As cars evolve, so too do the ways we maintain and protect them. At one point in the past, trusty carnauba wax was the go-to car paint finisher for protection and shine. Then it was polymer sealants, and today, the hottest trend is ceramic coating.
Ceramic coating initially gained popularity as a professional service provided by detailing shops, but they’ve lately become more widely available, more affordable, and easier to use. Depending on how serious you take your car care, some ceramic treatments come in concentrate kits, others come as hybrid waxes, and others are sold as no-work wet sprays.
All the different product types, as well as the terms companies use to advertise those products can be overwhelming and confusing, but that's why we're here. Follow along as The Drive’s info team untangles the web of auto detailing and answers the question, what is ceramic coating?
What Is Ceramic Coating?
True ceramic coating is a long-term nanoscopic exterior automotive paint treatment and protectant that is applied in a liquid form and cures to form a hard layer on top of the paint. Essentially, it's the candy shell that protects the paint's delicious chocolate center.
What Is Ceramic Coating Made of?
Ceramic coating is typically composed of silicon dioxide (silica, Si02), which is sourced from natural materials such as quartz and sand. Some types and brands also use titanium dioxide (titania, Ti02) as an additional hardening agent. When applied to a car's paint, the two create a chemical bond with hydrophobic, aka water-repellent, properties.
What Is the Purpose of Ceramic Coating?
Ceramic coating protects a car’s paint from blemishes and damage while keeping it cleaner for longer. After application, it also makes follow-up car washes easier and shields the car from harmful UV rays. Ceramic coating creates intense water beading and dirt run-off and gives a car an extremely glossy shine.