How do you look after a car that's been ceramic coated?
Is it just a simple case of hosing it down?
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Ceramic coatings have been around for long enough that they're becoming increasingly popular among passionate owners who want to keep their shiny toys looking, well, shiny.
But once you've had a ceramic coating applied – either by a pro or yourself – then how do you best look after it? After all, a ceramic coating isn't bulletproof, and you can still damage your paint by using poor washing techniques
Here's how the experts at Gtechniq recommend washing a car that's been ceramic coated, but you can use it as a good guide for general car cleaning.
Don't wash it in bright sunlight – the shade is your friend as it stops soap suds drying before you can wash them off.
Get the wheels done first
Likewise, you'll want to start with your wheels – if they're covered in brake dust then use a decent wheel cleaner such as Gtechniq W6 Iron & General Fallout Remover, and spray an all-purpose cleaner into your wheel arches. Leave both to sit for about three to five minutes before hosing it all off. If your wheels and arches are still dirty, re-apply the same cleaners as before, but this time agitate it with a brush.
Time for foam
With your wheels done, it's time to get your bodywork spruced up again. If you have a foam lance then it's time to break it out and cover your car in suds – Gtechniq recommends their W4 Citrus Foam for this bit. Try not to eat it. If you don't have a lance then spray your car with the W5 Citrus All Purpose Cleaner. Leave either the foam or All Purpose Cleaner soap you've used on the car for up to five minutes then blast it off with a relatively high pressure hose.
Most satisfying part of cleaning a car? Pretty much
At this point your car should be pretty clean, but you may still have some mucky lower areas – in this case spray on a 1:5 diluted mix of the W5 Citrus All Purpose Cleaner directly onto the area and let it soak for two minutes and rinse clean.
Chances are you'll still have some pesky bug splats on your car, especially in summer. Let rip with some bug cleaner (such as Gtechniq W8 Bug Remover), leave it for three to five minutes and rinse off.
Now it's time to fill a bucket (complete with grit guard) with your preferred shampoo (such as Gtechniq Gwash) and another bucket with clean fresh water. Use a microfibre wash mitt to gently wash your car with suds, starting from your roof, bonnet and boot and work your way down. Use a side-to-side motion following the lines of the car, rather than a circular motion. Now's also the time to break out your tar remover to remove any baked-on spots of road goo.
Using two buckets will keep swirl marks at bay
With that done, it's time for another rinse to remove all the soap residue. Now grab a clean microfibre drying towel and lay it on your car, pulling it gently towards you. Do this all over your car until it's dry – don't leave it to dry in the sun because this can leave unsightly water marks. Gtechniq recommends never using a leather chamois to dry your car – they're too hard and harsh for modern paints.
The icing on the cake
Bosh. The good thing is this is all achievable on your driveway – you don't need a fancy covered valet bay
You might be tempted to down tools and call it a day, but there are a few more things you can do to really finish off your car. Grab some glass cleaner – such as Gtechniq's G6 Perfect Glass – to give your windows a streak-free shine (It’s also great for use round the house). You can also use this time to spray on a Quick Detailer spray for an easy gloss finish, and now's the moment to apply any tyre dressing for shiny black sidewalls.
Is that all?
Yes – you'll now have a lovely clean car and, most importantly, an intact ceramic coat.