Swirl Marks on Ceramic Coating: Are They A Threat? – And How To Remove Them

Ceramic coatings have grown massively in popularity in recent years. They’re applied to vehicles to provide a durable layer of protection for their vehicle’s paint job. However, swirl marks may still appear on cars with ceramic coatings, and you may wonder if this is cause for concern.

Swirl marks on ceramic coating aren’t a significant threat. They’re an indication that the ceramic coating wasn’t washed appropriately. Dry or dirty hand towels or even automated car washes can cause swirl marks to appear on ceramic coatings. 

Keep reading to learn more in detail about swirl marks on ceramic coatings. I’ll explore how swirl marks appear on ceramic coatings and what you can do to remove them. By the end of this piece, you’ll have better insight into caring for your car with a ceramic coating

Can Ceramic Coating Get Swirl Marks or Scratches? 

The ceramic coating offers vehicles a robust layer of defense against scratches and scrapes. This leads many ceramic coating sellers to claim that ceramic coating will make your vehicle entirely scratch-proof. However, this claim isn’t entirely accurate and is a bit of an exaggeration.

Ceramic coating can get swirl marks and scratches. While ceramic coatings are very durable and offer an effective layer of protection, they’re not 100% scratch-resistant. They can be scratched if the vehicle crashes, and swirl marks appear on ceramic coatings when they aren’t washed correctly. 

While ceramic coatings offer added protection to your car’s paint job, many of the common causes of scratches on cars will still cause scratches to cars with ceramic coatings. If you bump your door while parking or have any other driving mishaps, your vehicle will still scratch even with ceramic coating. 

Ceramic coatings are also prone to swirl marks, which primarily appear when they’re washed with a dirty cloth or without any water. It would be best to hose ceramic coatings to keep them clean as they’re hydrophobic, meaning water can easily remove any dust or dirt from the surface. 

Swirl marks may also appear if a car with a ceramic coating goes through an automatic car wash as the ceramic coating isn’t well designed for this process.  However, if you wash your car appropriately, they’re unlikely to appear. 

It’s important to note that not all ceramic coatings are equal. If you pay extra for a high-quality ceramic coating over a cheaper alternative, you’ll likely receive better all-around protection against scratches and swirl marks. Therefore, paying more can save you in the long run on repairs for scratches and new paint jobs. 

Caveat: Even the best ceramic coatings that money can buy still don’t offer 100% scratch resistance. In 2019, a group of researchers found that ceramic coating was about 88% scratch resistant. 

However, many people would still likely agree that having your car ceramic coated has awesome benefits. 

How Do You Get Scratches Out of Ceramic Coating? 

Now that you know that ceramic coatings are still vulnerable to scratches, it’s time to figure out how to remove scratches from ceramic coatings. For an ordinary paint job, you can polish and buff out scratches. Will this work for ceramic scratches, or are alternative methods more suited to remove scratches from ceramic coatings? 

You can get scratches out of ceramic coating by buffing the surface around the scratch. This will remove the top layer of coating and the scratch. Then, apply a small layer of fresh coating to the area where the scratch was. If it’s a severe scratch, you can also apply some paint if needed. 

If your car doesn’t have a ceramic coating, polish is an excellent way of removing scratches. However, you can’t use polish to get scratches from ceramic coatings as it removes the coating. Therefore, this method is unsuitable as it destroys the ceramic coating underneath. 

Depending on how deep the scratches are in your ceramic coating, different repairs may be required. For instance, if the scratch is deep and cuts through the layers of paint underneath, it may require more extensive repairs from a garage or dealership. At the same time, minor scratches to the ceramic coating can be repaired at home with the right tools and equipment. 

Can Ceramic Coating Repair Scratches to Paint?

Ceramic coating is often sold as a remedy for scratches to your car paint. However, it’s also promoted as scratch-proof, and you already know that this isn’t true. So can ceramic coating repair scratches to paint on your car, or is this another misleading statement? 

Ceramic coating can repair minor scratches to your car’s paint. It fills in the scratches in your car’s paint, restoring the strength of the paint and protecting it against further damage. However, most scratches will still be visible after ceramic coating has been applied. 

While ceramic coating can prevent scratches from worsening while protecting the paint underneath, it won’t repair aesthetic damages. It can remove minor scratches and other marks on your paint, but most scratches remain visible afterward. 

Ceramic coating isn’t designed to repair scratched or flaking paint. Instead, it’s used to prevent paint damages and scratches from occurring in the first place. 

For that reason, it’s best to apply a ceramic coating to your car about a month after a new paint job. This allows the paint time to set and harden, ensuring the best results with an aesthetically pleasing finish on your vehicle. 

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Can You Mess Up Ceramic Coating? 

As mentioned above, ceramic coating can be applied at home as a DIY project with little tools or equipment. However, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it

Consequently, you may ask yourself, “Is it a smart move to apply the ceramic coating myself, or is this a job best left to the professionals?” 

You can easily mess up ceramic coating when applying it as a DIY project. If you incorrectly apply it, you’ll be left with streaks, cloudy reflections, and imperfections across the vehicle. Removing an insufficient ceramic coating isn’t an easy task either, as it’s durable. 

Applying ceramic coating effectively is a skill that takes plenty of knowledge and experience. As a result, a newbie or a DIYer likely won’t have the skills to do it alone. Improper application will almost certainly require professional help to correct, so it’s best to leave this task to the experts.

After all, ceramic coatings form a strong bond with the paint underneath. If you make a mistake, you’ll need to remove the ceramic coating from the entire vehicle using coarse sandpaper and a lubricant. 

As you might expect, the risk of damaging the paint and finish beneath this ceramic layer is quite high. After it’s all said and done, you could be looking at multiple services, including paint repair applications, sealant sprays, and professional ceramic coatings.

The cost of repairing a bad ceramic coating job is often exorbitant, so it’s far more cost-effective to hire an expert to apply the ceramic coating to your car. This ensures high-quality results, and it can also save you a fortune on potential repairs needed to mend a bad DIY job.

Remember, ceramic coatings are exceptionally durable. A lackluster coating could remain on your car for a while, even after hours of sanding.  

Can You Apply Wax to Ceramic Coating?

You already know that ceramic coating is an effective way of protecting your car’s paint job against general wear and some scratches. However, before ceramic coating was around, people would use wax to protect their cars against the elements. 

So, can you use wax alongside ceramic coating to protect your car’s paint? 

You can apply wax to ceramic coatings. Applying wax once every six months protects your ceramic coating and the paint underneath. It helps to strengthen the ceramic coating and protect vehicle aesthetics. 

Unlike polish, vehicle wax won’t break down the ceramic coating or lessen its effectiveness. Instead, a fresh coat of wax can increase the protective qualities of a ceramic coating, ensuring that it continues to provide a protective barrier.

Consequently, vehicle wax can act as a secondary layer of protection for your car’s paint, preventing signs of damage, reducing noticeable wear, and keeping paint colors vibrant. Applying wax to your vehicle’s ceramic coating helps protect the coating itself while also giving the car a fresh new look. 

But how often should you apply car wax to a ceramic coating? 

Typically, applying wax about twice per year is recommended. Doing so is a fantastic way to maintain your vehicle’s aesthetic allure and ceramic finish. Effective maintenance can prolong the lifespan of your vehicle’s paint and ceramic coating, making twice-annual wax applications a cost-effective method of preventing costly ceramic or paint repairs. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Ceramic coating provides an additional protective layer that preserves your vehicle’s finish. 
  • Ceramic coating is scratch-resistant but not scratch-proof. 
  • Swirl marks appear on the ceramic coating when the coating is improperly washed. 
  • You can remove scratches in the ceramic coating via buffing or sanding. 
  • Polish strips away ceramic coatings.


Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge