Keeping your car in as pristine a condition as the day you got it is a challenge every car owner faces. We all aspire to maintain that sheen and slick “just-off-the-showroom-floor” look for years to come.
But the more we use our vehicles, the more we expose them to the elements. And the more exposed they get, the more often we clean them. Of course, washing your car regularly is great for maintenance, but it can also leave unsightly streaks.
You can always opt for car detailing, but even professionals recommend you only do that two to three times a year.
Enter ceramic coating.
What is ceramic coating for cars?
A ceramic coat is a liquid polymer that creates a hydrophobic layer on your car’s paint job. Its primary purpose is to protect the exterior of your vehicle from harmful elements like UV rays and chemical stains. The ceramic car coating’s reflective properties also add a nice shine and gloss to your vehicle.
Most vehicle owners opt for this procedure because it lessens the time you need to get your vehicle cleaned or detailed.
Other benefits of ceramic paint protection
Springing for ceramic paint on your vehicle also offers other advantages apart from going longer between washings:
- Protection from sun damage — While New Zealand enjoys relatively moderate weather, we still get an abundance of sunshine, which is great if you want to enjoy time on the beach, but it isn’t good for your car’s paintwork. If you park your vehicle outdoors and not in a carport or garage, the sun’s UV rays can make the paint fade over time. Ceramic coating can help mitigate that problem.
- More durable exterior paint — If you’re a fan of off-roading on gravel roads in New Zealand’s famous back-country roads, your truck or car will benefit from a ceramic coating, as it provides an added layer of protection against nicks and scratches. Ultimately, this makes your car’s exterior more durable, and its paint job will last longer.
- Easier cleaning — Keep in mind that a car with ceramic coating will still get dirty, so you’ll still have to take it in for cleaning. However, what it can do is make it easier to clean. Ceramic paint’s repelling properties mean dirt and grime won’t stick to your car, so you won’t have to scrub so hard when you go for a wash. You’ll have your car looking brand new again in no time.
- No more waxing — You can leave the waxing on and off to The Karate Kid when your car has a ceramic coating. Waxing offers the same benefits as putting on a ceramic coat by protecting your car against harmful environmental elements. But you must routinely wax your vehicle every three months to enjoy those benefits. A ceramic coating offers a near-permanent solution.
- Saves you time and money — The biggest benefit of all is that it’s cost-effective and allows you to lessen the time you spend on car waxing. Upfront costs might be steep (upwards of $1,000 for some professionals), but the benefits and the long-term savings you get from the preventive properties of ceramic paint make the payout worth it.
If you wish to learn more about the price of our car ceramic coating services, send us a message to request a quote.
Is there a downside to getting a ceramic coat?
While we’re big proponents of ceramic coating for cars, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention its cons:
- Preparation — Your car’s exterior paint needs to be as clean and dirt-free as possible. Even a small amount of dust can contaminate the application. So ceramic coating works significantly better on newer cars.
- Cost — While applying the ceramic coating yourself is possible, you’re sure to get the best outcome when you let professionals do it. You’ll have to pay a little more at the onset, but considering the benefits, it’s not a bad trade-off.
- Permanency — Most professionals will describe ceramic coating as “permanent,” but this is only true if you also regularly maintain your car. You’d still have to undergo routine washes to ensure its longevity.
Overall, ceramic coating for cars is a great way to protect one of your biggest investments.
However, it’s not the only way you can protect your vehicle. Let’s discuss the differences between a ceramic coat and a paint protection film (PPF).
What is paint protection film or PPF?
Let’s first define paint protection films to understand their similarities and differences better.
Paint protection film (PPF) is also known as a “clear bra.” It is a thermoplastic urethane film that is self-healing and pliant. As the name suggests, it goes on clear, so it’s ideal for your vehicle’s aesthetics.
Like ceramic coating, it provides a protective layer on your car’s paint, preventing the exterior from fading over time.
However, unlike a ceramic coat, PPF’s top layer is made of elastic polymers. These self-healing substances mean that the film returns to its original state when damaged, making it more resistant to high-impact hazards like mineral deposits, rock chips and debris.
Ceramic coating vs. PPF: Which is better?
In deciding which is a better option for you, consider the following factors:
- Aesthetics — Either option helps to protect your car’s paint from oxidising. Neither of them will affect the original colour of your vehicle. However, most users agree that ceramic coats offer a glossier, shinier finish.
- Maintenance — Both options allow for easier maintenance of your car’s paintwork. A routine wash now and then is enough to keep it clean and shiny. But ceramic coating wins this round, too, as dirt washes off easier, and you don’t have to keep getting it waxed.
- Protection levels — This is where PPF thrives. The self-healing elastomeric polymer top layer protects your vehicle under unfavourable circumstances like deep scratches and acidic contaminants.
- Longevity — Ceramic paint protection lasts longer than PPF. It can even span the entire life of your car. You would need to re-apply PPF at least once or twice in your vehicle’s lifetime, making it a more costly option.
Another shared benefit of ceramic coating and PPF is that it adds to your car’s resale value. It might also be worth noting that they’re not mutually exclusive. In fact, some car owners get both options to better protect their vehicles against the elements.
But ultimately, your choice depends on how often your vehicle is exposed to possible damage, where you live and how much money you’re willing to spend on protecting your car’s paintwork.
Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about the benefits of ceramic coating for cars.
Should you apply a ceramic coating yourself?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is, “It’s complicated.”
Sure, DIY ceramic coating kits are available on the market, but not all are created equal, and not all offer the same level of protection as industrial-grade ceramic paint.
It’s true that they do share some similarities. For example, a DIY kit and professional ceramic coats are composed of three main ingredients — silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide and a carrier solvent.
Some of the best do-it-yourself ceramic coating kits on the market contain at least 70% silicone dioxide (SiO2). While this is an impressive amount of SiO2 in a DIY kit, it’s also important to look at the type of carrier solvent they use.
This is so because the application of ceramic coating involves going layer by layer. The goal is to make it flatter upon every layer, so you get that wet gloss look and optimal hydrophobic capabilities.
The higher-grade solvents found in most industrial-grade ceramic glaze kits allow for better adhesion, and professionals get special training, so you can be sure it’s an even, thin coat for every layer.
Additionally, both professional and DIY kits are highly concentrated solutions. And because they are highly concentrated, you will need adequate ventilation during the application process. This type of space is not something most DIYers will have.
To wrap up, if you’re a car enthusiast and you’ve had some experience in detailing your own vehicle or applying car wax, then, yes, absolutely, you can apply a ceramic coat yourself. We advise you to research and read customer reviews to find the most suitable one. Otherwise, you might end up with a DIY kit that’s no better than snake oil.
Trust Jim’s Cleaning Group for all your car cleaning and ceramic coating needs
Jim’s Cleaning Group started out as a humble gardening business in the early ‘80s. Soon after, we expanded their services to include home, office and car cleaning. We have over 3500 franchisees in four different countries, and we’re continuously growing!
When you choose Jim’s Cleaning Group, you get the following:
- Reliable and affordable car cleaning services
- Fully trained, fully insured and police-checked staff
- Customer service that goes above and beyond
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
Request a quote for your cleaning needs. You may also ring us at 0800 454 654 to learn more about our services or for any franchise enquiries.