Have you ever wondered how to protect your car’s paint? The answer to this question might be ceramic coating. But what does it protect against?
Ceramic coating can protect against light scratches, corrosion, UV rays, dirt and debris accumulation, water spots, bird droppings, and chemical stains. But it’s only a thin layer of protective material, so it can’t prevent dents, severe scratches, and swirl marks left by bad washing techniques.
Let’s see what ceramic coating can help you with and where this expensive coating comes short.
What Does Ceramic Coating Protect Against?
Despite its cost, ceramic coating is worth investing in. You might be wondering why:
Ceramic coating is a light protective coat that can protect your vehicle against:
Light Paint Scratches
One of the reasons why ceramic coating is so popular is that it adds a layer of protection to your car’s paint. Once this coating is applied to your vehicle, you can forget about scratch marks and swirls that appear after each washing. However, this coating can’t prevent all scratches (more on this later).
Overall, applying a ceramic coat helps your car’s paint job last longer. An added bonus is that ceramic coating will save you a ton of money that you could have spent on buffing and correcting those paint imperfections.
Not only will a ceramic coat protect your car’s paint, but it will also add a layer of protection for all other surfaces on your vehicle. These surfaces include glass, plastic, metal, and even carbon fiber elements.
One of the greatest weaknesses of older cars is that they’re prone to rust. On the other hand, modern vehicles use plastic and similar materials to avoid corrosion. However, this natural oxidation process is something that cannot be avoided, especially for vehicles in rainy climates.
Ceramic coating can lower the risk of corrosion using nanotechnology that enables the ceramic coat on the vehicle to fill any paint and clear coat damages. Even the smallest microscopic chips in these metal-protective elements are covered.
Due to the ceramic coating’s water-repellent abilities, moisture and oxygen can’t reach the metal exposed due to the clear coat or paint damage. If you want to lower the chances of your vehicle rusting, ceramic coating is the way to go.
Dirt and Debris Accumulation
Do you want your car to look fresh and sparkly for a long time after each wash? Then ceramic coating might be something to consider.
In addition to protecting your car from light paint damage and rust, the ceramic coating also significantly reduces dirt and debris accumulation. The amount of dirt and debris that our cars pick up from the road and the environment is insane. You can wash your car, drive it down the street, and it can look as if it hasn’t been washed in weeks.
With a layer of protective ceramic coating, you might never have to think whether the salt from the road is affecting your car’s paint. While those in warm climates might not appreciate this feature, folks in the areas prone to heavy snowfalls definitely will.
Any other type of debris, dirt, mud, and road grime is much less likely to stick to your car if it’s ceramic coated.
Have you ever spilled fuel on your car when filling it up? If the answer is yes, then you must know what a pain it can be to clean. If you were in this situation and neglected the cleaning part, you’re surely familiar with chemical staining.
Unless your car is protected by an additional layer, chemical staining is an ever-present threat to its paint job.
Even chemicals such as polishing paste and paint correction fluids can cause issues such as paint swelling.
One of the common damages to car paint are permanent marks that bird feces can leave. Just like with gas, bird droppings can cause chemical damage due to their acidity.
The acidity comes from uric acid in the bird droppings, which can be corrosive and damage car paint if not removed instantly.
Harmful UV Rays
In addition to rust, UV rays are one of the greatest constant threats to your car’s paint. By encouraging oxidation, UV rays damage the paint, causing it to fade quickly. Still, UV ray damage is virtually unavoidable for most car owners, especially those who live in southern states with many days of the year in full sun.
You can prevent UV damage by regular washing, hand drying the car, and using high-quality wax. These measures are particularly important during the summer.
You can protect your car from sun damage by always parking it in a garage and keeping it constantly covered or in the shade. However, it’s not possible to religiously follow this path. This is where ceramic coating steps in:
UV ray protection is another amazing benefit of getting your car ceramic coated by repelling harmful sun rays and acting like a car sunscreen. This feature is extremely beneficial to those who keep their car parked outside.
Our vehicles are commonly in contact with water. What you need to remember is that the water that gets onto your car is never pure H2O. Whether it’s coming from the sky or the road, water is always muddied with potentially harmful elements.
That’s why water spots seen on most cars are commonly caused by salts, acids, and other contaminants from the environment. By preventing this muddy water from sticking to the car, the ceramic coating prevents water spots.
To add to this aspect of its protective capabilities, the ceramic coating also repels water. This means that those who opt for this coating can save a lot of time when it comes to car washing and esthetic maintenance.
Your car might never again require a microfiber towel drying after you get it ceramic coated!
That said, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to protect your car from water spots. Regularly washing your car and keeping it away from water sprinkles can help the ceramic coating to its job much better.
What Does a Ceramic Coating Not Do?
While the benefits of getting your car ceramic coated are impressive, there are some downsides and unreal expectations that this coating cannot meet.
Ceramic coating can’t do any of the following:
Protect Your Car From Rock Chips
One of the most common questions with ceramic coating is whether it can protect against rock impact chips. Unfortunately, this coating’s protective ability is limited to light scratches and damage.
Although effective against minor scratches, the ceramic coating doesn’t have the necessary thickness or strength to prevent rock chip damage.
Rock chips fly at high velocity, and a ceramic coat cannot soften their impact. However, it can significantly reduce the damage caused by the rock chips. One of the primary ones is potential corrosion development.
In case rock chips are your primary concern, you should look into other car paint protection methods such as PPF (Paint Protection Film).
Despite its many protective features, a ceramic coating can’t prevent dents although many people may think otherwise.
Whether it’s a car crash, a minor parking lot incident, or a door ding, the ceramic coating makes no difference in the amount of damage that the vehicle could suffer. The only protection ceramic coating offers in such cases is that the dent may not need significant paint repair because it can prevent paint from coming off.
Prevent Deeper Scratches
Adding a ceramic coat to your vehicle doesn’t mean that you can start living in a world that’s free of any car scratches. Here’s another aspect where PPF could be more helpful than ceramic coating:
We’ve learned that ceramic coating can prevent light paint scratches. But that’s the limit as it can’t prevent deeper scratches.
Rubbing your car against thicker branches, having close contact with a shopping cart, or rubbing a piece of dirt into the paint while washing your car are all likely to leave a mark in the paint. There’s no amount of ceramic coating that can prevent these scratches.
Ceramic coating can reduce the impact of scratches. By adding another layer that the object has to go through, the ceramic coating reduces the chances of more severe damage, just as I mentioned with the rock chips.
It should be noted that cars with ceramic coating and deeper scratches can still be buffed and polished, just like any other car.
Completely Prevent Swirl Mark Appearance
Even after applying a ceramic coat to your car, swirl marks can keep occurring on the vehicle. There are multiple reasons for this to keep happening:
- Improper car washing and drying technique.
- Bad polishing technique.
- Harsh chemical application.
Improper Car Washing and Drying Technique
Improper washing technique is the most common cause of swirl marks, regardless of whether the car has a ceramic coating or not. A proper hand washing technique for any car includes using a clean sponge, rinsing it frequently, and using the two bucket washing method. This method will ensure there’s no debris that you can spread around with the sponge.
For machine washing, I suggest avoiding automated car washes with brushes. In my personal experience, car washes that use only water pressure are a much safer option. The brush bristles can hold large amounts of dirt and debris that can be transferred to other parts of the car, making them dirty or create swirl marks.
When it comes to drying, all of the towels you’re using need to be clean. Just like with the washing part of the process, using a dirty towel can cause you to drag dirt across the paint, causing damage.
If the car already has a ceramic coat, the drying step only represents an unnecessary risk of swirl marks. You don’t need to dry your car in this case because a ceramic coat is water repellent.
Bad Polishing Technique
Most of us enjoy having our cars look as good as possible, regardless of their age. Bringing an older car back to its former shine almost always includes polishing it. When done unprofessionally, this process can cause swirl marks.
A bad polishing technique most commonly consists of using the wrong polishing (buffing) pad. Amateur car detailers tend to start with lower grits than needed. In addition, elements such as improper buffer operation and lack of lubrication can also cause swirl marks.
Harsh Chemical Application
Whether you’re using strong paint cleaners or polishing compounds, these harsh chemicals can work against you and increase the chances of damaging the car’s paint.
Buying into Internet myths and using common household items, such as toothpaste, for polishing is another way we can damage our car’s paint and cause swirl marks.
I’d recommend avoiding paint cleaners that aren’t purpose-made for the automotive industry, as well as keeping away from untested online buffing recommendations.
Fully Eliminate the Need for a Car Wash
It has been mentioned multiple times throughout this article that ceramic coating has characteristics that prevent dirt accumulation. Still, this doesn’t mean that you should stop washing your car.
Regular car washing significantly reduces the chances of chemical damage, UV ray damage, as well as any other type of damage that can affect your car’s paint. Removing contaminants is a must, even when your car has ceramic coating.
Ceramic coating your car doesn’t eliminate the car washing requirement, but it does lower the frequency in which it needs to be done. Having a ceramic coat also makes the car washing process much easier and eliminates the need to do other car detailing methods such as applying wax.