The Ultimate Guide To Ceramic Coating Your Vehicle | CarCareReviews

The Ultimate Guide To Ceramic Coating Your Vehicle

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What Is Ceramic Coating?

We are here to tell you all the ins and outs of ceramic coating and to help you to determine which type of ceramic coating fits your needs. First let’s start with the basics. Ceramic coating is best described as an additional layer (or shell) that you can add on top of your vehicle’s existing paint job to both prolong and protect your car’s surface. It is a hydrophobic layer of protection that forms a clear coat over your vehicle. So what is a hydrophobic layer? If you google “hydrophobic” you will see the definition as “tending to repel or fail to mix with water”. That is exactly what ceramic coating does, but it also has many other benefits. Its formula, which we will go over later, is used to add this additional layer of protection, without altering the color of your car.

So let’s put this into terms that we can all understand. Do you remember when you first bought your car and it looked absolutely flawless? The paint was not only shiny, but it had that amazing glossy/wet look to it and you couldn’t stop staring at it? It’s shine was probably one of the reasons that you fell in love with your car. Over the years, that look starts to fade and you start to wonder, how do I get that look back? Ceramic coating is your answer — and is not only used to bring that look back, but to keep it there. It is used to protect your car from everyday wear and tear and those pesky, natural, everyday elements that you encounter. It may seem like everything out there on the road is out to get you, to slowly attack your car’s beautiful exterior and begin diminishing its value.

Think of ceramic coating like the ultimate raincoat, a band-aid that acts like another layer of skin, the shield used by Captain America…you get it! Ceramic coating is a clear coat and will not change the original color of your vehicle that you carefully chose and fell in love with. When it comes to ceramic coating, YOU HAVE OPTIONS! There are several different avenues you can travel down. You can seek professional help…which of course will be the more costly option, or you can take the DIY route depending on your level of comfort and skill. There are videos on YouTube you can watch to help you with the process, and several companies offer products to help get you that professional look at a fraction of the price. Before diving into all of the products that we recommend, cost breakdowns, and nitty gritty details, let’s first talk about why your vehicle needs ceramic coating.

Why Does My Car Need Ceramic Coating?

This is like asking, why do I need an umbrella when it’s pouring down rain? If you are at all concerned with the longevity of your vehicle’s appearance and truly see your car as an investment, then you need to be taking a deeper look into ceramic coatings and sprays. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on something for it to literally fade away right before your eyes? You don’t want to watch your car depreciate by ignoring an issue that can easily be resolved. Protecting your paint is the only way to keep your car looking its best, and ceramic coating is the absolute best way to do just that. So we are going to make this simple and break it down for you. Below are just some reasons why you should add a ceramic coating to your car, truck, motorcycle, RV, or any vehicle that has paint on it!

Reasons why you NEED ceramic coating:

  • You want your paint to last
  • You want rain to bounce off/roll of your car and windshield with ease
  • You want to protect against the harsh rays of the sun (oxidation, UV rays, dullness and fading)
  • You are sick of seeing dirt settle on your car after it just barely rains
  • You want to wash your car less often, but still maintain its glossy appearance
  • You want to help protect your car against several everyday hazards including:
    • rock chips, hail, tree sap/droppings, salt (for those of you living in colder climates), mud, rain, dust/grime, small scratches and my all time favorite….bird crap!
  • You care about the value of your vehicle and want it to last and look great for as long as possible!
  • You want to be able to wash your car with ease and not feel like you have to scrape every little thing off your car, making you even more worried about damaging your paint even more.

Now that you understand the benefits, let’s go through your options for applying a ceramic coating to your vehicle. If you aren’t looking to spend a small fortune and like to do things yourself rather than pay someone else to do it, then ceramic sprays and DIY ceramic coating kits are perfect for you. Now let’s break it down in simple terms.

What’s The Difference Between Ceramic Coating and Ceramic Spray?

Since we are going to be talking a lot about ceramic coating and all of your options, let’s clear something up (pun intended)! First and foremost, ceramic spray is a TYPE of ceramic coating. If you are going down the “do it yourself” route, you are going to want to look into all of the different ceramic sprays out there. Many companies also offer ceramic coating kits to make the process foolproof. There are SO many different ceramic coatings out there on the market today, which can be really confusing for someone who’s just getting started. No one wants to sit there and read about a million different products and then waste time using a mediocre one. And that’s exactly why we started

This site was built to answer all your questions about ceramic coatings and other DIY car care products. I know when I was first starting out, I had a million questions… “Do I need a kit?”, “How much spray do I need to buy?”, “What parts of my car can I use it on?”, “Which one lasts the longest?”, “Which one has the strongest formula?”, “Which one is the best value?”, and more. Lucky for you, we’ve ranked and reviewed the top ceramic sprays on the market which you can click here to view. You can also see how we calculate these ratings by visiting our How We Rank page

One of the main things we look at is cost, since that is generally the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind. “How much is this going to cost me?” Then we will break down the science and technology behind ceramic coating and what makes it so effective. After that, we will go through any questions that may come up during your search. Questions such as “how do I apply a ceramic coating?”, “What surfaces can I use a ceramic coating on?”, and “How long will one application last?” And finally we will walk through all of the most frequently asked questions that will pop up during folks’ search in their quest for a flawless finish.

Ceramic Coatings at Different Price Points

avg cost of ceramic coating

There is a HUGE price difference in ceramic coatings, depending on whether you do it yourself, or go to a professional auto detailer. Let’s break it down….Taking your car in for a professional ceramic application can cost you anywhere from $450-$2400. Professionally installed coatings do last longer than ceramic sprays and “do it yourself” ceramic coating kits, which we will touch on later. Professional ceramic coating application is best for those of you that really just want the absolute best and don’t care about shelling out some cash to get it done. Many professional detailers will offer you a warranty, generally between 5 and 7 years. There can also be a lot of hidden costs behind taking your car to a professional. Some will tell you that the ceramic coating will be $700, but that does not include the price of the prep work. Another thing to take into consideration is that a professional ceramic coating can take anywhere from 1-5 days since they have to be baked on with UV lighting. That means you may need to think about renting a new set of wheels for the time your car is in the shop, adding even more money onto the cost.

There is a HUGE price difference in ceramic coatings, depending on whether you do it yourself, or go to a professional auto detailer. Let’s break it down….Taking your car in for a professional ceramic application can cost you anywhere from $450-$2400. Professionally installed coatings do last longer than ceramic sprays and “do it yourself” ceramic coating kits, which we will touch on later. Professional ceramic coating application is best for those of you that really just want the absolute best and don’t care about shelling out some cash to get it done. Many professional detailers will offer you a warranty, generally between 5 and 7 years. There can also be a lot of hidden costs behind taking your car to a professional. Some will tell you that the ceramic coating will be $700, but that does not include the price of the prep work. Another thing to take into consideration is that a professional ceramic coating can take anywhere from 1-5 days since they have to be baked on with UV lighting. That means you may need to think about renting a new set of wheels for the time your car is in the shop, adding even more money onto the cost.

Now, if you want to avoid spending all that money, and think that you can follow directions, then applying your own ceramic coating is definitely something that you will want to consider. Some of you might be thinking that applying a ceramic coating yourself may be too hard, but we are here to tell you otherwise! We will also show you some of our favorite ceramic sprays for an even faster application process. (We will get to that later!)

A good DIY ceramic coating, on average, will last 2-3 years, although some claim to last longer with 5 being the maximum that we have seen out there on the market. Whether you choose to take your car to a professional, or go the DIY route, ceramic coating is NOT a permanent solution and the results will fade over time. Do not let a professional detailer convince you that their ceramic coating application will last for the lifetime of your vehicle. Since most professional ceramic coatings also require maintenance, there is another question you need to ask yourself. Do you really want to have to take the time to take your car into the detailer once a year to maintain your ceramic coating when you can just take a little bit of time to do it yourself? We will get into how you can maintain your ceramic coating on your own later on. Before we get into more detail on what a ceramic coating is made out of and how it works, we want to show you a cost breakdown between your options.

Let’s say that you go with a professional ceramic coating that is said to last 7 years. When you break this down at the higher cost point of $2500 divided by 7 years, you get about $358 a year. $2500 is a pretty large sum to cough up for something that is going to slowly fade away right before your eyes (literally). You may be thinking that $358 doesn’t sound too unreasonable, but when you look at the cost difference between a professional coating, a DIY kit and a ceramic spray, the price difference is staggering! Yet another thing to take into consideration is that many types of professional ceramic coating are a much longer process and will require you to bring your car back in every year for maximum protection. Again, this is because a professional ceramic coating needs to be baked on with a UV light, making it a much longer process. You will also likely be talked into/upsold on purchasing a bigger ceramic coating package so they can sell you into the idea that it will last longer and look better.

professional ceramic coating

Let’s look at the cost of one of our Top Rated ceramic sprays. Nexgen Ceramic Spray costs $19.95 per bottle, will coat your vehicle 4 times (possibly even 6 times) depending on the size of your car and lasts up to 4 times longer than other ceramic sprays on the market. How long would you say it lasts? We reviewed Nexgen and after 2 months, we saw that Nexgen still made one of our vehicles look like it had just been detailed. A spray with this quality can last you between 4 and 6 months! Let’s do the math….Nexgen lasts for 4 to 6 months with just one application, so let’s say you use one bottle of Nexgen a year (which means you really put your car through a lot, used it a lot and touched it up a lot and somehow only got 3 applications out of it). That would mean in 7 years (comparing it to the length of time that professionals claim their coatings will last) you would use 7 bottles for a whopping total of about $140. If you want to break it down even further, we are talking about $5 per average application. Now, we aren’t mathematicians, but it’s pretty easy to see that this is significantly less than $2500. So, to conclude, ceramic spray is INSANELY cheaper and almost as effective to use as taking your car to a professional. We will get into more differences later, but of course the first thing that everyone thinks about when wanting to get any type of service done is money, so we wanted to get that one out of the way. Now, before you lose focus and start googling ceramic sprays, SLOW DOWN! We will walk you through your options and break down not only our favorites, but the best ceramic sprays out there. Let’s go back and get into the science behind ceramic coating.

What Is Ceramic Coating Made Out Of?

The number one ingredient to look for in a good ceramic coating is Silicon Dioxide, or SiO2. The higher the content of SiO2, the stronger the formula. But what is SiO2? Silicon dioxide is a combo of two natural materials, silicon and oxygen. People mainly know silicon dioxide as Quartz, which to some people can be a little confusing, but you can just think of SiO2 as the essential ingredient of ceramic coatings.

If you are looking to add a ceramic coating to your car yourself then you are going to want to purchase a ceramic spray with a high SiO2 content. Our favorite and top rated ceramic spray that we recommend, Nexgen, is made of 13% silicon dioxide, which is more than any other ceramic spray on the market. So, if you are looking to add a ceramic coating to your car yourself, there are some really great options out there. Other common ingredients found in ceramic coating are deposited aluminum dioxide, deposited chromium oxide, titanium dioxide, silica, and several others. Don’t let all these fancy terms fool you, remember, you want to look for the SiO2 content, that is the key ingredient and some brands may try to fool you. Remember to check out our rankings to see which ceramic sprays contain the highest levels of SiO2.

You may find that when you start to do your research and start looking into ceramic coating that the words, “nano coating” and “nanotechnology” will come up quite often. That is because ceramic coating uses nanotechnology to pack all these different chemical components into a big punch that will give you that sheer level of protection on your car.

So what does nano coating mean? Nano coating, sometimes referred to as nano sealing, is really just a fancy way of saying ceramic coating. If you are applying ceramic coating to your car, you are nano coating it, so don’t let fancy jargon confuse you!

Since ceramic coating is a semi permanent bond, it is made of some pretty powerful ingredients. Now let’s go all Bill Nye the science guy and really dig into how ceramic coatings work.

How Do Ceramic Coatings Work?

You might be thinking, “ok, ok I get it, it’s a clear coat”, but rather than thinking about it as just a clear coat, it’s better to understand that ceramic coatings are literally a semi permanent, clear BOND that protects your vehicle. The bonded molecules inside ceramic coatings collect themselves together to form polymers. The polymers then connect themselves together to form a structure. The result of that structure is nanocoating – (the clear layer coat) which binds to your vehicle’s paint to create that additional layer of protection, TA DA!

chain polymers

Think of it this way… Remember when you were growing up and you had K’NEX to play with? All those K’NEX linked together to create something spectacular! That is what nano coating/ ceramic coating does. All those polymers link up and connect together and the result is a beautiful, clear, hydrophobic liquid that is then applied to your vehicle for a solid, sheer layer of protection. If you add a screen protector onto your iPhone or Android (which you end up replacing your phone every few years) don’t you think you should do the same for your car, which you keep for MUCH longer? Just let that sink in for a second. Isn’t it more satisfying to understand how the ceramic coatings work rather than just hoping for the best? Now that you know how they work, you can start to narrow down the playing field and really dive into the particulars. So…now that we know what goes into creating a ceramic coating, let’s take a look at how durable that coating is and how that works and what the “shell” really does.

How Tough/Durable Are Ceramic Coatings?

Before we talk about how long ceramic coatings can really last, you have to understand the durability/hardness/toughness/muscle behind ceramic coatings. How are ceramic coatings tested and how can you trust a product? This is another common question and something you will come across a lot. There are a lot of companies out there that will falsify their hardness levels, because well, they can get away with it.

Many professional ceramic coating brands will claim to have the hardest or toughest layer of protection, which of course sounds like something you would want, right? Several different manufacturers will claim that their coatings are a level “9” or commonly referred to as a “9H” coating. What is a “9H” rating you ask? Let’s take it back to our school days when we all had to sharpen pencils…if you were around for that. Yep, you guessed it, the hardness scale used for ceramic coating is the same scale that is used for pencils. Once a ceramic coating is cured to your car’s surface (remember making ceramics in art class and your teacher had to keep it overnight for it to cure?) then you can determine its level of toughness and durability, aka its hardness level. This is determined by the pencil test. We are going to keep this short and sweet so that you aren’t fooled by some of the claims out there:

  • The highest possible hardness level of a ceramic coating is 9 or 9H – Why? Because that is the highest level of hardness on the pencil scale
  • Hardness is tested by applying (pressing down) a pencil (starting with the softest “H”) at a 45 Degree angle to a surface.
  • If a pencil is tested and does not leave a mark, then you keep repeating the process until a mark is left. When the mark is left behind, then you have your rating!

What Is The Strongest Ceramic Spray?

When looking for a ceramic coating, you are going to come across many products that claim to be the “strongest” formula, but what does that mean? A 9H ceramic coating is applied by professionals, but with a little help from us, we can show you some of the strongest do-it-yourself ceramic sprays out there. We’ve talked about the hardness level of ceramic coatings as well as SiO2 formulas, so now that you know that these are two VERY important factors to consider, how do you know which product to buy? This is where you can literally drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what is the strongest product or the best value… which is why we’ve done the hard work for you. Now, since we have talked a lot about ceramic sprays and DIY ceramic coatings, we will show you one from each category based on our industry knowledge as well as the hundreds of reviews out there!

  • Nexgen Ceramic Spray – If you are looking to use a ceramic spray, you are without a doubt going to want to pick up Nexgen’s ceramic spray. They are not only the longest lasting ceramic spray on the market, but have the highest level of SiO2 out there. With a 13% SiO2 content, this is the strongest ceramic spray on the market. This product is extremely user friendly and since they have the strongest formula of any ceramic spray, you are definitely going to get the layer of protection that you want and need for your vehicle. You can not go wrong with this spray and you will not be disappointed!
  • Avalon King Armor Shield IX DIY Kit – Said to last for 3-5 years, their DIY kit is easy to use and budget friendly. Avalon King will come across your search bar any time you type ceramic coating. They claim to be the highest consumer grade ceramic coating kit on the market and with over 1200 positive reviews, they are a pretty credible company.

How Long Does Ceramic Coating Last?

The longevity of a ceramic coating is really circumstantial and based on many factors. Your car comes across so many different elements in any given day. Rain, salt, mud, UV rays, pollen and things that are in the air that you may not be aware of, but the list goes on and on. For example, a ceramic coating will last a long time in Southern California, where there is virtually no humidity, no bugs, no salt in the air, and it very rarely rains. Compare that with South Florida, where there is lots of humidity, lots of bugs, lots of salt in the air, and lots of rain. In those conditions, the same ceramic coating may last only a fraction of the amount of time.

Florida coast vs southern California

If you are taking your car to a professional to have a ceramic coating applied, on average you can expect it to last anywhere from 1-5 years, sometimes even 7, but it is very dependent on the package that you choose and how much money you are willing to spend. Best case scenario it will last you 7 years and you will need to take your car in for maintenance every year.

There are “professional” DIY kits out there that say they can last you up to 2-3 years, but that is also assuming that you take the time to really do a good job with the application process and prep your car before applying. A lot of the result that you will see from your ceramic coating will depend on how good your prep work is and the time you take to do the job the right way. Don’t be fooled when you see or hear people say that it is a “semi-permanent bond” it is all very dependent on what you put your car through and how you care for your vehicle on a day by day basis. You can not just apply a ceramic coating and then neglect any aftercare or maintenance.

One issue that we see with taking it to a professional, is that if/when you start to notice that some areas of your ceramic coat are fading, you can’t really just touch it up, you are basically dependent on them to do it, causing you more time out of your day and more money out of your pocket. This is where we see a huge benefit in ceramic sprays and DIY products. There are so many options out there and although they may not last as long, we have already seen the cost benefit! Having the ability to make necessary touch ups is also a huge plus, ceramic sprays also take the guesswork out of the equation. We will go over this a little more when we talk about different applications of different products.

Below is a short list of three ceramic sprays and their longevity just to give you an idea:

  • Nexgen Ceramic Spray was given a 10/10 on the longevity scale of ceramic sprays – It can last anywhere from 6-12 months (obviously depending on the factors we mentioned above) and is an easy, 3 step process. You can also reapply as needed and apply touch ups to protect your vehicle and make the coating last longer
  • Torque Detail is just above average and will last you about 4 weeks before you get the urge to start touching up some areas. If we were to give them a letter grade, they would stand at a solid “B”
  • Mother’s will last you about 3 weeks under “normal conditions” before you start to see the need for re-application. Given that their formula is not as strong as their competitors, this isn’t considered bad for a ceramic spray, but it’s not the best.

You can see that ceramic coating varies in longevity in many ways. Obviously it will last the longest if applied by a professional, but be aware that it’s going to cost a pretty penny.

Can I Apply Ceramic Coating Myself?

You will see that a lot of websites out there that tell you it is difficult to apply a ceramic coating yourself. Well, we are here to tell you that as long as you follow the correct steps and take your time, you CAN apply a ceramic coating to your car simply and safely! Obviously professional detailers are going to steer you towards having it done professionally since it is a more costly process and makes you dependent on them to use their products. But if you do your own research and choose a high quality do-it-yourself ceramic spray, you can apply a perfect ceramic coating in no time. The trick is to know what you need.

The main thing to take into account when you are thinking about applying a ceramic coating yourself, is that you must be willing to do the prep work. If you do not take the time to prep your vehicle’s surface prior to application, you will not get the best possible result. One of the best was to prep your vehicle is to perform a clay bar detail on your exterior surfaces to remove any excess contaminants and give your ceramic spray the perfect surface to bond with. Here’s a good video on how to do a clay bar detail, even if you’ve never done it before:

We recommend sticking with one line of products since generally products are made to be used together, hence why DIY kits are so popular. If the brand you select does not offer full kits, car wash products, clay bars etc. then choose high quality products and don’t skimp on something cheap. Since we have proven to you that ceramic sprays and DIY kits are a totally viable option, we are going to walk you through the steps you will need to take in order to apply a ceramic spray to your car. While there are many products out there, if you are going to be applying a ceramic coating yourself, it is easiest to go with a DIY Kit to make sure your hard work will yield the best results. We will walk you through applying a ceramic DIY kit yourself as well as how to use some of our favorite ceramic sprays.

How Do I Apply a Ceramic Coating?

Now we are getting into the fun stuff! Who doesn’t like that feeling of putting in some work, using that elbow grease and then stepping back to see the final result? You may be thinking that this sounds like it’s going to be way too difficult, too many steps and that you might be afraid of royally screwing it up. We are going to show you that by taking the right steps and by purchasing the right product, anyone can apply their own ceramic coating to their car. Let’s go through two different types of products to show you how some DIY kits work as well as one of our favorite ceramic sprays. Adam’s Polishes is a company that we have both used and reviewed for you! Their Ceramic Coating Kits are said to last 6-8 months and since you’d have the product, you can touch up with their Boost Spray if necessary. For $119 they have a UV Ceramic Spray Coating Kit which includes:

  • 12oz Surface Prep Spray
  • 12oz UV Ceramic Spray Coating
  • 12oz Ceramic Boost Spray
  • 3 Microfiber Towels

We would also recommend purchasing a microfiber applicator to use for the application of your ceramic coating.

Since you may have already looked into ceramic coating applications before reading this, you may be thinking one of two things. 1.) This seems like way too long of a process and too many items or 2.) This seems too easy for it to really work. We are going to debunk both of those myths for you.

As a general rule of thumb, regardless of what products you are using, you will want to start off with the same steps to get the best results.

  • Step 1Wash Your Car Prep your vehicle first by washing your car: For best results, we recommend using the same line of products. To put it simply, a line of products are generally designed to be used together and will in turn yield in the best result. You want to start with the cleanest surface possible, try to get rid of as much dirt, tree sap, pollen, grim, dust etc. Remember to use the two step solution when washing your car.
  • Step 2Clay Bar Treatment What is it and why should I use it? Many people/companies/professionals etc. will recommend using a clay bar treatment after washing and drying your car. In order for the ceramic coating to really bond to your car’s surface, you need to make sure that any imperfections and contaminants in your existing clear coat are cleaned up. This will help make your ceramic coating last longer and look flawless! This step can also help remove any additional contaminants and is recommended for use before any type of polish or wax treatment. Remember, ceramic coating is not going to fix your paint, it is however going to help protect your paint, so it is a good idea to do whatever possible to get your car looking its best before applying a ceramic coating.
  • Step 3Surface Prep Spray Since we chose to use Adam’s DIY Kit as an example to walk you through this product, for step three you would then use the 12oz Surface Prep Spray. This step stays true no matter what products you use and this is very important! The surface prep spray is an Isopropyl Alcohol solution that will remove any trace of polish residue, cleaning residue etc, think of it like a primer. You prime before you paint to get the best result, right? Same concept here!
  • Step 4Apply The Ceramic Coating It is very important to have your car well protected during this process. If you washed your car outside, make sure that your car has had time to cool down. Ceramic coating is to be applied in a cool, dry and shaded area. Using the microfiber applicator or folded microfiber towel, you can choose to spray the ceramic coating directly onto your vehicle or add it to the applicator first if you would prefer to work in smaller, more controlled sections. Different types of ceramic coatings will give different directions on how exactly to apply. Some will say to use small circular motions, some will say to use more of a criss-cross or cross-hatch fashion, so it is important to follow the directions from the product you are using to obtain the best result. Always keep multiple micro fiber clothes nearby as you will want to make sure to continue using a clean cloth to avoid over saturating the area. Working in small sections is important for a few reasons and you will want to work panel by panel. This is because after applying the ceramic coating and working it into the area, you will then wait a minute or two (per the bottle instructions) and then buff the area to see if any more work is needed. As you are applying the ceramic coating, the coating will begin to cure and you will see a rainbow effect take place. This is when you will need to start step 5 in conjunction with step 4.
  • Step 5Buffing The last step of the application process is buffing. The reason for buffing is that you want to remove any additional oils that are resting or that have settled on the surface of your car. The more meticulous you are in this step, the better your results will be. Now, since ceramic coating sets rather quickly (and even faster depending on temperature) you will want to take the time to buff while applying as discussed in step 4. You will sometimes see a rainbow effect, as described by Adam’s Polish and they recommend that you buff to a high shine within a minute or two of application. This is why it is so important to work in small sections and not get trigger happy. A lot of people will say to go panel by panel, but by splitting each panel in half, you will enable yourself to not feel rushed and really get a great result. If you choose to spray the ceramic coating onto the towel first, rather than the surface of your vehicle, you are going to after work a little faster as this means the ceramic coating will begin to cure in the air.
  • Step 6Curing What is curing? By definition curing is “a chemical process employed in polymer chemistry and process engineering that produces the toughening or hardening of a polymer material by cross-linking of polymer chains”. In simple terms, this is the step where the ceramic coating hardens and binds to your vehicle. While you will notice that this starts to happen immediately, it is generally recommended to let your car sit for one to two days after application to make sure the coating has completely cured to the surface.
  • Step 7Continued Care And Maintenance Depending on the kit or products that you purchase, you will have the option to perform touch ups as needed over time. This is where products like the “Ceramic Boost” from Adam’s steps in. Your car does not get dirty evenly, parts of your car will dull and fade faster than others and you will want to touch up as needed. Again, it is best to use the same line of products as they are meant to be used together. Using a product like this can add around 3 to 6 months of added protection to your ceramic coating. This is a simple spray and wipe process and is to be used as needed. Ceramic coating will not eliminate the need to wash your car, but it will reduce the time between washes. If you really want to make our ceramic coating last as long as possible, we recommend washing your car every two to three weeks to keep it looking its best.

**Adam’s UV Ceramic Spray Coating Kit says it will last 2-3 years**

Are All Ceramic Coatings Applied This Way?

Not all ceramic coatings are applied the same way although they generally follow the same steps. It is very dependent on the products that you choose to use and your vehicle’s specific needs. If you are using a UV protection ceramic coating, you may have an extra step. Remember, not all ceramic sprays/coatings are the same, so you want to make sure to think about what you really need and the elements that you most want to protect your car against. You will also want to look into a products application process before determining if that product is right for you. Since we recently reviewed Adam’s Polishes we chose to show you them as an example as they are a solid, well known and average product to use.. As you probably know from reading this, Nexgen Ceramic Spray is our top rated product and is very user friendly, so we are going to walk you through how to use a ceramic spray such as Nexgen.

Nexgen Ceramic Spray is extremely easy to use and is the fastest application out there on the market today. Like other sprays, it is best to apply Nexgen in a cool, covered area. Since Nexgen is a professional grade seal and has one of the highest SiO2 formulas, a little goes a long way! Nexgen spray uses a quick, three step process that is shown and outlined on their website. With Nexgen, there is no need to have to purchase an additional boost, saving you both time and money as opposed to other products out there. Nexgens ease of use and all of their glowing reviews prove that they are a top choice by professionals and DIYers alike! Their price is hard to beat and their customer service is top of the line.

Here are a couple great videos from a professional detailer showing the application process, and results 1 month later after using Nexgen Ceramic Spray:

Check out these two videos to see how easy the application is, and understand the longevity and strength of this product after a single application!

How Long Will It Take Me to Apply Ceramic Coating?

This is another area where there is a HUGE difference between doing it yourself or taking it to a professional. You’re probably sitting there thinking to yourself “ok so how long is this going to take me to do?” This is very dependent on the size of your vehicle, the products that you choose as well as your level of perfectionism. Let’s walk through how long it will take to have a ceramic coating applied by a professional vs. applying a professional grade ceramic coating by yourself.

If you are taking your car to a professional to have a ceramic coating applied, on average, you are looking at not having your car for 2 to 3 days. This is all very dependent on what type of ceramic coating package you use. Professional detailers generally have a few different packages that you can choose from which will determine the length of time needed depending which package you are going to choose. These packages generally add different layers of ceramic coating onto your car that claim to make the coating last longer.

When applying a do-it-yourself ceramic spray, you can coat your entire vehicle in 10 minutes or less, depending on size. When you add in the prep work of washing and then clay bar detailing, it can take a couple of hours. This is still much less than the several days it will take a professional detailer. Do yourself a favor and do not rush this process, take the time to do it right and you will not be disappointed with your results. Worst case scenario, if you take one day every couple months, the payoff is still well worth it.

What Surfaces Of My Car Can Ceramic Coating Be Applied On?

Ceramic coatings and ceramic sprays are able to be applied to all exterior surfaces of your vehicle. They are safe for all painted surfaces, headlights, trim, fiberglass, vinyl wraps, wheels, glass, chrome and even the liner of truck beds. Let’s break down each of these surfaces so you can see the benefit of using a ceramic spray or coating on every surface of your car, truck, motorcycle, boat, or RV.

  • Glass– Since ceramic coatings are hydrophobic, they are optimal for use on your windshield as they will make it so water literally bounces right off. Rain drops will bead and roll off of not only your car’s surface, but your windshield as well. Adding a ceramic coating to your windshield will also help protect it from bird droppings, bug guts, tree droppings, and can even help build an extra layer of protection against rock chips. Since this is a clear layer, it will not affect any visibility. You will still be able to clean up your windshield as normal and can also use boost sprays as needed. This will also make cleaning your windshield easier and will help to minimize the amount of time between cleanings.
  • Headlights – Ceramic coatings will help protect your headlights in a few ways. Nothing is worse than driving on the highway and ending up with a million dead bugs stuck to your headlights. No one likes scraping dead bugs off of any surface, let alone having to crouch down and scrape them off of your freshly washed car. It’s also extremely frustrating to see water spots on your headlights after rain or a quick wash. Ceramic coatings will work on headlights just like they will on the windshield and even your plastic trim. They will even help prevent oxidation and corrosion.
  • Trim– Plastic trim, like headlights are magnets for water spots and dead bugs. This is very true for cars that are dark in color as water spots and really any substance is extremely noticeable. Just like how ceramic coatings protect other surfaces of your car, it will do the same for the trim and can be applied the same way.
    When you are applying ceramic coating to the trim of your vehicle, you will notice that it will give off a little sheen, almost making it look brand new. This is just another added bonus!
  • Wheels– Ceramic coating will mostly help protect your wheels from dirt/mud and debris. Brake dust is the number one offender when it comes to keeping your wheels clean and it is not easy to remove. Wheels are also tough to clean due to all the small grooves and tight areas. Since ceramic coating will help stop brake dust from bonding to the surface of your wheels, they will inherently be easier to clean.
  • Chrome– Can I apply a ceramic coating to chrome is a question that comes up a lot in regards to motorcycles and exhausts, intakes, manifolds etc. The answer is yes and we will even extend that by saying that ceramic coatings and sprays can be applied to aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron and carbon steel as well. The reason to use ceramic coatings on these surfaces is to protect these areas from high heat corrosion and deterioration.
  • Truck Bed Liners – Ceramic coatings are NOT scratch proof! This is a very common myth and one that we want to reiterate to you. Although ceramic coatings can help protect against small scratches they will not make your truck bed invinceable. Your liner will be protected and have the same result as your trim. There are products out there that claim to protect the bed of your truck, however the inevitable will happen and it will get scratched up. However, adding a ceramic coating will definitely help protect your liner just like it will all other areas of your truck.
  • Vinyl Wrapped Cars & PPF– You CAN apply ceramic coating to vinyl wrapped cars and over PPF, although it is not really recommended to put it over PPF. Vinyl wrap is a film that is applied over the panels of your vehicle. Some people choose to add a vinyl wrap to their vehicle for an extra layer of protection to help prevent rock chips from happening. Applying a ceramic coating over a vinyl wrap is possible, however it will not be as good as it would be when it is applied solely to the surface of your vehicle. Remember, since ceramic coating is a clear coat, it will not alter the color or overall look of your vinyl wrap.

To put it simply, ceramic coating is not going to hurt any part of your car, truck or motorcycle, it can really only help. As long as you take the time to select the right product for your vehicle’s needs, you’re in good hands! This brings us to our next point, how do you choose which ceramic coating to use?

What Is The Best Value Ceramic Coating?

Lucky for you, we have reviews for many different ceramic sprays to help you take the guesswork out of the selection process. Since we believe that ceramic sprays are the easiest to use, we think it is important to highlight some of the best products on the market. It is important to take these four topics into consideration when choosing a ceramic spray; longevity, strength, value and customer service. Nexgen Ceramic Spray has really caught our attention and is a product that we believe everyone should have on hand. To learn even more about different companies that carry ceramic sprays, be sure to check out our full ceramic coating rankings where we compare these important factors between all major ceramic brands. Below are a few notes and highlights from some of our favorite products and the three brands that rank highest in terms of longevity, strength, customer service, and value.

Nexgen Ceramic Spray

  • Contains 13% SiO2 – which as you know from reading this is the number one ingredient to look for when choosing a ceramic spray. This is higher than any other product of its kind on the market
  • Will leave your car with the beautiful “wet look” that anyone strives for when applying a ceramic spray
  • Lasts 4 times longer than any other spray on the market
  • Is safe and easy to use on all parts of your vehicle
  • GREAT value – each bottle (priced at $19.99) will last you anywhere from 4-6 coats depending on the size of your car.
  • Overall rank – 38/40

Car Pro Reload

  • Best selling ceramic spray on Amazon
  • High level of longevity (not as long as Nexgen, but is easy to get with Amazon shipping)
  • Decent strength formula, ranking at an 8/10 – higher than most ceramic sprays
  • Has been on the market for a while, making them a trusted brand
  • Overall rank – 33/40

Adam’s Ceramic Spray Wax

  • Very easy to use and there is access to many application videos on their website making them extremely user friendly
  • Products are reasonably priced
  • DIY kits make applying ceramic coating and sprays foolproof
  • Overall rank – 32/40

When Should I Use Ceramic Coating?

It is never too soon to start using a ceramic coating of any type on your car, truck, motorcycle, ATV, Razor, 4-wheeler, or any other vehicle you can think of! To be quite honest, the earlier you start using a ceramic coating, the better. Some people apply a ceramic coating the day they purchase a new car, which is the best way to do it By starting to care for your vehicle from the beginning, you will prolong the longevity of your car’s exterior and end up saving yourself some time since ceramic coatings cut down the length of time between car washes. If you drive your car a lot, live in an area with lots of smog, sun, rain or any harsh conditions, then we recommend applying a ceramic coating ASAP. Think of it like this: what’s the point of walking around outside when it’s raining with a closed umbrella in your hand? Do you walk around for 5 minutes in the rain and then open your umbrella, or do you open it right when you step outside? If you protect yourself from the rain immediately, why wouldn’t you do the same for your car?

People often ask, “what time of year should I use ceramic coating?” Well, you don’t want to apply ceramic coating in direct sunlight or when it is too hot, you want to get this done when weather conditions are mild. Since ceramic coating is an extra layer of protection, take that knowledge and use it LITERALLY! You protect your skin from the sun in the summer, right? You protect yourself from rain in the spring and snow in the winter, right? So do the same for your car! Do yourself and your car a favor by being proactive instead of reactive.

In terms of when to actually apply a ceramic coating or spray, many experts will recommend starting the process in the morning, after your car has had time to cool from any driving or use the day before and then when you are finished, let it sit overnight and apply any touch ups the next morning. It is also a best practice to let your car sit for a few days if possible before jumping back on the road, if you don’t have a few days, then it’s not the biggest deal, but it will extend the life of your new ceramic coating.

Which Is Better: Ceramic Coating Or Car Wax?

At best, a high quality wax will last you max, 2 months. The length of time right there is enough to show you that ceramic coating is better than wax. Wax basically just sits on the surface of your car, it does not bond to the paint like ceramic coatings do. Wax also needs to be applied much more frequently than ceramic coating. It is best to reapply wax every 4-6 weeks, that means you would be waxing your car up to 12 times a year instead of about the max amount of 4 times a year with our favorite ceramic spray, Nexgen. Wax is most often used if you are wanting to show off your car short term, like a photoshoot, car show etc. whereas a ceramic coating is in it for the long haul and is meant to help protect your vehicle from everyday wear and tear. The process of applying wax can end up taking you longer than applying a ceramic coat to your car. Not only do you need to wash your vehicle, dry it and prep it, but after applying the wax you are going to need to buff and I mean BUFF it. You are going to put way more muscle into this than applying a ceramic coating. The strength, longevity and value of a DIY ceramic coating really knocks wax out of the ballpark.

Can You Use Both Wax and Ceramic Coating Together?

You can, but why would you really want to? If you are going to do this, although there is really no reason to, it is best to apply the ceramic coating, give it a day or two to cure and then add the wax on top of it. The issue behind doing this, is that the hydrophobic layer is then affected and the wax will also have a hard time sticking to the clear layer that you just applied to your vehicle. There is really no need to apply wax on top of your ceramic coat. If you put wax under a ceramic coating, then you are basically wasting your time and you will greatly affect the outcome. If you take the time to use the clay bar before application, then you are already doing yourself a HUGE favor. Wax and ceramic coating are two different products, used for two different reasons, so it’s best to just keep them apart. Why ruin a good thing?

What Doesn’t Ceramic Coating Protect Against?

Let’s get one thing straight, ceramic coating is not going to make your care invinceable. Before you add ceramic coating, dirt pollen and other pollutants will gather themselves into all of the tiny pores of your vehicle’s surface, thus resulting in the need to wash your car. Ceramic coating will prevent that from happening and will cut down the time needed between washes. It will protect your car from UV-Rays, small scratches, chemical pollutants and will add a high layer of gloss to your vehicle. Ceramic coating is not going to protect against rock chips, swirl marks left behind by automatic car washes or serious scratches. Since a ceramic coating provides that extra layer of protection, it may help prevent more serious scratches from happening, but will not stop them from happening all together.

  • Rock Chips: Rocks don’t hit your car slow and sof. Generally when a rock is coming at your car, it is flying off the tire of a vehicle in front of you, which means it is traveling with speed and force. If rock chips are your main concern, then there are some additional products that you can look into as well.
  • Scratches: The answer here is yes and no. Your vehicle stands a better chance of defending itself against scratches with ceramic coating than it does without it. Ceramic coating can help protect against minor scratches, but it is not going to save you from someone keying your car.
  • Water Spots: This is a common misconception with ceramic coatings. Ceramic coatings help water to roll off of the surface of your vehicle, however, there are areas of your car that are harder for water drops to roll off of, because things like gravity exist. You might be thinking, so then what’s the point? Ceramic coating will help protect your vehicle from the chemicals and dirt that are sitting in those water spots. If you notice any water spots on your car, it is important to wash it as soon as you can.
  • Swirl Marks: Like scratches, the answer is yes and no. Light swirl marks can be prevented with ceramic coating, but harsh ones. Do yourself a favor and avoid automatic car washes for this exact reason!

Do I Still Need To Wash My Car?

Maintenance is a very important factor when trying to make your ceramic coating last as long as possible. Having a ceramic coating on your vehicle will definitely cut down the time needed to maintain your vehicle and will cut down the number of washes needed. If you notice any droppings on your car, whether it be from rain, a tree, a bird or who knows what else, it is best to take care of it sooner rather than later and it will be much easier to clean up than before you applied ceramic spray. It will take you far less time to clean your car after a ceramic coating is applied as opposed to before and you will truly be amazed how your car’s paint will be protected by this additional clear coat. To maintain your vehicle’s ceramic coating, it is best to wash your car out of the sun and heat and avoid use of any abrasive materials, just like when you originally applied it. Be sure to use quality wash products to extend the life of your ceramic coating and if you are using a spray, you can touch up as needed. Microfiber cloths will also help to collect any dust that may settle on the surface. If you are out of town and are in need of a wash, we recommend going to a full service, hand wash, car wash as opposed to an automatic car wash. Automatic washes can cause swirls marks and scratches and trust us, that is the last thing you want to worry about. Whether you have your ceramic coating by a professional, or choose to do it yourself, it is best to not wash your car for at least 7 days.

It is recommended that two weeks after applying your ceramic coating, that you give it a wash. After that, to help avoid any contaminates piling up on your car, it is recommended to wash your car every two weeks. As we have said a few times, do everything you can to avoid washing your car in the sunlight and out of any extreme temperatures. The two bucket method of washing your vehicle is also important. If you are not familiar with this, the two bucket method is this – Use one bucket for soaking your microfiber cloth, wash mitt or whatever your preferred washing tool is, then use the second bucket to clean your applicator after using it on a particular section or panel of your car. There are plenty of videos out there to help you with this if you have any questions! We recommend using a high quality wash product for your vehicle and you really do not need to use any products that have additional components to them. Just a good quality car wash soap will do the trick. Since your wheels are arguably the dirtiest part of your car, not only from the roads, but also from brake dust, be sure to wash them separate from your car, otherwise you are just wasting your precious time. Although it will definitely take a while for you to notice any changes in your ceramic coating, continuous exposure to harsh elements such as UV Rays, tree sap etc. will begin to take a toll on your vehicle. One of the first things you will notice is that glossy, wet look shine will eventually start to fade, the more you neglect your car and put off washing it, the faster this will happen. Another common result of improper maintenance will be the loss of the hydrophobic capabilities, aka water, dirt and other elements will no longer fall off your vehicle on their own. Remember how we talked about how the surface of your car is similar to pores on your face? Ceramic coating closes those pores, but as your vehicle gets sabotaged by harmful UV rays as well as dirt, tree sap, water etc. the layer starts to diminish and those pores will start to clog again, directly affecting the hydrophobic properties. In short, do yourself a favor and maintain your car to protect your investment!

Can Ceramic Coating Be Removed?

All good things must come to and end, right? Well, as with most things, if you do your research ahead of time, it will be a lot easier, more effective and you will avoid any damage to your vehicle if you take the time to remove your ceramic coating the right way. The question remains, why do you want to remove your ceramic coating? Generally, people remove their ceramic coating so that they can apply a new one, this is likely going to be about 3 years after the initial application if you followed our maintenance steps. Anytime you are removing something, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at the product you applied and see if there are specific instructions on how to remove it. This can also be applied to any type of coating that you put on your vehicle. If there aren’t instructions given by the manufacturer, have no fear, we are going to break it down for you.

Remember the clay bar that you used before applying your ceramic coating? Guess what, you can also use a clay bar to remove it. Since your ceramic coating has had an ample amount of time to wear off, it has had time to thin and you won’t have to put a whole lot of muscle behind it. Have you noticed that almost every step has started with washing your car? Well guess what? Same goes for removing your ceramic coating. If you start the removal process by washing your car with a wax-stripping wash, then the coating will come off even easier. After washing, then it’s time to use the clay bar treatment that we just discussed. You will be doing exactly what you did to apply the ceramic coating, so it’s basically muscle memory at this point right? After using the clay bar, simply rinse your vehicle (give it a good thorough rinse) and then use your microfiber towels to completely dry your vehicle. Your car is now basically prepped to add a new ceramic coating!

Where Can I Buy Ceramic Coating?

This is an easy one! Nowadays, most people turn to the internet for purchases and the same goes for ceramic coating products. On our list of ceramic sprays that we reviewed for you, there are links to the products websites that will assist you in ordering a ceramic spray. Just click here to see our latest rankings for the best ceramic sprays of 2020. Same goes for DIY kits! You can also buy many ceramic coatings and sprays on Amazon, just be weary of who you are ordering from. Some ceramic spray are even exclusively sold on Amazon which helps provide easy, fast shipping. You can also find ceramic sprays and coating at your local hardware and automotive stores, hell you can even find them at Wal-Mart. Just remember, if you are getting a price that seems too good to be true, be wary of that product. Luckily, you have our reviews to help you out!

Is Ceramic Coating Worth It?

You bet it is! Ceramic coating will help provide the best line of defence against daily wear and tear on your vehicle’s surface. It is definitely worth the price and is going to help protect your investment, why spend tens of thousands of dollars on something and then not take care of it? Ceramic coating is going to protect your car better than waxes and other sealants. For the low cost of $19.99 for Nexgen Ceramic Spray, it’s pretty hard to make an argument against using a ceramic spray. You can’t do any harm by adding a ceramic coating and it is not hard to do, especially with so many step by step guides and YouTube videos out there. Ceramic coating is 100% worth it and will help keep your car looking its best! Why spend money every few weeks to have your car washed or waste your own time washing your car when a ceramic spray can cut down on the time it takes and the amount of washes your car needs? Whether you chose to use one of our favorite ceramic sprays or decided to go for a full on DIY kit, you are only helping your investment and prolonging the life of your vehicle’s exterior. Don’t forget to check out our reviews of many different ceramic sprays before purchasing one!