Ceramic Coatings vs Wax Finishes

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Buying a new car is an exciting prospect. Everything must be taken into consideration, from the size of the engine and the manufacturer’s performance specifications to the layout of the interior, the colour of the paint work, and the feel we get when sitting in the driver’s seat.

At the point of purchasing the vehicle from the garage, we’re offered all sorts of extra insurance. Things like breakdown cover, courtesy car cover, lost keys cover … there’s a way for the insurance companies to make a pretty penny out of all of us if we’re eager to cover ourselves for every eventuality.

One of the things that we should all look into at the start of a long relationship with a new set of wheels is paintwork protection (see Avalonking’s excellent article on ceramic coating). Why do we need to protect our paintwork?

Because faded paintwork and chips and scrapes are perhaps one of the fastest ways to ensure that the resale value of your vehicle (years down the line) will reflect a below average market value. Remember, your car is new to you now, but in 3-5 years you may start to think about upgrading your aging vehicle.

Ensuring that the resale value is protected throughout your ownership means that you won’t be let down by the valuation on the day you come to trade or sell your car. That’s why we’re going to look at the difference between ceramic coatings and wax coatings.

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What is a ceramic coating?

Ceramic coatings may refer to a number of different ceramic products with similar protective properties. For example, you may have heard of silica, quartz, or silicone-dioxide treatments mentioned in relation to ceramic coatings.

Ceramic coatings require different amounts of time to apply, with some older paintwork that is in need of special care needing prep work that can push the time frames involved from 1 – 3 days. However, the increased durability and lifespan of ceramic coatings far outweighs the level of protection and the shelf life offered by waxing, which we’ll look at now…

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What is a wax coating?

Waxes provided a sacrificial barrier between your paintwork and the elements. Wax in itself is a solid that must be mixed with other solvents to create a fluid type of wax that is spreadable across the entire surface of your paintwork (do not think of wax in the same way that you might think of a surfer rubbing a solid block of wax onto a surfboard – when we talk about waxing cars, the material used can be thought of as more of an oily lubrication in spray, cream or paste form).

Wax is applied with an applicator pad. First, a layer of wax is added to the car, which must then be allowed to sit for up to 10 minutes to ‘haze’ (this is the proper terminology for ‘drying’ or ‘hardening’).

Once ready, the wax must be buffed with a microfibre towel. In general, car owners can expect to shop around for wax coatings that will last for up to six months.

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