The Ultimate Guide to Choosing The Perfect Ceramic Coating Shop For Your Vehicle
The Ceramic Coating Guide: How to Find the Perfect Shop to Protect Your Vehicle
Have you just bought a new car and are looking for the perfect shop to protect your investment? You’re lucky because installing a ceramic coating is an increasingly popular way to protect your vehicle.
Ceramic coatings are a professionally applied, solvent-delivered liquid resin that can keep your vehicle’s paint job beautiful for years. But you don’t want to rely on just any shop—you need one that knows what they’re doing if you want results you can trust.
This guide will break down everything you need to know about finding the right ceramic coating shop, from tips on researching local businesses to what questions you should ask during a consultation.
How does ceramic coating work?
This is long-winded. Ceramic coatings are resin-based surface protection products that are deposited onto your vehicle’s surface or PPF via an evaporating carrier solvent. This carrier solvent suspends SiO2 (Silicon dioxide), TiO2 (Titanium dioxide), Metal Oxides & Polysizanes.
The ceramic coating bonds at a molecular level through a process called “cross-linking” which creates a very tight matrix that bonds with the clear coat.
Professional ceramic coatings are highly chemically resistant and ultra-hydrophobic, making cleaning your vehicle a breeze. This means your car looks better for longer with less effort.
How Is Ceramic Coating Installed?
Your vehicle is painstakingly cleaned, removing all contamination with an extreme thorough wash process. The next step is paint correction. Paint correction uses a machine polisher to remove oxidization, scratches, swirls, and other paint defects making your vehicle paint clean and highly glossy.
The ceramic coating is applied to the vehicle via a small microfiber application or HLVP sprayer. The carrier solvent begins to evaporate as soon as it is poured onto the applicator pad.
The ceramic coating is applied in small sections, and a specific amount of time elapses before wiping off the leftover carrier solvent revealing an insanely glossy & protected surface.
What does a ceramic coating do for my vehicle?
Ceramic coatings offer protection that far exceeds a traditional wax or sealant. It bonds to the paint, creating an ultra-durable barrier between the environment and your vehicle’s finish. This barrier helps protect against dirt, grime, UV rays, acid rain and more without sacrificing shine and luster.
Ceramic coatings also reduce maintenance time and effort, requiring fewer washes and less frequent waxing. Additionally, many ceramic coatings offer hydrophobic properties, which cause water to bead up and roll off the surface of your vehicle. This helps maintain that “just washed” look for a longer period of time.
What does a ceramic coating NOT do?
Ceramic coatings are very helpful in protecting your vehicle, but they are not bulletproof. Even if the vehicle is coated with ceramic, you still need to participate in caring for the vehicle.
Ceramic coatings are not scratchproof. Many shops claim ceramic coatings have scratch resistance, but this isn’t the case. Ceramic Coatings offer paint protection. However, they can’t withstand rocks, chips, and other minor scratches.
Ceramic coatings are not an excuse to never wash your vehicle. You still need to wash your vehicle according to the ceramic coating manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.,
Not All Ceramic Coatings Are The Same
Some shops will offer you a lower-priced ceramic coating installation and a “5 to 7-year” warranty on that ceramic coating. Here is the kicker. The shops quoting you those low-price ceramic coating applications are installing consumer-grade products that anyone can purchase. If you want long-lasting protection, you will need to choose a shop that installs a professional coating.
The Warranty they offer you is strictly a “shop-backed” warranty with no teeth. If they disappear or go out of business – you’re left holding the bill. In addition, most of these products fail very early and don’t live anywhere near their intended lifespan.
The Ceramic Coating Shop You Choose Matters
The importance of choosing a shop with professionally certified products cannot be overstated. Professional certification programs guarantee that proper installation procedure is followed to ensure a high-quality installation.
Incorrectly installed professional ceramic coatings, even consumer-grade coatings like Gtechniq CSL/EXOv4 or GYEON, can look horrible and not provide adequate protection.
Know Your Ceramic Coating Options
There are two options available when it comes to ceramic coatings – “consumer” or “prosumer”- and then you have real long-term professional ceramic coatings. Professional ceramic coatings are only sold to professionally trained installers, while anyone can purchase other ceramic coatings.
Here is a short list of consumer-grade products to stay away from:
- Anything Chemical Guys
- Pearl Nano
- Gtechniq Non-Ultra Coatings (CSL/EXO)
- Gyeon Non-Professional Coatings (ONE, MOHS, PURE, SYNCRO)
- CarPro Non-Professional Coatings (SIC, UK3, SKIN, GLISS)
- System X Non-Professional
- Owners Pride/ECP/Simonize/Diamond Plate or any dealer coating
- Anything “Graphene”
- Any Coatings without a Professional Training Requirement
- Any Coating without a genuine warranty – if it’s backed by a shop, it’s not a real warranty.
Here is a short list of Professional-Only Products that you can Trust!
- Ceramic Pro (9H, TopCoat, ION, Sport)
- Gtechniq Ultra
- CarPro Professional, Finest
- Fenylab Professional
- Fireball (very new)
Trust But Verify
The Warranty you offer should have terms of service and warranty documentation. If a shop is providing you an in-house warranty with no professional manufacturer backing, you should steer far away.
Ask to review the Warranty online. The Warranty should be pretty clear on what is covered and what isn’t covered.
What to look for in a professional ceramic coating
Multi-Layer Ceramic Coating – Multi-layer ceramic coatings provide you with superior protection. Ceramic coatings designed to bond with another ceramic coating as a part of a system will ALWAYS outperform single-layer systems.
Professional Ceramic coatings use CROSS LINKING technology to bond together and form a matrix of protection on the surface. A professional ceramic coating of quality will ALWAYS have a yearly maintenance requirement to ensure that your Warranty is valid. This is so that the detailer can ensure that the vehicle is being cared for correctly and that any potential issues are addressed before they become a problem and damage happens.
Professional ceramic coatings are not easy to apply – they require advanced knowledge and training to install correctly. Improperly installed ceramic coatings, while most of the time can be fixed, sometimes, if left to a low-quality shop, it can be detrimental and irreparable.
What to look for in a professional ceramic coating shop in 2023.
By 2023, there will be a large number of professional ceramic coating shops that claim to offer the best protection for your vehicle. Before signing up with any shop, you must ensure they follow the latest industry trends and technologies, like using ceramic coatings with ION EXCHANGED TECHNOLOGY.
– Have Professional Ceramic Coating Certification – The professionals at an accredited shop should have taken and passed certification courses from reputable ceramic coating brands like Ceramic Pro. This means they understand how to properly apply these coatings and which coatings are best suited for each job.
– Have Professional grade Equipment & Chemicals – Make sure your detailer uses professional-grade equipment and chemicals rather than consumer-grade products. This will ensure better results and a longer-lasting install.
– Offer Warranties – A professional ceramic coating shop should offer you a warranty on the work they do both by themselves AND by the ceramic coating manufacturer. This is important as it will guarantee that your vehicle is protected, and if anything happens, you have a point of contact to help resolve any issues.
– Check their reviews – what do the reviews say about that shop? Do they talk about attention to detail? Do people write about their questions being answered? Do they talk about the shop’s communication?
– Is their website up to date? – Does their website have accurate and current information? Are they listing their packages online, and what each package includes? An information-dense website indicates that the shop is committed to providing a great experience and wants you to become an informed consumer.
– Check their facility – The facility of that shop need to be clean and free of dirt and nasty grime to ensure your vehicle is protected and contamination-free. Things like air filtration, temperature control, and sealed flooring all make a big difference in the final product and installation of ceramic coating on your vehicle. The facility should be secure with doors and video surveillance.
– Are they treating you with respect? Are they returning your calls and messages promptly? Are they answering all of your questions? Are they being respectful of your time?
What goes into the Pricing?
The main reason behind the different prices of ceramic coating is the labor involved with prepping the vehicle to a certain level of perfection before installing ceramic coating through paint correction. This requires hours and hours of precise operation of an orbital machine polisher. You should expect to spend anywhere from $1300-$2000 for a professionally applied ceramic coating.
Be wary of shops offering you multi-year ceramic coatings for less than $1300 – they are almost always guaranteed to install a low-quality product with no manufacturer warranty.
How should I care for my ceramic coating?
Caring for your ceramic-coated vehicle is extremely important. Its not inherently difficult once you understand. Here is a short list of things you should follow but #6 and #7 are the most important things to watch.
- Regularly wash your vehicle with a PH Neutral Car Shampoo – We recommend ASP DRIFT.
- Only use microfiber towels when drying off your vehicle – We recommend the Autofiber Dreadnaught!
- Avoid Automatic Car Washes – they are abrasive and can damage your coating
- Avoid using harsh chemicals on your vehicle as it can strip away the protective layer
- Use a drying aide right before using your drying towel! We recommend Americana Global Detail Spray or P&S Beadmaker.
- WATCH THIS VIDEO FOR WINTER WASHING!
- WATCH THIS VIDEO FOR FAIR-WEATHER WASHING!
Gabe Fletcher – originally an IT career turned now one of the leading automotive protection specialists on the east coast. Gabe possesses an unmatched dedication to motorsports, participating in region are TrackCross, AutoCross & HPDE events. His passion and drive for producing top-quality results on every car & creating a top-notch customer service experience for every client that comes into his shop is #1 priority. He has been featured in PPF Magazine, on the blog of CeramicPro.com and Urable.com as one of the fastest-growing automotive protection specialists in the industry.
About Ceramic Pro Pottstown
Ceramic Pro Pottsown is a Ceramic Pro Ceramic Coating, Paint Correction, Paint Protection Film (PPF/Clear Bra) & Auto Detailing service. We bring that “new car” shine back to your vehicle. We know that you will love our service and we can’t wait to meet you!
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