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What is ceramic car wax versus ceramic coating?

What is ceramic car wax versus ceramic coating

What’s the difference between traditional car waxes and ceramic products

Natural and synthetic car waxes don’t chemically bond with your paint

Natural wax and synthetic car waxes are coatings that sit on top of your paint to protect against UV rays and oxidation and repel water. The wax molecules are attracted to paint molecules, but they don’t chemically bond to them.

Ceramic waxes are a hybrid product

Ceramic “waxes” contain either natural wax or synthetic polymers along with ceramic additives like silica, quartz, silicone-dioxide or even silicon dioxide (SiO2). Hydrophobic silica, quarts, and SiO2 products chemically bond with your car’s clear coat or paint to repel water and dirt.

However, these hybrid waxes aren’t true ceramic coatings and their application process is different as well. These hybrid products are DIY friendly and apply just like traditional car waxes — wax on, wax off.

So they are temporary and must be reapplied periodically

True ceramic coatings are much more expensive and harder to apply

True ceramic coatings don’t contain wax. If you want shine, you have to polish the vehicle before applying the ceramic coating.

Here’s a more scientific description of the how it chemically bonds to the paint

“Hydrophobic silica displays water resistant properties because of its nanostructure and chemical properties. When applied to a surface of a material, the nanoparticles adhere to the host material and prevent liquids from permeating the rough texture. The water only comes into contact with the tips of the nanoparticles coating the outside of the material. Due to lack of attraction, the water is repelled from the hydrophobic silica” — Wikipedia

What are the advantages of ceramic products?

• more wear resistant than waxes or polymer coatings
• provides much long lasting paint protection
• repels water and reduces hard water spotting.
• resists soiling, so you car stays cleaner.
• resists chemical contamination

How ceramic coatings are applied

Surface preparation is key — step 1: remove all previous waxes and coatings

Since ceramic products work by chemically decontaminate paintbonding to the paint, you have to remove any previously applied waxes that can interfere with the bonding process. This is referred to by some ceramic coatings manufacturers as the decontamination phase. The entire vehicle must be washed to remove all previous waxes and coatings.

Step 2: Clay bar and polish

You want a fully smooth surface before you apply any ceramic coating. So you’d clay bar the entire vehicle and then polish to remove fine scratches and bring up the shine in the clear coat

polish paint

Polishing the paint brings out the shine

Step 3: Remove polish residue

Polish contains oils and those oil must be removed before applying ceramic coating. Most ceramic coating manufacturers recommend using isopropyl alcohol  and a clean towel to remove polishing residue.

Step 4: Fully dry the vehicle

Since a ceramic coating chemically bonds with the paint, it must be completely dry before application. Water spots will prevent the ceramic coating from bonding properly.

Step 5: Apply the ceramic coating

Applying the ceramic coating is an art and is something you should practice on an older vehicle before trying on your expensive ride. Over or under application will produce poor results.

Apply the ceramic coating using the recommended applicator and wipe it onto the paint in even applications. Don’t spread the coating too far.

ceramic coating application

Step 6: Allow the ceramic coating to cure

With the vehicle in a cool dry place, allow the coating to cure for the recommended time before exposing it to sun or water. Most manufacturers recommend at least 13-15 hours of cure time.

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