How to Clean and Care for a Ceramic Coating
Having a ceramic coating added to your vehicle is a great investment that can help to protect your car’s paint from scratches, insect acid, and the sun’s harmful UV rays for years to come. However, in order to ensure the longevity of your ceramic coating’s protective qualities, you will need to take proper care of it. Yet, this is not as simple as merely taking your car to the gas station car wash. Ceramic coatings require special care and maintenance in order to ensure they stay in good shape and last as long as possible. In order to help you protect your investment, here is a look at tips on how to properly clean and care for your XPEL FUSION PLUS ceramic coating.
Let The Coating Cure
If you are planning on adding a ceramic coating to your car, or you just recently had one installed, it is critical that you give the coating time to cure. After installation, these coatings will take a few days to cure and harden. During the curing process, it is critical that you try not to touch the coating and that you do not do anything that may disrupt the curing process. In fact, you should not even wash your car for at least a week after installation.
While this may seem counterintuitive, as you will likely be tempted to wash your car to get any dust and grime off of your new ceramic coating, it is critical that you do not do anything that may disrupt the curing process. Your ceramic coating installer will likely give you instructions on how to care for your car during the curing process, and it is imperative that you abide by these instructions in order to avoid causing damage to your new coating.
Clean Your Car Weekly
Of course, once your ceramic coating has cured, it is essential that you establish a cleaning regimen. While your ceramic coating will go a long way in protecting your car from contaminants, this does not mean that you can neglect maintenance. In fact, washing your car at least every other week will be critical in preventing dust, dirt, and debris from building up on your ceramic coating.
If you allow your ceramic coating to become caked with debris, this will decrease its hydrophobic properties. Additionally, certain contaminants can eventually begin to deteriorate the coating. Washing your car regularly will help to protect the coating and extend its life. Even if you store your vehicle under a cover and do not drive it very frequently, you should still wash it on a regular basis as it will still collect debris over time.
Do Not Go to Automatic Car Washes
One of the most important things that you can do to protect your investment and ensure the longevity of your ceramic coating is to avoid automated car washes. While automated car washes, whether you drive through them yourself at the gas station or they are part of a full-service carwash, are a convenient and affordable way to keep a car clean, they are also one of the easiest ways to ruin a ceramic coating.
The fact is that automated car washes are designed to be economical and efficient; they rarely have quality in mind. This means that they often use aggressive, industrial detergents that, while effective at quickly cleaning a wide range of cars, can be highly corrosive and detrimental to cars with ceramic coatings. Additionally, the components in automated car washes are built for longevity, not soft cleaning. The brushes and curtain rags these car washes use can be abrasive and may end up damaging your car’s coating.
Ultimately, once you have a ceramic coating added to your car, it is best if you avoid car washes altogether. While paying someone else to wash your car is convenient, you can never be sure of the quality of the materials they use. Even places that offer hand washing services may still use cheap detergents, and you never know whether their rags/towels are contaminated with dirt from other vehicles. Washing your car by hand will be the best way to protect your ceramic coating and make it last longer.
Invest in Quality Cleaning Products
As we previously alluded to, the quality of products used when washing your car is essential when you have a ceramic coating. The fact is that many low-quality car wash soaps contain harsh chemicals that can damage or dull a ceramic coating. You should then invest in high-quality cleaning products for your car that are designed with ceramic coatings in mind. XPEL recommends the use of their Rinse Free Car Wash, washing from the top down to avoid cross-contamination. At the very least, you should be using an automotive pH-neutral car shampoo that does not contain harsh chemicals or added wax. You can then finish your car washes with a detail spray and a ceramic boost for further protection and added gloss.
Avoid Washing Your Car in Direct Sunlight
When washing a car with a ceramic coating, it is also critical that you avoid doing so in direct sunlight. If you are in direct sunlight, soap and water on your car will dry faster than you can wash it away, which can leave streaks and water spots behind. For best results, wash your car in the shade. You should also avoid the hottest part of the day during the summer. Generally, dawn and dusk are considered the best times of day to wash a car.
Use Separate Buckets and Mitts for Wheels
Tires and wheels collect small abrasive debris from the road when you drive. They can also collect brake dust, which is essentially small, metal shavings. It is then essential when washing a car that you use separate buckets and mitts for washing your tires and wheels. This is particularly critical when you have a ceramic coating on your car, as debris from your wheels that gets caught in your cleaning mitt could end up damaging your ceramic coating.
Ultimately, caution is critical when caring for your car’s ceramic coating. While a ceramic coating can go a long way in protecting your car’s paint job, these coatings are not invulnerable. You should then take steps to protect your car’s ceramic coating in order to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.
Feel free to contact us for additional advice on how to clean and care for your car’s ceramic coating.