Ceramic Coatings – Questions Clients Ask
At Auto Curators we have been using ceramic coatings at our detailing studio in Hampshire for almost fifteen years. These semi-permanent, quartz or silicon dioxide (SiO2) solutions form a chemical bond with your vehicle’s paintwork. As a result, a ceramic coating offers a long term protective layer and ensures ease of care.
Once a client has experienced ceramic coating benefits, we find they recommend them to friends and family members. But people who are new to these treatments will generally have questions. So, we thought we’d answer a few of those most commonly asked questions here.
Ceramic Coatings – FAQs:
Why should I use a ceramic coating?
Applying products to protect, beautify and improve ease of care, is nothing new. Paint is susceptible is to damage from its environment. This damage might be from bird droppings, acidic rain, bug splats, tree sap, and so on. Years ago fine furniture wax was used for the first cars, that had bodywork made from wood. As an aside, this is where the premium car care manufacturer, Swissvax, find their origins.
However, wax, and latterly, polymer sealants, are quite fragile. They offer little in terms of resistance to chemicals. Additionally, they are very easily removable with a strong soapy solution, or a mild solvent.
Ceramic coatings address these issues. As they cure they form a very hard surface that offers some genuine scratch resistance compared to bare paint. The chemical reaction during curing means the coating becomes part of the paint surface, forming a covalent bond with the paint. That, in turn, means that washing or wiping the coating away is impossible, even using a strong solvent. Of course, they are also extremely glossy, so your car will look great. Plus, ceramic coatings generally have exceptional hydrophobic properties, which makes cleaning your car a breeze.
Is it true that a ceramic coating will mean my car never needs polishing again… Forever?
This is, sadly, a misconception and something that has been further confused by poor advertising campaigns.
Just because a car has been ceramic coated, it doesn’t become impervious to damage, but far more resistant. You should still care for your car, follow a good, safe wash regime, and so on. Wash it badly or use automated car washes and swirl marks and scratches will appear more quickly. This doesn’t mean the coating has failed, but its lifespan will be reduced while the top surface is being abraded quicker than perhaps it should be.
No product lasts forever, and you should be immediately suspicious of any that claim they do. The longevity of a product always relates directly to the care shown for it. Still, it should be quite realistic to see the benefits of your coating lasting for a period of time measured in years, rather than months (it will depend on the product used, what its applied to, how the vehicle is used, etc.).
I’m picking up a new car from a dealership. They’ve offered a coating as part of the package, so, I’m good to go, yes?
I would strongly suggest avoiding the dealer option! It’s essential to understand that not all ceramic coatings are equal. Indeed, go somewhere like Amazon and search for one, and you can find a bottle for as little as £5-£10. Over the last five years, ‘Ceramic’ and ‘Nano’ have become massively overused buzzwords within the automotive industry.
The reality is that good ceramic coatings are generally quite horrible to use! Their successful application relies on strict preparation, a controlled environment during application and a curing period immediately after. These conditions can only be met at professional facilities, like our detailing studio in Hampshire. The process also requires a detailer’s keen eye for detail. An experienced professional will ensure that no smears or high spots are left before the curing process starts.
The chances of a dealership having staff with the time and skills to ensure the above is observed are practically zero. Which means the products they are using are ‘watered down’, hybrid ceramic products. These products have a much greater margin for error during application. They are ultimately more like consumer-grade products, and as usual, offer inferior value for money from the dealership.
How do I know my detailer is using a top-quality ceramic coating?
This is where it is important to have trust in your detailer. You need to feel confident that they have done the groundwork to know what they’re offering is top-notch. Here at Auto Curators, we have experience using ceramic coatings at our detailing studio in Hampshire for nearly 15 years. Over that time, we have seen them come on in leaps and bounds. As well as using the Kamikaze Collection ceramic products, we contacted manufacturers directly, and after extensive testing, sourced our own coating products, direct from Japan. This means we know exactly what we are buying, and can offer superior products very competitively. We are not paying the markup added by one or two other distributors in the supply chain. The Auto Curators Signature Ceramic Coating system is something we are very proud of, and our customers love it.
Should I choose ceramic coating over PPF?
These are two very different products, doing different things, but work very well together. Ceramic coatings are great for all the reasons above, and washing a car that has the benefit of a coating is a lovely experience! However, no coating can offer protection against physical impact, and this is where PPF comes in.
The most popular bookings at our detailing studio in Hampshire include installing PPF to the most vulnerable parts of a car, usually the forward-facing panels and lower sills, then we ceramic coat everything else.
Through Xpel, we even have a ceramic coating, especially for PPF! Xpel Fusion is the only coating we can apply that maintains the PPF warranty. Its special formulation means that it remains flexible, allowing the self-healing properties of PPF to still function properly. The benefit is to improve the hydrophobic properties of the PPF, again making washing easier, especially the removal of bug splats if you’ve been pushing on a bit during the summer… Roll-on the warmer months and times when we can enjoy the open roads of Hampshire once again!
If you still have questions about ceramic coatings, contact us, we’re always happy to answer any questions. Or if you’re ready to book your car in at our Hampshire detailing studio call us on 01256 769611.