11 Aug How To Maintain Ceramic Coatings
A ceramic coating is one of the best investments for long-term protection of your automobile’s factory paintwork. It maintains the paint’s shine, repels liquids, and shields it against damaging contaminants.
Some car owners assume that applying a ceramic coating eliminates the need for maintenance, which is wrong. Without maintenance, ceramic coatings degrade prematurely, and within a short while, your paintwork gets exposed to damaging elements.
For a ceramic coating to provide all its benefits to your automobile for a prolonged period, it requires occasional upkeep. In this article, we are going to discuss the best ways to maintain your ceramic coating.
Tips for Maintaining Your Ceramic Coating
- Do not wash your car for 7 days after ceramic coating application
Ceramic coatings take a while to cure and provide the necessary protection to your paintwork. A ceramic coating is quite a considerable investment, and unless you want to wash it all down the drain, you should not wash your car for at least a week after its application. This time allows the ceramic coating to cure properly.
- Wash your car
Applying a protective layer on your vehicle doesn’t make it dirt proof or contaminant proof. It still requires a regular wash, although not as often as when it only had the factory clear coat. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when washing a car with a ceramic coating:
- Wash your car every one to two weeks
As you drive your ceramic coated vehicle, its hydrophobicity makes it hard for most water-based dirt and smudges to stick on its surface. However, dirt, pebbles, and other small degrading materials get embedded into the ceramic coating. Without a regular wash, these materials chip away the ceramic coating, making it lose its hydrophobicity with time. This is why it’s vital to wash your car every 1-2 weeks to protect and maintain your ceramic coating.
- Do not wash your car in direct sunlight
If you wash your car in direct sunlight, there is a high possibility that water spots and streaks will form. Avoid this by washing your car under a shade or in the garage, to attain a spot-free surface.
Direct sunlight creates heat, which cracks your ceramic coating over time. Protect the integrity of your ceramic coating by cleaning it early in the morning, under a shade, or in the garage.
- Use a dedicated car wash product.
Automobile-specific car soaps and shampoos do not contain corrosive ingredients present in most household cleaning products. They are pH Neutral, which makes them the best products to use when washing a ceramic coated car as they are not damaging to the coating.
Dedicated car wash products are also wax-free, which makes it easy to clean your car.
- Use the two bucket method
The two bucket method is the best car wash method to prevent swirls from dirt and pebbles.
In this method, two buckets are used; one for washing and one for rinsing.
The wash bucket contains a solution of water and automotive-specific wash product. The rinse bucket contains pure water. When washing your car, the wash mitt is dipped in the wash bucket and used to clean specific sections of the vehicle. After cleaning, the mitt is dipped in the rinse bucket to remove any dirt, pebbles, and other contaminants it might have collected. After rinsing the mitt, it’s dipped into the wash bucket and used to clean another section of the car.
Each of the buckets being used should have a grit guard. This prevents accidental picking of grit and rubbing it into the ceramic coating.
Remember, before you start washing your car with a mitt, you should rinse it with water to remove any loose fragments. This averts streaks.
- Wash the car from top to down, one section at a time
Your car should be washed from the top downwards, one section at a time. Use a wash mitt soaked in the washing solution and clean each part separately to avoid cross-contamination. Rinse the mitt regularly when cleaning any section, and before cleaning another section.
- Use different bucket and mitts to clean the wheels
The wheels are the dirtiest part of the car, and they contain brake dust, i.e., small metallic fragments. If you use the same mitts or water to clean the wheels and the ceramic coated paint, the brake dust will damage the coating.
- Do not airdry your car
Air drying your car will leave water spots, which will stain your car. Instead, use a clean microfiber towel to dry your ceramic coated surface.
- Remove contaminants from your coated paint immediately
Contaminants such as bird droppings, bug splatters, and tree-sap can degrade your ceramic coating as they are acidic. This means that if any of them ends up on your ceramic coated paint, they should be removed immediately. Remember to blot and not wipe – this minimizes the spread of contaminants on your paintwork.
- Use maintenance boosters
Ceramic coating maintenance products fill up scratched parts of the ceramic coating to protect the paint and restore the coating’s hydrophobicity. Maintenance boosters are usually applied immediately after washing your car. They should be applied every 3-4 months.
Remember that only specified ceramic coating maintenance products should be used. Do not use wax or other sealants on your ceramic coating as they will hinder its functionality.
- Don’t go to an automated car wash
An automated car wash uses brushes to clean your car. These brushes may cause damage to your ceramic coating, which will eventually degrade it. If you have to go to a car wash, go to a touchless car wash.
- Annual maintenance checkup
Once a year, check in your car to the detailer who coated it. The detailer will utilize their skills to rejuvenate your ceramic coating and restore your car’s shine and protection.
What happens if you don’t maintain your ceramic coating?
If you fail to maintain your ceramic coating through proper washing, applying maintenance boosters, and using other maintenance tips, the ceramic coating will take a toll. Here are a few signs that you’ll notice due to lack of proper maintenance;
- Loss of shine
A car with a ceramic coating shines from a distance, and if maintained, this shine lasts for long. Without proper maintenance, however, the ceramic coating wears out, and your car loses its shine and polish.
- Reduced hydrophobicity
One of the best features of a ceramic coated car is how contaminants, including water, mud, and dirt, fall off the coated surface, due to low surface energy or hydrophobicity. When your ceramic coated car is not properly maintained through a regular wash and protection from UV rays and other harmful elements, the ceramic coating starts to lose its hydrophobicity.
- Wearing out and damage to your paintwork
If a ceramic coating is not washed and maintained as required, it’s chipped off by debris, sunlight, bird droppings, and other contaminants. Over time, your vehicle’s factory paint gets exposed to the environment, and it eventually gets damaged.
A ceramic coating is not bulletproof. As discussed in this article, there are several ways of maintaining its shine and overall functionality. Don’t let your investment go to waste!
Apply all the recommended maintenance tips, and your ceramic coating will serve you as required.
If you have any inquiries about ceramic coatings or other car-related issues, feel free to contact us.