Fixing Car Paint Damage: Is Applying Ceramic Coating The Solution?

  • March 1, 2021
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There’s a popular misconception going around that applying a ceramic coating over a deteriorating paint job is a quick and reliable fix. This is the rallying point that ceramic coat manufacturers anchor on, claiming that if your paint has been chipping or cracking, merely spraying a coat over it will solve the problem. While it is true that ceramic coating works by filling out those tiny imperfections on the surface, there is no truth to the claim that this fixes the real damage.

Ceramic car coating is a detailing marvel. The nanoparticles work to intensify the matte or glossy finish of plastics, paint surfaces, and carbon fibre products. It provides a layer of protection for that part where it is applied. However, what car owners and detailers should bear in mind is that ceramic coating does not enhance the paint job itself. This applies to all types of ceramic coat products in the market, even those with “professional-grade” on their packaging. If you want the paint damage to be corrected, the vehicle needs to first undergo a buffing process before considering applying a protective coat.

Let’s talk about what a ceramic coating really does to one’s car, it’s merits, and what you should be before using it. We will also discuss why it’s important to fix the damaged paint first (whether it consists of webbing, swirl marks, or marring) before using any sealant, wax, DIY coat, or professional coat.

Auto Ceramic Coating: Why Is It Being Used?

Ceramic coatings bond on a nano-level chemically to your car’s surface, not topically, so your original paint and the coat itself become one unit. It cannot be worn off or rubbed and can only be taken out if abrasion is applied. Originally, it was meant for aerospace purposes, but auto manufacturers found a way to develop a product that would also work on vehicles to make paints more resistant to rainwater and dirt accumulation, as well as the effects of ice and sleet.

You can apply the ceramic coating in two ways: you take it to a professional detailer or do it yourself using store-bought materials. When applied to porous surfaces, the product’s nanoparticles will seep into the micro-scratches and imperfections, thus giving off a smooth surface. Compared to a band-aid solution, this perceived “smoothness” leads to the misconception that ceramic is the key to fixing damaged paint.

The truth is, swirl marks and scratches will certainly be filled out, but the visible marks will not be repaired. In fact, whatever glaring issue your paint had before you applied the coat will become even more prominent after you put it on. Ceramic coats WILL highlight the imperfections. However, there is a right process of applying the product to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Are Ceramic Coatings Effective In Filling Scratches?

Technically speaking, yes, it can seep into scratches that have made their way into your car’s paint job. However, they are not useful in filling them in to repair the problem or to make them disappear. The coating’s properties are formulated to move into minor issues, making it appear as if the problem has gone away. If the scratch is relatively large, though, then you’ll see that reality that nothing has been fixed. Because the quartz particles are microscopic, they tend to attach when they get into a scratch; they do not bond to the car itself.

Repairing Small Scratches, Nicks, Dings, and Swirl Marks

How can minor scratches and marks be repaired using polish? This substance works by cutting through the paint’s clear coat until such time that the marks match the depth of the paint around them. Through a process called “levelling,” the scratches are filled with residue after the clear coating is removed. You can liken this process to using sandpaper to smooth a swirl mark without causing any damage to the paint job. If you feel something uneven when you run your fingernail over the surface, you usually use low-grit sandpaper, though this is something that should be left to professionals and skilled DIY detailers.

What a Ceramic Coat Does To Your Paint Job

Most automotive owners apply nano-ceramic coating on their vehicles to protect the paint against poor weather conditions, debris, chemicals, and more. Let us correct that misconception now. There is a huge difference between actually repairing the paint and merely protecting it, and the ceramic coating is intended for the latter. If you use ceramic coatings for repairs, you will likely amplify the imperfections instead of hiding them. When the coat has hardened and cured, you will see what we mean. In addition, because coats make your paint shiny and glossy, the issues become even more visible.

To be clear on what ceramic coating can do for your car, we list the following benefits:

  • It makes your paint scratch-resistant (although not scratch-proof). The resistance to scratches will depend on the quality of the coating you apply.
  • It helps protect against damage from road salts. Having your car coated before the winter season hits adds an extra layer of protection when the corrosive salt starts eating at your car’s coat.
  • It is hydrophobic. Ceramic coating has a slippery and smooth nature that repels water and causes it to slide down when it hits. This property will also make your car easier to clean and wipe.
  • It is corrosion-resistant. Unlike waxes, ceramic coats offer a hard layer of shielding against corrosive materials like bird droppings, bugs, acid rain, and certain types of chemicals.
  • It protects against UV rays. Vehicle paint is at the mercy of the sun’s UV rays, so coating it will somehow help delay if not deter the problem.

Preventing Swirl Mark Formation

Swirl marks are common in vehicles and typically surface after you wash the body and then dry the top off with a towel with particles. Some say that using microfiber towels prevents this from happening, but that’s not entirely true. This is why the two-bucket method is recommended when you wash your car. To know how to prevent swirl marks from forming on your paint, you should know what causes them in the first place.

The common reasons why such stains appear include: using dirty pads and towels, using harsh paint cleaners and cutting polish compounds, using a dirty car cover, and not rinsing your vehicle first before you start washing. Even getting your car scrubbed down at automatic car wash centres can cause swirling. All that said, in addition to employing the two-bucket method, you should make sure to rinse your car thoroughly and remove any hint of moisture on the surface with a clean and smooth drying towel.

Adding Professional-Grade Ceramic Coating to Reduce Scratches

While it is true that ceramic coating is scratch-resistant but not scratch-proof, applying it to your paint still offers plenty of benefits and reduces the risk of swirl marks appearing. Not only would it provide a hydrophobic and smooth layer of protection, but it will also make your vehicle much easier to wipe down and clean.

When choosing the right type of ceramic coat for your car, you should consult a professional to ensure that you’re getting the best possible kind of coating that matches your vehicle’s needs. Contact our experts at Gleamworks Detailing by calling us at 604-789-0762 for enquiries, or to schedule a free consultation.