Waxing the paint on your car is a necessary step to protect the finish for many years. The problem is that it is labor intensive, so most of us either pay someone else to do it or we don’t do it all. The other issue with waxing is that if you do it wrong (such as in the sunlight), the process can damage the paint in an irreparable way. Once your paint is damaged it requires cutting and buffing or even a full repaint. The automotive finishing industry has created a bajillion products to help solve this issue, and technology has helped create a new way to protect your vehicle’s paint – ceramic wax.
There are several types of ceramic wax, from the professionally-applied ceramic coatings to the DIY applied waxes. Professional ceramic coatings require special equipment to apply and cost between $500 and $2,000 depending on where you live and your vehicle. These coatings last for two to five years though some coating makers guarantee lifetime protection. These are not the kind of things you can apply in your driveway.
DIY ceramic coatings are often referred to as “Ceramic Waxes”, but there are different versions. Some are pure ceramic coatings and some are ceramics blended with wax coatings. These coatings can be applied in your garage or driveway and provide several months of protection. Using a blend of silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide, the spray coating bonds to the clear coat of your paint. Because it bonds to the clear coat itself, the coating does not wash away like carnauba-based waxes, which naturally wear away with rain, sunshine, and subsequent washings. Instead the ceramic coating lasts for months providing a strong barrier against UV rays and other elements that can dull your finish. Unlike waxes, ceramic coatings can be stacked up, meaning they will bond to themselves. This means you can simply reapply the coating at any time. This does two things – builds up the protection level while adding deeper shine.
Ceramic coatings are hydrophobic meaning they repel water and resist other chemicals. Water simply beads up and runs off keeping your car spot-free and clean. This makes washing your car easier.
How To Use Ceramic Wax
Waxing is an arduous task that takes a long time to do right. The beauty of a DIY ceramic coating is that you can apply it at home, whenever you want, and it takes minutes. Some ceramic coatings go on dry, while others require water, and some are formulated for both. Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax requires water to apply to your vehicle’s finish.
- Step 1 – Wash your vehicle as you normally would. Make sure you use a good quality soap and get into all of the nooks and crannies to make sure there is no dirt, grease, or residue on the paint.
- Step 2 – Rinse very well.
- Step 3 – While the paint is wet, spray the entire surface of the vehicle. You should do the entire car at once. Unlike waxes which require hazing and buffing, which means waxing one panel at a time, most ceramic coatings can be applied all at once.
- Step 4 – Dry the vehicle (if this is the initial coating). Once you have applied the coating, subsequent applications require spraying the coating with water to spread it and then drying the surface.
There are no top coats or other applications required, but your gloss and depth will increase with additional coatings of ceramic wax. The beauty of this product is that you can spot coat at any time if needed. That’s all there is to it. You have excellent protection in minutes and for a fraction of the cost of a professionally-applied ceramic coating.
Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to use Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Max Pixel.
A life-long gearhead, Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 4 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced.