectant applied in a liquid form on the exterior of a car. As it cures, a chemical bond forms between the coating and the factory paint of the vehicle. Typically, the solution is comprised of silica and titanium dioxide. Together, these ingredients form a hydrophobic layer directly above the car’s clear coat.
Unlike traditional wax or a paint sealant, this nano-ceramic exterior coating goes beyond a simple temporary fix. Ceramic coating is built to last. There’s no need to invest time in labor-intensive reapplication once your coating is installed.
Types of Ceramic Coatings
There is a range of ceramic coating options on the market today. Depending on what your needs are, you could opt for a cheaper do-it-yourself kit or spring for a professional install. But before you make a decision, consider what each option has to offer.
DIY Home Kit
DIY home kits are a beginner-friendly option you can achieve right in your own garage. This is the cheapest way to take advantage of the superior protective qualities of ceramic coating. But a disclaimer: that low price tag does come with reduced durability. It can also be a challenging undertaking so keep that in mind before you decide to go the DIY home kit route.
Of course, as auto detailing professionals, we don’t ever recommend installing a ceramic coating by yourself unless you are somehow knowledgeable with car paint installations and have the necessary tools at your disposal. Spots can get missed and the proper layering is very difficult.
Another option on the cheaper end of the spectrum, spray coating is a quick, easy method to apply a ceramic coating. It’s essentially a diluted solution you can spray on to the paint surface of a vehicle. Next, you simply let it cure and enjoy a shiny, new ceramic coating.
There are two main types of spray coatings:
- Teflon-Based Sprays: Made from Teflon and Silicones, this spray coating aims to replicate more high-grade products at a lower price point. It does maintain hydrophobic properties and an enhanced shine but it’s prone to swirl marks due to the softer materials used to make it.
- SiO2 Boost Sprays: This option goes a step above Teflon-based spray. It contains around 20% SiO2 (Silicon Dioxide) and TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) to create a stronger coating. It’s sprayed on the paint surface and left to cure for 24-48 hours. It offers better UV protection than its Teflon counterpart but still isn’t as strong as a professional-grade coating.
If you want to reap the ultimate benefits of a ceramic coating, you might consider going the professional route. Auto detail companies can provide top-tier service with a guarantee that your coating will last. They’ll likely use SiO2 infused ceramic products to assure the most high-grade UV protection, durability, and overall quality. With a facility full of all the best tools and resources for the job, a professional installation will always yield better results than a DIY home kit.
On top of this, the price tag for a professional to install a ceramic coating isn’t as high as you’d think. Call several of your local auto detailers to get quotes and compare pricing.
Benefits of Ceramic Coating
Ceramic coating is one of the best options for keeping your vehicle looking pristine for years to come. But its benefits also go beyond simple aesthetics to protect your car too. Here are some of the key advantages of a ceramic coating:
- Regular cleaning becomes easier. As we mentioned earlier, a ceramic coating is hydrophobic meaning it naturally repels water. This allows it to wick away moisture making it harder for mud to cake onto your vehicle. When it’s time to clean your exterior, the coating makes it easier to remove any lingering grime.
- It will protect your car from UV damage. Over time, sun exposure can result in dull, faded paint. This process is called oxidization. Ceramic coatings prevent the damaging rays of the sun from oxidizing your paint as much. Coloradans are particularly aware of the harsh rays of the sun pounding down on our vehicles.
- Your exterior will have a lasting shine. Traditionally, maintaining that fresh-off-the-sales-floor shine required diligent waxing. A ceramic coating is a one-time application that provides an enhanced gloss you can enjoy for years.
- It will protect your exterior from scratches, etching, and swirl marks. With its chemically resistant, durable surface, a ceramic coating can prevent damage from debris and acidic contaminants. Of course, damage can still occur but it gives you a greater line of defense against it.
How Long Does a Ceramic Coating Last?
This depends on the type of coating you choose and the upkeep you put in post-installation. Your ceramic coating could last two to five years in most cases. But some professional installations can last a lifetime.
What to Consider Before Choosing a Ceramic Coating
Just like any product, a ceramic coating does have its limitations. Be sure you go in with realistic expectations before you invest in this add-on. Here are some things to consider before you choose to pursue a ceramic coating installation for your vehicle:
- It can’t protect against all scratches and abrasions. Rock chips or parking lot scratches are still a possibility. But there are other scratch protection options you can explore.
- It won’t eliminate water spotting all together. Water contains trace amounts of dirt or minerals in every drop. The hydrophobic qualities of the coating can’t prevent all mineral build-up but it will reduce it significantly.
- You will still need to wash your car, just not as much. Your ceramic coating will help extend the time between washes but you will still need to do upkeep to maintain that freshly-installed, glossy shine.
Are You Ready to Install a Ceramic Coating?
If you’re in the Fort Collins, CO area and you’re ready to get a professional ceramic coating applied, Sticklers 4 Details is happy to welcome you into our garage! We pride ourselves on helping car and truck owners in Northern Colorado restore their vehicles to “like-new” condition.
Contact us today! We can’t wait to discuss your car care needs!