Skip to main content

Ceramic coating: What is it and is it worth it?

minute read

    Quick insights

    • A ceramic coating forms a protective layer on your vehicle that can last several years.
    • Thorough preparation of your car’s exterior and proper installation are important to the longevity of a ceramic coating.
    • The quality of the product and application determines the cost and level of protection that ceramic coatings can offer.

    Whether you love a car that always looks fresh or you want to protect it from certain elements, a ceramic coating may be worthwhile.

    What is ceramic coating?

    In the auto world, a ceramic coating is a chemical product that can be applied to a vehicle to protect it from certain cosmetic wear. The coating is applied as a liquid that dries virtually invisible. There is a range of ceramic coating products on the market, from professional grade to less expensive (but more diluted) options.

    High-quality coatings can last for years but rely on proper application. That starts with a clean car, not just a wash, but extensive cleaning and correction. Ceramic coating will bond to your car’s paint to protect the surface. Any visible cosmetic issues should be addressed first.

    Advantages of ceramic coating

    A ceramic coating’s primary advantage, as well as the general purpose, is to protect the exposed surfaces of your car. Of course, many ceramic coatings are high-gloss, too, which might be why cars on a dealership lot seem so clean. A ceramic coating may protect your vehicle against minor scratches, sun damage, dirt and other environmental or chemical elements.

    What ceramic coating won’t do

    The protective layer a ceramic coating offers is not impenetrable. It also won’t correct any imperfections in your car’s exterior. The polymer bonds to the paint, so any existing scrapes, scratches or dents will probably still be visible. Although the coating might protect against minor scratches, loose rocks and hard enough materials can cause deeper damage to your car’s exterior.

    How much does ceramic coating cost?

    Ceramic coating products range in quality and price. Professional-grade products can cost hundreds of dollars. High-quality polymers are typically used on new and used cars before you buy them and when cars are detailed. You can find much less expensive aftermarket options. However, the quality may pale in comparison to what pros, automakers and dealerships use to make a car look like new.

    Is ceramic coating worth it?

    The main factors to decide if you should apply a ceramic coating to your car are cost and convenience. On the one hand, there is the do-it-yourself process: Applying a ceramic coating yourself could save money but can be very time-consuming and risk flaws. You have to prep the car, obtain your own protective equipment and apply the coating.

    On the other hand, a professional application might be worth the price. You could pay a premium to have a pro apply the coating but receive a high-quality product and results. Professional detailers will likely take extensive measures to prep the car and apply the coating with their experienced hands. This option saves you time and energy, but probably not money.

    In summary

    Ceramic coatings are liquid solutions applied to the exterior of a car. They create a transparent layer that may give your car an appealing gloss but also protect the paint. The protection can last several years depending on the quality of the coating and application.

    What to read next