Ceramic Coating – Does It Really Resist Scratch Marks and Swirl Marks?

Ceramic coating is widely regarded as the ultimate protection for the exterior surfaces of a car. It is marketed as being scratch resistant, water-repellent and UV protective but does it really live up to the hype? In this article we will be discussing the basics of ceramic coating and why it may not protect your vehicle completely from swirl marks and scratches. We will also be covering how to prevent and even fix swirl marks and scratches that occur on your vehicle. 

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Ceramic Coating: What Is It? 

A ceramic coating is a paint-like polymer that consists of a group of nano-sized particles. These tiny particles bind together to form a smooth, glossy finish that can be applied to the exterior of your car or truck. This finish can be applied to either the painted surfaces of your car or truck or to your wheels and trim pieces. Ceramic coatings are popular among car enthusiasts because of their high gloss shine, surface hardness and easy cleaning. Some of the most popular brands of ceramic coating include Modesta, Nanolex, CQuartz, IGL Kenzo and others. 

The biggest selling point of ceramic coating is that it will repel water and contaminants making them much easier to wipe off the surface. This is referred to as the hydrophobic property of the coating. Most people that have seen a ceramic coated car will immediately notice how the water sheets and rolls off the surface instead of soaking in. This is because the surface of the vehicle is hydrophobic. 

While this does make washing your car far easier, it does not completely stop your car from getting swirl marks or scratches from other sources. For example, if your vehicle is constantly driven on dirty roads it will most likely be covered in road grime, pollen, bird droppings and other pollutants that will cut into the clear coat of your paint. Likewise, if your vehicle is frequently washed with sponges and brushes that are not rinsed properly the coating will eventually wear down and leave behind light swirl marks or scratches. 

The best way to prevent these kinds of issues is by using proper wash techniques. Always use a microfiber towel to wash your car and always separate the buckets for the paint and wheels when hand washing your vehicle. Additionally, never use abrasive products on your vehicle such as clay bars or polishes. These will damage your ceramic coating. 

Another important thing to note is that ceramic coating can highlight existing swirls and scratches. This is because the hardness of a ceramic coating is lower than that of bare clear coat. Consequently, it will not protect your vehicle from deep scratches that will go through the paint and into the metal of the body. 

It is worth noting that there are some professional-grade ceramic coatings with a 10H hardness rating that are more durable than consumer-level 9H formulas. However, even these are not considered to be scratch-proof as they can still get scuffed and swirled by improper washing or aggressive rubbing.