Best Ceramic Coating for Cars: Protect Your Car with a Glossy Finish

It's the invisible shield that works hard to keep your car looking good.

Best Overall

Griot's Garage 10978 3-in-1 Ceramic Wax

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Best Budget

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Spray Coating

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Honorable Mention

Chemical Guys HydroSlick SiO2 Ceramic Coating

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You spend a precious Saturday afternoon washing and waxing your car, only for it to get dirty the next time you roll out of the driveway. You can say goodbye to this frustration with a ceramic coating for cars. These detailing products may not be professional-level ceramic coating, but that doesn’t mean they can’t give you some noticeable benefits. They can make washing easier, prevent water spots, and protect your paint’s finish.

Car care manufacturers make sure there’s something for everyone. From the guy who wants to spend as little time or money as possible to the enthusiast who will happily spend all day on their routine, there’s a ceramic coating for you. So, are you a spray and wipe kind of owner, or are you looking for a multi-step system that gives you complete coverage?

Summary List 

Our Methodology

The team at The Drive gets that you want to keep your car looking its show-worthy best. When creating this list, I wanted to find ceramic coatings that the average vehicle owner could afford and use on their own. While they may not last for years like a professional ceramic coating, they can still enhance and protect your vehicle’s surfaces. I chose products from well-known car care companies with a reputation for consistent quality. I then looked for specific products that had ceramic additives and features. Finally, I choose ceramic detailing products that are hydrophobic, UV resistant, create a glossy shine, and are safe for use with other detailing products. The Drive’s Gear About page explains this methodology further.

Best Ceramic Coating for Cars Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall

Griot's Garage 10978 3-in-1 Ceramic Wax

See It

Best Budget

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Spray Coating

See It

Honorable Mention

Chemical Guys HydroSlick SiO2 Ceramic Coating

See It

Best Long-Lasting

Adam's UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit 9H

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Best Silicone

Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating and Surface Prep Bundle

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Best Wax Hybrid

Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax

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Our Verdict

My top pick for the best ceramic car coating is the Griot’s Garage 10978 3-in-1 Ceramic Wax because it is easy to apply and offers a wide range of protection while adding an attractive shine to your car. For a budget-friendly alternative, the Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Spray Coating makes it simple to add an extra layer of protection to your car. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: How long do ceramic coatings last?

A: A professional ceramic coating application can last two to five years, depending on the method and formula of ceramic coating used. Consumer-grade ceramic products typically last between six months and a year, depending on driving conditions and care taken during washing.

Q: How much should I expect to pay for a ceramic coating?

A: The most affordable and forgiving option is ceramic detailing products. A simple spray and wipe formula will be less than $20. A more formulated specialty coating will be slightly more expensive in the $30 to $60 range. Then there are ceramic detailing kits that are about $100 and come with multiple detailing products and accessories. The ceramic coating you buy will depend on your budget and the results you are looking for.

Q: Can you wash a ceramic-coated car?

A: You should not wash your car when you first have a ceramic coating applied. Wait at least a week for the coating to fully cure. Then you can then hand wash your vehicle out of direct sunlight with a gentle soap. Dry your vehicle post-wash to remove any remaining water droplets.

Q: Is ceramic spray better than wax?

A: A ceramic coating is better at protecting your car from bird droppings, tree sap, pollen, road grime, or UV rays. Wax is a natural material that’s susceptible to wearing away. A ceramic coating is a synthetic material that creates a chemical bond with your car’s paint, making it stronger and more durable.

Q: Will ceramic coating fill in scratches?

A: Technically, yes. A ceramic coating will fill in swirl marks and scratches because it is a liquid that will seep into these voids in your paint. However, a ceramic coating will not repair the scratches in your paint. So, unless the damage is micro-small, it’ll still be noticeable post ceramic coating application. Sometimes defects in your paint become even more pronounced after a ceramic coating.

Q: How do you tell if a car has been ceramic coated?

A: If you just bought a brand new car, it probably isn’t ceramic coated unless you specifically paid for this service during purchase. If you bought a used car, spray the car with water and then drive it. The water will gather and stream off the vehicle if it has a ceramic coating.

Q: What happens when ceramic coating wears off?

A: You won’t see your ceramic coating peeling or chipping off. Similar to wax, it simply wears thinner and thinner until it completely wears away. The coating’s ability to repel water and shed dirt decreases as the coating wears. Eventually, you’ll have to get the coating redone.

What should I consider before buying a ceramic coating?

A: Vehicle Condition: A ceramic coating will only enhance and protect your vehicle’s current look. This means it is not a solution for restoring or repairing the look of your car. A ceramic coat can sometimes enhance the blemishes and marks, making them more noticeable. If you have a new car, a ceramic coating is a smart choice because it will help your paint retain its like-new finish for longer. However, if you have an older car, you’ll want to do some work to fix the paint before applying your ceramic coat. 

Application Method: Professional quality ceramic coatings should be applied by a professional. If you do not have experience with these types of products and chemicals, you risk a lot by attempting to DIY them. This often results in paying thousands to a professional to sand down the messed-up coating and redo it. Instead, opting for a consumer-grade product is a much safer way to go. While you sacrifice longevity and durability, they are much more user-friendly. Consumer products typically have a spray and wipe process that is similar to wax. However, there are some more labor-intensive systems. Only consider these if you are willing to take the time to follow the steps. If not, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for. 

Protective Qualities: The most common quality a ceramic coat product has is hydrophobic or an ability to repel water. This is good for protecting your car from acid rain and hard water. However, it shouldn’t be the coating’s only benefit. Tree sap and bird droppings will eat away at your clear coat, so look for a coating that makes it easy to rinse these off. In addition, UV rays will fade your new paint, especially if you live in a climate with a lot of sun or park your vehicle outside. A ceramic coating with UV-resistant qualities can help slow this process down.

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Andra DelMonico has dedicated her writing career to sharing her passion for cars and motorcycles. She has 15 years of experience owning, riding, and working on both sportbikes and cruisers, at one point rebuilding her Kawasaki ZX14. She also has a fully modified Toyota XRunner. As a young girl, she would routinely attend classic and high-end car shows with her father, who she credits with instilling her passion for automobiles. As a writer, Andra has utilized her knowledge and passion to write compelling and detailed content for a wide variety of automotive and motorcycle industry clients.