3 Myths About Ceramic Coatings

Ceramic coatings, glass coatings, quartz coatings, whatever you want to call them, they are the newest innovation in car care protection and they are here to stay.

Innovative technology and famous manufacturers such as IGL Coatings, Tac System, Gyeon etc have developed coatings for paint, glass, wheels, plastic, leather and more – that are guaranteed to last for years not months.

Not only will these coatings provide a long-term protective barrier, but they also add gloss and depth to the finish of your paintwork, making cleaning easier as dirt won’t sit on the vehicle’s surface.

When you wash your car afterward, the paint will continuously have that “freshly waxed” and slick silky feeling to it – however, it is important that a ceramic coating is maintained well.

Since 2015, Vietnam Car Care has completed more than 3000 ceramic services in Ho Chi Minh City alone. So today I want to discuss some myths about ceramic paint protection for both consumers interested in the benefits, and for professionals looking to understand more about the true benefits of ceramic coatings, in order to provide the correct information to their customers.

ceramic coatings - Black car finish 1

Myth 1: Ceramic Coatings are Scratch Proof

Many detailers of ceramic coatings exaggerate the scratch resistant properties of ceramic protection.

Ceramic coatings are designed to be a sacrificial layer on top of your original paintwork, whilst they will help to protect the original paintwork from swirl mark/minor scratches caused by improper washing techniques, cheap cleaning tools and products, a ceramic coating will not protect against violent impacts to your paintwork or fire as some people claim!

For example, a ceramic coating will not protect your paintwork from a stone chip flying up from your wheel at speed. If you want that level of protection, you’ll want to consider Paint Protection Film (PPF) – but its pricey as the material is expensive to buy.

ceramic coatings - IGL application

Myth 2: Coatings provide more gloss than waxes

Whilst a quality ceramic coating will provide extreme gloss and depth of color, a high-quality wax will also provide amazing gloss and depth. What you do not get with the wax is the added protection that a ceramic coating offers. The most important thing in order to have the best result is the preparation work completed before the coating is applied.

ceramic coatings - IGL inforgraphic

In Vietnam some waxes or sealants that I would suggest are IGL Premier, Angelwax Enigma or any of the Swissvax range, durability will be months as opposed to years, however, the application is faster, although as stated above you do not get the same benefits as a ceramic coating.

Myth 3: Coatings are easy to apply!

When applying a ceramic coating, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration and in order to apply ceramic coatings effectively, you need to have undergone specialist training to do it properly and have the correct equipment.

The vehicle must be detailed carefully using various products and tools to remove, iron, tar and other contaminants. When we complete a coating package, we use between 10-20 different imported products and tools designed specifically for different tasks (iron removal, tar removal, waterspot removal, bird stain removal, clay bar treatment etc).

The paintwork then undergoes a 2-3 stage paint correction process where swirl marks and scratches are removed and the paintwork is leveled to its best condition. Only then is a protective product or long-term sealant applied to ensure the best visual results in terms of gloss and depth of color. It is important to use a long-term protective product to ‘lock in’ the results from the paint protection.

ceramic coatings - Yellow car finish 1

If you just apply the coating without doing this time-consuming prep work (8-12 hours/4 detailing specialists, depending on the condition of the paintwork) all you will achieve is locking in the swirl marks//holograms under the coating. To complete a ceramic coating package to its highest standard should take 2 days depending on your vehicle’s size.

How many professionals who apply ceramic coatings here in Vietnam understand what a ‘high spot’ is? When you apply a ceramic coating, during the buffing off process, if you do not remove the excess product, you will be left with what is known in the detailing industry as a high spot. This is not normally visible if your lighting in your coating room is not efficient, but once your customer gets the vehicle into the sun, they will soon notice it!

It’s very important to have good lighting when wiping off a ceramic coating. A good swirl finder pen does a fantastic job of revealing high spots on the paint panels.

If you decide to get a ceramic coating for your vehicle, make sure you check out the quality of the room it will be applied in; is the room sealed (no dust), is the lighting sufficient, are they doing the paint correction in a closed sealed room? do they have IR lamps for curing the coating faster, ensuring it bonds to the paintwork well, do they offer a warranty on the coating direct from the manufacturer? These are important things to be aware of before making the decision to book your car in for a protection package.

ceramic coatings - Red car finish 1

Conclusion

A ceramic coating will provide long-lasting protection to your vehicle, helping it maintain its appearance and keeping a higher value for your investment and provide crucial damage from UV and the environment (who wants faded grey plastic, leather seats and paintwork!).

However, it is also important to understand what it will not do, such as be fire resistant or bomb proof. If you want to fully protect the vehicle, an option of ceramic coating and PPF on the easily damaged areas is your best option

If you care about your expensive investment, it is a wise choice to protect it to keep it looking in brand new condition and to protect you from any expensive cleaning or fixes in the future.

Ask a Pro: Ed Bews, Vietnam Car Care.
Ed Bews has had a passion for car care since he was 17, for over 18 years he has detailed and loved his cars! He is a member of the International Detailing Association (IDA) and a founding member of the Vietnam Detailing Association. Ed opened Vietnam Car Care in 2015 to bring the same passion and international detailing techniques and services he found in the UK to Vietnam!