Ceramic coating is a popular method for protecting a car’s paint job. It not only makes the paint look brand new, but it is also a cost-efficient and long-lasting solution. Ceramic coating provides a harder surface than wax, so it is better at deflecting micro-scratches caused by tiny dust particles, as well as making the paint more resistant to bigger scratches.
You can take your vehicle to a ceramic coating specialist and get this service easily. However, you can also learn how to ceramic coat a car by yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to ceramic coat a car:
1. Collect the ceramic coating materials
Before you ceramic coat a car, let’s collect the necessary materials first. There are several things needed to apply a ceramic coating to a car. It will be easier to get everything together in advance, so that you can complete the coating start to finish.
For the preparation and cleaning you’ll need a microfibre car washing mitt, two buckets of water — one of them soapy, a clay bar, an electric buffer and some rubbing compound.
For the actual application of the ceramic, you’ll need the ceramic coating and the foam applicator block, microsuede applicator cloths, a microfibre buffing cloth, a silica coating spray and a pair of gloves to protect your hands from the chemical,
2. Prep the car for ceramic coating
If you look at a car in the sunlight, you may see what appear to be swirl marks in the paint. These swirl marks are the edges of millions of tiny little scratch marks that have developed over time from dust and dirt particles scraping against the paint. Before applying the ceramic coat, the car needs to be rid of all these tiny particles.
3. Wash the car
The best way to wash your car is using the two-bucket method. Dunk the washing mitt into the soapy water and start wiping the car down. Work top to bottom, as the dirt from the top will run down the car as you wash. Rinse the glove off in the clean water – you can use a mop wringer to help get the water out. Then dunk it back in the soapy water and carry on.
4. Deep clean the car
You’ll also need to make sure there aren’t any remnants of an old coating on the car, otherwise the ceramic coat won’t give that gleaming shine you’re looking for. One of the best ways to remove an old wax coating is to rub it off with a clay bar. Make sure to cut the clay bar into smaller pieces.
The purpose of the bar is to pick up every single last particle on the car. This means that if you accidentally drop it on the floor, that piece is ruined. Using a little bit of water as a lubricant, you’ll rub the car all over with the clay bar, folding it up when a spot gets too dirty, and switching to a clean piece when the bar gets impossible to use.
5. Paint correction
The reason you can see all those little swirls when light shines on the car is that the car is hitting the sharp edge of the scratch – even if it is a tiny little scratch. In order to eliminate this scratch, without damaging the paint, you are going to buff out the edges of the scratches, essentially smoothing them out so that they become invisible, even in the light. To do this, you’ll need to use a buffer to make the surface smooth.
6. Using the buffer
To start, you’ll put about a quarter sized squirt of rubbing compound on the area you are planning to buff. Some people will tell you instead to put dime-sized squirts in several places on the pad. Either will work.
Before turning the buffer on, rub the rubbing compound around on surface. You want it to be spread out evenly over the pad and the surface you’ll be working. Using a medium amount of pressure, start the buffer, moving in slow and even circles around the surface. As the compound begins to dry, decrease the pressure you apply.
7. Wipe the car
Now, use an Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) solution to give the car a final wipe down. This will ensure that the surface is not slippery, so the coating will adhere to it properly.
8. Start the finishing
Shake the ceramic coating well, and then apply one line of liquid down the centre of the microsuede cloth, which you will have wrapped around the foam applicator block. Working in two-by-two foot sections, apply the ceramic coating in a crosshatch pattern: working both up and down and left to right. Using the microfibre cloth, wipe away the product after about 20 to 30 seconds – you must do this step before the product dries, so wipe the finished spot down with the microfibre before moving onto the next section.
9. The final wipe down
The ceramic coating kit should also come with a silica coating spray. Apply this once the ceramic coating has had a chance to dry for about half an hour. This helps the coating to cure better, and provides further protection.