At one point in time, a paste wax was the top shelf choice to enhance your vehicle’s shine while also protecting your paint from external elements like rain, bird poo, dirt, etc…
Fast forward 20 years, a bunch of scientists work their magic in a lab, and we now have a far more durable and superior form of protection: ceramic coatings.
Unlike Mr. Miyagi, this is not a “wax-on-wax-off” application. The ceramic coating is a semi-permanent liquid layer that bonds to the vehicles surface. It is commonly referred to as a “sacrificial” layer of protection as it’ll absorb the weather elements like rain, dirt, and snow to better protect the paint underneath.
As an analogy: The wax is like a tent protecting you in a forest. The ceramic coating is like a brick house in the forest. Both offer protection from rain and dust, but one is nothing like the other.
There are a lot of coating companies that make some pretty big claims of what it can do. Although there’s some truth to the claims, I don’t like to oversell the capabilities of it.
So here are some benefits you actually get with a coating:
Before the coating is installed, your vehicle must first be properly prepped and corrected with one of our paint correction services. If you apply the coating without the proper prep work, you’re not able to get all the benefits from the coating.
That’s the difference of a professional ceramic coating installer. Additionally, if it’s not properly installed, you won’t get the actual benefits and you’ll see a ton of smudges across your vehicle.
This is what we consider “high spots”. You’ll see this when the coating was not properly applied and it was left to dry for too long without wiping off.
As a general rule of thumb, the more durable the coating, for instance, a 1 year versus a 9 year coating, the harder it is to install. You have to understand the weather variables as that can play a major factor in the installation process.
Different coatings react different to when it’s humid, cold, or hot. And if you’ve been in Houston for longer then three days, you’ll know the temperature is always changing. That’s why we do our coating installations at our shop location, so we can control most of the working conditions.
Yes, coatings are long-lasting and durable, but that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with your vehicle and think the coating will protect it.
It has its limitations and it’s important to understand the limitations of what the ceramic coating can handle. Too many times we see customers overthink the protection aspect of the coating and are then disappointed when they see swirls or etchings in the paintwork.
The coating will not make your paint scratch-proof. When we say the coating will resist light swirls and scratches, we genuinely mean very light swirls and scratches that might be induced when properly washing or drying the vehicle.
If you drag a dry and dirty wash mitt across the paint, you will scratch the paint. If you drag your hand or leg across the paint, you will scratch it.
The coating will not protect your paint from rock chips. The only real option that can protect your paint from rock chips will be paint protection film (PPF).
No matter how many layers you apply of any protection, whether it’s wax or ceramic coating, it cannot stop the impact of a rock hitting your vehicle.
The coating requires maintenance to prolong the durability. Just like many other things in life, if you don’t care for the coating, it will degrade overtime and not last it’s intended lifespan.
You have to properly wash, dry, and boost the coating for maximum durability. A coating that was meant to last for 6 years can start to break down at year 3 if not cared for properly.
Yep! We offer all our paint correction and ceramic coating services at the R3 detail shop location (down the street from Willowbrook Mall). Depending on the level of work, it can take 2 to 3 days to complete the service (since it has to be paired with our paint correction or paint polishing service).