Ceramic coating is known for its superior quality as paint protection compared to traditional waxes and seals.
While it is thought to be the most durable product on the market, there’s also some misinformation about how long-lasting and durable it is.
So, how long can you really expect ceramic coating to last?
A ceramic coating lifespan ranges from 2-5 years, with some variation between commercial and professional products. Typically, professional products will last longer. Regardless, how long any ceramic coating lasts depends mainly on how well it’s applied and then maintained.
In this post, I’ll provide you with all the facts about a ceramic coating lifespan and put any falsities you may have heard to rest.
I’ll also share tips on how to increase the durability of your ceramic coating and discuss whether it’s best to apply ceramic coatings yourself or have a professional do it for you.
How Long Does Ceramic Coating Last?
Ceramic coating is a chemical polymer solution used on a vehicles’ exterior surfaces to protect it from paint damage.
This treatment can leave your car with a smooth finish that’s highly resistant to scratches, dirt, and grime.
Ceramic coating is also beneficial for UV light protection and leaves a semi-permanent candy-gloss shine in its wake.
Coating products will last as long as 2-5 years when proper care and maintenance is provided. How long any ceramic coating lasts is also dependent on the quality of the product and application process.
|Source||How Long Does Ceramic Coating Last||Comment|
|Ceramic Coating Reviews||2-5 years||Depending on care and maintenance|
|Canadian Gearhead||2-5 years||For those available to the public; depends on care and application|
|Vive Auto Detailing Houston||A maximum of 5 years||With excellent care – pay attention to warranties|
|Tint World Automotive Styling Centers||2-5 years||With proper care and maintenance|
|Auto Care HQ||2-3, up to 5||5-year coatings tend to have higher concentrations of silicon dioxide|
The sources listed in the table above seem to agree that the longevity of the ceramic coating only lasts this long with proper care and maintenance.
Read on to discover how to prepare the paint for applying a ceramic coating properly.
How To Increase Ceramic Coating Durability
Some of the best ways to increase the life of your ceramic coating is to do all paint corrections, polishing, and repairs before you apply the product.
However, there’s some misconception that this is easy and straightforward to complete on your own.
And in a way, it is, but it requires incredible thoroughness and attention to detail.
Some factors can increase how long ceramic coatings last, including:
Here are the steps to take to increase the durability of your ceramic coating:
Let’s take a look at these steps in more detail:
Use High-Quality Products
If you want a high-quality shine, then you must use top-of-the-line products.
According to this article from the Journal of Materials Research and Technology, the type of ceramic coating is essential to longevity.
It’s a simple rule of thumb: the better the product that’s used, the longer the ceramic coating will last.
Quality truly matters, here, and there’s just no getting around it.
Because of the extreme variation, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all products are the same, so just pick whatever is cheapest.
Adam’s Ceramic Coating Kit
Cheap ceramic coatings do not cut it. Better buy a good and well-known product like this Adam’s ceramic coating kit instead. It comes with all you need to make your ceramic coating super durable and long-lasting.
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Unfortunately, this could cost you a lot more in the long run.
You want to select high-quality products to ensure great application and make sure it lasts as long as possible before it wears off.
There are some products that will only last for a year, leaving you with more costs and maintenance early on.
Other lower-quality products can actually damage your car and could end up with you having to get your vehicle completely repaired and repainted.
This is something you as a car owner want to avoid at all costs!
Thoroughly Prepare Your Vehicle
If you want your ceramic coating to last the entire 5 years, then the surface must be completely ready for application.
It’s critical to completely and thoroughly prepare your vehicle for the ceramic coating to ensure the optimum bonding takes place and it yields the longest-lasting results.
Make sure to use a wax-free and gloss-free soap. It’s vital for you to altogether remove all residue, glazes, blemishes, oils, sealants, debris, dirt and anything else that might get trapped between the ceramic coating and the paint.
Failing to properly prep your vehicle could result in costly repair work, loss of ceramic coating life, and a lackluster finish.
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Clay the Freshly-Cleaned Surface
It’s essential to clay the surface of your car after a thorough washing, as this removes any contaminants that would otherwise get trapped under your ceramic coating.
If anything is left behind, it could cause irreparable damage to the paint.
Polish and Wipe Down Your Vehicle’s Surface
This step is done for a couple reasons. For one, polishing removes any oils, waxes, or silicones that might still be sticking around.
Beyond this, polishing levels the car’s paint, creating a perfectly smooth surface.
only does this improve the chemical bond between the paint and ceramic coating, it also ensures no optical imperfections are “sealed” underneath it.
Be sure to do just as thorough a job here as any other step.
Once this has been completed, you’re finally ready to apply the ceramic coating.
Cure the Ceramic Coating
A fresh ceramic coating takes approximately 2-3 weeks to fully cure. However, curing time is also dependent on the environment around you.
It’s critical to follow proper care and maintenance instructions and complete the full recommended curing time. If you don’t, the consequences could be costly.
During the curing period, the coating is soft and vulnerable to scratching and damage, so you have to be gentle with the paint.
Don’t let bugs, pollen, or debris get on the surface – if that happens remember to follow the recommended care instructions and remove the debris immediately.
Also, be extra careful where you park your car until curing is complete. The last thing you want is a door ding after a fresh slab of ceramic coating.
Take Care and Perform Regular Maintenance
After your ceramic coating has been applied and completed the recommended curing time, it’s crucial to provide regular maintenance to your vehicle to allow for maximum longevity.
Many ceramic coating products claim to prevent scratches, grime buildup, and more.
While the ceramic coating is effective at resisting these things, it’s not entirely scratch-proof. So, it’s important to take good care of your car’s surface.
Take Care When Parking
Try to park in areas away from other vehicles as they could ding or dent the car. Whenever possible, I advise you to keep your vehicle parked indoors, such as in a garage or covered carport, to avoid potential dirt and grime.
Regularly Wash Your Vehicle
It’s also critical to keep your vehicle clean to prevent it from wearing down the ceramic coating.
Given their hydrophobic properties, ceramic coatings help to shed water and dirt from your car.
To maximize the effectiveness of the hydrophobic ceramic coating, make sure to wash your car regularly!
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Washing a ceramic coated car is essential. It is also essential to do so with a good car shampoo like the Sonax Actifoam.
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Not only does this help avoid streaks and watermarks, but it also improves the overall shine and effectiveness of the nano ceramic coating.
It’s also a good idea to keep your car out of direct sunlight, as this also helps to prevent water spots and streaking.
Avoid Automatic Car Washes
It’s important to resist the convenience of going to an automatic car wash to maintain your ceramic coating. One wrong wash or malfunction could leave you with a gnarly scratch on the surface of your vehicle.
Several of the sources listed above, including Tint World, also suggest avoiding automatic car washes since they lack cleaning efficiency and may not fully clean your vehicle.
Instead, it’s recommended to hand wash your vehicle once a week using a clean, dry microfiber towel to dry it thoroughly, as mentioned above.
Do Ceramic Coatings Wear Off?
Ceramic coating provides a thin but strong bond on the surface of your vehicle’s clear coat of paint.
But what happens when ceramic coating begins to age? Will you notice when the ceramic coating wears off?
Well, yes and no.
Ceramic coatings wear off after about 2 to 5 years, on average. When the ceramic coating wears off, the vehicle won’t repel dirt and grime as effectively and you’ll see more water beading and dirt accumulation after each passing year from the initial application.
Many people think that you can see ceramic coatings peeling away when they age.
They envision something close to paint peeling when the ceramic coating wears away, but that isn’t the case.
If ceramic coating were like paint, you would see it separating from the base and flaking away.
Ceramic coatings, as mentioned earlier, are only as good as the products used, the application, and the aftercare. It’s critical that you completely and thoroughly prepare your vehicle for the application of a ceramic coating.
Your car’s surface must be completely clean before you can even apply the product.
DIY vs Professional Ceramic Coatings
Whether you apply it yourself or get it done professionally, ceramic coating is a great way to improve the shine of your vehicle and preserve the paint; you just have to take care of it.
However, the decision made between a DIY vs professional job can directly impact how long it lasts.
Furthermore, once you start doing some additional research on ceramic coatings, you’ll notice that the prices vary in extreme ways.
You could be paying anything from $300 to $3,000 for ceramic coating products and services.
And unfortunately, there isn’t a manufacturer-suggested retail price for ceramic coating.
DIY Ceramic Coatings
While you can apply the ceramic coating yourself, and consumer-grade products offer simple application products, the preparation isn’t always easy.
Furthermore, consumer-grade products tend not to last as long as professional-grade products.
Admittedly, it can be hard to find out where to start.
However, you can absolutely find high-quality do-it-yourself ceramic coating products and combine them with some elbow grease to get good results.
And with proper application and maintenance, it’ll last for about 5 years.
Here’s a video that will walk you through this process if you plan to DIY it:
Certainly, much of the information I’ve provided here in this article can also aid you in the DIY process.
Consumer-grade products are usually more forgiving than professional-grade products but typically don’t cure as hard as the professional ones.
This can affect how long the effect lasts on your vehicle.
Keep in mind, when you use consumer-grade products and do the work yourself, you could be sacrificing durability as well as long-lasting shine.
You’re also looking at about 2 to 3 days for installation.
Professional Ceramic Coatings
If you’re not comfortable applying a ceramic coating yourself, or you want something that has the potential to last longer than 5 years, do your research and find a professional-grade ceramic coating product and a professional technician to apply it.
Professional ceramic coatings tend to be thicker, more glue-like, and often have more steps in the curing process than consumer-grade ceramic coatings.
I would recommend the professional-grade products, as they tend to have a longer life than consumer-grade products.
Another plus to professional ceramic coating is that the companies that make them are required to have a vetted, professionally trained installer with a well-maintained reputation apply their products.
Professional-grade products and applications are beneficial for you because they add another layer of protection to your vehicle and help ensure that the application is top-notch.
Keep in mind, it’ll take up to 3-4 days for a professional ceramic coating application to be completed.