Ceramic coating is a great product and definitely one that you should use on your car.
Using ceramic coating on your car comes with a whole host of benefits, such as improved water beading, protection from UV rays, and enhanced gloss.
Despite it being a great product, there are 2 main barriers to entry. The first one is the cost. The 2nd one is the ease of use.
In this article, I’m going to discuss what can go wrong when applying a ceramic coating. I’ll also tell you how to prevent defects, and how to correct any imperfections that may occur.
After reading this article, I’ll have fixed your problem and made your car look better or have persuaded you to apply a ceramic coating yourself.
After all, it is an expensive product and there are many horror stories online. If you’re not confident or able to fix your mistakes, you may just want to hire a professional instead.
Ways Ceramic Coating Can Go Wrong
With ceramic coating, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong.
Whenever something goes wrong, it’s almost certain that it was because of poor preparation or poor application. (If not both).
If you perform a full detail on your car beforehand and read the product instructions you should be fine.
Too lazy to prepare and fail to learn the product? you could be stuck with a car that looks cloudy or hazy. This is normally because you’ve forgotten to buff the product after application.
Another common result or imperfection is “ceramic frosting”. This is when the ceramic coating dries on the car and ends up looking like frost. The frosting effect will create high spots and patches that can not only be seen but felt as well.
Finally, you may find that the coating only works in certain areas, or is completely ineffective. Most of the time this will happen because you’ve applied it unevenly. But, in some cases, it could be a result of buying a poor product or someone else making false claims.
How To Prevent High Spots When Coating
There are many ways to prevent high spots in your ceramic coating.
The first thing you should do is prepare the car properly. Ideally, before coating, you would do a full detail and paint correction on the car. If you don’t, you’re wasting your time.
Make sure that the car is as clean as it can be before applying the coating. This way it’ll stick to the paintwork properly and won’t trap dirt, tar, and other contaminants on the car.
Secondly, you should always work in small areas. This will allow you to apply the product quickly and evenly without it drying. This also means that you’re able to correct any mistakes or imperfections before it’s too late.
When applying, you also want to make sure to overlap each wipe so that you’re not left with clear “edges”. This will also reduce the chance of high spots & areas being missed.
Finally and most importantly, work in an area where you can see absolutely everything. To prevent imperfections from happening, you need to be able to see them first.
Using an inspection light or torch will allow you to find areas that you’ve missed. It will also help to locate high spots, and areas with excess product.
As long as you give yourself time to apply the coating, dedicating one or two hours to it, you should be fine. Make sure to work in small areas, apply small amounts of product, and constantly check over your work.
How To Prevent Ceramic Coating Streaks
There are many reasons why streaks can occur when applying a ceramic coating to your car.
The first and most obvious reason is applying it to a dirty car.
Secondly, applying ceramic coatings in direct sunlight and/or hot weather can result in streaking. Ideally, you’d be in the shade and applying it in <10 degrees weather. This will prevent it from drying too quickly, giving you enough time to buff it free of streaks.
Finally, make sure to buff the area with a clean microfiber towel. Buffing the area will help to remove excess product, high spots and stop potential streaking too.
How To Remove Ceramic Coating High Spots
There are a number of different ways to “level” high spots in your ceramic coating.
Ideally, you’d start with the least extreme and work your way up. Depending on how long you’ve left the ceramic coating to cure, you may need to use more extreme methods.
Unfortunately, when it comes to ceramic coatings, not everything is fixable. Sure, you can make it look better but
In some cases, if you want it to look 100%, you’ll have to remove the coating and re-apply it.
Step 1: Level The Coating With A Microfiber Towel
The first step to removing high spots in your ceramic coating is to buff it with a microfiber towel. This will fix the problem 99% of the time, providing the coating hasn’t cured yet.
Unfortunately, when the coating cures, it becomes hard and cannot be leveled by a microfiber cloth.
As mentioned above, keep checking your work as you go. Keep a clean microfiber towel next to you when you’re working and always use a LED inspection light to make sure that you’re not left with high spots or excess coating on your paint.
Step 2: Add Another Layer Of Ceramic Coating
If you have a very clear high spot where a serious amount of excess product has gathered, it’s very unlikely this will work.
If you’ve been applying the coating as recommended using a minimal amount of product, it could at least hide the high spot.
Adding another “coat” or “layer” of ceramic coating to the area will help level out the area making the high spot less obvious. It’ll also make sure that you didn’t miss out on the surrounding area. This could be why it may feel or look high in the first place.
After adding the second coat, buff it with a microfiber towel. This will help to make sure the coat was even and will prevent it from streaking too.
Step 3: Polish by hand
Whenever you find a paint imperfection, the best way to deal with it is by using polish or a rubbing compound. This is no different for paint imperfections caused by wax, sealants, and ceramic coatings.
Products such as Meguiars Ultimate Compound are designed to cut and remove paint defects. This will help with your high spots created by your ceramic coating.
Meguiars Ultimate Compound is an abrasive product and can cut away quite quickly. Always make sure that you keep checking the area as you rub. Rubbing too much or too fast could result in completely removing the ceramic coating.
If you’re scared of rubbing through the coating, a product such as Meguiars Ultimate Polish will help to break down the ceramic coating without rubbing through completely. It’s not as abrasive as a rubbing compound.
Step 4: Polish Using A Polisher
Using your hand to polish will significantly increase your margin of safety. It’s pretty hard to rub through the coating or painting using your hand, and anybody can polish by hand.
But, sometimes polishing by hand isn’t enough. This is when you’d bring in a Dual Action Polisher or Rotary Polishing machine.
Dual-action polishers achieve a speed and motion that human hands cannot. The machines are often used by professional vehicle refinishers to remove scratches, swirls, and other paint defects.
This is the last step to take as it could result in you completely removing the coating. If you do completely remove the coating, it’s not a huge deal. Just reapply the coating correctly to the area you just polished.
The other issue is the fact that not everyone has a polishing machine and they certainly don’t come cheap.
If you want to get started with a polisher, I’ve written a couple of articles that will help you out.
These are: The Best Dual Action Polisher For Beginners, The Best Cheap Dual Action Polisher, and How To Remove Swirl Marks From Car Paint.
How To Remove Ceramic Coating Streaks
You should treat removing streaks from a ceramic coating the exact same way as you would removing high spots. Follow steps 1-4 as listed above for the best results.
Yet, if your aim is to remove ceramic coating streaks, there is another step you can take.
Adding a product such as Adams Brilliant Glaze on top of your ceramic coating will help to remove the streaks from your vehicle. This is a similar method to applying more ceramic coating to the streaky areas.
Adam’s Brilliant Glaze will add amazing depth, gloss & clarity to your paintwork. It’s the ultimate finishing touch.
It’s super easy to apply and can be applied to painted surfaces, chrome, and even glass. Simply wipe it on and then wipe it off!
This is a super fast-acting product and one that you can’t go wrong with.
Unfortunately, if it doesn’t fix the streaking, and you’ve tried the other methods mentioned in this article. It’s time to polish the panel to remove the coating completely and re-apply it properly.