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Ceramic coatings protect your paint in a way that no other product can. This guards the value of your vehicle, helps it to stay cleaner longer and it cleans up so much easier when it does get dirty. There is a ton of conflicting information and technical jargon associated with ceramic coatings and SiO2 products. In an effort to combat the misinformation connected to ceramic coatings, I have collected some of the frequently asked questions and answers below so that you can do as much research as you'd like. I find that it is ideal to have a free, no-obligation consultation with you about your vehicle to determine if it is a good fit for a ceramic coating and I am happy to schedule a time to do so.
Developed in the 1950's and popularized in the 1990's, ceramic coatings (a formulation that includes SiO2) truly gained a foothold in the car care industry in the early 2000's. A ceramic coating is like wrapping your vehicle in a bunch of really small glass beads and it adds gloss while making the clear coat of your vehicle more hydrophobic. Ceramic coatings protect the paint in ways that waxes (which usually only last weeks) and sealants (which usually last months) cannot. Unfortunately, the term "ceramic" has become a marketing buzzword that is added to many detailing products in an effort to help them sell more products. There are both consumer grade and professional grade ceramic coatings and one would be wise to do their due diligence to ensure that they understand the preparation of the surface, the application method, the exact type of coating used and any aftercare instructions to get the biggest return on investment.
Yes! There are consumer grade coatings such as Gyeon Can Coat or Car Pro C Quartz UK that may be a good fit if you are a DIY kind of person. Most of the cost of a ceramic coating is in the steps leading up to the installation of the coating (such as wash, clay, machine compound/polish, IPA wipe down, observation of flash time during application, etc.) so it is important to know what steps to take in the coating process before DIY'ing it. Thankfully, there are many videos online that show the coating process and steps required.
The cost of a true ceramic coating from a reputable supplier (and the difficulty in sourcing a resilient SiO2 formulation) is a primary driver in the overall cost to the consumer for a ceramic coating. The specific steps required to prepare the paint in order to receive the coating is another factor in the final cost. The overall pricing has moderated over the past decade as more suppliers offer coatings and more detailers offer coating installation. Therefore, by virtue of supply and demand, the costs have come down some. But, it is super important to do your due diligence as a customer and know what you are getting and who is applying it. The old adage of "you get what you pay for" is definitely applicable in this situation!
Each dealership decides what type of "coating" will be installed and how to package it as a part of the new car sales process. Often, it is a glorified sealant that has trace amounts of SiO2 and is applied by a wide range of employees from qualified technicians to lot attendants. I understand why dealerships offer paint coatings and they are good profit centers for many dealerships but the type of coating, longevity and application method all need to be rigorously examined before selecting a "dealer applied coating."
Silicon dioxide (also referred to as silica) is naturally occurring in Quartz. The percentage of SiO2 in a coating is usually indicative of the overall strength of the coating (meaning it will be more resilient) but a even strong coating that is improperly applied can diminish the protective factors of the coating so the combination of the right coating and the right installer using the right methods is paramount!
The Mohs (Hardness Scale) level of 9H was long considered the industry standard for a coating that provided decent scratch resistance. In the past few years, some coating companies have touted the release of 10H coatings (for comparison purposes, 3H would be the hardness of your fingernail, 7H is the hardness of quartz and 10H is the hardness of a diamond) so this is a bold claim, to say the least!
If you have a ceramic coating installed, it changes how you clean your vehicle and protect it going forward. There are certain type of "toppers" or "boosting" products that help to maintain the coating. If you try to apply wax over top of a coating, it will smear. It is also important to note that a coating will not protect you from rock chips, flames, someone "keying" your vehicle, etc. To a certain extent, ceramic coatings are hyped up and oversold. It is important to sift through all of the hype and understand what you are paying for relative to what you are getting so that your expectations match the long term performance of the coating. Your vehicle will still need to be washed when it gets dirty, but the clean up process is so much easier on a coated versus non-coated vehicle.
The best way is to find out if the coating has been third-party tested and what the average coating life is of that particular product. How you maintain the coating will heavily influence the life of the coating. A very simple way to determine the efficacy of a coating is to ask your detailer what they use on their own vehicles!
Detail Peoria did an outstanding job with this video titled "Considering a Ceramic Coating? Watch This First."
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Chicago Auto Pros did a great job with things to think about prior to getting a coating in this video titled "Why You Shouldn't get a Ceramic Coating."
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While my videography skills leave a lot to be desired, here is a video I created a few years ago to show all of the steps in a ceramic coating process.
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I am mobile (which is super convenient for customers), and I serve customers in Carteret County in Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort, Newport, Havelock, Cape Carteret, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Salter Path and surrounding areas.
106 Walnut Circle, Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina 28512, United States
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