Why You Shouldn’t Get A Ceramic Coating
Brilliant Video From Chicago Auto Pros, explains why a Ceramic Coating might not be for you.
(We have transcribed the video for you for those without video player)
Getting a ceramic coating on your car is not cheap. We’ve seen customers come in here who get a coating on their car, and they’re just getting it on their car because they saw somebody else doing it, or they saw people in the forms doing it. So they come and get it without even knowing the benefits of a ceramic coating.
If you’re a customer who does not care about the condition of their paint, if your vehicle is just a vehicle of getting you from point A to point B, don’t get a ceramic coating.
If you’re not going to keep your vehicle for more than three years, or if you’re going to take your vehicle through a car wash or not properly wash it, a coating is useless.
But if you’re a customer who cares about your car, who wants to keep it looking new, shiny and clean for as long as you possibly can, then keep watching.
Keeping your car looking good is not just a one and done service. It takes continued maintenance, and a ceramic coating is just one piece of the puzzle to keep your car looking new.
And I want to make this point very clear, because we’ve seen some clients that come into Chicago auto pros wanting us to put a ceramic coating on their car, thinking that it’s some sort of magic shield that’s going to protect their car from scratches and dings, and that they’re never going to have to wash it anymore. Our business, Chicago Auto Pros, is built on integrity and quality, and I want to make sure that if you’re looking into getting a ceramic coating that you know exactly what you’re getting. It’s my personal opinion that every car should get a coating. It’s a fantastic product. <
But with the evolution of this new technology, there’s there’s companies and there’s manufacturers out there that are building this product up to sound like it’s like something bulletproof. A ceramic coating is not something that you need on your car, like changing your oil to keep the engine from seizing your car is not going to rust, or it’s not going to fall apart if you don’t have a ceramic coating.
If you plan on keeping your car for more than three years, or if you just like keeping your car looking as nice as possible, let’s talk about what you can expect from a ceramic coating.
The materials on the exterior of your car, including the paint, the plastic, the rubber trim, the glass, chrome, and the wheels. They’re all exposed to weather elements like the sun, the rain, the snow, the salt, all that stuff. From the time your car leaves the manufacturers, these materials will start to break down. They’ll start to fade, and they’ll eventually start to look old and oxidized.
How fast these materials break down is all dependent on where you live in the country, where you park your car, and how you maintain your vehicle. Protections can be put on these materials to help fight against deterioration. Keeping your car looking newer for longer. You have waxes, you have sealants, and you have different products for your rubber. You trim the glass on all the wheels. There are lots of options out there, in essence, waxes, sealants, and coatings.
They all kind of work in the same way to preserve these surfaces. But these protectant, they all have different lifespans, thicknesses, finishes, and durability, and they’re all applied just a little bit differently.
A wax is the least expensive and easiest to apply, but they only last a couple of months at best. In a sealant, which is a polymer can last up to six months to a year. Both sealants and waxes are applied kind of in the same manner, and they’re relatively easy to work with. The standard for these products are they come in a tube or they come in a paste form where a ceramic coating is comes in a little bottle and it’s almost clearcoat looking. Ceramic coatings are not as user friendly, and they’re applied in a different manner than waxes and sealants.
Think of all these protectants as sacrificial layers. Waxes and sealants are very thin compared to the thickness of a ceramic coating, and that thickness of a ceramic coating gives it its durability of years instead of months. The chemical makeup of a ceramic coating is also different, where chemicals and washing will break down waxes and sealants. Coatings are not affected. Coatings are thicker, they’re more durable, they’re noticeably glossier than waxes and sealants, but they also cost more than a wax or a sealant.
And that’s where you have to decide whether it’s a value to you or not. Because the coatings do last for years, you’re going to want to make sure that your paint is perfect as possible before you’re putting on a coating. So machine polishing to remove swirls and scratches in the paint, it can be labor intensive. And that’s also why there can be a significant price difference between these different protection options. Ceramic coatings can be applied wrong, just like a wax or a sealant could be left behind in the cracks and the seams or discolor.
Trim coatings can leave behind high spots and cause other paint issues. If not properly applied. Detailers and detailing companies they’re not all created equal. This is difficult for a lot of people to understand because just because two detailers have the same service, the quality or the end result may be vastly different. When you’re comparing estimates, make sure that you’re asking lots of questions. Is the coating just for the paint? Are you coating the wheels? Are you taking the wheels off to coat them?
How about the glass? How about the trim? Are you coating the door jambs? Know what you’re getting and make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. After you get a ceramic coating put on your car. It doesn’t mean that you can neglect the vehicle by not washing it or not using proper washing techniques. Keeping your vehicle looking nice. It’s going to cost you time and money.
You should be washing your car every week, and then you have things like tar and sap and iron particles that’ll stick to the surface, to the paint, and they need to be removed safely. For the coating to have peak performance, we recommend a coating maintenance detail every six months to a year. This cost of a ceramic coating on a low side, you’re looking at 500 bucks and all the way up to $2,500 and beyond, depending on what type of coating that you go with. There are a lot of brands of coatings on the market, and it can be confusing. We’ve tested a lot of them. This is probably the most confusing part of getting a ceramic coating is choosing which brand or coating to go with.
My advice is don’t get hung up on choosing a brand. You want to find a good quality detailer with a good reputation, and they will ask you a simple couple questions, and they’ll make a proper suggestion for you. How long do you plan on keeping the car? How do you normally maintain the car?
Do you wash it every weekend? You bring it into a hand wash. Do you normally wax your car? Based off your answers, I would probably suggest.
You can expect that a properly applied coating is going to make your vehicle look amazing. It makes it easier to maintain. You’re not going to have to worry about waxing it every couple of months, and it’s also going to make your neighbours jealous that your car is glossier than theirs, and you’re going to have a thick layer of protection that is more chemical resistant, less prone to damage from bird and bug etchings than any other wax.
Sealants on the market. A ceramic coating is going to last years if you wash it and perform regular routine maintenance. And don’t worry, I have a video for that too.
But a ceramic coating? It’s not going to protect against rock chips or scratches, and it’s not a force field in any way. The only way to keep your vehicle looking in its best shape possible is consistent and proper maintenance.