Ceramic coating is considered one of the best investments you can have for your car. It gives your car’s paintwork long-term protection. It keeps your vehicle from damaging contaminants, keeps it shiny, and repels liquid.
However, a trip to your trusted auto detailer for a ceramic coating does not mean you no longer have to do regular maintenance. Contrary to common belief, if a ceramic coating is not maintained correctly, your car’s paint job will damage prematurely.
Car owners often assume that since there is a “Self-Cleaning” label on some ceramic coating products, it literally can clean itself, and no maintenance is needed. That’s where the confusion comes.
To understand what a ceramic coating does to your car, imagine when the coating solidifies. It becomes incredibly flat, making the top layer extremely slippery – considerably better than regular vehicle wax. Water, dust, grime, tree sap, and other debris glide off with minimal effort due to the hydrophobic (water-repelling) effect.
Now here are five important tips for maintaining your ceramic coating:
Tip #1: Let the Coating Cure
One crucial tip above anything else is not to wash your car within seven days after the coating. The ceramic coating needs a little bit of time to cure properly. You will see your money flush down the drain if you do this.
Tip #2: Wash Your Car Every Two Weeks
As mentioned above, the ceramic coating doesn’t clean itself. It’s not contaminant proof or dirt proof; thus, you must wash your car at least every two weeks. But it doesn’t mean you can just take it to an automated carwash; you have to do it by hand. Here are some other things to remember when washing your car:
- Do not wash your car under the sun – Heat from direct sunlight is a nightmare for most coatings. Make sure you clean the car in the shade or within the garage to get the best results.
- Do not use household cleaning products – There are soaps and shampoos designed for ceramic coatings widely available in the market. Look for pH-neutral shampoos as they will not damage your coating, unlike your standard household cleaning products that contain harsh and corrosive ingredients.
- Apply the two-bucket method – You need two buckets, 1 for washing and the other for rinsing. The first bucket is filled with the carwash solution you bought, and the rinse bucket is just water.
The wash mitt is dipped in the wash bucket and used to clean specific areas of the vehicle. The mitt is dipped in the rinse bucket after cleaning to eliminate any dirt, stones, or other contaminants it may have picked up. After rinsing the mitt, it is dipped in the wash bucket and utilized to clean another part of the vehicle.
- Use a different bucket for washing the wheels – Avoid getting all the debris or small metallic fragments from your wheels to your ceramic coating. Use a different set of water and mitts to clean your wheels.
- Do not airdry – Airdrying leaves watermarks that will stain your car’s coating, instead use a microfiber to dry your vehicle.
Tip #3: Clean All Bug Splatters Immediately
Foreign matters like bug splatter, tree sap, and bird droppings are acidic, resulting in significant damage to your coating over time. The best way to remove them is to blot and not wipe to avoid spreading them on your coating.
Tip #4: Use Maintenance Boosters
Ask your auto detailer what maintenance booster should be applied to your car after the coating. Please do not use any available maintenance boosters; it should be consistent with the ceramic coating they applied. Maintenance boosters keep the coating hydrophobic and fill up minor scratches to protect the paint.
Use this right after you wash your car, at least every 3-4 months.
Tip #5: Have an Annual Inspection
Last but not least, visit your favorite auto detailer once a year to check if your paintwork needs a fresh coating. They will check uneven coverage and apply a top coat to restore your car’s ceramic coating.
Other than uneven coverage, they can also spot potential issues due to improper maintenance, from coating degradation to scratch marks.
Whether you are planning to get a ceramic coating or just got out of the shop, make sure to ask your auto detailer about maintaining the ceramic coating to keep your investments in tip-top shape.