The world of car detailing is forever advancing. Whether it’s wash techniques or car products, everyone is trying to care for their car that little bit extra.
If you ask me, the ceramic coating is a welcome advancement but it’s not yet completely fool-proof and it is still somewhat pricey.
What happens if you’re not yet sold on ceramic coating? Well, the next logical step down is Paint Sealant, but is it anywhere near as good?
Below I’m going to discuss the positives and negatives of Paint Sealant vs Ceramic Coating. By the end of the article you will have decided which one to use on your vehicle.
What Is Paint Sealant
Depending on who you ask, you may receive different answers. Paint sealant means many things to many different people.
Car Paint Sealant is a synthetic product that is made with polymers and car wax, allowing it to last longer than a natural wax.
Detailers will choose a sealant over natural wax because it lasts longer, is less effort to apply, and provides stronger protection against bugs, tar, tree sap, and other stubborn contaminants.
What Is Ceramic Coating?
Ceramic coatings utilise Nanotechnology, manipulating atoms and molecules to provide your car with a thin layer of protective coating.
The thin layer bonds with the paintwork of your car and is completely invisible to the human eye. It also acts as a “sacrificial layer” protecting your paint from harsh weather, chemicals, heat and oxidation.
These coatings are by far the best last stage protection you can get for your car, however, there are some downsides.
Ceramic coatings are very expensive in comparison to regular sealants and car wax, they may also require a professional to apply them, costing you even more money.
Comparing Paint Sealant vs Ceramic Coating
While the most obvious, and perhaps biggest obstacle is the price, there’s a lot more that separates Sealant and Ceramic Coatings from each other.
Longevity in itself is subjective. Every product, sealant, or coating will have a different life span. That being said, the ceramic coatings that are offered today, outlast sealants, and protect your car for a much longer period.
In the ideal world, where you’ve prepped the car properly and perform a maintenance wash when required, a sealant may last up to 6 months. As you’d expect, over those 6 months, the level of protection and shine will quickly become less and less.
Leading ceramic coatings on the other hand are said to last anywhere between 2-4 years when used properly. They don’t degrade quickly at all, in fact, it’s rather impressive seeing the hydrophobic qualities still doing their job 2 years later.
Preparation & Application
Applying a sealant or wax requires very little effort, overall, it’s a very low-fuss process.
Ceramic coating on the other hand, requires a lot more prep and stress than you’d expect.
All ceramic coatings are considered “permanent”, this means they can only be removed with a cut & buff, or over time with degradation. Because of this, you want to make sure that the car is in perfect condition before applying the coating.
In preparation, you should perform a full wash, completely decontaminate the paint and even polish the vehicle. Your car needs to look it’s absolute best before you put a permanent coating on top.
After going through all of the stress to prep your car, if you apply it wrong, you have to start at the beginning again or stare at a car with poorly applied ceramic coating.
This guy was left with streaks on his BMW after he applied it wrong.
Sometimes it pays to pay a professional to do it for you!
It’s true that sealants do protect your car in some way. They add extra hydrophobic qualities that increase water beading and sheeting, and they also protect from UV Rays.
Unfortunately, this protection is nowhere near the level that ceramic coating offers.
If you want a true reflection of what ceramic coating can do, just watch this video.
I’ve also found that some coatings offer “re-healing” properties. Over time, any minor scratches to the coating may heal themselves using the sun.
It’s not a big selling point, rather a cool little feature that may prevent your car from getting covered in scratches for longer.
When To Choose Ceramic Coating
If I’m honest, the average person will almost always be better off using wax or sealant over ceramic coating. There are many reasons for this, sometimes it’s just not worth it, your paint may be in bad shape already, and maybe you can’t afford every cost that ceramic coating involves.
Ceramic coating is great for those that care for their car. As an enthusiast detailer, if you’re considering coating, by all means go ahead.
I’d also recommend ceramic coating to those with expensive cars, it will help to maintain the value of your car and make washing it much easier.
Finally, if you’ve just bought a brand new car, I would recommend buying or performing a “new car detail” which includes the application of a ceramic coating. This will help to keep the “showroom shine” for as long as possible.