Ceramic Coatings – A few common is misunderstandings about protective coatings.

Even the best coating does not make your vehicle bullet-proof. Short of a paint protection film, no “snake-oil” magic potion exists that will protect your vehicle from all the potential hazards it is exposed to. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the things that ceramic coatings can’t do. To learn more about the different types of coatings click here. This blog will equip you with the right information, so you can make a good decision when selecting a coating for your vehicle.

Multiple Layers/Layering

ceramic coating a car

This is a very common scam that many vehicle owners fall for. The general perception that more is better isn’t always the case, especially in the detailing industry. A ceramic coating cannot be layered, this is just wasting the product and your hard-earned money. Professional Detailers do a second coat to ensure even coverage, not a second layer. Ceramic coatings bond to the clear coat, providing protection. They don’t bond to themselves. Also note that the layering scam happens only in India, no international detailer offers the layers as a service. Imagine someone constructing several floors of concrete over a sponge foundation. Scary isn’t it ? So, the next time you see someone trying to sell you multiple layers, walk away.

Hardness – 9H? 10H?12H? 14H?

This is also a marketing gimmick meant to mislead customers. Naturally, one would assume that they’re talking about the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. In which 10H would mean that the coating is as hard as a diamond. What they’re referring to is a pencil hardness scale, which measures the point where the coated surface starts to scratch. Although, this isn’t an outright scam.

This is very misleading and overplaying the product. The ‘H’ stands for hardness, the ‘B’ stands for blackness, and HB is for hard and black pencils.

The hardest is a 10H, followed by 9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, and H. F is the middle of the hardness scale; then comes HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, and 9B, which is the softest.

Elcometers are used to determine and test the hardness of the pencil lead.

A video of a pencil hardness test.

Another video explaining Wolff-Wilborn Pencil Test.

No Washing or maintenance needed after Ceramic Coating.

This is something that I hear very often. People claiming that they don’t need to wash their vehicles after a coating. This is a definite myth. It is true that a coating drastically cuts down the need for frequent washes, and makes washing the vehicle really easy.

A coating does not completely eliminate the need for a wash. Regular upkeep and maintenance are very important to prolong the life of the coating. To learn how to easily extend the life of your coating by following a simple mechanism click here. 

Warranties and its dubious schemes.

How long a coating lasts, is completely dependent on how you maintain it. Many companies offer warranty schemes in the name of attracting more customers, going through these warranties with a fine-toothed comb will reveal the loopholes and fine print. Which will void your warranty. There are several ridiculous and impractical clauses that do not allow you even visit a nearby washing center as it will void the warranty. Simply put across, the detailer is safe and you are at a mercy of him when claiming your warranty. Just think, if the car manufacturer is giving you a warranty of 2 years for example, how can a detailer justify 5 years life of a ceramic coating that is just a 2/3 micron layer.

Many ‘Detailers’ in town have been brain washed by dubious brands that dont see the difference between durability and warranty. In the real world, with the several coating we have tested including the ones we apply – DO NOT HOLD FOR MORE THAN 2 YEARS. The warranty scheme should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Another gimmick are the packages- Iron, Steel, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire, Amethyst are simply some exaggerated words to bump the price from double to septuple. For ex : 1 layer of ceramic coating costs you a 10000rs in the Iron Package, its 40000rs in the Gold Package for 4 layers of coating to 70000rs for the top most package with 7 layers. Read above to know the layering schemes. Some even offer 35 layers – a hearsay.

Thickness!

Another lie sold by most novice detailers is the thickness of the ceramic coating. Again, Ceramic coating is a very fine microscopic layer that become a part of the surface its applied on and cannot form thickness equal to sprayed paint. 15 Microns, 20 microns are some lies that you should be vary of. Some say that their coatings can achieve the thickness of a PPF. This has to be taken seriously after great Friday night party.

An illustration of a Coating Thickness Gauge.

Fireproof Coating.

Seriously? Fireproof? Although some coatings, like Graphene, and metal-oxide do provide a thermal barrier. But to what extent? and Why is Thermal resistance during fire promoted as a Paint Protection? If god forbid, your car catches on fire. The last thing you worry about is if the paint on your fender survived the fire. We have explained to all our trainees to stay away from these Pyrotechnic Activities. We don’t know when who would like to show off the FireProof behavior on their car after a crazy Friday night. Next time you hear someone say Fire Proof – Fire up your vehicle engine and leave.

You need not detail or correct the surface prior to coating it with ceramic coatings.

Even if you’ve just bought your car from the factory, slight swirl marks may still appear without getting washed. In fact, the secret to a successful ceramic coating job lies in how well the car is washed prior to ceramic coating. In a nutshell, you need to thoroughly wash, decontaminate, detail, correct no matter how new it is before applying a ceramic coating. New cars will definitely have industrial fallout and other contaminations, not to mention the over eager attention by the delivery staff who are always in a hurry to finish the job.

Scratch Proof Coating

This myth originated from YouTubers that demonstrated scratch resistance by scratching panels that have been ceramic coated, using the bottle cap trick. This misleads many into believing that a ceramic coating will prevent scratches. Some coatings do prevent scratches but to a very small degree, like light swirls, and minor washing scratches. If preventing scratches is what you’re after, PPF is the option for you. Click here to know more about PPF.

Self Healing Ceramic Coatings?

 While there are some ceramic coating products that utilize a polymer substance that helps to absorb microscopic scratches, that is done through buffing the coated surface. A self-healing product, like PPF, is designed to heal the damage that is often caused as a result of small rocks, sticks or bird droppings, as well as lightweight road byproducts. It is through heat that the healing is typically activated. There are several limitations to the number of times something can self repair.

Ceramic Coating Products are for the lazy ones.

NO! This is absolutely incorrect! These types of products are for those consumers who take great pride in their vehicles and want them to look good over time. While those vehicles with ceramic coatings don’t need waxed or polished often, it is still recommended to give it a washing once often to ensure that the contaminations do not etch into the surface.

Ceramic/graphene Coatings Prevent Water Spots.

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: A ceramic coating will repel water, but it will NOT prevent the formation of hard water spots. Even with all of its water-repelling super powers on tap, a nano ceramic coating cannot whisk away every little bead of water, and as those beads of H2O dry, water spots begin to form.

On the bright side, ceramic coatings do make water spot removal a hell of a lot easier, regardless as to whether it is soap-based, chemical-based, salt-based, grime-based, or some combination of all four. This is especially true on glass surfaces and on clear plastics like headlight housings, where water spots can be quite noticeable.

Ceramic Coatings are permanent.

Their longevity cannot be predicted! That is because there are several variables outside of the control of most ceramic coating companies. What is true is that nano coatings do not come with warranties for a certain period of time. The longevity of a car’s paint is impacted by such things as prep-work, installation and the quality of the clear coat. Also, with the warranties linked to professionally installed ceramic coatings, there are restrictions. Those restrictions include: completing paint correction services prior to installation; applying certain types of coatings in different amounts; and having customers agree to routine maintenance or proper care visits to the facility post installation.

Lastly, nothing is permanent and we all know it.

All Coatings are the same.

This is a misconception that many have. The question, “Why should I pay someone more for the same thing?” has popped up in our heads at some point. It is important to understand that you’re not only paying for the coating, but also the extensive preparation that goes before it, and the professional application of the coating. It is sad, but true that we have witnessed brand new Ferraris and Porsches requiring repainting due to improper preparation and polishing techniques. The concentration and the composition of the product is very important to achieve good resistance. A thoroughbred professional detailer would be looking to install the coatings which at 85% concentrate at least.

2 drops of Vodka in a Redbull doesn’t make it vodka.

Ceramic Coatings are stone chip resistant.

Another claim offered by novice detailers is that ceramic coatings are stone chip resistant. Ceramic Coatings are a very thin layer on the surface and definitely wont resist stone chips. The flying debris can be much harder and sharper and can damage the paint and primer itself. So, Ceramic Coatings are NOT STONE CHIP RESISTANT.

Own brand/Manufacturing/Blend/Signature Label/Company based in USA, Japan, etc…

We have noticed a few brands claiming that they blend their own ceramic coatings. I would recommend to stay away from the ”Cook” stuff. This isn’t Breaking Bad and there is no cook called ”Heisenberg” in our industry. Own Manufacturing, Blend, Signature coatings are better to be kept in a showcase and than being applied on a car. We have seen a few traders, self proclaimed gurus say that they have a factory in Japan/US of the A etc.. However, this is to be considered as an inflated lie.

Conclusion

It doesn’t take an expert to separate fact from fiction. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. It is often these tall claims that bring a bad name to the industry, these myths set unrealistic expectations and under-deliver. This negatively impacts the reputation of coatings, it is imperative to understand the true purpose of a coating and what its limitations are.

Check out this blog on What is Detailing? to get a better understanding of the topic. Reach out to a coating professional at ReflectOn Automotive to get a deeper understanding of what a coating can do for you. 

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