The Truth About Ceramic Coating

The Truth About Ceramic Coating

Are ceramic coatings worth it? What is a ceramic car coating in the first place?

It’s certainly all over the internet these days with countless videos across social media showing mud being thrown over a hood and sheeting off instantly leaving barely a dirty mark.

For many viewers, this is the first time they’ve even heard of the terms “Ceramic Coating” or “Nano Coating”. Others are skeptical – have the videos been staged in some way? Will the coating ruin my car?   And why do they seem so expensive when the bottles are so tiny?

In today’s post, we’re going to look at the realities of ceramic coating your car, whether they do what they claim and help you decide whether it’s for you or not. Although the protection these coatings offer is unrivaled, they do have some potential downsides depending on what you’re after.

Let’s spend some time clearing the facts from the fiction. This is what we’ll be covering today:

1. Background

You want your car to look as amazing as it did the day you drove it off the dealer’s lot. But despite your efforts maintaining and washing, the scratches, chips, and stains start to spread across your car’s exterior and the paint begins to dull & fade from the sun.

Anything and everything is constantly attacking your car’s surface. Mud, dust, dirty rain, water spots, unsightly brake dust, grime start sticking to your car almost immediately after cleaning it. And let’s face it, having to wash your car is boring, monotonous and time-consuming. Snow, ice, salted roads, tree gum, bird shit doesn’t help either.

Automatic car washes scratch and mars your paint, while the chemicals used are terrible for the surface. Not to mention daily life scratches from kids, shopping carts, bikes, and scooters.

Wax adds a good level of shine and gloss, and a small amount of protection, but lasts a few months at best.

Here’s where auto Ceramic Coatings come in.

Ferrari Ceramic Coating
A Ferrari getting 9H ceramic coated.

Originally designed for the oil and space industry, the 9h ceramic technology has now expanded quickly into the automotive industry. All because how effective it really is.

More Reading:
How it Works
FAQ

2. What is a Ceramic Coating for Cars?

What is a 9H ceramic coating? The easiest way is to understand Ceramics Coatings are to think of them as a second layer of skin, or a sacrificial layer of protection over your car’s clearcoat.

They utilize nanotechnology, which are essentially tiny particles that form a very fine, thin layer completely invisible to the eye. Because these particles are so small, when applied to a surface, they seal all the pores making the surface hydrophobic (water-repellent), but also resistant to UV, scratches, chemicals, extreme heat and even anti-graffiti. This 9H ceramic layer is completely transparent.

Ceramic Coating vs Non-Coated
What is a ceramic coating?   The difference between an uncoated surface vs. a nano ceramic coated surface .

This also explains why the bottles contain so little liquid (typically 30ml). The particles are so small, that this is all that is required to coat a single car.

The nano ceramic coating forms a semi-permanent bond with a vehicle’s surface, resulting in a ‘sacrificial’ layer that will not wash away under cleaning or rain, or break down over a short period of time. In fact, usually, it lasts years.

They repel dirt and water like nothing else, which makes them easier to clean. Their hardness helps to prevent swirl marks and marring from washing.

3. What are the options?

Although they’re just now catching wings in the “mainstream” – ceramic car coatings have been around the detailing industry for several years now.

However, because of their prohibitive costs through detailers, they’ve previously they’ve really only been accessible or cost-effective for enthusiasts or owners of high-end vehicles.

There are two options when deciding you want your auto surface ceramic coated:

  • Professional Applications
  • DIY Consumer Kits

3a. Professional Application
Ceramic Coating Cost: $500 – $2,000

These are (car) ceramic coatings that must be applied by trained and certified professionals. The use of equipment, experience and labour  makes the cost relatively high, depending on your budget. On the very low end as far as professional ceramic prices you can expect to pay at least $500 for just the application. Pre-prep and professional preparation will add several hundred dollars more at a bare minimum.

The nano ceramic process typically takes anywhere between 1-5 days depending on the condition of your paint, the size of the vehicle and the packages you select. For premium ceramic coating packages such as Ceramic Pro Gold, expect to pay upwards of $2,000 from a licensed dealer.

But what about the average person who doesn’t drive a Ferarri or doesn’t want to pay potentially $1000s for an auto ceramic coating?

Professional Ceramic Coating Costs
Ceramic Pro Prices
Opticoat Ceramic Coating Costs

3b. DIY Consumer Kits
Ceramic Coating Cost:  $20 – $150

Recently, a range of exciting consumer level car coatings have been entering the marketplace. This has opened up  “nano” ceramic coatings to casual drivers who are less concerned about their cars being showroom quality and more about ease of cleaning and protection against the elements.

Specially formulated so that they are much less sensitive than professional-grade car coatings, they are also designed to be applied with little to no experience. The quality & durability of these products can vary immensely, but in comparison to the costs of professional applications, they are obviously a lot more accessible to the average driver. A for how to ceramic coat a car yourself, the process is actually quite simple.

Armor Shield IX DIY Kit

Armor Shield IX is a highly durable protective coat.

$69.99

One of the observations we made when researching the most popular Ceramic paint protection options on the market, was that even if they were available to the average consumer, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend everyone to get them, because some had little to no guidance, which is mainly the reason we’ve created Armor Shield IX and made it a big priority to properly guide customers through the whole experience from ordering the right amount, preparing the surface, applying the nano coating and how to maintain it so it lasts for many years.

Advantages:
● Relatively easy to apply nano ceramics
● Extremely cost effective paint protection
● Very visible results

Cons:
● Takes effort to properly prepare a car if paint surface is poor
● A lot of poor quality knockoffs nano ceramics out there. Research required
● Not proper guidance from every company
● Some companies exaggerating benefits

4. What Does a Nano Ceramic Coating Do

There is a good reason why their popularity is growing a lot. A lot of the benefits are simply unheard of in the automotive industry, but that said, there are also some minor precautions you need to be aware of.

4a. Hydrophobic
Otherwise known as being very water repellent.

An important feature of a nano Ceramic Coating is that it is hydrophobic.  This basically means that water will be repelled instantaneously. When your car is ceramic coated, the incredible hydrophobic effect of the coating will cause water to bead up and roll of the surface along with most dirt, grime, or mud (as it has all been unable to bond to your vehicle’s paint).  When people ask “what is ceramic coating” this is often the first demonstration.

Watch the hydrophobic features on the left side of the car, which is coated vs. right side that’s not coated

Any remaining dirt on the car can be removed with less effort. A lot less effort.

4b. Mud & Dirt Repellent
Ceramic paint coating works much harder at protecting the surface of your vehicle than an ordinary paint job.

Rain and water bead as opposed to accumulating on the surface. Snow and ice does not stick to the surface. And mud as demonstrated above just slides off.

 

4c. Protection from UV Damage / Oxidization / Rust
Vehicles often exposed to the sun will start seeing the paint fade and look dull. This is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet sunrays, which causes oxidation to the car’s paint. By adding a layer of Ceramic Coating to your paint, you can dramatically reduce the oxidation.

4d. Improved Durability
Ceramic coatings or nano coatings if you will, works much harder at protecting the surface of your vehicle than an ordinary paint job. The new coating bonds with the molecular structure of your car’s paint and can’t be dislodged by vibrations or external force, meaning it lasts years not months. As mentioned earlier in the article, think of it as an added layer of skin on top of your paint.  How long does ceramic car coating last?  A good DIY solution should last a 2-3 years.

5. What Does a 9H Ceramic Coating NOT Do?

A lot of misconceptions about what the protection does not cover. Some of it might be logical, but never the less, let’s start off by saying this.  Even the best ceramic coating does not make your car bulletproof. And they’re not some magic all-encompassing product that will solve all potential hazards your surface is exposed to. The truth is not every vehicle will benefit from it.

Totalled Car
Even the best ceramic coating doesn’t make your car bulletproof.

They do not stop rock chips, they do not prevent water spots, they do not replace proper care or maintenance, they do not prevent dings or dents, and they do not last forever.

Just because your vehicle has undergone the ceramic paint process or treatment it doesn’t mean you no longer need to dust, wash or remove bird droppings. You still do. The difference is that maintaining your paint will require less elbow grease and less time.

6. Ceramic Coating Myths

We thought we’d round up a few of the myths we most often hear about, so you can get your facts from a reliable source in case you’re wondering.

Myth 1: Ceramic Car Coatings Are Scratch Proof
A lot of detailers and suppliers exaggerate the scratch resistance of 9H Ceramic Coatings for cars, even going so far as to call them scratch-proof or resistant to rock chips which is completely false.

Small scratches can definitely be resisted by a Nano Ceramic Coating and the sacrificial layer the car coating forms will certainly help against minor incidents that would otherwise mar your surface. For examples, driving through brush, small little knocks from bikes, kids playing, or animals jumping excitedly against the car

Most newer coatings for cars are typically rated 9H on the pencil scale. This is the highest possible scratch resistance, however… 9H Ceramic coatings for cars are not thick or flexible enough to absorb the impact of a rock hitting your paint at highway speed or to resist against someone purposely trying to scratch your car.

Myth 2: Nano Coatings for your Car Don’t Require Maintenance
Another myth is that ceramic coated cars do not require washing or maintenance. A coating will heavily cut down on the amount of washing and maintenance but not completely eliminate the need for it.

The fact is if you are going to drive your car, even if its infrequently, the road is a dirty and the surface is going to gradually get dirtier even with a ceramic coat.

It will still require washing, just with a lot less effort and less frequency. Overall with a car coating, it’s going to be much easier. Additionally, it eliminates the need for waxing every few weeks, saving a lot of money over the course of the ceramic coatings lifetime.

Myth 3: Car Coatings Are Permanent
Partly, this is true. The nano ceramic coating is actually semi-permanent, as to it bonds with the car surface and cures into a hard and shiny sacrificial layer. That means that you don’t have to re-apply every other month to maintain that glossy surface.

How long does ceramic coating last?  With a good product and proper application, it should last at least 2-3 years, however, it is definitely not permanent.

Myth 4: They Are Really Easy to Apply
This is actually relatively true. With the new DIY kits becoming available to consumers, the actual application process is relatively easy.

That said, it’s not necessarily simple. Before you can even apply the nano coating, the surface has to be free of surface blemishes, which applies to even brand new vehicles. The process really depends on the condition of the surface. As the ceramic coating will semi-permanently add a layer over your vehicle’s paint, it’s crucial to do any paint restoration before applying the car coating. It’s up to you to decide, but we do recommend washing the car, claying, buffing, and keeping it pristine while applying the coating.

Myth 5: Ceramic Coatings Provide More Gloss Than Sealants And Waxes
Not necessarily. The truth is the nano coating for cars doesn’t provide the gloss alone – the prep work done underneath is also crucial. If you have a very faded paint and apply a coating to your car, it will still be faded, with a little bit of shine on top. The same applies for haze or swirl marks, they’ll also be “locked” under the coating if they’re not removed first.

Conclusion

So, hopefully that helps answer “What is a Ceramic Coating?”.

As for whether it’s worth it to ceramic coat your car?

Yes, absolutely, for most cars. The marginal investment, particularly from a DIY standpoint makes a ceramic car coating well worth purchasing. The upfront cost will pay for itself in savings in less than a couple of months. A professional application is also worth exploring if you have a high end or show vehicle. We’ve actually calculated a bit on it, and if you spread the upfront cost out on the duration of the entire protected period, you’re looking at a whopping $0.05 per day.

The important thing is to not expect a magic product that forms a bulletproof force field of protection around your car. What it does do is keep your car looking like its been recently waxed for years, makes dirt fall off super easy, and does a better job of protecting your paint than any wax or sealant.

Its also phenomenal on your rims, plastic and especially headlights. In fact, it’s so good that we’ve had many people try out our very own Armor Shield IX and offer their honest reviews in the process. Some of these how-to videos even have hundreds of thousands of people watching them, so we do recommend watching some of these videos before you go ahead and make up your mind about going forward with a 9H ceramic coating. We’ll link a few of them down in the references below.

Armor Shield IX DIY Kit

Armor Shield IX is a highly durable protective coat.

$69.99

Lastly, it’s important to know that we guide you through the whole process, so you can get similar results as if you had it professionally done.

So ask yourself this: Do you want your car to look like it’s just been washed and waxed every day for years, with a deep glossy finish, easy cleaning, dramatically increased level of environmental protection? If you can say yes to that, we encourage you to try out a Ceramic Coating DIY Kit today.

Ceramic Coating Black Glass
“Look at this thing, it’s like black glass” – Moe, Happy Armor Shield IX Customer

We, at AvalonKing, stand by our product so much, that we’d like to invite you to try out our DIY Ceramic Coating Kit yourself with a 3-Year Guarantee for only $69.99. That means you basically have zero risks as we’ll just pay you back the money if you’re not happy with the product or results.

GET STARTED TODAY
100% Money-Back Guarantee

Inspirational How-To-Videos

How to restore faded paint with Ceramic Coating
How to Restore Faded Paint With Ceramic Coating
How to restore headlights with ceramic coating
How to Restore Headlights With Ceramic Coating
How to restore rims with ceramic coating
How to Restore Rims With Ceramic Coating

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love AvalonKing’s automotive care products for Do-It-Yourselfers. We create “No B.S products” for an affordable price. And the best part, we treat our customers like family, so if you have any questions or just looking to chat about cars, we’re only an email or call away. Check out our homepage here.

Eric Williams

Eric is the Product Specialist at AvalonKing. He's also known as the Ceramic Coating whisperer in our office hallways. When he's not buffing away on his ol' Shelby Cobra, he enjoys watching Sunday sports and spending time with his family.

This Post Has 185 Comments

  1. Hey Erick.
    How many coats can I get with 2 kits in ford fusion?
    I placed the order already, and just find out that it’s good to have multiple coats apply!

    1. Hi there Henry. I think you will be able to do 2 passes on the ford fusion as the second coat requires much less of the liquid. I do definitely recommend 2-3 coats with Armor Shield IX, even thou 1 is perfectly enough.

  2. Hi Eric, Love to try the product and was wondering how many bottles do i need for my 2018 Audi A4?

    1. Hey Jason. Awesome to hear that! For your Audi, I would go with 2 kits.

  3. Eric, I am going to be working on a 1982 Mercedes 300 and a 2017 Corvette Z06. The two cars are almost complete opposites as fast as the paint goes. Both cars are in really good shape. How many kits would you recommend for each and is there a major difference in the way the Armor Shield needs to be applied?

    1. Hi there Ron. In terms of quantity, I would go with 2 bottles each for a thorough coating. Now, if paint is in good shape on both, there would be no difference in the prep and application procedure between them no matter if they are different color or if different types of paint.

      1. Thank you for the quick response and information. I’m excited to share this with my clients. As soon as I get approval I’ll be placing an order.

  4. Can you apply to a new car just purchased from the dealer? Do you need to clay the paint surfaces since the vehicle is new and the paint is perfect? How many kits for A 2019 Ram quad cab should I order.

    1. Yes, a brand new car can be coated. You wouldn’t have to clay it, just a thorough wash and an IPA wipedown. For the 2019 Ram, I would suggest 3 kits.

  5. How does this work on rubber and vinyl parts? I have a 2018 Harley and there are some vinyl parts that are dulling and some rubber parts that are getting a white haze on them. I plan using the coating 9n the paint and chrome, but was curious about what to do on the other parts.

    1. Hi. Armor Shield IX would be good to go over vinyl but I wouldn’t recommend it on rubber.

  6. Is this product suggested for gel coat boat surfaces?

    1. Hi Gary. Armor Shield IX is suitable for gel coats yes and suitable, in general, for marine applications.

  7. On many forums I’ve read that coatings are applied and then re-applied,. Users extol the value and additonal protection of multiple layers of the product they favor. Assuming the product is applied to a clean surface,, and the surface appropriately prepared before the second and subssequent “coats”, does the additional product increase durability and gloss? Won’t the chemicals in the product tend to diminish the effectiveness of the original application?

    1. Hi Frank, if we are talking about multiple layers of ceramic coating, if applied up to a recommended number of times it is definitely beneficial. For Armor Shield IX I would recommend coating up to 2-3 layers considering it is a much more highly concentrated formula than some other manufacturers. The finish would look better and “deeper” as well as providing increased physical protection.

  8. I have a 2018 Honda GL 1800 Goldwing Tour and a 2017 Chevy Cruze Hatchback Premier I am planning on coating this spring. I was watching a video on YouTube and they were coating a Goldwing with a ceramic coating product. I noticed in the video they covered a few body parts with tape prior to application of the coating. Is this necessary with your product and how many bottles will I need to coat both vehicles?

    1. Hi Robert. It wouldn’t really be necessary to tape off parts of the vehicle while applying Armor Shield IX. For your motorcycle and the car I would recommend 1 kit for each (maybe 2 kits for the Chevy since is not too small but doable with 1 kit).

  9. What kind of places do ceramic coating? Do dealerships do it?

    1. Hi Arnold. With Armor Shield IX DIY ceramic coating kit you can do the whole process yourself. You could also find local detailers to do the whole process for you.

  10. Hello I have a 2014 wrx black on black the dealer thought they were doing me a favor cleaning the car when I purchased it brand new . They buffed it before it had ever been waxed idk about it but that is what I was told . I now have swirl marks that when the sun hits it looks bad . I also have been told that they burnt the clear coat in spots . I have spent a lot of time and money to fix this problem. I have been using the F11 top coat and pure carnuba wax on it . I have to do it often and the dirt comes right back and swirl marks show back up after a couple of washes . If I wash it then use isopropyl alcohol to clean everything off what should I buff it with before I use your product if your not supposed to have wax underneath the coating ? I know this is a lengthy post but I would love some insight . Since all I get is mostly “ just keep a good coat of wax on it “ and I really want to shine and protect my car . I would like to make and keep my car looking the best I can for as long as I can since this is the only new car I will ever have . Thank you for your time

    1. Hey Bridget. So, what the wax would be doing here is just filling in the scratches temporarily. Now, while the coating does the same to a certain extent, considering its structure is much more refined, it would actually fill in less. But, the best thing to do in your case is to have the vehicle polished by a random orbit polishing machine and a swirl remover compound and then coating it and protecting using Armor Shield IX. The coating itself would bring a lot of depth to the paint finish and would, most importantly, protect it well for years and keep it looking perfect without the need to use any additional sealants or topups.

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These are our recommended quantities for the respective type of vehicle. The Volume Savings can be seen besides/below.

Type of VehicleRecommended QuantityVolume Savings
motorcycle   Motorcycle1 bottle*
small car   Small car1 bottle*
sedan   Sedan2 bottles*Save $35 (25%)
pick-up truck   Pick-up2 bottles*Save $35 (25%)
jeep   Jeep2 bottles*Save $35 (25%)
suv   SUV3 bottles*Save $70 (33%)
van   VAN3 bottles*Save $70 (33%)
boat   Boat4 bottles+*Save $110 (39%)

*Please note that it may be a good idea getting an extra bottle, ensuring you don’t run out when doing an application.

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