Ceramic coatings are great products, but they’re not perfect. While it’s assumed or marketed by some that a ceramic coating is the greatest thing since sliced bread, some claims really stretch the truth. This leads us to today’s topic – discussing 10 of the most popular (and misleading) ceramic coating myths.
So – let’s get going.
Myth #1 – Ceramic Coatings Make a Car Rock Chip Resistant
Arguably the biggest myth (or flat out falsehood) is that if you have a ceramic coating applied or do it yourself, it makes your car rock chip resistant. Ceramic coatings are exceptionally strong – and bond to the clear coat of your vehicle to create a microscopic – but incredibly strong thin shield of protection.
However, in order for something to be rock chip resistant, it needs to be pliable, or soft enough to absorb the impact without causing damage.
This is what a paint protection film does. It’s made from a durable yet flexible polymer, that will absorb the impact of small rocks, and debris. If the PPF is damaged, the ‘self-healing’ properties of the material will fuse together. However, if the rock is big enough, it’s still going to find a way to penetrate even the strongest PPF.
Myth #2 – Ceramic Coatings are Chemical Resistant
This one is actually pretty accurate – within reason of course. The hardness of a nano ceramic coating helps to protect the clear coating of the paint. Chemicals like degreasers, bug and tar remover, and those with alcohol can slowly eat away at the clear coat, penetrate to the paint, and eventually cause damage.
By applying a high-quality ceramic coating, the chemicals will not be able to penetrate the 9H coating hardness.
Myth #3 – Ceramic Coatings are Self-Healing Products
We briefly addressed this myth in the opening topic. However, it’s important to clarify that ceramic coatings are not self-healing. There are some ceramic coating products that use a polymer substance that helps to absorb microscopic scratches, but that’s accomplished through buffing the coated surface.
A self-healing product, like PPF is designed to heal the damage caused by small rocks, sticks, bird droppings, and lightweight road byproducts. The healing is typically activated with heat.
Myth #4 – Ceramic Coating Makes the Car Fire-Proof
This one is just comical. You may have seen an ‘advertisement’ or marketing promotion from a rather, well-known professional ceramic coating company – if not, we’ve posted it here for you.
Basically, in this ‘test’, the installer pours some lighter fluid onto the freshly coated paint surface and ignites a huge, dramatic fireball. After 10 seconds or so, the flame vanishes and leaves a mild black film. The auto detailing expert then wipes a microfiber cloth over the surface, and after about a minute of elbow grease, it’s back to original condition.
So, here are the facts behind this ‘test’. First, they use a very low temperature burning fuel (like lighter fluid), that burns quickly and doesn’t have enough time to really damage the coated surface. The test is designed to show how awesome a coating holds up to heat (like exposure to the sun). But heat alone is not the issue that causes paint damage – it’s UV exposure.
Here is the truth. While some nano ceramic coatings are really good at protecting against heat exposure and UV rays, it doesn’t make the car fire-proof. Until some ceramic coatings dealer pours 5-gallons of gasoline on a freshly coated surface, we’ll just label this myth bullshit.
Myth #5 – Ceramic Coatings Are Guaranteed to Last “INSERT YEARS HERE”
There are several professionally installed ceramic coatings that come with warranties. This is always based on the amounts of coats that a certified dealer applies and several other factors. In every instance, the certified installer will mandate that certain restrictions apply – such as:
- Completing paint correction services prior to installation.
- Applying certain types of coatings and in different amounts.
- Having a customer agree to routine maintenance or proper care visits to the facility post installation.
The truth is that most nano coatings do not come with warranties for a certain period of time. There are multiple variables that impact the longevity of a car’s paint such as prep-work, installation, and the quality of the clear coat.
Since those variables are outside of the control of most ceramic coating companies – especially the DIY nano coating market, it’s just impossible to predict the longevity.
Myth #6 – You’ll Never Need to Use Car Wax After Applying Ceramic Coatings
This myth is mostly true. Prior to applying a ceramic coating, it is always recommended to apply a high-gloss polish on top of the clear coat. This helps to improve the luster and shine of a nano-ceramic coating product. The main reason why the vehicle shines so much after applying them is that it’s basically a thin layer of glass that reflects light exceptionally well.
Since wax is intended to provide a thin layer of protection or sacrificial layer, there is no need to apply car wax after a ceramic coating. And quite frankly, it’s counterproductive to do such.
Myth #7 – The Vehicle Will Become Scratch Proof After Ceramic Coating Install
There is a HUGE difference between being scratch resistant and scratch proof. A ceramic coating that has been correctly applied can help to resist scratches but is by no means scratch proof. The biggest scratch resistance you’ll discover is the reduction of swirl marks after washing the vehicle.
However, there is a big ‘but’ that must be addressed. The reason why you notice fewer swirl marks mainly is due to the way you wash the vehicle.
Most ceramic coating companies are really proactive about teaching their customers how to correctly wash the vehicle. This includes using two-wash buckets, rinsing each section and washing and drying in a side to side or top to bottom motion – never in circles.
While small scratches can be buffed out with a microfiber cloth, if you piss off the wrong person and they key your vehicle, the ceramic coating will not protect the vehicle.
Myth #8 – Ceramic Coating Products are for Lazy Car Owners
Talk about being 100% wrong. It’s actually the exact opposite. A semi-permanent coating is marketed to and best sold to those who take pride in their vehicles and want to save time, money, and effort to keep the vehicle looking sharp.
While you don’t have to frequently wax and polish the vehicle, it’s still recommended to wash your vehicle every two weeks (using the correct procedures and materials). This doesn’t mean going to the automatic car wash and calling it good.
Myth #9 – You Don’t Need to Use Car Soap to Wash a Ceramic Coated Vehicle
Another myth that has gone wrong due to misinformation. So, yes, it’s true that debris will fall off the vehicle easier after you’ve applied a ceramic coating. And it helps to reduce water spots and maintains exceptional hydrophobic properties. However, it doesn’t mean you won’t have to use a car or automotive shampoo.
You still want to use a high-quality automotive washing soap to wash the vehicle every two weeks. This helps to remove stubborn debris and smaller particles during the washing phase, which helps to protect the coating and extend its longevity.
Myth #10 – You Can Skip Prep Work if You Bought a New Car
According to a report on CNBC.com, a 2017 study completed by JD Power and Associates indicated that the average time on a lot for new vehicles was 70 days. Since most new car dealerships wash their vehicle inventory every few days, that equates to at least 30 car washes that likely produced some swirl marks.
At the least, you can guarantee that there is small debris and contaminants – even if your brand new car was delivered directly from the factory to your garage. Prep work is the key to the performance and longevity of a ceramic coating – especially a DIY Nano Ceramic Coating like Armor Shield IX.
Wrapping it Up
A ceramic coating is a great way to keep your vehicle cleaner, improve the shine, and protect the vehicle from harmful UV rays. However, before you make the investment, make sure you clarify the information you may have read online by contacting the manufacturer directly. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.