You may have heard the “wonders” of ceramic coatings and may have even heard detailers claim that their ceramic coatings are scratchproof.
But is this claim really true? Or are they just part of a slick and shiny marketing gimmick?
YES, THEY PROVIDE A CERTAIN RESISTANCE TO SCRATCHES!
Note that we say “a certain resistance” and not “scratchproof”.
Ceramic coatings can indeed protect against some scratches. And we’re talking about the light kind of scratches here.
Perhaps you accidentally put your car too close to some shrubs. Or the neighbourhood cat likes sleeping atop a warm bonnet.
In that context, yes, the 9H ceramic coating can be considered “scratchproof”.
WHAT ABOUT RESISTANCE TO SWIRL MARKS?
With a ceramic coating on your car, it is tempting to perhaps visit your neighbourhood petrol kiosk for a quick car wash again.
After all, that ceramic coating does seem pretty tough. So, will it be scratchproof in this case?
Well, with a proper washing technique (two-bucket method), it is unlikely that you will be able to mar the finish.
So yes, you can get away with going back to a petrol kiosk for a car wash. But don’t do it too often. Even 9H coatings don’t last forever.
CAN THE CERAMIC COATING WITHSTAND ROCK CHIPS?
Here is where you might hit the coating’s limits. Ceramic coatings are scratchproof to a certain extent. Maybe if it’s just loose gravel and it doesn’t hit your car body at high speed, sure.
But bigger pebbles or even rocks will damage your paintwork. Ceramic coating or no, if the rock or object is large enough, the damage will be done. And it will be quite visible, too.
ALL RIGHT, WHAT ABOUT BIRD POOP THEN?
Ah yes, every detailing enthusiast’s old enemy. Can ceramic coatings withstand “bird bombs”?
Yes. But again, only to a certain extent. Compared to waxes (even synthetic ones), the hardness of ceramic coatings provide a much more durable layer of protection against elements and contaminants.
But, if left to sit long enough and bake under the sun, it is possible for bird poop to cause some etching.
Ceramic coatings give you extra buffer or more time to get the stains out. But they are not a 100% protective layer and should never be treated as such.