How long after ceramic coating can I drive my car?
The answer to this question will depend on the particular coating that you choose to have applied to your vehicle. It is important to distinguish between the coatings full cure time and the time in which the coating is safe to get wet. What is cure time? Cure time is the time it takes for your ceramic coating to reach its ideal hardness. Most coatings will harden to 9H on the mohs hardness scale. This cure time can range from a few hours to a few weeks. Some coatings even require professional grade heat curing lamps to speed up the curing process and ensure a proper bond. For example, modesta coatings require 15 minutes under IR curing lamps at 140 degrees and then an additional 24 hours of cure time prior to being exposed to the elements. Some coatings require additional layers. For example IGL coatings require a base coat with a 2 hour cure time and then a top coat with an additional 6 hour cure time. The general rule is your vehicle is safe to drive 24 hours after a ceramic coating is applied and it is safe to wash after 7 days. One of the reasons we choose to be an installer for SystemX ceramic coatings is due to its quick turnaround after application. It only requires 4 hours before being exposed to the elements. We at fort worth auto detail understand you are busy and your time is important. SystemX still does require a full 7 days before washing. If you have any questions or concerns about cure time please do not hesitate to contact us. With our 1700 sq ft shop we have plenty of room to store your vehicle as long as you would like.
How long does it take to ceramic coat a car?
This is going to vary based on a few factors such as the particular coating, skill level of the installer, number of installers, size of the vehicle, and more. When examining the whole process of installing a ceramic coating, actually applying the coating is a relatively small amount of time. The main proportion of time is spent on prepping the vehicle to get ready for the coating. Depending on the level of paint correction desired it is not unusual to spend 4 to 8 hours polishing the vehicle while actually applying the coating only requires 2 hours. The other important factor that will affect your time in applying your ceramic coating is going to be your particular coatings flash time. This is different from cure time as we previously discussed. When you are applying a ceramic coating most of them are applied in a cross hatch pattern in a 2 foot by 2 foot section. You apply a liquid to a foam applicator and work that liquid back and forth on the vehicle to ensure even coverage. Now the liquid is not actually the ceramic coating. The liquid is a carrier for the coating particles that bond to your clearcoat. Once this liquid begins to evaporate or “flash” you need to buff or more accurately level your coating to ensure that no high spots occur. This flashing of the coating again will vary by coating but it typically ranges anywhere from 10 seconds to 5 minutes. Obviously you are able to cover a much larger area if your flash time is 5 minutes versus 10 seconds. Typically the longer durability of a coating the shorter the flash time. Also professional grade ceramic coatings have much more unforgiving flash time windows, the length of time when the coating can be easily leveled, versus retail grade coatings which have a much longer window. Depending on all of these factors typically it takes about 1 to 2 hours to actually apply the ceramic coating to a vehicle.
How long does ceramic coating last?
Ceramic coatings have varying durability claims depending on the particular coating that you are using. First off we should distinguish between ceramic coating and ceramic spray coatings. Technically they are based on the same technology SiO2 or silica dioxide. However they have drastically different concentrations of ceramic in them and thus performance and cost is dramatically different. Ceramic spray waxes will contain anywhere from 5 to 30 percent SiO2 with the majority coming in at the 12 to 15% range. These typically come in bottles ranging from 16oz to 23oz and cost around $20 to $40. These only require a few sprays per panel and one bottle can be used for many vehicles. Now a ceramic coating will contain anywhere from 70 to 90% SiO2 and most will come in a 60ml bottle. Although it should be noted that a higher percentage of SiO2 does not automatically equal a better product. These can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 just for one bottle. Most bottles can only be used on one vehicle. As you can see in terms of size and cost these differ quite a bit. Now what do you get for the difference in price? A longer lasting better performing product hands down. Most ceramic spray waxes will last anywhere from 3 to 12 months while ceramic coatings depending on the particular coating will last anywhere from a year to 10 years. We here at Fort Worth Auto Detail offer professional grade ceramic coatings in 3, 6, and 10 year options. The 6 year is a great goldilocks option and our most popular choice, but it all depends on your needs. We are happy to walk you through all the options and what may be best for you.
How to remove ceramic coating?
Ceramic coatings are incredibly durable which is great as long as you want it on your vehicle. For whatever reason whether you have a high spot or you just want to remove your coating and apply a new one you decide you want to remove your coating, but how do you do it? First off you need to know that chemical removal is almost impossible. There are particular car soaps that are designed to strip old waxes and sealants off your vehicle. However the chemical resistance of ceramic coatings is going to make it nearly impossible to simply wash your vehicle and strip your coating. The only way to remove a ceramic coating is to polish the vehicle. While that may seem imitating to the novice, the good news is you do not have to wet sand your vehicle or polish with a rotary polisher, a microfiber pad, and an aggressive compound. Again like most things, this will vary from coating to coating as well as how long the coating has been applied to the vehicle. But in most cases a ceramic coating can be removed simply with a dual action polisher with a foam pad and a cutting polish. So once you properly clean the vehicle you, place around 6 pea sized drops of polish on the foam pad. Then in about a 2 foot by 2 foot section “stamp” the polisher in the designated section you will be polishing. Once the section has polish spread about it, turn on your polisher at the lowest speed setting. Quickly move the polisher around the area to further spread the polish, then return to your starting point. Now crank up the speed to about 3 or 4 on most polishers. Then slowly moving at about 1 inch per second move the polisher across the area. You will want to work in a crosshatch pattern moving horizontally then vertically. Being sure to overlap by about 50% of the previous pass. Once this is complete wipe down the area with an IPA (isopropyl alcohol) spray and a plush microfiber towel. Now theoretically your ceramic coating should be removed but how can you tell if you can’t see it? One of the main properties of a ceramic coating is its ability to repel water or being extremely hydrophobic. So one test we can do is to spray with water the area you just polished. See if you can tell a difference in water behavior in the area versus the surrounding areas. If there is no change then you may need to move to a more aggressive pad and polish combination and repeat the process. If there is an obvious change then move on to the next section and continue removing your ceramic coating. If this seems like a long tenuous process that’s because it is. Polishing is as much art as it is skill. If you would rather not deal with something like this bring it to us at fort worth auto detail. We have years of experience, the best equipment, certifications, and dozens of 5 star reviews so you can leave the hard work to us. Once we remove your coating we can always replace it with our professional line of ceramic coatings that come in 3, 6, or 10 year options. Let us know how we can best serve you today!