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What is ceramic coating for cars?

It used to be a coat of wax that was your best bet to keep your car looking good. These days, technology has stepped in.

Q: What is ceramic coating for cars?

A: If you’re old enough, you might remember people applying a layer of wax to their car’s paintwork. The idea was that the wax would take the brunt of bird droppings, dust, dirt and industrial fallout, protecting the painted surface from attack.

Well, ceramic coating is really a high-tech, more permanent version of that but, instead of using wax, the modern technique uses a layer of tiny ceramic particles (and some Silicone and other trade-secret ingredients) to form the same protective barrier between your car and the outside world.

While wax gives a nice shine, it can’t protect like the much harder ceramic coating. This coating also makes the car easier and quicker to wash next time. It should stay cleaner for longer, too.

These days, the technology has spread to products that can protect the car’s interior, its glass and even rubber components like tyres.

So, what does ceramic coating do?  Fundamentally, what a ceramic coating does is give the paint a deeper shine.

Think about what happens when you wet a faded car. It suddenly gets its colour back and has some lustre, right?

Well, that’s what’s going on here, too, because the clear ceramic coating fills in the pores in the car’s paint, giving that wet look. The coating will also repel water, making it bead like the old-school waxing method.

The theory is the coating will keep the car looking newer for longer, and that has ramifications for the retained value of your car.

Like a lot of things, however, ceramic coating can’t perform miracles. If your car’s paint is already badly faded and the panels damaged and scratched, the best ceramic sealant technology in the world won’t change that or hide it in any meaningful way.

That said, before applying the ceramic coating car detailing is required. That’s so as many small scratches and swirls are removed before the coating goes on.

But what is ceramic car coating compared with the older technique of ceramic coating of mechanical parts? The other type of ceramic coating is used on components like exhaust headers and manifolds.

Exhaust ceramic paint is applied like any other paint, but there’s also a more industrial coating process involving heat and powders.

The idea is that by coating the exhaust system, it retains heat inside the pipes, improving exhaust gas flow, and that means more performance from the same engine.

(Image: Hendra Yuwana) (Image: Hendra Yuwana)

The other benefit of ceramic coating an exhaust is that it keeps the engine looking better for longer by staving off surface rust that naturally forms on these hot items.

Meantime, there are two ways to achieve a ceramic coating on your car’s interior and exterior. The first is to search for a professional ceramic coating operator near you.

These outfits often also offer car window tinting, so a shop that does ceramic pro coatings, might be a bit of a one-stop shop for a complete car makeover. Bigger operations will also offer the interior ceramic coating products for cloth and leather.

The other way is a DIY approach where you buy a specific car polish with ceramic technology in the formulation and apply it yourself., Typically, the results may not be as stellar as the pro job, but it’s a good way to try it out for yourself.

Plenty of companies make DIY ceramic polishes. Like the professional job, though, the coating may take up to 24 hours to cure and harden, so don’t plan on going anywhere until that has happened.

And make sure you follow the instructions on how to apply ceramic coating in this form, because there’s a definite process to be observed that can vary between brands.

Ceramic coating price ranges anywhere from $50 for a bottle of DIY ceramic car polish to thousands of dollars if you opt for a premium coating and have it professionally applied to every surface of a car.

But is ceramic coating worth it? People who detail cars for a living reckon that a professionally applied ceramic coating is the best paint protection for cars available.

This is also why new car ceramic coating is a thing; it protects the car before it can ever be damaged by sun or contaminants. Many car buyers opt to have this process applied before they even take delivery of the car.

New car dealers often try to upsell buyers with this option and it’s often marketed as Neotek ceramic coating. But be a bit careful with pricing as dealers often mark up prices beyond what you might pay through a dedicated detailing shop. But the best ceramic coating for cars is the one you can afford, and anything is better than no protection.

Many car buyers opt to have this process applied before they even take delivery of the car. Many car buyers opt to have this process applied before they even take delivery of the car.

If you do go down the professional route, you can search for customer’s ceramic coating reviews and the good websites will show ceramic coating before and after photos, although the full effect is hard to capture in a two-dimensional image.

Bigger centres such as Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have plenty of choices of professional operators, but you might struggle a bit more in smaller towns.

That said, the popularity of ceramic coating is ensuring it’s making its way to the regions. Google ceramic coating near me as your first step.

If you go down the DIY route, however, and it all goes wrong, you will need to know how to remove ceramic coating.

Causes for this could be because you applied the product incorrectly, you didn’t clean the surface properly or the coating itself has become damaged.

Yes, the ceramic coating is tough and isn’t affected by fallout or water, but it can still be mechanically damaged especially since it’s usually only a few microns thick.

The reality is, it’s a terrible job, because it involves mechanically sanding (in a micro sense) the coating off the car’s original paint. Fact is, this is probably a job best left to the experts, because damaging the paint underneath is a real possibility. Sand the ceramic too far and you’ll be eating into the car’s clear coat paint. And, suddenly, that cheap DIY coating isn’t looking like such good value.