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Why Is Ceramic Coating Car Paint Protection so Expensive?

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This article is sponsored by Schmicko.

Alfa Romeo red

Ceramic coating, also known as nano-ceramic coating, acts as an additional layer of protection for your car. The ultra-fine, thin coating is manually applied over cars by hand and uses nanotechnology to seal the entire surface, making it water-repellant. Not only does it protect your car from water, but it also helps prevent damage from UV rays, chemicals, excessive heat, scratches, dirt, and other kinds of heavy pollutants. It’s almost like a glass-like barrier for your vehicle, meaning it can take damage and pressure much better than a non-coated vehicle. It’s not new either; it has been used by the military for years thanks to its protective properties and was only recently introduced to the auto industry.

Benefits of ceramic coating

The biggest benefit of ceramic coating is its effective protection against pollutants and dirt that attack your car’s paint, which make it look older in a relatively short period (and can be very costly if left unattended). Four other benefits include:

1. Longer lifetime

Compared to other types of layers that you add to your car’s paint, ceramic coatings last the longest; it remains intact for years. Some brands even offer ceramic coating services with a warranty to support these claims. As a result, you get an all-time shine and gloss over your car for a long period of time, removing the need to wax your car on a regular basis.

2. Protection against pollutants

A layer of ceramic coating protects your car from a lot of things ranging from corrosive chemicals to color fading due to extreme heat during summer. You might be surprised to know that water itself can cause damage to your car. As the paint absorbs moisture from the atmosphere or when water particles remain on the surface, it eventually evaporates. What’s left behind are water spots leaving salt, dirt, and mineral deposits that soon solidify and etch into the paintwork. Being super-hydrophobic, ceramic paint protection significantly assists with repelling these water spots, which can often appear on both your paint and windows.

Ceramic coatings also offer protection from chemicals and pollutants produced by gasoline, brake fluid, generic cleaners, etc. With just a layer ceramic coating, your paint doesn’t wear off over time. It also acts as a protective barrier against UV rays, which tend to be the most dangerous for your car, as such rays oxidize the paint and causes it to fade. And while things like bird droppings or tree sap might sound harmless, these pollutants actually etch deeper into your car’s paint, causing near permanent damage.

3. Scratch resistance

Ceramic coatings act as a shell against scratches. However, this does not mean that your car becomes completely immune to them; the probability of it getting scratched simply decreases by a large margin. It saves your car from everyday scratches like from parking lots, bushes, bikes, etc.

4. Enhances the paintwork

The most popular reason for ceramic coatings is its ability to improve the gloss and shine of your car’s paint, keeping its appearance looking as good as new. As the coating prevents the build-up of dirt and pollutants, cleaning the car becomes easier to maintain. You will notice a significant difference when it comes to washing the car, as it feels a lot smoother when you glide across from panel to panel to clean.

Car wash

Getting it from the dealership?

If you are looking to get the ceramic coating done from the same car dealership you bought your car from, you may want to do some additional research. Most car dealers that offer ceramic coating services do so at higher prices and usually have low-quality products. Using a professional ceramic coating company is advised and highly recommended, as car detailing experts will be highly experienced in applying with great precision and skill.

Should you apply it yourself?

While there are a number of DIY ceramic coating kits available, it’s not recommended to use them. Since you’ll likely have no prior experience, it can be very easy to mess it all up and end up costing more than you originally planned to fix it. Once applied, ceramic coating is very difficult to remove because it becomes semi-permanent. Not to mention, you can’t just use a paint brush to add ceramic coating to your car without any preparation.

Another reason why you should opt for professional services is that DIY products are usually cheaper and of lower quality. Professional grade ceramic coating uses high-quality products and can only be applied by professionals. Many ceramic coatings will react differently to each other, which can be influenced by environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, so if you are not confident about what you are doing, it’s best to leave it to the experts.

Wax and paint sealants

Car wax and paint sealants are often used as alternatives to ceramic coatings. However, they are usually much cheaper and ineffective compared to ceramic coatings. So in reality, they aren’t true direct alternatives — they’re just cheaper and less effective.

1. Durability and longevity

While wax offers average durability and sealants offer intermediate durability, ceramic coatings tend to provide excellent durability in comparison to the rest. It keeps your vehicle’s exterior in its best condition for years. Wax works well for roughly a month or so and sealants are good for about a couple of months. On the other hand, ceramic coatings work perfectly for a few years, depending on their quality.

2. Effectiveness

As ceramic coatings are based on advanced nanotechnology, they have proved to be the most effective protectant compared to wax and sealants. Remember that ceramic paint protection provides an element of hardness (9H Hardness), a property that is virtually non-existent in any wax or sealant. When you apply ceramic coating, it hardens into a glass-like element and provides hard protection unlike no other alternative on market.

3. Maintenance

You need not worry about maintenance with ceramic coating. By simply wiping the surface of your car now and then, it will stay in great condition. It also saves you the trouble of applying regular hydrophobic coatings, as well as any additional protection that wax and sealants require.

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Photo: 401(K) 2012

Why are they so expensive?

Going through the above discussion must have given you an idea for why ceramic coatings can be costly. To break it down simpler, here are the two main reasons why this investment is well worth the cost:

1. Extreme longevity

As ceramic coatings work for longer years compared to its alternatives, it costs more. It requires high-quality products and uses advanced technology; a layer of ceramic coating is worth thousands of dollars.

2. Maximum benefits

From its glossy appearance to the protection of paint from water, chemicals, pollutants, UV rays and scratches, ceramic coatings offer a variety of benefits.

Ceramic coatings are definitely a good choice if you want to keep your car in good condition. It makes your car durable and keeps it protected, and saves you from high maintenance costs in the long term.