Ceramic paint protection, permanent paint protection, glass paint protection, nano coatings, add to that more brands and claims than you can poke a stick at and it becomes clear why so many customers get confused about what these products are and what they actually do in real life!
Hi everyone and welcome back to the Leading Edge blog, in this article I would like to do something that is probably going to get me into a little bit of trouble with other detailers/manufacturers of ceramic coatings, something a little bit controversial but hey, everyone needs a little bit of excitement in their lives right?
Before we dive into debunking some myths and hopefully blowing your mind with some facts let us first discuss what these coatings are and also make it very clear that not all products are created equally in this very unregulated industry with most manufacturers/products not working towards any standards or particular certification/testing/validation from a central body. It isn’t all doom and gloom however and I cant help a shameless brand plug here but IGL (the brand we use and trust) is ISO certified meaning that claims are tested and validated so there are certainly real world benefits.
So what are ceramic coatings? For those of us who are science minded and love a good read you must visit the IGL Blog https://blog.iglcoatings.com/ where you will find more information than you can ever ask for however in super simplified terms and for the purpose of today’s article “Paint Protection is a resin type product that is bottled in liquid form and once exposed to air hardens to form a hard crystal like material that offers a variety of benefits in protecting the surface it has been applied to”. This coating is applied either by hand or sprayed on and is normally applied in an extremely thin layer of 2 to 4 microns thickness (some coatings brands claim much thicker layering, please feel free to visit my shop and show me using a paint thickness gauge and I will gladly update this article to name your brand)
The not so simple explanation and scientific details can be found by clicking the link below!
Now, lets get the show started! Any professional detailers or coating suppliers reading this who feel as though I have done wrong by their products please feel free to contact me for a live test in my shop of your products and if proven incorrect I am happy to update this article and provide a public apology!
I will alternate between Myth and Fact however note that there is no order of importance here, it is all just as important!
Ceramic Paint Protection will protect from scratches! – MYTH – This particular point is one of my favorite and seems to be the one of the biggest misconceptions of them all. Unfortunately nothing on gods green earth will stop your car from being scratched/swirled and marred other than Paint Protection Film which is not something covered in this article. This myth was started and fueled by online viral videos showing coated cars being hit with all kinds of stuff without any “visible” scratches in the video. Unfortunately this is not true and has absolutely no merit or foundation yet was further fueled by marketing from detailers who do not fully understand the coatings hardness ratings claimed by the manufacturer of the product. Yes, coatings do offer some slight benefits in marring resistance (extremely fine scratches) however due to the extremely thin application this is limited to the finest of scratches. Self healing coatings do exist but again will only heal to the depth of the coating which is only a few microns, most scratches and swirls will go right through rendering the self healing useless. For those who wish to read up on coatings hardness please see this link as it will explain how the hardness for coatings is measured (pencil scratch test and not diamond hardness that too many detailers get confused with). https://blog.iglcoatings.com/ceramic-coating-hardness/
Ceramic paint protection makes the car look better – FACT – This is absolutely true, a high quality ceramic coating will enhance the appearance of any car in adding paint gloss (on glossy cars) and depth. It even makes matte and satin paint look better. The car will look better than new especially if corrected and prepped properly. This amazing finish will last many years if the vehicle is washed regularly and the coating is maintained and your car will always look new after every wash. A ceramic coating will also mean that you should never wax or polish your car again saving you time and saving the paintwork from more abrasion and chemicals.
Ceramic paint protection will not be damaged from bird poo/bat poo/chemicals – MYTH – In this instance the word “resistant” must not be confused with “proof”. Yes, a high quality ceramic coating will absolutely protect your paintwork from being damaged and is actually acid/chemical resistant HOWEVER the coating itself will still stain or be damaged thus carrying out its job successfully in protecting your paint. Neglect the coating and continue to abuse this “resistance” and the coating will eventually be overcome by the repetitive attacks of acid/chemicals and your paintwork will be damaged. Remember, the coating itself can and will wear out and once that happens your paint will become to get damaged. No coating is neglect proof and if your intention is to have your vehicle coated so you can stop caring about it then you will not enjoy what these amazing products can give you. Wash, maintain and top up your coating (a future blog will cover this) and your car and coating will likely remain perfect or any stains can easily be repaired by your detailer rather than requiring the panel to be painted.
Ceramic paint protection will make my car easier to maintain – FACT – If there was a reason for these products being popular this is it, yes they will protect your car, yes they will make your car look better but more than anything else, they will add a smile to your face every time you wash your car! Good quality ceramic paint protection like IGL have highly hydrophobic properties meaning that they resist water like fresh wax, this in turn means that water as it runs off the smooth protected paintwork will carry the dirt away keeping the car cleaner for longer and making it much easier to wash. The coating is also resistant to adhesion so dirt and oils will fall off easily and both points combined you have the most pleasant easiest car wash you can think of! Drying the paintwork is also a breeze with the water taking the path of least resistance be it your high quality microfiber cloth or blowing the water off the car with a blower as we do here in our shop.
Ceramic paint protection will/should not water spot – MYTH – This is our runner up for the second most common misconception about ceramic coatings. Whilst the coating is resistant to many things a mineral deposit can and will happen if the water (or liquid) evaporates on the paintwork. What do I mean? Imagine it being a sunny hot summer day and the car is sitting outside in the sun baking on a 40c hot day. The paintwork is piping hot and likely to be 80c, the car has a fine layer of dust as you have been driving around many road construction sites, the typical Sydney road scene. Now the weather turns and a very light rain falls on your car, enough to turn the dust (and what ever chemicals) on the paintwork to mud and the rain ends as soon as it has begun. All the water evaporates leaving behind spots of mud which have now baked an outline of spots on your paint. If the rain was heavy enough to wash the dust and dirt off the paint then you will likely not have any water spotting however as the light rain effectively dissolved the dirt onto your paint then dried you may end up having some spotting. The same can be said for rinsing your car with tap water and leaving it air dry without proper washing, yes the dirt has been washed off but the tap water itself contains minerals and salts which end up drying on your paint and forming water spots effectively killing your coating. Why do these spots feel as though they happen more to coated cars? Simple, your paint is likely to be near perfect and any defects stand out + the water beading nature of a hydrophobic coating makes the water bubble (bead) on the paint rather than flatten out thus making the visible spots. Ceramic coatings do however resist chemical etching and whilst the coating might spot, it will save your paintwork from permanent damage.
Ceramic paint protection will stop my paintwork from fading – FACT – Look at an old red car and you will understand what paint oxidation is, when paint turns chalky. This happens very often and easily with cars that do not have a clear coat such as older reds and whites as well as commercial white vehicles. A good quality ceramic coating will not only add gloss and luster to your paintwork but will seal the finish of the paintwork and protect it from dulling due to the weather and sunlight!
Ceramic paint protection will keep my paintwork new – FACT – New I guess is a little but of an exaggeration as there are many factors with paint aging (damage beyond what a ceramic coating can help with) however rest assured having a high quality coating on your car will certainly prolong the life of your paintwork and protect it from peeling/cracking due to the extreme sun/weather (imagine those cars with patchy paint that is peeling and cracking). This is due to the many reasons mentioned above as well as the fact that good quality coatings are UV resistant. The coat
Having read the above you are now wondering if having a coating is worth it given that it doesn’t stop your car from being bomb proof like what you have seen on the internet videos but ask anyone who has had their cars protected and they will all say the same thing, they wish they have it on every car they have ever owned because it works! Simply don’t neglect your coating and for many years it will not only look amazing but make your life so much easier every time you wash the car or drive it in the rain.