Less Work, Longer Shine? See How Ceramic Products Can Protect Your Ride This Winter
A new category of products is nudging traditional waxes and polishes to the side--and making the job easier for drivers to keep their vehicle looking great throughout winter.
Carnauba and silicon products have been a staple of car pros for years. They are known for keeping your vehicle looking great by providing a layer of protection between environmental contaminants and your vehicle’s surface.
Enter ceramic-based waxes and polishes. They can extend the life of your wax application and save you some elbow grease as well.
“The main benefits of using ceramic coatings are fairly straightforward,” Mike Phillips, Global Director of Training at 3D Products. “They will protect your car longer than wax or polish.”
Phillips has trained thousands of detailers on how to use ceramic products. The goal is to prevent dirt, grime, and stain marks from appearing on the paint job and ruining the clear coat.
Technically, ceramic-based waxes are man-made solutions that bond with the surface of your vehicle. They provide excellent hydrophobic characteristics and are easy to apply.
Ceramic-based solutions can prevent a stronger barrier to winter grime and summer sun compared to carnauba products. As a result, they help reduce staining and fading on your vehicle’s painted surfaces. They also increase the glossy nature of clear coat finishes--as if your vehicle just rolled off the factory floor.
“With a wax, it’s usually long gone after four or five washes,” Phillips said. “Ceramic coatings last longer on the surface and protect better. It creates more gloss, shine and clarity--that ‘glassy look’ that car lovers want.”
Ceramic wax products tout the inclusion of “silicon dioxide” (shown as SiO2). Found in quartz and sand, SiO2 helps with application and bonds to your vehicle’s painted surface. Ceramic waxes can withstand weeks or even months of abuse from winter road grime and summer heat.
In contrast, carnauba wax is a naturally occurring substance derived from the leaves of Brazilian palm trees (Copernicia prunifera). It is a commonplace, inexpensive product that provides a protective layer and high gloss.
Yet, carnauba typically requires regular applications--perhaps every month or two during sloshy winter or hot summer months-- to maintain its hydrophobic characteristics.
Detailing pros have the following suggestions and benefits of using ceramic-based waxes or polishes:
- Look for products specifically labeled “ceramic” (usually combined with the term “SiO2”) to provide the latest technology in auto surface protection.
- Extend the shine of your vehicle by weeks or longer, especially for vehicles left outside or driven daily in harsh summer or winter conditions.
- Choose the product that best suits your car care needs. For instance, you may find ceramic waxes in car wash solutions, or a spray-on wax and detailers for quick clean-up use on contaminants such as bird droppings or sap.
- Make sure to read application directions before applying ceramic wax. It is not necessarily the same as applying carnauba products.