So, you’ve just had your car professional detailed by a Detailer and decided to go with that superior high-gloss finish with a ceramic coating application. First of all, congratulations on making the right decision, but frankly speaking, a ceramic-coating is not a ‘set and forget’ procedure. Having a ceramic coating applied to your car’s paintwork does not mean it is immune to becoming dirty, it definitely still can and will get contaminated. Although, you run a lower risk of it permanently damaging the paint of your car, given that you follow the right post-care and maintenance procedures. Whether you had a ceramic coating or a graphene coating as your paint protection, the post care advice is still the same.
Importance of post-care maintenance
First and foremost, taking precautionary care of your vehicle is the best way to keep your car looking new whilst maintaining that level of protection at a optimal rate for a longer period. The reason for an accelerated wear and tear or degradation of the ceramic coating, mainly comes down to neglection. Meaning, consistent washing and cleaning is crucial to achieving the best out of your paint protection, do not neglect your car’s maintenance!
Post care advice on car paint protection maintenance
a) Do not polish the car. Using any abrasive compounds such as polishing and compound agents will thin out the coating and degrade it at a faster rate. Polish is almost like a liquid form of sandpaper, it is built to correct your paintwork, fix scratches and so on by smoothing out the surface. If you do have a scratch on the car, you may need to have it buffed and then have the panel re-coated. Although a machine polish is an effective way to correct minor blemishes on the surface, it does come at a cost.
b) Try avoid parking under trees as to reduce the likelihood of bird droppings, tree sap and so on from landing on your car. Always gently clean the car afterwards to remove the resin from the paintwork. Leaving these contaminants for extended periods (especially under the sun during warm temperatures) can cause the contamination to penetrate through and cause permanent damage. Bird droppings, although seem harmless, contain highly acidic content, which can cause some serious permanent damage if left unattended for prolonged periods.
c) Wash your car regularly at least once every fortnight, but of course, if you drive very frequently across long distances then you should wash the car more often. This is probably the most important step of them all.
d) Use pH neutral car wash shampoo and always dry your car immediately after washing as to avoid water staining with a microfibre towel. Water itself contains minerals and once evaporated over time, these deposits are left on the paintwork. Don’t allow them to sit for long periods and have them dried off. One way to avoid this from happening, is by washing the car in shade not under direct sunlight or choosing the cooler periods of the day to wash the car.
e) Remove any contaminants from your coated paint immediately. In any case your Ceramic coated car has contaminants such as bird droppings, bug guts, and tree-sap, they should be removed immediately as these contaminants are highly acidic and would degrade your ceramic coating. If left untreated for a long period of time, it would damage and etched through the ceramic coating and would eventually sticks to the paintwork. This also includes rain, which also contains dust and dirt particles, which will appear on your paintwork once they dry and evaporate. To reduce the likelihood of water spots look to treat your car to a wash as soon as you can.
f) Avoid automatic car wash drive-through and be mindful of using gentle handwashing techniques. Automatic car washes have been notorious for causing scratches on cars, so best to avoid. You often get what you pay for and driving into one these can’t guarantee that the brushes used have not been contaminated from the previous car before you.
g) Use appropriate washing techniques when washing the car eg. gently washing the car, regularly rinsing, avoid cross contamination by using multiple clean towels, and so on. Be well equipped, including but not limited to: microfibre towels, microfibre wash mitt, do not use a chamois, using a pressure washer and so on.
We would recommend using a professional detailer to maintain your car regularly for a wash to stretch the longevity of your paint protection. You could wash your car regularly, but have the detailer come in every couple of months to wash and inspect. This allows for a professional and more importantly, safe wash. Taking care of cars is what professional detailers love and do best. They are well equiped with both the materials, equipment and knowledge to bring out the best of your ceramic coating without any compromises.
You will often find that many reputable ceramic coating applicators will offer a ceramic coating maintenance program that entails an inspection, wash and treatment process that takes place 2 to 4 times a year. This allows for Detailers to address any concerning issues on an ongoing basis and reduce the likelihood of permanent damage due to negligence/accumulative contamination.
One of the biggest culprits for minor paint blemishes is due to poor washing technique and lack of education within the car care industry. Which is why we always recommend a professional to maintain your car on a regular basis. Should you decide to do this on your own, we cannot urge enough the importance of educating yourself amongst proper car washing methods. For example, many would not know the negative side-effects of not washing the car after it has been raining. Some would consider this as a ‘natural car wash’, but it in fact, promotes more harm than anticipated due to the fact that rain consists of hard minerals and dust particles. Once rain dries onto the paintwork, these calcium deposits can etch into your paintwork causing water spot staining, the longer you leave this unattended the more problematic this becomes to the point that it requires aggressive treatment.
If you have experienced a car accident/collision
Accidents do happen unexpectedly and should you find yourself in a position where your car has been involved in a collision with an oncoming car or wall, whichever it may be, reapplying is necessary. Just note that you should consider reapplying the entire panel as soon as possible as you would like to maintain the panel in a near new state prior to any reapplication of ceramic coating.
Scratches, stone chips, scuff marks?
It is true that installing a ceramic coating on to your car’s paint can offer excellent defensive properties against abrasion and external contaminants, however, it is not bulletproof as many claim it to be.
Ceramic coatings do harden into a solid/sturdy state once fully cured. Although, in the instance that you have been involved in a collision or have driven on the road and have had rocks flick up onto the paint causing stone chips, these blemishes can still occur, but at a lower likelihood of further paint damage in comparison to a non-coated surface. Think of your ceramic coating as a strong sacrificial layer used to protect your paint. We all know the cost of replacement and repair of damaged paint can be very expensive, which makes a ceramic paint protection an excellent and popular option. For those looking for a more durable option, there is also the Graphene Coating, which offers excellent benefits on top of the Ceramic Coating, more about it can be read here
Car Care Advice For The Everyday Driver & Enthusiast
As a seasoned author on our team, Chester also known as ‘Gadget’, for his love for all things mechanical, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, particularly when it comes to automotive topics.