Ceramic Coatings – What are they? What can they do, and what can’t they do?
Ceramic Coatings are becoming a massively popular way of protecting your pride and joy.
They are such a massive hit because of the big claims they make about durability and their resistance to things like chemical stains, road grime, UV rays and many others that can cause great harm to your vehicle’s paintwork.
So what are Ceramic Coatings?
These coatings (also known as nano-coatings or semi-permanent coatings) are created by companies like Gtechniq, CarPro, Fenylab, Gyeon and many more. These coatings are made of a liquid polymer which is then applied by hand to the exterior of your vehicle and left to cure. The coating creates a chemical bond with the vehicle’s paintwork, giving an amazing longevity as it doesn’t break down or wash away when you clean your vehicle. This therefore creates a layer of protection that does not require repeated application every few months like some waxes.
What does a Ceramic Coating do for your vehicle?
A Ceramic Coating will add an additional layer of protection to your vehicle’s paintwork and helps to keep it looking it’s best with minimal maintenance needed. This result is achived by making your vehicle more resilient to weather conditions and easier to clean. Here are the main benefits:
Adding a Ceramic Coating is certainly an amazing way to enhance the gloss of your paintwork. A good Ceramic Coating will enhance the reflective properties of your car’s paint and clear coat, adding to the depth and clarity of your paint. These coatings will also add a huge amount of gloss retention, which is the coating’s ability to maintain it’s gloss levels over time, and is a measure of the coatings durability.
Ease of Cleaning
One of the most talked about features of a Ceramic Coating is the hydrophobic properties in which they all carry; which is just a fancy term of saying it repels water very, very easily. Having a hydrophobic coating on your vehicle will mean that water will bead on the surface of the coating, and then slide off. This level of repellancey will mean that any mud, tar, grime and other contaminants will find it much harder to bond to your vehicle’s painwork, thus meaning when you wash your vehicle, all these contaminants will be removed with much less effort.
Protection from UV Damage / Oxidization
When a vehicle is often left exposed to the sun, its paint will begin to fade (another term for this is oxidization). This is where the paintwork will begin to fade, leaving a dull effect across the paint. A layer of Ceramic Coating will help protect the vehicle’s paintwork from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which will then reduce the amount of oxidization caused.
Protection from Chemical Stains and Etching
Another feature of a Ceramic Coating it has a great resistance to chemicals. So things like chemical staining and etching from naturally acidic contaminants will help stop some of these from bonding to your vehicle’s paintwork and causing damage as long as the contaminant (for example, bird droppings) is removed from your vehicle within a short time frame.
What doesn’t a Ceramic Coating do for your vehicle?
Unfortunately, with lots of videos and adverts popping up on social media sites etc, people can sometimes be under the impression that a Ceramic Coating is a magical, super-cure product that will solve any and every problem for your car. This is not the case unfortunately. These a the few things that a Ceramic Coating can’t do:
Eliminate the Danger of Scratches, Swirl Marks, or Rock Chips
The level of resistance that a coating can give is often exaggerated. There are a few videos circling the internet showing people hitting items against a car and then magically just wiping the marks away. This is not a true fact. A Ceramic Coating will be able to resist some small micro scratching and could repel some lighter scratches, but it will not be completely resilient to the likes of stone chips, or any heavier types of scratching (headge-row scratches etc).
It will also not be able to resist against improper car washing techniques or any automated washes. These will unfortuantely still create swirl marks as the coatings need to maintained properly by use of safe and approved car washing techniques, to help reduce these effects. It is also not a substitute for things like paint protection film, which give a much higher resistance to scratches and stone chips.
Eliminate the Risk of Water Spotting
Water droplets contain a certain amount of dirt and minerals. When the water evaporates from your vehicle’s paintwork, the minerals and dirt in the water are left behind create what we all know as water spots. There is a big assumption that the hydrophobic qualities of the coatings will stop this as all the water ‘slides’ off the paintwork. This does happen but not 100% of the water will entirely bead off the vehicle, and therefore it will leave behind a small amount that creates the opportunity for water-spotting.
Eliminate the Need to Wash
As already stated above, the need to still wash your vehicle remains but the cleaning process is much easier. Having a coating applied as well will also eliminate the need to keep reapplying a wax every few month – which then reduces the effort needed to maintain your vehicle’s paintwork.
So in all, the coating does not make your vehicle maintenance-free, but it greatly helps to keep your vehicle maintained to a fantastic standard, with much less effort than when the coating hasn’t been applied.