So you've got yourself a vehicle you're proud of, it's understandable you want to keep it in the best condition possible. The simplest way to do that is with ceramic coating. Ceramic coating adds a sacrificial barrier layer on top of your clear coat that helps protect your car from the elements and makes it phenomenally easy to keep clean. These coatings can last as long as you own the car and often longer if they are maintained correctly.
On the other hand, with poor maintenance they can be damaged very quickly and very easily.
So, before we get into it, if you're going to get your car coated make sure to find someone reputable and don't be scared to ask as many questions as you feel is necessary so you know exactly what you're paying for and what coating is being used. It's an extensive and often expensive process, so if someone offers to do it for "50 quid and a 6 pack" or the local cheapie wash that uses brushes is saying they do the same job at half the price, ask some questions, as they may end up doing more harm than good.
On the opposite end of this comparison there are also dealership level products, they may charge as much as a detailer but often the person installing it hasn't been fully trained and the product isn't up to the same standard as more modern ones on the market today. Incorrectly applied or maintained these coatings can fail as quickly as a regular wax. Without making this blog too technical and dry, precise control of the work environment is required.
Trust your detailer! You chose their company for a reason, if you follow their professional advice you should never go wrong. But here are 3 easy steps that most would agree with.
1. Washing - wait however long the detailer advises before giving your vehicle its first wash, usually 7-14 days before a full contact wash is advised. Ask how to carry out a safe wash; this involves 1 or 2 steps of prewashing (get yourself a Monstershine Pro HD Snow Foam Lance), 2 bucket wash with grit guards and a safe drying method. Never use a wash product with waxes, sealants or gloss enhancers unless it's a product advised as part of the maintenance, they will only clog the coating and reduce its effectiveness. No matter how tempted you are, please, do not take the car to the local brush wash place or allow the dealership to wash the car when servicing. After being attacked with a dirty brush your car will need expensive correction work. If you don't want to maintain it ask your detailer to do it or to recommend someone who can.
2. Decontamination - Every 3-6 months or so it's advisable to book in for a chemical decontamination to "unclog" the coating and remove any tar or industrial fallout and have the protection topped up to keep it at its best. If you are going to do this yourself only use chemical decontamination products, do not clay or polish.
3. Topping up protection - When topping up protection it's best to use a product designed to work with the brand of coatings you use. In my case I use SB3 Maintain and can provide this to clients on request as well as any detailing products and kits from our online store. Wash kits available here.
If you'd like to read more about the range of ceramic coatings we use here at MonsterShine Car Care click here.
A little about the writer: I'm the co owner of MonsterShine Car Care in Glasgow and have been offering car detailing products and services professionally since 2014.
Being a small, 2 man company that work on products and in the detailing industry we are able to maintain a high standard of quality and attention to detail that is often overlooked and harder to maintain in larger companies.
We aim to spend as much time as possible on each car as opposed to a fast turnaround and high volume.
We were the first in the UK to be trained in the 3 layer Trinity system by SB3 Coatings UK.