Will an Automatic Car Wash Remove a Ceramic Coating?

While taking your ceramic coated car to an automatic wash station, a caution might pop up in your mind: Will an automatic car wash remove the ceramic coating from my car? Let’s find out the answer.

If a high-quality ceramic coating is applied to your car, it will remain safe during a touch-less automatic wash with clean water and light detergents. However, in the case of a soft-touch and high-pressure wash, this coating will keep degrading and losing its shine. After several washes, it will be obliterated from your car.

To keep the ceramic coating, many people give up the idea of automatic washes or even stop washing their car regularly.

However, this is wrong to say regular washing or all automatic washes damage the ceramic coating. 

In this article, I’ll be talking about automatic car washes and their effects on a ceramic coating. Moreover, I’ll be discussing what measures you can take to keep the coating safe during the wash and how you can preserve the coating for a longer time.

How Does a Ceramic Coating Wash Off?  

Regular washing with brushes will rub the coating off prematurely, and it will not last long. However, just one high-pressure, soft-touch wash can’t remove the ceramic coating from your car. A quality coating stays put for several washes.

In short, several factors play a role in the durability of ceramic coating:

  • The quality of the ceramic coating.
  • The type of automatic wash you use — in case of touch-less, it’ll remain safe.
  • The quality of water — if it’s recycled, it can damage the coating.
  • The quality of detergents.

Is Touch-less Wash Safe For Ceramic Coating?

Touch-less washes that use recycled water and harsh detergents can degrade your ceramic coating. To keep it safe, always determine whether the car wash owner uses freshwater or recycled one and the kind of detergents they use.

If you are someone extra cautious about the ceramic coating, better limit your touch-less washes to winters only when you can’t stand the filth anymore. 

Touch-less wash, too, degrades the coating — Though to very little measure compared to soft-touch washes.

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Is a Water-less Car Wash Safe for a Ceramic Coating?

Water-less wash in a moderate amount is safe for ceramic-coated cars, but you must not overdo it. Only when you want to remove a small amount of off-road dirt should you go for it. And don’t worry about the wax in water-less washes; they are only present in a mild amount, which is harmless for ceramic coatings.

For light dirt or pollen, a water-less wash works great on a ceramic coating.

Washing the whole car only to clean a small amount of dirt from one area isn’t wise. That’s where water-less washes come in handy. You can wipe off the dirt without putting water on the coating.

To avoid water spots on your ceramic coating due to wax in the water-less wash, mix no-rinse products like Optimum No Rinse (ONR) or Wolfgang Uber Rinseless only using distilled water.

Should I Stop Washing My Car After Applying Ceramic Coating?

You shouldn’t stop washing your car after applying a Ceramic coating on the paint. It doesn’t mean a lifetime exception from washing your car. To enhance the coating’s durability, you must regularly clean your car, as contaminants in any form can damage the ceramic coating.

Either by hand or through an automatic wash, it’s important to get your car washed. You must hand wash your car once a month. 

Balance is the key. You are not supposed to over-wash it, nor ignore the cleaning completely.

There are mixed opinions concerning automatic car washes. It is considered safe to do it once every three months and sufficient for cleaning any dirt that can’t be washed off by hand.

When to Wash Your Car After Ceramic Coating?

Avoid washing your car for seven days after applying ceramic coating — Be it a hand wash or an automatic wash. The types of products applied during the coating can take up to seven days to harden. Premature washing and cleaning can significantly shorten the life of the coating.

The term coating refers to the combination of durable polymers like copper, silver salts, and oxides that create a glittering effect on the paint.

When applied to the car, a chemical reaction takes place. And they need at least a week to settle down properly on the surface.

You should never clean your car right after coating. And to be 100% certain that the coating has hardened, one week delay is sufficient.

How Long Does a Ceramic Coating Last?

With proper care and maintenance, a decent quality ceramic coating will last for up to five years. Conversely, if you use harsh detergents while washing your car or regularly use a soft-touch automatic wash, it might not even last for a year.

One of the important aspects of maintenance is regular cleaning.

If you use the right detergents during hand-washing and take your car to a touch-less wash at least thrice a year, the coating is likely to last longer.

How to Enhance the Durability of the Car’s Ceramic Coating?

To enhance the durability of your coating:

  • Avoid soft-touch washes.
  • Don’t take your car to automatic washes that use recycled water.
  • Make sure you hand-wash your car once a month at least.
  • Use a low-pressure touch-less wash to clean the dirt that you can’t clean with a simple hand-wash.
  • Do not park your car under the sun.
  • Don’t clean your car with any random detergent or cloth. Use only a car detergent and a microfiber cloth for wiping off the dirt.
  • Wash first, and then rub the cloth on the surface. Do not rub/wipe directly.
  • Rub the cloth in a linear motion. Rubbing in a circular motion spoils the finish.

How to Know if Your Car Needs A New Ceramic Coating?

To make sure the ceramic coating is alright and a certain type of washing cleaning is not causing any damage, you must do an annual coating inspection. If you are an expert, you can do it yourself. Or, you can take your car to a coating installer who will evaluate the coating to determine its condition.

It’s a good practice because you can stop the coating from degrading quickly by evaluating the condition regularly. 

The coating installer will recommend whether to reinforce the coating or re-apply it simply if the damage has been done.

Is Ceramic Coating on a Car Worth it?

The protection ceramic coating offers to the paint and the fresh look it gives to the car make the ceramic coating worth the money. You’ll come across cars that are 6-10 years old, yet they look new. Only because they have been well-maintained and the ceramic coating has protected the original paint.

On the other hand, it would be wrong to regard ceramic coating as a substitute for regular cleaning. That’s because the pollutants your car catches on the road can damage the coating and decrease its lifespan.

So, irrespective of the fact how good your coating is, regular washing is necessary.

Key Takeaways

  • No automatic car wash can remove the ceramic coating at once. It starts degrading after several washes.
  • To keep the coating safe, you must only use touch-less car washes with clean water.
  • Always use a high-end ceramic coating for long-term protection of the paint.
  • Don’t stop washing your car. Inadequate washing lets the filth stay on the coating, which can damage it and decreases its lifespan.
  • After putting in a new ceramic coating, don’t wash your car for seven days.
  • Get the coating examined annually to evaluate the condition of your existing ceramic coating.
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge