Ceramic coatings - how to maintain them
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Content from:  Torque

Ceramic coatings are the strongest protection for a car's paintwork. But they are not invincible. Here are a few dos and don'ts to help you extend its life.

Category: Car Maintenance Advice

Ceramic coatings are the strongest form of paintwork protection currently available. Their ability to withstand UV rays and nasty contaminants such as bird droppings helps preserve your vehicle's paintwork. Ceramic coatings make washing your car easier, too. Thanks to its hydrophobic properties, dirt and water have a harder time adhering to the car's surface.

If applied to correctly prepared paintwork and left to cure for at least a day, ceramic coatings are a 'layer and forget' type of protection. You don't have to worry about the coating deteriorating as quickly as carnauba wax. That said, no detailing enthusiast would truly just leave their car alone - ceramic coating or not. Here are some handy dos and don'ts that will help you extend your coating's service life.

Do - park in sheltered carparks

Parking in sheltered carparks helps to prolong the life of any kind of paint protection
Ceramic coatings can withstand our harsh sunshine, but that does not mean you should keep 'tanning' your car.

Apart from keeping your vehicle cooler, parking under shelter helps protect your paintwork from those disgusting bird bombs. Bird poop that gets baked onto the car will harden. This increases the risk of scratching your vehicle when you remove it.

The coating is there to protect the paint, but don't subject it to unnecessary wear.
Do - clean as you go

Having a quality ceramic coat doesn't mean you never have to wash your car!
Ceramic coatings leave cars looking shinier for longer. Your coated vehicle can go through countless rainstorms looking no worse for wear, except for maybe a few water spots.

But that does not mean you should stop washing your car. No matter how hard the coating is, dirt will eventually accumulate. Just look at the unwiped areas of the front windscreen - that is approximately how filthy your car is.

Washing your car once a week will go a long way towards maintaining that shine.
Do - top-up that coating

Most ceramic coatings come with additional maintenance products
Most, if not all, brands of ceramic coatings have additional products formulated for washing your car and topping up its protective layer.

Don't just chuck these into your cupboard. Make use of them!

The 'top-up' formula usually comes as a spray to be used on a clean surface. So, after that maintenance wash, use that spray to top-up your coating.
Don't - polish your coating

Found a scratch? Bring it to the professionals, don't try to polish your ceramic coated cars
Ceramic coatings cannot become shinier than they already are. Using consumer-grade polishes or compounds, which are meant to work on clear coats, won't do anything to them.

If you see any scratches or etchings, bring your car to your detailer and seek their advice.

Do not bother attempting to hand-polish the scratches. Ceramic coatings are so hard that evening them out (which is technically what polishing is) requires a mechanical polisher and special products.
Don't - wax your coating

Adding a layer of quality wax on your ceramic coating is pretty much a waste of time and energy
Just like polishes and compounds, car waxes are formulated to bond with your clear coat, not ceramic coatings.

Applying a layer of wax on top of your coating also does not make sense. Adding a sacrificial layer atop another one sounds good at first. But why bother when said layer is inferior to the one you already have?

To keep your coated car looking great, wash it and top-up its coating weekly. That's all you really have to do. Leave the rest to the professionals!
Here are some articles you might be interested in

Water spots - how to prevent them from occurring

Car groomer - what to consider when choosing one

Car detailing - should you wax your car before applying paint sealant?

Need help with maintaining your car's ceramic coating? Check out these highly recommended paint protection specialists!
Torque The article first appeared in the October 2020 issue of Torque. Log on to their website to subscribe.

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