If you’ve got a shiny chrome surface, and you want to know if it is safe to slather a nano ceramic coating on it, then you are in the right place.
Yes, a nano ceramic coating, like Armor Shield IX, is completely safe to use on a chrome plated, chrome wrapped, chrome powder coated, or even spray-on chrome coated surfaces. No, a ceramic coating will not change the reflective properties, or add a tint of color to the chrome itself.
But what about the ceramic coating application process itself? Does ceramic coating a chrome surface require any additional prep work or specialized aftercare? How about longevity ratings, and having the ability to reject contaminants even after the ceramic coating has seen a few seasons of abuse?
And what about spray-on Sio2 ceramic coating booster products? Do they work just like the real deal, or do these liquids come with their own unique chrome-related pros and cons?
Rest easy there, oh devout adorer of all things bling, for today ye shall discover the answers to all of these questions, along with a fistful of additional quick tips and insider advice from your friendly ceramic coating specialists here at AvalonKing.
So rise and shine, ’cause it’s chrome coating time!
Get to Know Your Chrome Coatings
When it comes to traditional chrome materials, chrome plating is king, with two forms of the stuff being widely utilized. Both hard chrome plating and thin/dense chrome plating can be commonly found in many automotive applications, with the hard stuff being a bit thicker and easier to repair, while the thinner stuff offers better resistance to cracks.
Spray chrome finishes on the other claw, range anywhere from simple, “rattle can” spray paint, all the way up to reflective ceramics for high heat exhaust components, and onwards, to spray-on chrome systems that have been engineered specifically for professional use.
There are also chrome powder coating options, which have become increasingly popular with aftermarket wheel enthusiasts in recent years, as they do not require the use of harsh chemicals or hardeners.
Finally, there is chrome vinyl wrap, a super-shiny PVC polymer, which does not require the use of chemicals or high heat. Despite not offering the same levels of hardened protection as other forms of chrome, chrome-colored vinyl is ideal for covering large spans of surface area, which explains why you see it stretched across body panels instead of alloy wheels.
Quick Nerd Note: Speaking of rollers, ceramic coating your wheels is one of the greatest car cleaning hacks you will ever encounter, as it allows you to remove brake dust and road grime with little more than water. Just make sure that your wheels are properly prepped and decontaminated prior to coating their spokes, lips, faces, and barrels. For more on this topic, be sure to check out our blog article focusing on the act of ceramic coating wheels.
How a Nano Ceramic Coating Works When Applied to a Chrome Surface
Obtaining blinging, super smooth surfaces isn’t all about maintaining shine either. When it comes to scrubbing and protecting chrome, DIY detailers have a bevy of options and techniques to choose from. But regardless of what type of chrome surface you are planning on protecting, a quality nano ceramic coating will always do the following things when applied to a clean canvas.
As it cures atop a hard, cool surface, the viscous nano ceramic coating liquid transforms into a crystal-clear shell. This creates a super smooth surface with numerous contaminant repelling properties, with chrome bling getting locked into place being one of them. Everything from trim accent parts and grill garnishes, to aftermarket wheels and classic chromed car bumpers are fair game, as the ceramic coating makes routine cleaning a cinch.
Instead of embedding into the chrome itself, and causing pitting issues, a nano ceramic coating forces the gunk thrown at your automobile to sit atop its hardened shell. Due to this shell’s unique hydrophobic nature, ceramic coated chrome can typically be cleaned with little more than a maintenance shampoo, some ultra-plush microfiber cloths or a chenille wash mitt, and a splash of H20.
Unfortunately, chrome surfaces can also be a bit of a pain-in-the-ass when it comes to the ceramic coating preparation phase, a mandatory precursor to popping the seal on that bottle of Armor Shield IX.
Does Applying Ceramic Coating to Chrome Require Additional Preparation?
When it comes to chrome, the stuff really does require a hefty amount of prep. This is primarily due to the fact that the reflective properties found within chrome, cause even the smallest blemish, fingerprint, or fleck of filth to be literally “doubled” due to its mirroring effect.
A thorough polishing after decontamination and drying phases are complete is almost always essential for those in search of a spotless surface that is primed and ready for a ceramic coating.
Due to its affinity for amplifying the appearance of filth, chrome requires a tad more attention to detail in the decontamination phase as well. If a thorough polishing is out of the question, try and hit the chrome surfaces you plan on ceramic coating with a mild or medium strength clay decontamination tool, and don’t forget to go heavy on the clay lube.
A quality clay lubricant will not only help prevent scratches and swirls from forming on that chrome surface, but it will also help cut down on the amount of clay residue that’s left behind. This is especially important if you are working with fresh chrome with a flawless, “mirrored chrome finish,” and wish to skip straight to the buffing phase.
Follow this with an isopropyl alcohol (IPA) surface prep spray wipe-down and a dash more buffing with some microfiber, and you’ve got a chrome surface that’s ready to rock under a nano ceramic coating shine.
Quick Tip: Graphene-infused ceramic coating products are being marketed as “the next evolutionary step in ceramic coating technology,” but there’s a dark side to this stuff. Graphene coatings are extremely finnicky, and multiple independent tests have revealed that the stuff has just the same amount of protection (if not less) than a quality 9H-rated ceramic coating.
Ceramic Coated Chrome Contamination Issues and Aftercare Explained
As for a ceramic coated chrome surface’s longevity and protective capabilities, well, that has just as much to do with location, as it does with proper prep work and the quality of the product being applied. For instance, chrome covered components that are mounted lower on a vehicle, like wheels and exhaust tips, require ceramic coat replacement sooner than portions that are mounted higher up.
Another point to consider, is that bug splatter, road salt, airborne debris, and other forms of filth hit the front a vehicle the hardest due to velocity. This causes forward-facing ceramic coated chromed parts, like grills, badges, and deployable hood ornaments to wear-down at a much more rapid rate. This information is incredibly useful for those who have developed an insatiable obsession for Rolls Royce automobiles, and have a butler on hand to tackle these tasks for them.
A similar situation occurs down bottom, where chrome coated wheels are constantly being bombarded by dirt, chemicals, asphalt, oil, organic debris, and road salt. And while piping-hot chrome coated exhaust tips may not push a nano ceramic coating to its breaking-point in the heat department, the dangers associated with soot and spent fumes flowing out of them do make an impact.
The best way to keep a ceramic coated car looking sharp, is to regularly hand-wash the vehicle with a reputable water source, a clean microfiber towel, and a pH neutral car shampoo. Also, make sure that your shampoo does not contain any waxes or sealants, and be sure that the two-bucket hand washing technique is routinely put into play every other week or so.
There’s a reason why AvalonKing released its own, heavy-strength SiO2 Ceramic Booster Spray. Being that wheels can be a bit challenging to ceramic coat, a spray-on solution has the ability to make installation and aftercare far easier.
Coupling a ceramic booster spray with a premium microfiber towel multi-pack, allows you the ability to quickly and effectively “rejuvenate” chrome and other ceramic coated areas, without the need for additional tools or chemicals. When using Armor Shield IX, you won’t encounter excessive amounts of coating residue, just a soft microfiber cloth clean surface, and a shit-ton of shine.
So before you say screw it, and decide to hit the local car wash, think about the following final facts.
Despite chrome being one of the more finnicky surfaces to coat and maintain, ceramic coatings are still one of the best things you can apply to a bunch of bling outside of a super expensive paint protection film.
Excessive heat, UV rays from direct sunlight, sludge-rich acid rain water, and hasty car washes with questionable water sources must be repelled. So yes, ceramic coating products are indeed worth it, especially when placed atop chrome.
So hit your vehicle’s chrome trim, badges, hood ornaments, grille, bumpers, exhaust tips, and wheels with some Armor Shield IX and relish in the results. Efficiency, affordability, protection, and shine are all there for the taking. So don’t hold back, and bring on the bling!