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Ceramic coatings are a true blessing for any passionate car enthusiast. Whether you choose to have a professional detailer or auto salon apply the coating, or you decide to take the DIY approach, keeping your ceramic-coated car in pristine condition is crucial. The key to achieving this lies primarily in following the washing and maintenance guidelines recommended by the coating’s manufacturer.

However, when it comes to routine maintenance for a ceramic car coating, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different ceramic paint protection options have varying requirements; some may necessitate an annual inspection by the original auto salon, while others may not come with warranties, allowing you to handle maintenance independently.

Let’s delve into the reasons why maintaining a ceramic paint coating is of utmost importance. Additionally, we’ll share five valuable tips to help you create a comprehensive plan to ensure your ceramic coated vehicle remains in excellent condition, prolonging its lifespan and minimizing the need for paint correction.

What makes the maintenance of a ceramic coating crucial?

One of the most common inquiries we receive from our certified auto salons’ clients is about the necessity of maintaining a car ceramic coating. There is a common misconception that once you apply a DIY or 9H ceramic coating, the car becomes self-cleaning and no longer requires regular washing.

However, it’s essential to clarify that ceramic coatings don’t magically clean the car on their own. While the coating’s flat and hardened surface creates a highly slippery and hydrophobic effect, making water, dust, dirt, tree sap, and debris slide off effortlessly, it doesn’t eliminate the need for maintenance and washing. Regular care is still necessary to preserve the coating’s performance and protection.

Ceramic coatings have been proven to be effective for protecting the paint of your car. However, it’s important to understand that regular washing is still necessary. It’s recommended to wash the coated surface every two weeks to maintain its effectiveness.

Nevertheless, the ceramic coating doesn’t offer a total cleaning solution for your vehicle. Some contaminants may still adhere to the coated surface. Over time, these residual particles can accumulate and form layers, leading to a dirty appearance. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain the coating’s effectiveness by regularly washing your car every few weeks.

What does the Ceramic Coating Maintenance Involve?

Various levels of quartz coating are available to protect your vehicle’s paint. The recommended maintenance for each product may differ depending on the manufacturer. Nevertheless, there are some common maintenance procedures that generally apply to most ceramic coatings.

Caring for Ceramic Coatings at the Car Wash

Handwashing your vehicle is the initial step in maintaining a ceramic coating or paint sealant. Many experts, including professional detailers and installers, recommend using the two-bucket method for this process. In a helpful video by Adam Cote, he explains the two-bucket method and why it’s preferable over automated car wash facilities to keep your ceramic coat in top shape.

Why Drying Matters

Ensuring a thorough and safe car wash process goes beyond just cleaning – it also involves proper drying techniques. Many car owners overlook this crucial step and end up making mistakes that could harm their coated vehicle.

When you have a ceramic coating on your car’s clear coat, using a microfiber drying towel is essential. Look for towels with a terry weave design, a 70/30 blend of polyester and polyamide, and a high GMS (gram per square meter) – preferably above 800. These specialized drying towels, typically 20 x 30 inches or larger, are designed to absorb water efficiently and are perfect for the task. With one of these reliable drying towels, you can swiftly dry your entire vehicle in minutes, while also minimizing the risk of swirl marks that could damage your car’s pristine finish.

Preventing standing water from lingering on your car’s surface is absolutely crucial, especially under the blazing sun. Allowing water to sit can lead to the formation of water spots on the coated surface. Now, you might wonder, “Isn’t a ceramic coating supposed to create a protective layer that prevents water spots?”

While it’s true that a ceramic coat does reduce the likelihood of water spots, it is not entirely impervious to them. Water spots can still form on ceramic coatings, especially in regions with high calcium or mineral content in the water. This is a common issue in the Southwestern US, where scorching temperatures and mineral-rich water can quickly lead to the development of stubborn water spots that are difficult to remove, even on a coated surface.

Applying a Maintenance Spray

Certain ceramic paint coating products can be enhanced with the use of a maintenance spray, also known as Boost Sprays, SiO2 ceramic spray, or DIY ceramic coating maintenance spray. However, the challenge lies in the variations among different formulations of these sprays.

Some may be a combination of hybrid wax sprays with a touch of silicon dioxide (SiO2), while others could be polymer or Teflon-based sprays that replicate the benefits of ceramic coatings without the full 9H hardness. Additionally, there are genuine ceramic coating sprays available.

Despite the differences in formulations, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when using these maintenance sprays.

Always use directly after washing the vehicle. When using a hybrid spray or SiO2 Boost spray recommended by your ceramic coating manufacturer, ensure that you apply it only after thoroughly washing your car. Some sprays can be used while the vehicle is still wet, serving as a drying aid, but always follow the specific instructions provided.

Never use in direct sunlight. Ceramic enhancers contain polymers and highly concentrated ingredients that may cause streaking if applied to a warm surface or under direct sunlight. Such streaks can lead to paint damage, necessitating paint correction or polishing to rectify. To prevent streaks and avoid high spots, it is advisable to apply boost sprays inside your garage or during the early morning or late afternoon when the surface is cooler.

Consider using an applicator pad. The application process of booster sprays can vary depending on their concentration. Some sprays are more concentrated, resulting in smoother application, consistent flash time, and easier removal with a soft microfiber cloth.

Annual Inspections

Nano coatings like Ceramic Pro 9H come with various warranty packages, such as two years, five years, or a lifetime of protection. To ensure your coating remains in optimal condition and maintains the warranty, it’s essential to have it inspected by the professional auto salon that installed it.

During the inspection, the experts will check for even coverage, identify high or low spots, and apply a topcoat to refresh the coating if needed. They will also address any minor scratches or signs of marring on the coating by applying a specially formulated ceramic spray to prevent more significant issues from arising. This proactive approach will help keep your coating in excellent shape and extend its longevity.

5 Essential Tips for Ceramic Coating Maintenance

Now, it’s time to delve into the specific steps for cleaning and maintaining your ceramic coated vehicle. Let’s get started right away!

Tip #1 - Avoid automated car washes at all costs.

One of the fastest methods to damage a ceramic coated car is by using drive-through car washes, particularly those with brushes or mop-type cleaning rags. These car washes can quickly deteriorate the ceramic coating due to their harsh soaps and aggressive cleaning materials designed for durability, not gentle cleaning.

Tip #2 - Make sure to use a car shampoo that is pH neutral and does not contain any added wax.

Ceramic Pro products will solidify and achieve the durability of quartz. Similarly, a glass coating and paint protection film can block UV rays. However, certain spray coating products may lack the same level of strength. Once either type hardens, it creates a smooth and hydrophobic surface, reducing the adherence of contaminants and making it easier to clean debris like brake dust from the car’s paint surface.

Finding shade for washing your vehicle can be a challenge for numerous car owners. If you have access to a canopy, make the most of it. Alternatively, you might want to consider taking your car to a professional auto salon for regular maintenance.

Hence, using aggressive or harsh car shampoos and clay bars for cleaning the surface is unnecessary. It’s best to opt for a pH-neutral car shampoo without any added wax. Wax residues can diminish the coating’s hydrophobic properties and cause more debris to adhere, leading to a dirtier surface. Consider using a professional-grade aftercare shampoo like Americana Global Ceramic Aftercare to maintain your coating effectively.

Tip #3 - Wash your car during hours of reduced sunlight or low light conditions.

For the best results, choose low sunlight conditions such as a cloudy day, early morning, or near sunset to wash and dry your vehicle. Sunlight can quickly dry soap on the coating, potentially causing water spots and streaks.

Tip #4 - Apply the identical SiO2 Boost Spray

It’s essential to maintain consistency when using car care products. While some car enthusiasts might be tempted to experiment with various products, it’s not advisable when it comes to ceramic boost or maintenance sprays. To avoid potential issues and damage to the coating, it’s best to consult the manufacturer of the ceramic coating you have and use the recommended product. Mixing multiple spray coatings can lead to compatibility problems and may even require paint correction to fix the damage.

Tip #5 - Use clean media for maintenance.

To maintain your coated vehicle, ensure there is no cross-contamination of cleaning supplies such as microfiber towels, wash mitts, and buckets. Make sure they are thoroughly clean and free from any other cleaning agents or debris before use.

Concluding Remarks on Maintaining a Ceramic Coated Vehicle's Cleanliness

Investing in a high-quality nano ceramic coating for your vehicle is a well-considered decision that requires research and financial commitment. If you choose to have a professional apply the coating, it’s advisable to seek their guidance on proper maintenance.

Professional auto salons offering warranty-backed ceramic coatings have your best interests at heart, aiming for your satisfaction and word-of-mouth referrals.

With over 3,500 auto salons partnering with Ceramic Pro Americas, our experienced team of installers is ready to assist you with maintenance services or provide helpful tips for caring for your coated vehicle. If you’re interested in Ceramic Pro 9H coatings, click the button below to request a free estimate.

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