In recent years ceramic coating has risen in popularity, but, there are still many car casuals & enthusiasts that don’t know what it does.
Because of this, many detailers and manufacturers have been able to oversell exactly what it does for your car.
I’ve had many people try to tell me it shares the same protective benefits of a clear bra, which is simply not true. It’s only a chemical coating!
That said, It’s a very useful and effective product that every driver can benefit from. But it’s not a miracle worker.
In this article, you will find out what ceramic coating is, the cost of ceramic coating and whether ceramic coating is worth it for your vehicle.
What Is Ceramic Coating?
A ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that’s designed to protect and enhance the finish on your car. The coatings are applied by hand and will bond to the paint of a vehicle providing extra protection from potential weathering.
How Much Does Ceramic Coating Cost?
If you’re confident enough to apply it yourself, Ceramic Coating isn’t too expensive.
You can get market-leading coatings such as CarPro Cquartz & Migliore Strata Coating for under $100.
When paying a detailer to apply a ceramic coating, the cost can quickly add up. There’s a lot of prep work involved in applying ceramic coating properly.
The traditional packages for applying ceramic coating will include a wash, clay bar, paint correction, and ceramic coating application. Depending on your location and who you’re paying, this could cost anywhere between $250-$750
The Benefits Of Ceramic Coating A Car
Ceramic Coating comes with many benefits, most of which make caring for your car a lot less effort.
The main myth about ceramic coating is that once applied, you don’t have to look after your vehicle. This is completely untrue and can decrease the expected life span of the coating.
While coatings do repel dirt, dust, and debris it would be stupid to think that it will mean your car doesn’t need to be washed.
Instead, regular maintenance will become less effort.
The hydrophobic repellency will allow you to rinse dust and dirt off of your car with ease (for the lifespan of your coating).
The car will also look cleaner after rainfall and minor scratches may be less visible thanks to the rehealing properties.
DO NOT confuse less maintenance with no maintenance. You should still treat your car as if it’s your baby even after applying the ceramic coating.
Poor maintenance will lead to the ceramic coating wearing off quickly. This means you have to go to more effort to re-apply it.
Another marketing point for coating has been the extra protection it provides. Some people believe that it will prevent scratches from happening, but it doesn’t.
It does provide an extra layer of protection on top of your paint and clear coat. This doesn’t mean your paint is invincible. Instead, your paint is less likely to be affected by minor scratches, etching, and watermarks.
You’ll also find that your car stays glossier and the paint is less prone to oxidation due to the coating. Again, meaning that there’s less maintenance required.
Scratches, Swirls, Etching, Watermarks, and Oxidation can all still happen. Ceramic coating is a preventative, not a bulletproof solution.
Despite the “extra protection” you should still treat your car as if it doesn’t have the coating. Wash any bird poo off as soon as possible and dry your car with microfibre towels after a wash.
You should always want your car to look its best.
Enhances the look of your car
Everyone reading this article wants their vehicle to look the best it can. Ceramic coatings can add that extra shine to your paint, turning heads wherever you go.
The best ceramic coatings will enhance the gloss, reflectiveness, and clarity of your paint so much that people will be able to look into your car and see all their life problems.
How Long Does Ceramic Coating Last?
Over time you’ll find that the coating begins to wear off. When compared to car wax, ceramic coating can last up to 10x as long.
The life-span of the average ceramic coating is anywhere between 6 months to 3 years.
That’s many years of water beading without having to reapply wax after every wash!
The hydrophobic qualities of ceramic coating make the water runoff of your car taking anything which is on the panel with it.
Water beading not only looks cool, but it’s also what makes maintenance easier and allows you to do less of it.
Thanks to beading you’ll see fewer water streaks and water spots on your car. It will also make the next wash a lot easier.
Ceramic Coating Issues & Warnings
Marketed as a miracle product there are many myths about ceramic coating.
The general rule “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” should be followed when researching and buying any product.
As long as you have done a lot of research and know what to expect. I’m sure you’ll find it to be a very valuable product.
A higher price doesn’t mean better results
Getting your vehicle coated can be an expensive job.
If you’re applying it yourself, you’ll spend at least $80 on the product itself but there are many “premium” coatings that will cost you a lot more than that.
Depending on the size of your vehicle you may also need more than one bottle.
Paying a professional detailer to do full paint correction and then install a coating could cost you up to $1,000.
For me, there’s no reason why you’d want ceramic coating installed if you haven’t carried out a full paint correction beforehand. It’s like finishing off the roof to your house before you’ve even built the foundation.
Correctly applying and maintaining a cheap coating will perform better than a premium product that has been poorly applied and neglected.
Self-healing properties are very minor
The actual self-healing layer in ceramic coatings is very small. It’s like the clear coat on your paint.
If a scratch is deeper than the self-healing layer it will need paint correction and a possible respray if it’s deep enough.
Educate yourself on the types of car scratches so you don’t waste money on a repair that’s unnecessary.
Rock chips, Scuffs, and Deep scratches will still happen
A chemical will only do so much.
If you have a valuable car with a precious paint job that you don’t want to be damaged you should probably look into Paint Protection Film (Clear Bra).
Otherwise, be prepared for age-related marks, damage based on driving conditions and whatever else the world has to throw at your car.
Applying ceramic coating can go wrong
Applying ceramic coating incorrectly can be a costly mistake.
It’s important that you have clean paint beforehand, I’m talking clay bar and everything. Any dirt beneath the ceramic coating will be trapped until it begins to wear off.
Secondly, applying too much can result in streaks and all kinds of different textures being left on your car.
There are cutting and polishing compounds made to help you out should you go wrong but you really don’t want to be driving around with a streaky BMW like this unlucky guy.
If you’re looking to apply it to your car yourself or add coating into a range of services you offer as a detailer, make sure you know the product, what you can do to fix it and even practice on a couple of panels from a junkyard before taking it to the main stage.
Already applied it incorrectly? Learn how to remove ceramic coating from your car.
Is Ceramic Coating Worth It?
Like anything else in life, it completely depends on the context. Ceramic coating is a great product and is definitely worth it in a lot of scenarios.
If your car is of low value and already has many defects, applying ceramic coating is still beneficial, but it’s similar to polishing a turd.
Be honest with yourself, how much do you value your car? How much do you value the added protection? Think about these two questions and decide whether ceramic coating is worth it or not.
Should I Ceramic Coat My New Car?
Now that you’re educated on the benefits of ceramic coatings, what to expect and potential issues with it you can now decide whether it’s worth adding a ceramic coating to your new car.
If you have the money to pay for a full “new car detail” and ceramic coating, I would definitely do it.
If you can perform a new car detail and apply the ceramic coating yourself it’ll be a lot cheaper.
A new car detail is definitely worth it. It could save you a lot of money and will help you maintain the “factory new” look for longer.
Don’t get ceramic coating for your car if you can’t afford it. While it is beneficial, if you’ve already overreached on the car and are under great financial strain, it’s probably not worth it.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to how much you love your car and what your financial situation is.
You will always see benefits when installing ceramic coating to a new car, do those benefits justify the cost? You decide.
Frequently Asked Questions
While I’ve given you a general idea of what ceramic coating is and whether it’s worth it, you may still have some questions that are a little bit more specific.
Here is a list of the most asked questions on the internet regarding ceramic coating
What Happens When Ceramic Coating Wears Off?
Ceramic coating does have a shelf life, while it can last up to 3 years, it’s effectiveness will slowly wear off.
You can tell that a ceramic coating is wearing off as your car will begin to lose its glossiness and there will be little to no water beading.
When it does begin to wear off, it’s not a big deal. All that you have to do is re-apply it.
This means you will have to perform a wash, clay bar, 2-step paint correction and then application of the ceramic coating.
Once you’ve done that, it’s good for another 2 years.
Ceramic Coating vs Wax
As you can tell by reading this article, Ceramic Coating is a longer-lasting product with better protective qualities.
Traditional wax is good, but it only provides short term protection and has to be re-applied after every wash. It’s much cheaper though and the application is very straight-forward.
Which product you choose should be decided by your budget, your dedication towards maintaining your car and whether your car actually has any value.
For my $1500 beater with deteriorating paintwork, I’ll stick to applying wax every now and then.
Can a ceramic coating be applied over wax?
First of all, under no circumstances should you apply ceramic coating after waxing your car.
Because ceramic coating bonds to your paintwork and is the longer-lasting product, you want to apply it first.
Applying coating after waxing your car will only reduce the effectiveness of the ceramic coating.
I would recommend applying ceramic coating first and then waxing your vehicle after the coating has cured. Doing this can add another level of shine to your car.