Before we get too far down this rabbit hole let me start by saying this. I love ceramic coatings, and I wholeheartedly believe they are a fantastic product that can offer a lot of amazing benefits. With that being said not everyone will get all the benefits out of them and therefore, not everyone should commit to one.
So lets go ahead and dive right in, here are the reasons you should not get a ceramic coating.
Reason number one, you’re not committed to maintenance.
Like any cool new product when ceramic coatings first came out they were sold like snake oil to unsuspecting buyers leading to a lot of misconception about them, the most common one we hear “So with a coating I’ll never have to wash my car again right?” Absolutely not, you see ceramics do have what is referred to as a “self cleaning” property but this doesn’t mean that the coating will just magically clean itself. Let me explain; you see, the “self cleaning” property you might hear is more in reference to dirt, mud, and many other things you are likely to encounter on the road will have a much more difficult time sticking to the surface of your vehicle giving it a cleaner appearance for much longer. Since your vehicle will maintain a cleaner appearance for longer this property was labeled as self cleaning when in reality we like to think of it more as filth repellant.
Reason number two, you don’t wash your vehicle properly.
So you got through the first reason and thought something like “okay so i just need to wash my car from time to time, easy enough.” only for us to turn around and tell you that unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. Not all washing methods are created equal and some are definitely better than others. The tunnel washes that seem to pop up on every street corner and with every new gas station are probably the worst places you can go to to wash your car, they are actually so bad that we recommend keeping your car dirty over going there. The reason we say this is simple, the brushes and bristles used at these car washes will trap dirt that then gets dragged across your paint acting like a very fine sandpaper degrading your vehicle’s paint and leaving it without protection from the elements. Now that we’ve addressed automatic car washes the other way we recommend avoiding would be high volume hand car washes. Now while on the surface a hand car wash may seem a whole lot better these high volume ones tend to use dirty rags over and over again over your vehicle leading to a similar, albeit slightly less dramatic effect as their automatic counterparts.
So how do you go about properly washing? At the end of the day there are really only 2 methods of washing we recommend; Either hire a professional detailer, or do it yourself. In our opinion doing it yourself really is the best option as a vehicle that has had a ceramic coating applied is super easy to clean and can be done in 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the car and since you are only paying for a few materials it can also be done relatively cheaply ultimately saving you both time and money in the long run for just a little bit of extra effort from you. If washing your own car really isn’t your thing the next best option would be to hire a professional detailing company to wash your vehicle for you. While definitely not the cheapest option if you want to ensure the longevity of your coating there really isn’t a better option for having the ease and convenience of someone else doing it for you. Ultimately any professional detailing service will know how to properly care for your car best.
Reason number three, you’re looking for a cheap service.
Here is the reality of the detailing industry, the low cost to entry means there are a lot of fly-by-night detailers out there. With a low cost to entry and ceramic coating becoming somewhat of a buzzword in the industry you must understand that not every coating is the same, and not every installer is the same either. Most people don’t know this but there is actually a lot more that goes into proper installation of a ceramic coating than just washing your car, slapping on a coating, then calling it a day. In order for a car to be properly prepared for the coating to bind and perform its best, your detailer may need up to a few days of solid work to turn out the high quality product you desire. On top of the potential days of work being required to actually do the job the price of the coating itself is very high, with some professional grade coatings costing up to $300 a bottle and the average being around $150 per bottle just to do one car. With these factors combined you can expect a coating to have a pretty high monetary cost associated; with total out the door costs for a professional coating ranging anywhere from $800-$3000 depending on who you go through and what options you choose to go with for your coating.
So what’s our recommendation to navigate this? Focus on value, not cost; this doesn’t mean just throw your money at an installer, but it does mean there is more to choosing the right coating and installer for you than just the price tag. The most important thing you can do when calling around is to talk to your installer and get a feel for them, the main question on your mind should be something along the lines of “is this someone I can trust with my vehicle?” and “Does this person/company align with my values and meet my high standards?” Making sure you find an installer you can fully trust is absolutely the most important part of the process, with the high price tag they are going to be asking for the service you should be sure you are 100% confident in them before you even consider booking your appointment with them. Next look for things that they do to add value, for example we here at A to Z Auto Detailing and Ceramic Coatings offer a free wash tutorial to teach you how to properly care for your coating in a way that isn’t too intrusive to your busy life. Most installers will have little value added points like this included with their service but take them into consideration. Additionally we highly recommend looking for certified installers as certification shows that they have gone through some sort of skills validation and standardized testing through a third party; a certified installer is an installer that you can be sure is actually a legitimate professional.
Reason number four, you’re expecting too much from your coating.
Up to this point we have mostly covered the human element of a ceramic coating but now we need to address the coating itself. Like we said earlier, ceramic coatings have been sold over false pretenses in the past and unfortunately still are today. With that being said, we need to make sure you have realistic expectations of what a coating will and will not do. Lets start with this, a ceramic coating is not some kind of impenetrable force field that will protect your car from everything. Unless you go with an even higher level of protection like a paint protection film package you are still at risk to get scratches and rock chips. Coatings will make your vehicle more resistant to damage but don’t expect them to protect from everything. Additionally some coatings have been marketed as “self-healing” meaning if they did get scratched the coating would flex back to its original shape leaving it looking like nothing ever happened. This would be a fantastic property to have in a coating, if it worked. The sad truth is every test that has been conducted by both us and other third parties has shown time and time again that the technology just isn’t there. In short, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is; and make sure your installer is fully prepared to be honest with you about what to expect.
If you’ve made it to this point, congratulations you are probably someone who is ready to plunge into the world of ceramic coatings and get your car looking great and protected. We didn’t even begin to scratch the surface with all the benefits a ceramic coating could potentially offer you and your vehicle, and for good reason. While coatings can be great and part of the reason we are in this industry today we want to make sure that you are 100% ready to reach out to your local installer armed with all the information you need to make sure you are getting the right service for you. If you are in the central valley of California and would like to reach out to us about a coating you can call us at 559-273-8739 or visit us at www.a2zcardetailing.com to get in touch with us and get your car protected from whatever the road may bring your way.