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Ceramic coating vs products; are the higher costs of these products justified? If you care about your car, ceramic coating it or using expensive ceramic products on it has crossed your mind. Remember when you used to go to the grocery store and you would find a small number of products that were “organic”. There might be some produce in one section or some granola or something. The point is you rarely saw the term, and “organic” products often came at a huge premium price over non-organic. Back then the term was strictly applied to products or items which met stringent criteria on how they were grown or developed. Today the term “organic” is used much more broadly as companies have learned they can charge much more for something if the buzzword “organic” is attached. Often these companies do not meet the original stringent requirements that the term required. It’s just easier to charge more and claim to be “organic”.

The “Ceramic” Scam: All those expensive Ceramic Products

When you are considering between ceramic coating vs products, you have to remember one thing. The automotive industry is playing out its own version of the “organic” scam with the term “ceramic”. If you go to Walmart and check out their automotive supplies section you will find an ever-increasing number of products which claim to be “ceramic”. My personal favorite is the ceramic wheel cleaners and even wheel shine. Finally you have scratch protection for your rubber tires! Well, not really. What you have is an industry that has realized that “ceramic” is a buzzword that allows manufacturers to charge significantly more money for nearly identical versions of their existing products. Take a look at the photo of the two Armor All car wash concentrates. The one on the left is the standard car wash that they have been selling for years and on the right is their new “ceramic” version which sells for more than twice the money and is green instead of orange. Is it truly ceramic? They claim that is has an acrylic component in it and that they are in the process of getting a patent on it. The acrylic part of it is at least accurate in that true ceramic coating (what they are trying to suggest they can replicate) is an actual acrylic that is hand applied to automotive surfaces using special sponges.

What is real ceramic coating?

True ceramic coating was developed by a student at Oregon State University. Ceramic coating is a liquid acrylic that can be applied to an automotive surface and when it is fully cured will do two things: 1) it has significant hydrophobic qualities which is a fancy way of saying it repels water, and 2) it is several times harder than your cars clear coat. This is the huge difference between all these expensive “ceramic” products and real ceramic coating. In fact real ceramic coating is given a hardness rating (initially 9H which corresponded to a strength averaging 9x what your clear coat strength was, now 10H is also available) and what this means for the consumer is that real ceramic coating will greatly reduce the likelihood of getting scratches on your paint. Ceramic coating started out being put on super-cars so they would never scratch. Over time the price point came down a little and now it is not uncommon for auto enthusiasts to use it on more normal cars.

Ceramic Coating and Ceramic Products Transparency

I want to make it very clear. I have used many of the “ceramic” products that the manufacturers are putting out now. I’m a fan of many of these manufacturers products but I am not a fan of what I consider to be bogus “ceramic” products. Sure, they might repel water and dirt like crazy, but then so will a normal spray wax. The manufacturers will claim that their ceramic products will last much longer than a normal wax. Maybe but please tell me what the hardness rating is on your “ceramic” car wash. Oh, that’s right it doesn’t have one. That’s the point I am trying to make. Using the term “ceramic” to somehow imply that your car wash does the same thing as a real ceramic coating is just wrong and there is no way to justify charging two and three times as much as you charge for your nearly identical other products.If you want to take care of the paint on your car and you are not a professional detailer here are some things you can do.1. Do not go through a machine car wash. Most of the scratches people have to contend with are caused by machine washing. Hand wash the car yourself if you can.2. Clay the paint at least 4 times per year. 3. Just use a good spray and dry wax to finish your car. 4. If you want to have the full benefits of a ceramic coating on your car, get it properly ceramic coated. Then you don’t need any over-priced products to keep it looking nice. So to answer the question “Ceramic Coating vs Products” the answer depends on how good of a job you want to do.

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