Should You Pay for a Dealership Ceramic Coating?

Should You Pay for a Dealership Ceramic Coating?

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We’re starting to see a trend in the car industry where dealerships are offering a ceramic coating add on when you purchase a new car. Should you fork over your hard-earned cash for a dealership ceramic coating? Let's dive into this glossy, slippery slope of a topic.


Should you ceramic coat a new car?

Imagine this: You've just bought a new car, and it's shining like a knight's armor under the showroom lights. The dealer, sensing your awe, swoops in and offers a ceramic coating service. It might seem tempting to accept. After all, you want to protect your new investment. Putting a ceramic coating on a new car (even one that has perfect paint) is a great idea to keep it from the dangers of UV rays, dirt and bird droppings, and swirls. But the real question is, should you get it from the dealership or look elsewhere? Spoiler alert: Keep reading.


What is the difference between a dealership & detailer ceramic coating?

Dealerships and detailers offering ceramic coatings is like comparing fast food to a gourmet meal. Both will fill you up, but the experience and quality can be worlds apart. Dealerships often offer ceramic coatings as an add-on, focusing on volume over bespoke quality. On the flip side, professional detailers live and breathe car care. They take the time to apply coatings with precision, ensuring every inch of your car is protected. Plus, they're likely to use higher-quality products and offer more personalized service. 


What types of coatings do dealerships use?

Dealerships typically use ceramic coatings that are, let's say, more cost-effective for them. These coatings might do the job, but they're often not the top-shelf stuff that car enthusiasts rave about. Think of it as comparing boxed wine to a Château Margaux 1996. Professional detailers, however, have access to a variety of high-end coatings, from those that offer a wet look to ones that promise durability tougher than your grandma's fruitcake. We have heard of many dealerships using a spray sealant that anyone can order from Amazon for $20 and calling it a “coating”. A true ceramic or graphene coating comes in a glass bottle and is higher priced and designed to last years not months like other paint protection products on the market. If you are pondering getting a ceramic coating at a dealership or a detail shop, ask them what brand of ceramic coating they may use. Do your research so you know more about what you are getting and what to expect.


Reasons not to pay for a dealership ceramic coating:

There are a few reasons you might want to think twice before agreeing to a ceramic coating at the dealership:


  1. Quality and Longevity: Dealership coatings might not last as long as those applied by a pro detailer. They may use ceramic coatings that last 1-3 years, whereas a detailer can offer 5-10 years of protection.
  2. Cost vs. Value: Dealerships often charge a premium for convenience. You might end up paying more for a product that's not top-tier. Many times this cost is rolled into the sales price of your vehicle and you could be paying this coating off for 5-7 years which is not the most financially sound way to do it.
  3. Application Expertise: Applying a ceramic coating is an art. Dealership technicians may not have the same level of training and passion as dedicated detailers.

Are dealerships certified and trained in ceramic coatings?

While some dealerships have trained staff, the level of expertise can vary widely. If you are set on getting a ceramic coating at the dealership, make sure you ask the right questions: “How much experience does your detailer have? What brand of coating will you use, and how long does it last? Will you be doing a paint correction or just apply the coating?” Asking these questions can give you peace of mind that the dealership knows what they are doing. 


Pro detailers on the other hand, usually have a certification and extensive training to make sure your vehicle gets quality treatment.


Can I ceramic coat my own car?

If you are looking for quality, but don’t have the money to pay for a coating from a pro detailer you can always go the DIY route. Here’s how:


  1. First you will need to wash and decontaminate your paint. You never want to apply ceramic to dirty paint, because everything will get trapped underneath. Use a quality soap to wash, and then clay bar your car to remove contaminants.
  2. Thoroughly dry your car. Water doesn’t play well with ceramic.
  3. Apply a ceramic sealant to your vehicle per the product instructions.
  4. Wait 12-24 hours for the ceramic to cure before getting your car wet. After that, you are good to go! 



So, should you pay for a dealership ceramic coating? If you're after convenience and are okay with a decent level of protection, then sure, it's an option. But if you're looking for the best protection for your vehicular baby, seeking out a professional detailer might be the way to go. After all, your car is more than just a mode of transportation; it's a statement. And wouldn't you want that statement to be as polished as possible?

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