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Published Sep. 27, 2020

The latest buzzword in the protection of your car’s appearance is ceramic, and while the term comes from professionally applied chemical blends that bond to your paint to form a shield to smooth and protect your car’s finish, there are now relatively easy to use do-it-yourself products that provide similar protection against the elements.

While they don’t offer quite the same level of strength or longevity as the professionally applied versions, the DIY products are substantially less expensive, and allow you to enjoy the pride of creating your own ultimate shine on your vehicle. DIY ceramic coatings last longer than traditional waxes and polishes and are actually easier and quicker to apply, so there are definite benefits to choosing them to keep your ride looking great. These ceramic coatings come in a variety of forms with different application methods, and that’s exactly what we’ll discuss here to help you decide what your best route is to long-lasting, high-gloss protection for your paint.

The Best Ceramic Coating For Cars

Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating uses a blend of silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide to provide long-lasting protection and excellent water-beading properties. It provides a deep, glasslike, glossy appearance while protecting your vehicle against the elements.

Simply spray onto a microfiber cloth and then spread evenly over the car body. After it dries for a few minutes, buff it off with a clean towel, and your work is done. The coating can be applied over other sealants and coatings and fully cures in 24 hours.

Key Features
  • Spray on application
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Water-beading technology
Specification
  • Brand Mothers
  • Model CMX Spray Coating
  • Weight 1.76 pounds
PROS

Easy application

Protects paint from fading, scratches, and dirt

Provides a durable, mirror-like finish

CONS

24-hour curing time

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wet Wax uses silicon dioxide and other polymers to form a long-lasting hydrophobic layer to repel water and contaminants. It provides a deep, high-gloss shine to go along with the protection and is compatible with other conventional cleaning products.

Apply by simply spraying onto your wet vehicle and then drying. The wet wax makes for faster drying and easier washing by preventing water spotting and resisting damaging chemicals.

Key Features
  • Easy spray-on application
  • Water-beading technology
  • Long-lasting protection
Specification
  • Brand Turtle Wax
  • Model Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wet Wax
  • Weight 1 pound
PROS

Provides a mirror-like shine

Protects the paintwork from contaminants

Enhances the depth of color

Easy to apply

CONS

24-hour curing time

Chemical Guys HydroCharge Ceramic Spray Coating has been developed for the do-it-yourself market by folks who have spent years supplying professionally applied coatings for the industry. Designed to provide professional-looking results with silicon-dioxide coating with a simple spray-on application, HydroCharge provides you with a super-slick, water-repelling surface and durable protection against the elements.

HydroCharge lays down a smooth layer of ceramic that levels out the surface of your paint for maximum resistance to chemicals and other contaminants. It’s recommended that after washing your vehicle, you decontaminate, polish, and cleanse the surface before applying the ceramic coating.

Key Features
  • Spray-on application
  • Water-beading technology
  • Long-lasting protection
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model HydroCharge
  • Weight 1 pound
PROS

Based on formulation for professionals

Spray-on application

Deep, smooth shine

Long-lasting paint protection

CONS

More surface preparation is recommended

Nasiol Nano Ceramic Coating is a step above most other DIY ceramic coatings in that it’s formulated to provide two-layers of protection on your vehicle, with a hard outer shell, and a softer under layer that provides more elasticity and resistance to damage. It’s more labor intensive to apply than simple spray-and-wipe coatings and is also substantially more expensive than most other DIY ceramic coatings.

The higher price tag and harder work are worth it if you’re looking for results as close to a professional ceramic treatment without the much higher expense. The treatment lasts up to three years and provides a super-slick surface at the nano level to allow dirt and contaminants to simply slide off, keeping your paint shiny and well protected from deterioration from sun, acid rain, bird droppings, and all those other things conspiring to damage and dull your vehicle’s finish.

Key Features
  • Comes as complete kit
  • Multilayer technology
  • 9H hardness
Specification
  • Brand Nasiol
  • Model ZR53
  • Weight 1.87 ounces
PROS

Compatible with all types of car paints

Can last up to three years

Provides a durable gloss finish

Protects against contaminants and improper washing techniques

CONS

48-hour curing time

Extensive prep work before application

Migliore Strata Coating falls into the higher priced, more labor-intensive category of DIY ceramic coatings, and it provides extremely glossy and long-lasting protection for your paint. It’s specifically designed to provide the do-it-yourselfer with up to a year of water and dirt-repelling strength and UV resistance.

Application of the Strata Coating requires first removing any wax or sealer from your car’s finish with a citrus-based cleaner to ensure proper bonding. The coating is then rubbed onto small areas with the included pad, then smoothing and spreading after about a minute with a microfiber cloth. Your vehicle must then remain in a garage for seven hours for proper curing.

Key Features
  • Comes as complete kit
  • Silicon-dioxide formulation
  • UV Resistant
  • Hydrophobic
Specification
  • Brand Migliore
  • Model MStrata001
  • Weight 2.4 ounces
PROS

Resistant to dirt and debris

Protects against the elements

Resistant to scratches and wash-induced marring

Can offer more than 12 months of protection

CONS

Requires garaging vehicle for seven hours after application

Requires first removing existing wax and sealers

The Sonax Ceramic Coating is a higher-end, two-stage product that requires surface preparation as well as separate applications of each layer of protection. All the work leads to professional-looking, long-lasting resistance to water, dirt, and other contaminants, along with a deep, glass-like shine that keeps your vehicle protected for up to a year or up to three years with application of Sonax Polymer Net Shield every six months.

The slick coating allows your paint to stay cleaner longer and makes washing easier and faster.

Key Features
  • Comes as complete kit
  • 9H ceramic quartz protection
  • Provides a flexible but tough high-gloss coating
Specification
  • Brand Sonax
  • Model 236941
  • Weight 11.2 ounces
PROS

Protects against UV light, chemicals, dirt, and more.

Expands and contracts with your car’s bodywork

Easy to use

CONS

Extensive paint preparation required

Two-stage application

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax is a silicon-dioxide spray-on coating that doesn’t require any buffing. You simply spray onto your freshly washed vehicle, then spray it with a strong stream of water to spread and lay down the wax. Dry your car with a microfiber towel as usual, and you’re ready to go with no curing time.

The Hybrid Ceramic Wax provides longer-lasting protection and water beading than conventional waxes and is easier and much faster to apply than most other coatings.

Key Features
  • Ceramic coating and wax blend
  • Advanced silicone-dioxide hybrid technology
  • Water-beading protection
Specification
  • Brand Meguiar’s
  • Model G190532SP
  • Weight 2.35 pounds
PROS

Easy to apply and rinse off

No curing time

Last longer than conventional waxes

CONS

Not as long lasting as some other coatings

Ethos Pro Ceramic Wax uses a teflon-infused ceramic resin to create a super-slick surface to allow dirt and contaminants to slide off. In addition to the impressive, long-lasting shine it gives your vehicle, it protects against UV rays and contaminants that degrade your paint.

It’s easy to apply with the included pad by wiping it on, panel by panel, letting it haze, then wiping it off. With regular cleaning and maintenance, protection will last up to a year.

Key Features
  • Hydrophobic
  • Non-stick gloss finish
Specification
  • Brand Ethos Car Care
  • Model 758763543714
  • Weight 9.6 oz
PROS

Last longer than traditional carnauba waxes

Makes it easier to clean your car

CONS

Not as long lasting as some other coatings

Best Ceramic Coating For Cars Buying Guide

As you can tell from our best products list, most ceramic coatings share many similar properties, but a few manage to stand out from the rest in terms of quality and durability. To find the perfect one for your car, you need to understand how well it works, how long it lasts, and its benefits. You also need to consider the amount of time and money you are willing to spend on a product. 

These ceramic-coating products vary widely in application methods and required surface preparation before use, so choose one that meets your time and skill availability. Most important is reading the instructions for your specific product, as incorrect use or preparation will leave you with unsatisfactory results.

Do You Need a Ceramic Coating for Your Car?

One of the biggest benefits of ceramic coatings is that they provide a longer-lasting layer of protection to your car’s paint in comparison to conventional car polishes, paint sealants, and waxes. Most ceramic coatings dry into a tough coat that doesn’t break down or wash away for months. 

Most ceramic coatings can improve the depth of your paintwork. They also add gloss and shine to make your vehicle appear new. 

There are a few more benefits: 

  • Ceramic coatings make your paint smoother, so it’s easier to clean your car. 
  • Most are hydrophobic, so water rolls off easily and your bodywork doesn’t end up with water spots. 
  • It protects your car’s paint from pollutants and corrosive chemicals.
  • It creates a barrier against UV rays and the elements.

Related Post: Best Clear Coats for Cars

Different Kinds of Ceramic Coating for Cars 

Spraying ceramic coating to car

Ceramic coatings aren’t created equal. Brands use different, innovative ingredients to give their ceramic coatings a specific level of hardness and resistance to damage. The most common types available are featured below.

Polymer

Polymer-derived ceramic coatings are the most popular option on the market. They are designed to create a thin layer that acts as a second skin. It can be pretty challenging to remove these types of ceramic coatings, and you may need to polish the surface to remove it. 

The upside of this type of coating is that it can last for more than a year, and it offers better protection from the elements and cosmetic damages. 

Quartz 

Ceramic coatings made from quartz or silicon dioxide create an even tougher coating than polymer coatings. The protective layer is more resistant to scratches and can last longer than the alternatives. It also forms a strong barrier against dirt and debris. Besides their durability, another benefit of silicon-dioxide coatings is that they maintain their glossy look even years after application. 

Hybrid 

Combining the best of both worlds, hybrid coatings are a blend of polymer and silicon-oxide coatings. They contain both organic and inorganic ingredients that help create a hardened layer that provides even better protection from damage and the elements compared to standalone quartz or polymer coatings.

Worker applying ceramic coating to car

Best Ceramic Coating For Cars FAQ:

Q: What’s the difference between ceramic coatings and waxes? 

While they may share some similarities, car waxes are less resilient to damages than ceramic coatings. This is not to say that ceramic coatings are invulnerable, but the applied coat remains intact for a longer period, unlike a layer of wax that can be washed off with a regular wash. 

Q: How often should you clean a ceramic-coated car?

Ceramic coatings keep dirt, water, and other pollutants from sticking on the surface, but that doesn’t mean that they are immune to contaminants. You still need to give your car a regular wash every two weeks to keep it clean. You can give your vehicle a waterless car wash if you don’t want to subject your paintwork to an aggressive cleaning process. 

Q: How do you remove a ceramic coating?

Since ceramic coating is tough, you can’t easily remove it with conventional cleaning products. You may need to use a buffer or polisher to break the shell.

Q: Why are ceramic coatings so expensive? 

Most ceramic coatings are more expensive than the alternative car detailing products, but this is because they last longer and offer more protection in comparison. 

Our Top Pick

Ceramic coatings offer greater protection and preservation of your paintwork than conventional waxes and sealers. With them, you get a longer lasting shine and better resistance to UV rays and contaminants that can damage your paint. 

Some require extensive preparation of your paint before use, while others you simply spray or wipe on, so you need to decide how much work you’re willing to do to protect your vehicle. DIY ceramics also vary widely in price, so you have a choice to make. Regardless of what you decide, you’ll end up with a better looking, better protected vehicle. Again, make sure you follow the specific instructions for your product so you get the results you’re looking for.

Sources:

  1. Hydrophobic , Wikipedia
  2. The Truth About Ceramic Coating, AvalonKing

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