We get this question asked quite frequently as this is the first time many are hearing about this new form of car protection. In order to put it in perspective we will begin with wax a term everyone seems to know. We will be discussing the chemical makeup of both as well as the +/- of each. In the end we just want our clients to be well informed and make the best investment possible.
Waxes are usually a combination of silicones & oils as carnauba wax the main ingredient in almost all wax products is hard by itself. When you wash your vehicle, you are using a detergent aka car soap. Detergents are used to break down greases, oils, waxes, and by cleaning, it will also clean away your shiny waxed ride, kind of ironic isn't it?
On average an insured detailer will charge anywhere from 200-300$ for this type of service. The problem here is that you now invested quite of bit of money for a few weeks of shine, reapplication of wax is too time consuming due to the frequency needed, do you really want to apply it every few weeks? Every 2 months? Keep that in your mind when you're ready to invest. To add to this, waxes have virtually zero protection against acidic agents like bird droppings/tree sap one of the biggest enemies to your paint finish in the Pacific Northwest. Theses contaminants merely need a few hours or so to leave behind damage to your clear coat, resulting in hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get it fixed. From what you can see the only real benefit of waxes in today's new world, would apply to a local car show event or a car up for sale just for that temporary shine. Is wax really worth your time & money?
Now let's shift gears and talk about ceramic coatings. Originally designed to help protect offshore oil rigs from the rough environment, ceramic coatings have grown in popularity and with further technological advances has allowed them to cross into the automotive industry. So popular the keyword “ceramic/coating” is used quite frequently in detailing products.
In comparison to waxes a true ceramic coating covalently bonds to the clear coat surface, this means it actually becomes part of the clear coat by sharing electrons and is not easily removed unless it's polished or sanded off. This is the reason coatings last years, not weeks. It gets better, coated vehicles are super easy to clean & stay cleaner longer are, most dirt and grime can be hosed off! The hydrophobic properties allow dirt to become encapsulated and slip off paint/glass/wheels/plastics/fabrics! YES! You heard that right, ceramic coatings can be applied to all areas of a vehicle not just paint. Continuing they provide uv protection as well as chemical resistance against agents like tree sap/bird droppings. This is another great attribute; with ceramic protection your clear coat has a standing chance against paint etching saving you a trip to the Bodyshop. Lastly the most unique aspect of professional grade ceramic coatings is the deep lovely shine that it produces, it reveals the true colors of your paints finish.
Colors are much more rich and vibrant, you will definitely stand out everywhere for years to come.
Considering the many advantages ceramic coatings have, it does come at a price. A typical professional grade ceramic coating install varies from $400-$2000 depending on the areas you wish to protect, year/make/model as well as the duration of the coating itself. If it Looks like a big number try factoring in how many $250 wax services would you need to pay to equivocate to the duration of a coating? Well say the duration of “super wax” is 2 months X 6 = $1500 of wax services. If put in this perspective you can see the long term money benefits out way the initial cost, not to mention all the additional protection coatings offer. Once you invest at The Auto Barber you receive much more than just the ceramic coating , our aftercare services are excellent! All questions are answered in less than 24 hour! We pride ourself in top quality service. Your paying for the best.
As far as negatives go, here is the main one. Maintenance, although maintenance is greatly cut down you still need to wash your car frequently! A good rule of thumb is biweekly, but it varies with climate/seasons. We try our best to pair our services with what we believe would be best for them. A few questions to ask yourself. How do you maintain your vehicle? Is it hand washed every week, even in the winter? If so, you would be a great candidate for a top of the line coating, this will not only make your maintenance much easier, but you will be rewarded with a coating that offers years of good service. And yes, you must wash your car during the winter, this is actually the time of year that your vehicle gets the dirtiest. Ceramic coatings don't like to be dirty, they like to be clean and will perform their best when nothing is clogging it. If you're not the OCD maintainer of vehicles and your car is getting daily driver duty, we will usually recommend one of our entry level or mid-grade ceramic coatings, this will cost less money up front and you will have set a proper expectation that you want to maintain your vehicle but it's better to bring it back every year or even every 2 years to have the finish polished again and a new application of ceramic coating applied. Having ceramic protection is great, but if you don't maintain the finish at all it could be wasted money.
Hopefully this has been insightful. We truly want to educate you right from the start. This has been a huge blog we’ve been meaning to write, as this is our most popular service. Whether you just bought a new vehicle and are looking for long term car protection or you just want to have a shine that last The Auto Barber is the place to go for car protection