Here Is When To Put Ceramic Coating on a Car

Like in lots of other things in life, timing is everything in ceramic coating. The timing of the ceramic coating can mean the difference between a successful coating and an ultra-successful coating. Additionally, by getting the timing right, you will likely enjoy the benefits of ceramic coating for longer. 

The best time to put a ceramic coating on a car is when it’s new. When a vehicle is new, the paint has fewer imperfections than when a car is used. The fewer defects on a car, the more likely ceramic coating will be successful. 

Below, I will take a closer look at when to put ceramic coating on a car. I also explain why it’s a good idea to leave ceramic coating to the professionals and provide tips on how to increase the longevity of ceramic coating. 

When Should You Put a Ceramic Coating on the Car?

Before you apply ceramic coating, you should correct the car’s paint. If you are impatient with paint correction, some of the imperfections will remain on the paint, which will affect the quality of ceramic coating. One way to reduce the chances of substandard paint correction is to provide a car with as few imperfections as possible. 

You should put ceramic coating on the car as soon as you buy it. Since new vehicles have few paint blemishes, it increases the chances of a successful ceramic coating. Used cars have more imperfections that paint protection may fail to address, increasing the odds of substandard ceramic coating. 

A popular misconception is that new cars don’t need paint correction before ceramic coating. However, the paint on new vehicles arrives with some minor imperfections that become clear after ceramic coating. 

Improper buffing at the factory means you can get a car with paint defects. This study found that minute changes during painting can cause defects, some of which are difficult to detect. 

At times, car companies fail to properly repair car damage resulting from accidents during transportation. The car also may have spent a lot of time on the car dealership lot, exposing the paint to damage from weather elements and poor maintenance. 

For these reasons, you’ll need to correct the paint on your car before coating it even if it’s brand new.

Ceramic coating offers nano-level protection for your car: the coating slips into cracks in the clear coat, forming a solid protective layer. Imperfections prevent the coating from fusing onto the clear coat, leading to poor results. 

Ceramic coating enhances whatever was on the paint. Therefore, any blemish that you failed to correct will look far worse after the coating cures. 

Conversely, a properly corrected surface will appear brighter covered by ceramic coating. 

The best time to coat your car is when it’s new, but it doesn’t preclude you from coating a used car. However, remember that you’ll need to put extra effort and care into paint correction with a used car. 

Should You Apply Ceramic Coating at Home?

Ceramic coating can be costly, so you might want to save costs by coating your car at home. You’ve watched several DIY videos and are pretty confident that you can get it done. However, the chances are that you won’t do a good job. 

You shouldn’t apply ceramic coating at home because: 

  • Ceramic coating should take place in controlled environments. 
  • You may destroy the car’s paint. 
  • It’s easy to leave ceramic coating high spots. 
  • You may not have the right equipment for the job. 

Let’s look at why you should let a professional ceramic coat your car. 

Ceramic Coating Should Take Place in Controlled Environments

Ceramic coating should take place in a controlled environment. To protect themselves from liability, some ceramic coating companies refuse to grant their products to technicians that aren’t professionally trained and lack prescribed facilities. 

Therefore, you are unlikely to get your hands on concentrated ceramic coatings. DIY ceramic coating kits have lower concentration ceramic coating sprays that do not offer the same protection as professional ceramic coatings. 

Furthermore, ceramic coating sprays degrade faster as they are less concentrated. 

I advise that you spend more and have your car coated by professionals. They have the suitable facilities, equipment, and skill to apply high-grade ceramic coating on your vehicle. 

You May Destroy the Car’s Paint

No matter what type of ceramic coating you choose, the first step you’ll need to undertake is paint correction. Preparing the car for ceramic coating usually takes more time than the actual coating. 

At this stage, it’s easy to completely eat into the car’s clear coat, especially if the paint has many imperfections. Paint correction sometimes involves removing the clear coat until the fault clears. 

Ceramic coating bonds with the clear coat, so if you remove too much, it will take more time for the coating to set, leading to costly messes. 

Coating thin paint is risky as you’ll likely scratch the paint. To correct the defect, you might have compound off the coating. 

Subjecting a car with thin paint to compounding will likely cause paint damage. Thanks to a futile attempt to save costs, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pocket to pay for a paint job. 

Professionals know how to correct the paint without taking out too much of it. Furthermore, they’ll also correct defects that run beyond the clear coat. 

It’s Easy To Leave Ceramic Coating High Spots

High spots occur when a detailer fails to level off the ceramic coating or uses poor buffing techniques. Leveling applies to most ceramic coatings. 

Ceramic coating hardens at different rates depending on its quality or weather conditions. You have a limited time to level it off before it sets, forming high spots. 

High spots are pretty ugly to look at and can be difficult to remove, as this YouTuber found out after unsuccessfully coating his BMW M2: 

High spots appear as darker patches or streaks on your car. Most are easy to identify under natural light, but you will need a torchlight to identify high spots on a lightly colored vehicle. 

To avoid the inconvenience of high spots, have your car detailed by a professional. 

You May Not Have the Right Equipment for the Job

Despite your enthusiasm for DIY ceramic coating, you might not have the right equipment for the job. Without proper tools, there’s no guarantee that you’ll ceramic coat your car correctly. 

Leave ceramic coating to professionals, and you’ll like the results. 

No matter how confident you can pull off ceramic coating, I advise that you visit a professional detailer. It’ll likely cost you more, but it doesn’t compare to the cost of repairing botched ceramic coating. 

Does Ceramic Coating Fade?

Some people market ceramic coating as the one-time solution to your paint protection troubles. Such an advertisement will invariably attract customers who return to find a closed shop after their ceramic coating starts fading. 

Ceramic coating fades depending on the quality of the coating and your maintenance practices. Low concentration ceramic coating will fade faster than high-grade ceramic coating. Furthermore, neglecting the ceramic coating will lead to faster degradation. 

Fortunately, the ceramic coating doesn’t peel when it starts to fade. You notice that it has started fading when it begins losing qualities such as water retention. 

The following signs point to a ceramic coating that’s fading

  • Increased water retention: Contaminants such as water and dirt usually fall off a freshly ceramic-coated car. As the coating fades, its ability to repel contaminants decreases. 
  • Reduced glow: The enhancing features of ceramic coating reduce as the coating fades. 
  • Damaged paintwork: Damage to your paintwork can point to badly faded ceramic coating. If an accident doesn’t cause paint damage, the chances are that your ceramic coating has faded.

How To Increase the Longevity of Ceramic Coating

The longevity of ceramic coating varies depending on how you treat it. 

  • Give it enough time to cure. It takes minutes for ceramic coating to harden but about 2-3 weeks to cure. During that period, keep it away from water and contaminants such as bird droppings. 
  • Contrary to popular expectations, you need to wash your ceramic-coated car regularly. However, to maintain the coating, stick to hand washing and use neutral pH soap. Alkaline soap used to wash cars degrades ceramic coating fast. Remember to avoid machine washes as their abrasive nature reduces the lifespan of ceramic coating
  • Spend extra on ceramic coating boost sprays. They are low-concentration ceramic sprays that provide added protection and gloss on your ceramic coating. 
  • Don’t forget to subject your car to annual inspections. During an inspection, the detailer washes off all the grime and dirt that may be present and advises you on how to keep the ceramic coating healthy. 

Key Takeaways

  • You should put ceramic coating on your car when it is new. 
  • New cars have few paint imperfections but still need paint correction before ceramic coating. 
  • You should desist from applying ceramic coating at home. 
  • DIY ceramic coating kits are of low quality, and you are likely to make a mistake coating at home. 
  • Ceramic coating fades faster if you use low-quality coating and fail to take care of the coating. 
  • Allow the ceramic coating to cure, use the correct cleaning techniques, and adhere to annual inspections to increase the lifespan of ceramic coating. 


Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge