Picture this: your car looks perfect. There isn’t a scratch, dent or mark on the paint, and even though you’ve had it for a few years now, it looks like you only bought it yesterday. How? You were smart enough to give it a ceramic coating.
Over the last five years, there’s been a dramatic rise in the popularity of ceramic coatings, particularly for those of us who love to DIY. It’s made the whole process more accessible to auto enthusiasts everywhere and the results are akin to what the professionals do (at a much lower price point).
However, cars naturally get dirty (because you’re out there living your #bestlife). So if you don’t know the best way to clean your ride to maintain its ceramic coat, don’t stress — we got you! There’s been a lot of buzz around whether or not car wash soap is bad for ceramic coatings, so we’re here to help set the record straight.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about ceramic coatings, how to take care of your car once it has one and why it will save you time, money and stress down the track when you do it yourself.
First, what is the use of ceramic coating on cars?
In a nutshell, a ceramic coating protects your car, while also making it look as fresh as the day you drove it out of the dealership! Also known as ‘nano-coating’, a ceramic coat to your car can shield it against most things that attack your ride. Think scratches, UV damage from the sun, extreme weather conditions… the list goes on!
What ceramic coating does is use tiny, invisible particles to create a sealed, transparent protective layer on the surface of your car. The coating starts as a liquid and as it begins to harden, the nanoparticles fill in the gaps on the gloss surface, and this process usually only takes a few seconds. And what makes a DIY formula so effective is that it typically only needs to be applied once, and can last for upwards of a year.
Why is this useful, we hear you ask? A ceramic coating essentially creates an invisible force field around your car, keeping it safe and clean in between washes. Leaving you free to enjoy your polished up ride in style.
Should I DIY or get a professional to do it?
Now, you can pay through the nose to get a professional to apply a ceramic coating, OR, you can DIY it at home. It’s easy and much more affordable than you think, especially if you use Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat. Engineered in a lab to be durable and long lasting, it has a superior Si02 ceramic protective coating. Plus, you won’t have to wait days to get your car back — you’ll be ready to roll in less than an hour.
How often do you get your car washed?
This is an important part of learning to get those most out of your car’s ceramic coating. If you don’t have a ceramic coating, you’ll more than likely have to wash your car a lot more because it won’t have that extra layer of protection from the elements. But, if you do apply a ceramic coating, it’s recommended you wash your car every two weeks. This will help maintain the coating and get rid of any nasties that build up.
If you live in an area where it rains a lot (or even snows), you might like to wash your car weekly. A ceramic coating will self-clean, keeping most dust and dirt away, but after a heavy downpour the water will evaporate and leave behind minerals that may start to slowly eat away at the coating. And unfortunately your car will lose that amazing shine you’ve worked so hard for it to get.
Don’t forget your car’s interior
One thing many motorists forget is to keep the inside of their car sparkling clean, particularly any leather seating. We bet you want your ride to not only look good, but also feel good while you’re cruising around.
To give your leather interiors a little TLC, our Shine Armor Leather Cleaner and Conditioner has a time saving 2-in-1 formula — so you can clean and condition leather surfaces, all at once.
Pro tip: our leather cleaner isn’t just for your car. You can also use it on your favorite leather couch and impress the guys on game day!
So, what is the use of ceramic coating on car paint?
Take a moment to think about all the things that can affect the paint on your car. Everything from small scratches, to UV sunlight, and even how many times a week you wash your car — your car’s surface is virtually a battlefield!
Over time, even the oxygen in the air will start to dull the colour and luminosity of your car’s paint. This is why it’s a good idea to get a ceramic coating on your ride. It’s what’s going to help clean, seal and protect your car now, and into the future.
How to maintain the ceramic coating on your car in 5 simple steps
If you’re doing this DIY for the first time, here are a few tips to help you make the most of it and keep your car lookin’ fly for longer:
1. Take the time to prep your vehicle
If this is your first or even 50th time applying a DIY ceramic coating, don’t skip this step. Contrary to popular belief, a ceramic coating won’t hide any dents or scratches already on your car. In fact, it will do the opposite. So before you dive in, it might be a good idea to fix any minor imperfections.
It’s also crucial to make sure your car is super clean. Give it a full and thoroughly wash before applying any kind of coating. The product will only work as well on your car as the condition that it’s in.
2. Don’t wash your car in direct sunlight
Water evaporates faster in sunlight, so if you wash your car when it’s a hot day, there’s a chance you’ll end up with water spotting everywhere.
The same goes if your car has been out in the sun all day and the paint is hot. Wash your car in the shade and not obsessively — once every two weeks is enough to make sure it’s in good shape on the outside.
3. Make sure you use a car washing detergent
Many household cleaning products can damage the finish of your ceramic coating, so it’s best to use a dedicated car detailing wash. They’re specifically designed not to hurt the surface of your car and gently remove any dirt or build-up without chipping the paint or damaging the protective coating.
When it comes to maintaining your ceramic coating, don’t sell yourself short and use the cheapest products. Do your own research and use a brand you trust, like us (*wink*). We’re just as obsessed about cars as you are, and our Formulation Team spend hundreds of hours in the lab perfecting our products.
4. Wash your wheels FIRST
Chances are your wheels will be the dirtiest part of your ride, so get them out of the way before you wash the rest. Why is this important? It will stop any excess dirt and mud from getting transferred to the body of your car to ruin your already clean pride and joy.
To rejuvenate your tires, try Shine Armor’s Pristine Tire Shine Gel. It will give your wheels a dark, glossy black finish, returning them to their showroom glory!
5. Follow the ‘two bucket method’
This is a classic technique used by auto enthusiasts the world over. Make sure you have two buckets beside you when you’re ready to wash your car: one full of soapy water, the other with fresh, clean water to rinse your mit as you go. Your mit will pick up dirt and dust as you clean each panel, so rather than dirtying your soapy water, dunk it in the other bucket first.
If you wash your car too much, will it affect the paint?
Are you ready for some good news, friends?
Washing your car properly and regularly won’t affect the paint anywhere near as much as the weather and general wear and tear. However, if you have a ceramic coating, you may need to apply a new coat if you wash your car more than once a week.
Another thing to consider is that while water won’t affect the paint too much, how you wash your car will, so make sure you use a quality towel or mit. Our Shine Armor professional microfiber towels come in a 10-pack and are lint free, plus they won’t scratch your ride when you buff and polish.
So, is ceramic coating on cars advantageous?
After everything you’ve learned so far about ceramic coating, you might be wondering if it’s even worth it. The short answer: YES. For most cars, especially if you choose to DIY the process, the small upfront cost will pay for itself in just a few months. Your car will retain its shine and color, and (other than the money you’ll save) there are other benefits to be aware of.
A ceramic coating is hydrophobic, so cleaning your car gets a lot easier. How? It repels water, so any dirt that’s water-based will bead and slide right off. So once you splash it with the jet wash, you’ll be left with a shining, spotless ride.
Another benefit is that the paint on your car will be protected from harmful UV rays. If you park outside this is extremely useful, because the ceramic coating prevents the paint from oxidizing and fading. The sun can cause a lot of damage over time, so a layer of ceramic protection will keep your car looking its best, longer.
Similarly, if you DIY your ceramic coat, you get the satisfaction of doing something wonderful to add to the aesthetic appeal of your car. Which is a reward in and of itself.
Ceramic coating: the choice is yours!
At Shine Armor, we want you to have a ton of fun and enjoy your ride in every way. If you’ve never DIY’d, now might be the perfect time to start. Ceramic coating won’t only make your car look amazing, it will also protect it from the elements, ensuring you can make the most of it every single day.