After getting a ceramic coating, you probably want to maximize the effects you see. Still, you need to deal with a car that gets dirty as you drive it around. That leaves people wondering if they can go through a car wash with a ceramic coating on their vehicle.
Our detailing experts put together this guide to answer your questions and keep your ceramic coating safe.
Can You Go Through a Car Wash with Ceramic Coating?
You should never go through an automatic car wash when you have a ceramic coating on your car. It’s a quick way to ruin the coating and you’ll get undesirable results.
This has nothing to do with how water interacts with a car after a ceramic coating. Even though this coating makes your car hydrophobic, you can very easily wash your car. It has everything to do with the damages that happen during an automatic car wash.
If you go to a car wash that does everything by hand, then you’ll be fine. Still, the best results will come from washing your car yourself.
Reason to Avoid Automatic Car Washes with a Ceramic Coating
To better understand why you should go through a car wash, consider the following reasons.
They Use Recycled Water
Using recycled water will tear apart your ceramic coating. These coatings are sensitive and can only be treated with certain shampoos and products.
With recycled water, grime and contaminants are being recirculated and pelted into your car.
The Brushes are Too Abrasive
Another thing to avoid with a ceramic coating is too much abrasion. Since automatic carwashes prioritize speed, they use brushes that are too abrasive. This is how they can cycle cars through so quickly and make more money.
These brushes will damage your ceramic coating.
Brushes are Rarely Maintained
Furthermore, the brushes are typically not maintained as often as they need to be. They are probably embedded with dirt and debris that will be used to scrape away your coating.
Tips for Washing Your Car After a Ceramic Coating
Keeping your car clean becomes even more important after you get a ceramic coating. If you want to get the most out of your coating, you’ll need to follow these tips.
Avoid Automatic Car Washes
Just to reiterate, you should avoid automatic car washes altogether. They’re never a good idea when you have a ceramic coating.
Don’t Wash it Within 7 Days of Application
After applying the coating, don’t wash your car for at least 7 days. This gives the coating enough time to fully cure. The curing process is vital if you want to see great results and keep your paint clean.
Washing your car too soon can disturb the coating and rub it away in certain areas.
Wash it Frequently
A ceramic coating will protect your paint, but it won’t make your car immune to getting dirty. Dirt and debris will still cake on your vehicle as you drive it around.
The big problem is that this dirt can start to disrupt your ceramic coating if it’s left there for too long.
The best idea is to wash your car frequently — in fact, you should wash it even more frequently than you did before getting the coating.
Stick to Hand Washing
Hand washing will always get you the best results when it comes to caring for a ceramic coating. You can either use a foam cannon or just a series of microfiber towels.
Invest in High-Quality Towels and Mitts
To get the most out of each wash, you want to use the best products possible. In this case, you want to get high-quality towels and mitts.
These products come in contact with your car the most. If you go for the least expensive options, then you might ruin your ceramic coat and scratch your car along the way.
If you get high-quality options, then your car will get cleaner, your topcoat will be saved, and your ceramic coating will last longer.
Always Hand Dry After a Wash
After washing, you should always hand dry your car with clean, dry microfiber towels. Doing this will prevent water spots and will also remove the potential for hazing.
This will be easier for you since your car has a ceramic coating which makes the vehicle hydrophobic. Drying afterwards will be a cakewalk.
Use the Right Shampoo
The shampoo that you use is also critical. There are certain options on the market that are specifically for washing cars that have a ceramic coating.
In these options, the manufacturer avoids adding abrasives and different lubricants. As you probably know, adding an abrasive over a ceramic coating will ruin the coating and strip it away from your car.
Different lubricants can also do the same on a chemical level. If they don’t play nicely with ceramic coatings, you could be undoing all of your hard work.
If you’re in doubt, read the label of the shampoo. It should clearly indicate that it’s intended for use on a car with a ceramic coating. If it doesn’t say that, we don’t suggest using that shampoo.
Top Off the Coating
There are also quick ways to top off your ceramic coating without having to go through the whole process over again. These come in spray bottles that can be applied directly to your car. It fills the gaps in your ceramic coating and helps to extend the life of your coating.
This product will be marketed as a “SiO2” or “Ceramic Spray” product. After using it, you’ll notice that water beads up and rolls away again, just as it did when you first got the coating.
As you just learned, it’s never a good idea to go through a car wash with a ceramic coating on your car. Instead, stick to hand washing your car and make sure you do so frequently. Taking extra care will maximize the protection of your paint and make each ceramic coating last longer.
If you have more DIY detail questions, explore our website. We have plenty of content that’s aimed at answering your biggest detailing questions.