What is Ceramic Coating for Cars?

Have you ever thought about applying a ceramic coating to your car? Do the popular claims of it preserving your car’s paint job hold true? Is it better than waxing and polishing? How does it fare against the advantages of a paint protection film (PPF)? And is it really worth it considering its price tag?

We know you have asked these questions many times only to end up more confused than before. The amount of contradictory information available on the web can be annoying at times. Which is why we have decided to clear them once and for all.

Today, we will walk you through the basics of ceramic coating for cars. What it is, what are its advantages and disadvantages, how it fares versus waxing and other alternatives, and what we as experts think about it. Here goes…

What Is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coating is a semi-permanent or permanent (depending on the type) coating that is applied to the exterior of your vehicle to protect against external paint damage.

A ceramic coating is a liquid polymer applied to a car’s exterior. Once applied, it creates a bond with the vehicle’s factory paint, forming a layer of protection on top of your car’s clear coat to add an additional level of defense against the elements.

Ceramic coatings are primarily formulated of silicon dioxide (SiO2) but can also include other additives, such as titanium dioxide (TiO2), to increase their protective qualities and longevity. After you apply and properly cure the ceramic coating, the result is a tough protective layer that should keep everything from bird crap to brake dust at bay.

While this seems straightforward enough, car-cleaning chemical manufacturers have (both literally and metaphorically) diluted the effect of the term “ceramic.” No two ceramic coating products are identical, and the key differentiator among all of them is the amount of SiO2 used.

Professional-grade ceramic coatings—the kind dealers apply before they deliver a car, or detail shops will apply for hundreds of dollars—are typically very concentrated (usually >80 percent SiO2) and come in very small bottles.

There are other products on the market that have roughly the same chemicals but are far more diluted. These are also called ceramic coatings by their manufacturers. A diluted ceramic coating isn’t necessarily inferior to more concentrated solutions, but it does, at least in theory, mean the coating won’t last as long over time—an important detail that is at the heart of this very test.

5 Benefits of Ceramic Coatings

Take anything that contains chemical compounds and you are looking at a resilient solution. Same goes for ceramic coating, which is both permanent and easier to clean once applied. Other than the obvious, here are a few more reasons to apply it in your car:

What is Ceramic Coating for Cars

Protects Your Paint

Every time you drive your car, you’re exposing the paint to various contaminants that can cause damage. Ceramic coating provides a strong, protective surface on your car’s body that works to block all foreign matter from causing damage to your car.

It can withstand a significant amount of damage without showing any visible effects on your car, such as fading, oxidation, and chemical staining.

Ceramic coating can also protect your car from harmful UV rays, which can lead to oxidation. This is especially helpful if you park your car outside.

Keeps Your Car Cleaner

With the hard surface that ceramic coating provides, any dirt or debris just rolls off the surface, rather than getting stuck within the tiny pockets of your vehicle’s body. This means that your car stays cleaner and even when it does need a wash, getting all that dirt off takes so much less time than it normally would!

Lasts Longer Than Other Paint Protection Methods

Traditional paint coatings such as wax wear off much faster than ceramic coatings. You can expect it to last for years, without wearing off after being exposed to weather, components of the atmosphere, bird droppings, or other possible contaminants.

Cost Effective

One of the best parts about ceramic coating is that it’s a very cost-effective option for vehicle owners. While the investment may be a bit larger up front, it will cost you less in the long run because you won’t have to spend as much money on things like wax, car washes, and other exterior detailing services.

Depending on the type of ceramic coating you get, it is an essentially permanent solution, so you won’t have to worry about continuing to replace it year after year!

Looks Great

Who doesn’t love the look of a shiny new car? With ceramic coating, not only is your vehicle’s surface protected, but the fresh coating leaves a beautiful, candy-like gloss for all to admire. It will bring the best out of your original paint job, restoring your car’s look to when you drove it for the first time!

What Ceramic Coating Won’t Do?

Unfortunately, ceramic coatings are not ideal for everyone, primarily due to high costs. Unlike wax, for example, a ceramic coating adheres to and bonds with a car’s paint and cannot simply be wiped off and reapplied.

The process is more akin to applying stain to a piece of wood, where the application needs to be smooth, consistent and, for the best results, performed by an experienced professional. If a mistake is made, or if something touches the surface before it has fully cured, the entire area of the car must be wet sanded, and the coating reapplied.

While the price of ceramic coatings kits is less than $100, proper preparation can make this an expensive endeavor. Since the coating will magnify any imperfections, you must first laboriously polish the paint to remove any swirls, scratches, or discoloration.

Experts claim that’s even true for brand-new cars fresh off of a dealer’s lot, as they likely have slight paint damage from being run through an automatic car wash.

With this in mind, you may not be surprised to learn that a professional may charge $1,000 or more to apply a ceramic coating to your vehicle. We don’t recommend the average do-it-yourself attempt on a car of any value.

Perhaps more significant than the cost of a ceramic coating are the unrealistic expectations some people have with regard to the result. Granted, ceramic coatings offer unrivaled protection, but your car won’t suddenly have an impenetrable barrier. Stones will still chip your paint, rogue shopping carts will absolutely dent your fender, and tree sap left to bake on the hood will laugh at your $1,000 silica-based polymer.

Furthermore, you must maintain a ceramic coating with frequent brush-free washes (to avoid swirls and scratches) and occasional treatment with a particular spray which, thankfully, owners can do themselves.

Related Post: How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Car?

Is Ceramic Coating worth it?

The short answer is yes. As we have seen in this article, ceramic coating has great benefits that will add value to your car in the long run. It will make your job of cleaning and maintaining it less tedious. So that you spend more time driving and enjoying your car than thinking about ways to keep it protected.

But if you ask us whether it is a one-stop solution for all your paint worries, we would slant to the negative. There’s no one product in the market that will guarantee complete protection of your car. If there were, we wouldn’t be discussing ceramic coating, one of the finest car paint protection services available today.

Moreover, weighing the cost of ceramic coating against that of the yearly maintenance and waxing makes it a no-brainer.


Is ceramic coating good for your car?

Ceramic Coatings definitely make the car much easier to wash and the vehicle is certainly going to stay cleaner for a longer period of time and heavily cut down on the amount of washing needed, but not completely eliminate the need for it and your car is still going to get dirty even with a Ceramic Coating on it.

What are the disadvantages of ceramic coating?

The Cons of Ceramic Coating a Car:
1. It Doesn’t Remove Existing Flaws. While ceramic coating preserves the look of your car’s exterior, it doesn’t cover anything up.
2. It’s Not Invincible.
3. It Doesn’t Replace the Need to Wash Your Car.
4. Water Spots/Swirl Marks Are Never 100% Preventable.
5. It Doesn’t Come Off.

How long does ceramic coating last?

For the most part, ceramic coatings last between two and five years. In some cases, they can last up to a decade, but this is pretty rare. However, there are many factors that affect their lifespan and might force you to replace yours sooner than you’d expect.

Can I wax over ceramic coating?

The lesson is simple: unless your goal is to strip the ceramic coating off your car, keep the polish away. Car wax and polish are not the same. Car waxes with ingredients like carnauba wax and synthetic shine polymers are perfectly safe to use—and even recommended to use—on top of ceramic coatings.

Can you go through a car wash after ceramic coating?

The golden rule you should always stick to after a ceramic coating is Do not wash your car within 7 days of application! If you know the basic properties of these types of products, you will know that once they are applied they will begin to cure and harden.