Let’s face it. We all have dreamed of owning a car that makes the jaws of the onlookers’ drop to the ground like a Ferrari or a Bugatti or something.
Well, for most, the dream of owning such a car may not have come true (yet). However, what we CAN do is to make our present car look the best that it can.
Some people get their car coated even before they buy it. Obviously, the earlier you decide to put a protective covering over it, the better.
But even if you are a little late to the party, that’s okay! All that matters is that you decided to get it done. And that is why you are here.
- Advantages of ceramic coating
- Preparing your car for ceramic coating
- How to apply the ceramic coating
- Maintaining the ceramic coating
Advantages of ceramic coating
Let me go over the advantages of ceramic coating, in case you have any doubts.
The most important factor is obviously the protection it brings to your car. Ceramic coating is basically nano-coating and serves as a shield between the surface of your car and dirt.
It also prevents scratches and chemical contaminants from damaging your car. The best part is that it does not mess with the paint job of your car at all!
The ceramic coating is going to last you longer than regular paint. Why is that so? The coating infuses itself with the paint by forming strong chemical bonds with it.
So it enhances the function of your paint. The coating will stay put even under vibrations and heavy shocks.
Easier to clean
A ceramic coated surface is way easier to clean than a regular surface. If you go on a molecular level, a surface that is ceramic coated will be smoother, therefore isn’t capable of housing dirt and debris very effectively.
However, a regular surface will be full of abrasions and become a habitat of dirt, mud, and germs. A coated surface will clean up with a single swipe.
Better than waxing
Ceramic coating is better than waxing. Cars were given extra shine by the process of waxing. However, the truth about waxing is that it does not last very long. It tends to wear off with time. It does not even have the protective function to it.
Last, but not least, it is a menace to apply. None of this is the case with ceramic coating. It will not wear off with time, will protect your car better than waxing, and is relatively easier to apply.
The ceramic coating may look very costly on the first gaze. But to understand it’s cost-effectiveness, you would have to do a little math.
Don’t freak out, I will do the math for you, even though I have hated mathematics ever since I was introduced to it.
Waxing will last you 1 to 3 months. Which means you will need to get it done at least four times a year. Which will cost you about $200 for one time, and $800 for a year?
In 5 years time, you will end up spending $4,000 on waxing only! Imagine all the candy you could have bought with that money instead.
However, if you get a professional ceramic coating, you will have to spend $1,500 on it once. And it will last you a lifetime! (if maintained properly). You can buy all the candy you want with the remaining $2,500 you will save.
As I have mentioned earlier, we all want a hot ride. Ceramic coating is not capable of turning your Toyota into Ferrari, but it sure as hell will make your ride look as cool as it can get.
After ceramic coating, your car will look so clean you’d want to kiss it. That gloss will be retained for a really long period of time.
Preparing your car for ceramic coating
Now that I have (probably) convinced you to get your car coated, it is now time to let you in on how to do it (which is why you were here in the first place).
As much as you want to do it, you cannot get started with it right away. You need to take a few steps before that so that you strip the surface of your car of contaminants or chemicals.
Here are some steps that are recommended to be taken before the actual process of ceramic coating.
1. Washing the vehicle
This has to be done extremely carefully and thoroughly. Your car may have a lot of dirt and debris stuck to its surface beforehand. The pre-washing face loosens it up.
And then they become easier to remove from the paint surface. Make sure you rinse your vehicle nicely before moving on to the next phase.
It will remove solid materials like bird droppings and others from the surface of your car.
2. Prepare two buckets for the two bucket method
After the rinsing part, you can use this two bucket method to clean the surface even further. To use this method, you would have to prepare two buckets.
You have to fill one of the buckets with fresh water, and the second one with one ounce of high-quality car shampoo for every 2-4 gallons of water.
You will also need a clean wash mitt. This step with the soap is going to help soften the debris even more for the sake of removal.
3. Wash the car with soap
You will be taking this step to remove the topmost layer of “stuff” from your car. You should wash your car from top to bottom.
Also, take the cleaning one section at a time. This will help you efficiently remove everything that you intend to remove.
Soak the wash mitt in the bucket of the shampoo solution that you made. Make sure you work in overlapping line that goes from side to side. Try not to wash in circles because that will create swirl marks.
4. Rinse every section
Make sure you rinse every section as you clean it. Why? Because most of the scratching occurs when you wash a car that has the soap settled in.
When you keep washing every section as you go, you will be keeping the car wet, which will reduce the risk of potential damage.
Once you are through with washing, make sure you give your car one last rinse.
5. Chemical decontamination
Everything that you did above was only physical decontamination. Once you are through with that, you will need to move onto chemical decontamination.
There will be no point of your ceramic coating if you apply that on a surface that is chemically contaminated. Because then, the contaminants will become permanently trapped in between the surface of your car and the ceramic coating.
If you want to make sure that that doesn’t happen, you will need a tar remover and an iron filling remover.
They both come in the form of sprays so you will not have a difficult time applying both of them. You will have to spray them on the metal surface of your car.
After spraying your car, you will have to wait for a little while to let them settle in. Usually, the indication that they have settled in is that they change color while they are decontaminating the paint of your car.
So while they are doing their work, you need to sit back and wait for a little while before proceeding onto the next step.
6. The clay bar
The next step is called a clay bar treatment. You need a clay lubricant and a clay bar to proceed with this step.
Apply the lubricant on a small portion of the car and rub it in with the clay bar. Make sure you rub it precisely, with both horizontal and vertical strokes.
How to apply the ceramic coating
Finally, you can apply the ceramic coating, the step that we have all been waiting so desperately for.
Even in this case, you have many steps that you need to follow. I will go through them one by one.
1. Define a small area
When you start applying the ceramic coating, it is recommended to start working with small areas, 60cm x 60cm, for example.
You would need a coated sponge, some ceramic coating solution, a microfiber towel, and some silica spray to begin with.
On your coated sponge, add 7-10 drops of the ceramic coating solution.
2. The main process of application
After pouring the drops of ceramic solution onto the coated sponge, make sure that dissolve in it. As soon as they do, start smearing the solution onto the area that you are working with.
Coat the solution on the area vertically and horizontally. Do not use more than the recommended amount of ceramic solution, as that will increase the chances of uneven smearing.
3. And now, the painful wait
Wait for some time to allow the product to do its job. Here, you will have to consult the manufacturer’s guide in order to determine how long you need to wait.
4. Use the microfiber towel
After the wait is over, you will be required to use the microfiber towel to wipe the ceramic solution. This will give your car the highly glossy look that you are looking for.
Here is one head up, though. Do NOT wait for too long before wiping the solution away. It will give your solution too much time to settle in, and it will become impossible to remove.
This will totally alter the purpose of you getting the ceramic coating in the first place, as it will make the surface of your car uneven.
Do not panic if that happens, though. You can always use a machine polisher to smoothen the surface later.
5. Finally, we are at the last step, the silica spray
The last step is to add silica spray to your car. It makes your car waterproof and adds a finishing touch to that sexy glossiness.
You have to spray the silica solution one hour after you are done with the coating solution. Wipe the silica spray with a microfiber towel as soon as you are done with it.
Here comes the curing process
Remember that this coating is going to serve you very well if done properly. So you need to give it time to cure. Give it at least 2, three weeks for this purpose.
Make sure you keep an eye out for any physical contaminants like dirt or debris during this curing phase. If you notice any, remove them from the car as soon as possible.
Here are some things which you have to avoid at all costs if you want your car to retain the glossiness.
- Avoid rain and sprinklers
- Don’t leave the car outdoors
- Don’t leave the car under a tree for the birds to use it as a highly shiny toilet
- Don’t leave your car under the sun for too long
- Don’t scratch the car physically
Maintaining the ceramic coating
If I can have such a hard time writing about ceramic coating, imagine how hard it will be actually doing it! Of course, you would not want your hard work to go to waste anytime soon.
To make sure that is the case, you have to keep a few things in mind to maintain the ceramic coating that you have put so much effort in.
- Wash your car every now and then. Typically every two weeks. It doesn’t matter how often you use your car. Even if it is a garage-kept queen, you have to do it.
- If you have to wash the vehicle, make sure you don’t do it directly under the sun. direct sunlight means heat, and heat is a sworn enemy of ceramic coating.
- Use the two bucket method for washing as well. It will help avoid any swirls.
- Make sure you use a good quality car soap for washing your car. They do not contain harsh chemicals used in any other car shampoo.
- Use separate mitts and wash buckets for wheels. As wheels are in direct contact with the ground, they will be dirtier than the surface of the car. Using the same mitts for both of them will only transfer the dirt of the wheels onto the surface, which is a no-no.
- Don’t get too aggressive while wiping the surface of your car as it will damage the layer of ceramic.
There you have it. A complete guide that tells you everything that you need to know before enduring on the journey of making your car look flawlessly shiny!