Ceramic coating is a great solution for keeping your car looking its best. It protects your paint from harmful contaminants such as bird droppings, air pollution, and chemical stains.
However, it is important to understand that it is not bulletproof. It still needs maintenance. This is where the right products come in.
Having your vehicle ceramic coated is the best way to protect it and keep it cleaner between washes, but even a quality coating will still require proper maintenance to ensure it performs at its highest level. Using the wrong products or techniques during washing can damage the coating and shorten its lifespan. Incorrect washing and drying can also cause streaks, water spots, or smudges on the surface of your car paint. This can leave the vehicle looking dull and less vibrant and can also reduce the effectiveness of the ceramic coating.
Washing your ceramic-coated car regularly with a pH-neutral, wax-free shampoo and microfiber wash mitt is important. Avoid using high pH soaps or harsh cleaners, as these will break down and degrade the ceramic coating. Instead, opt for a product such as Glidecoat Ceraglo, a ceramic-safe, polymer-infused shampoo that will increase the gloss of your car and act as a top-up protective layer.
When attempting to wash your car, start by cleaning the wheels and then pre-washing the paintwork with either a citrus pre-wash or snow foam. Wash the paintwork and trim with the proper microfiber mitt and a quality ceramic coating-approved hose, and then rinse the vehicle off. After rinsing, dry the paintwork and metal trim with a soft microfiber towel.
You should also avoid automatic car washes that utilize brushes. These can scratch and damage the paintwork, especially if they are bristled or abrasive. If you must use an automated car wash, try to find one that offers a touchless option.
Ceramic coatings are very resistant to chemical cleansers, but you should always rinse your vehicle thoroughly afterward to remove any residue left behind from the chemicals. It is also recommended to avoid applying any other products to the vehicle, such as waxes and sealants, after a ceramic wash. These will not harm the ceramic coating, but they will break down and diminish the effectiveness of your product.
For the best results, allowing a week for your ceramic coating to cure is important. During this time, keeping the vehicle indoors and out of direct sunlight is recommended. This will help to ensure a spot-free, crystal-clear finish.
Ceramic coatings are incredibly durable, but they aren’t indestructible. Over time, your vehicle will be exposed to environmental contaminants that can chip away at the protective layer.
To maintain the full strength of your ceramic coat, keeping up with regular decontamination is important. This helps to prevent the build-up of contaminants that can cause damage. This includes dirt, dust, bird droppings, tree sap, mud, road grime, and more.
Decontamination is an essential part of any car detailing process. It ensures that any existing polishes or waxes are removed from the paintwork before applying your ceramic coating. Without proper decontamination, these contaminants could affect the bond between your coating and the painted surface beneath it.
In order to prevent contaminant build-up and ensure the health of your ceramic coating, it’s recommended that you wash your vehicle with a pH-neutral soap every 2 to 4 weeks. You should also use waterless washes or ceramic boost spray every two to four months to restore your coating’s hydrophobic properties.
It’s also important to avoid any products that aren’t specifically designed for use with ceramic coatings. These products can contain abrasive chemicals or ingredients that can scratch or degrade the coating. To help protect your ceramic coating, it’s best to stick with one brand of cleaning supplies and make sure they are free of contaminants before using them.
The most common way to decontaminate your vehicle is to wash it with a high-quality, pH-neutral ceramic soap. Be sure to use a clean, high-pile microfiber wash mitt like our Flat Out Wash Pad and a high-grade drying towel like our 460 GSM microfiber towel. This will drastically reduce the chances of swirling or scratching your ceramic coating during the washing and drying process.
Another method of decontaminating your vehicle is to use a clay bar treatment or ceramic pre-wash prior to washing your car. These products will remove any contaminants that may be stuck to the paintwork and prevent the coating from adhering properly. Lastly, opting for a touchless or manual car wash is always a good idea when possible. Automatic car washes can be extremely rough on ceramic coatings and will likely degrade the protective film. If you have to go through an automated car wash, ask your detailer about their ceramic coating-safe options.
When cleaning your vehicle, using the proper technique and materials will ensure that no damage is done to your ceramic coating. This includes avoiding abrasive washing mitts or sponges and not leaving any excess water on the surface of your car after rinsing it off. This is important to prevent water spots from forming on the paint.
Another essential part of caring for your ceramic coating is utilizing a microfiber towel to remove any contaminants, such as bird droppings or tree sap. These contaminants are known to corrode the clear coat and need to be removed as soon as possible. Having a bottle of Glidecoat Surface Wipe in the trunk of your vehicle can help with this, as it is specifically formulated to remove contamination from automotive surfaces without damaging the ceramic coating.
Avoiding Automated Washes
Using an automated car wash, whether at a gas station or at a full-service car wash, is one of the easiest ways to ruin your ceramic coating. This is because these types of carwashes typically use harsh chemicals and punishing pH levels that will eventually cause your ceramic coating to turn into a hot mess. Luckily, ceramic coating-friendly soaps such as Glidecoat Nano Wash or Glidecoat Ceraglo will safely clean your vehicle.
When applying a ceramic coating, it is important to thoroughly clean the surface to ensure no existing waxes or sealants will inhibit its bond to the vehicle. Using a chemical stripper can effectively remove these existing products and ensure the ceramic coating will bond properly to the vehicle. Once the vehicle has been properly cleaned and decontaminated, it should then be coated with a booster spray or maintenance coat such as Glidecoat Shine and Shield. This will provide an additional layer of protection to the ceramic coating and help promote longevity. Ideally, this will be applied every 3-4 months for automotive applications and once a season for marine or RV applications.
Ceramic car coating is great at protecting your vehicle’s paint from environmental factors and normal wear and tear. However, it’s important to keep in mind that ceramic car coating is not bulletproof and will need regular maintenance to function at its best. With a little bit of care, your ceramic coating will last for years to come and protect your car from damage that could otherwise be caused by harsh chemicals, abrasive products, or improper washing and drying.
Using the wrong cleaning products is one of the quickest ways to ruin your ceramic coating. Stick with the products that were used to apply your ceramic coating to ensure consistency in the application process. Also, be sure to use a separate bucket and microfiber towels to avoid contaminating the clean surface of your ceramic-coated vehicle. Lastly, it is crucial to always rinse your cleaning supplies thoroughly before and after each usage.
Skipping the decontamination step is another common mistake that can be made when applying a ceramic coating. This process is essential to remove bonded contaminants like tree sap or bird droppings. Failure to remove these contaminants can cause them to etch into the ceramic coating and potentially damage your vehicle’s finish.
Another mistake that can be made when applying a protective ceramic coating is using too much product. Using too much product will lead to an uneven coating, leaving behind streaks and excess product build-up on the surface of your vehicle. Additionally, this can also lead to premature wear and damage.
One of the most common mistakes people make when applying a ceramic coating is not following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ceramic coatings require applying specific tools, brushes, and microfibers properly. Failing to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for application can result in a dull and lifeless-looking finish as well as decreased protection.
Ceramic coatings should be washed and treated with a ceramic booster or maintenance spray, like Glidecoat Shine and Shield, every three to six months. Doing so will reload your ceramic coating with hydrophobic properties and increase its longevity.