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[2023] Ceramic Coating or Wax - Which is Right For You? | Ceramic Coating by Kings Valet

I prefer FULL transparency upfront - Kings Valet only installs Ceramic Coatings. With that said, one thing we recognize is that Ceramic Coating is not the right fit for everyone and wanted to provide an honest look at both options.

Ceramic Coating Vs Wax

Are you torn on which investment to make - Ceramic Coating versus Wax? You are not alone! Many of our clients ask the differences and for guidance when they make initial calls or quote requests to us. It is important to note, when I am discussing Ceramic Coating I am referring to professional versions; Not DIY or Auto Dealership versions.

What is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic Coatings bond with your vehicle's clear coat and form a long lasting, high gloss "Nano Coat" barrier. Ceramic Coatings repel water, environmental factors and even prevent lackluster. It protects, enhances and strengthens one of your most valued investments. Ceramic Coating's properties make it VERY easy to clean and maintain. The main component people focus on in Ceramic Coating is SiO2 (Silicone Dioxide). This is where a Ceramic Coating gets its "hardness" or "scratch resistance".

Best Ceramic Coating in Indiana - Kings Valet. Ceramic Coating Applied to a 2022 Charger.
Ceramic Coating Applied to a 2022 Charger by Kings Valet

What is Wax?

Wax is the original version of paint protection. Wax has been around since the horse and carriage days. Certainly some upgrades have been made along the way; considering the original "wax" was animal fat. Could you imagine the smell? Oooof. Maybe this is why a common additive in wax today is a sweet smell. Wax is typically composed of a blend of carnauba wax, mixed with other waxes and will sometimes also include petroleum distillates.

Application Method for Ceramic Coating:

Kings Valet includes a thorough process prior to the actual application of Ceramic Coating. This includes a 26-point exterior detail, buffer applied polish (+ paint correction if needed) and panel prep (isopropyl alcohol bath). More information on this process can be found here. After this preparation Ceramic Coating is typically applied by hand in a cross hatch pattern. Kings Valet uses the block method which is a suede applicator attached to a block applicator. A full panel will be wiped vertically then horizontally. Ceramic coating is allowed to "flash" (turn rainbow color) and then hand leveled with a high GSM microfiber towel. Typically done with multiple towels in a very short "working window" (this is the tricky part of Ceramic Coating Application). Another method available is by spraying the product. Leveling is still required after spraying. This is typically only used on industrial equipment.

Application Method for Wax:

Wax comes in many forms, here we will stick to the two many application methods; spray wax and hand applied wax. Spray wax can be applied to a wet or dry surface - typically people will spray onto the wet surface after cleaning. Then you simply dry the car and there is a very thin layer of lower quality wax. Higher quality waxes are hand (or buffer) applied. With this method the vehicle needs to be completely dry. The wax is in a paste or thicker liquid form and would be put onto an applicator pad. Apply wax to the entire vehicle, then buff off with a high quality microfiber.

Ceramic Coating or Wax
Wax Being Applied to a Car - Photo Credit: Wix

Turnaround Time Ceramic Coating:

Kings Valet can Install Ceramic Coating on your new car in about 24 hours. This includes any add-on packages (like interior coatings), paint correction (if needed) and cure time.

Kings Valet has a general 3-24-7 rule. The vehicle can be driven after 3 hours, can get wet after 24 hours and can be washed after 7 days. We allow all of our coatings to cure for 8 hours (minimum) at above 55 F. This is why we hold vehicles overnight. All Ceramic Coating Appointments are scheduled for 8am drop off and pick-up of your vehicle can occur anytime after 9am the following day. If bad weather arises we store up to 3 days after completion at no charge.

Turnaround Time Wax:

With Wax - the vehicle is ready for use immediately. Application of spray wax takes no more time than a normal wash would. Application of hand wax only adds about an hour to the wash process.

How Long Does Ceramic Coating Last:

While many shops offer varying longevities of Ceramic Coatings - Kings Valet ONLY installs a Lifetime Ceramic Coating. This Lifetime coating is backed by a No FIne-Print Lifetime Promise, a 200% Money Back Guarantee and FREE Maintenance for Life. This is the type of value you won't find anywhere else.

LIFETIME Ceramic Coating Applied to a New SUV. High Gloss and Easy Clean Paint Protection
LIFETIME Ceramic Coating Applied to a New SUV by Kings Valet.

How Long Does Wax Last:

Wax longevity can vary - but doesn't exceed about 3 months. Spray waxes typically last until the next time it rains or is washed. Hand wax will usually last about 2 months if washed minimally. The more washes (or rain / snow storms) a vehicle is put through, the faster the wax wears off.

Cost of Ceramic Coating:

Cost of Ceramic Coatings vary shop to shop. Rule of thumb is that a professional coating should NOT cost less than $1,000 for a multi-year (3+ year) coating installation. Here at Kings Valet you could expect to invest about $1,350 in your Lifetime Ceramic Coating. An estimate is provided here just to keep it brief. Kings Valet transparently posts EXACTLY what you will pay for your coating based on vehicle size on their Lifetime Ceramic Coating Page. The price list for all sizes and add-on options is towards the bottom.

Cost of Wax:

Annual Cost of wax being applied professionally (by hand or buffer) is around $600 for a sedan. Typical cost of a full exterior detail is around $150 and would include hand waxing. These details need to be completed at each change of the season (4x a year).

How to Clean Ceramic Coating:

The Two Bucket Method is the preferred method. We wrote an extensive guide on the two bucket wash method here. You can also use automatic touch free washes like those provided at American Classic Car Wash. Only the basic level of wash (rinse, soap, rinse and dry). You can apply Ceramic Toppers after either wash type, but it isn't required. The only big no-no is going through any brush based car washes (like drive and shine).

2022 Tesla Model Y with Lifetime Ceramic Coating from Kings Valet
2022 Tesla Model Y with Lifetime Ceramic Coating from Kings Valet

How to Clean Wax:

A Standard two bucket method is suggested for wax as well. Please note any aggressive soaps will strip wax (especially soaps like dawn). Even using a pH neutral soap (less aggressive) still greatly reduces the life of wax. This reduction in lifespan is not because of the pH neutral soap itself, but the washing involves a wash mitt - IE abrasion. Wax has very little "hardness" meaning any abrasion will began to remove it.

So... Ceramic Coating or Wax?

As always I try to leave this open-ended and merely present facts. I think we can all agree on the cost advantage over the life of your vehicle going to Ceramic Coating. While less upfront - wax will cost $6,000 over a decade compared to less than $1,500 with Ceramic Coating. Ease of maintenance goes to Ceramic Coating. Protection level is in favor of Ceramic Coating. Turnaround time is certainly in favor of Wax.

Tesla Model 3 with Paint Correction + Ceramic Coating Applied by Kings Valet.
Tesla Model 3 with Paint Correction + Ceramic Coating Applied by Kings Valet.

The short and direct answer is that it depends on your needs. Do you have a show car that only comes out twice a year? Wax is probably your best option. Are you looking for easy clean, high gloss and protection from mother nature on your new Tesla? Ceramic Coating is likely the better fit. As mentioned at the opening of this post Kings Valet Strictly Installs and Maintains Ceramic Coating. If you are looking for wax there are plenty of great detailing shops in the Michiana Area. To get prices or book a Ceramic Coating simply Click Here.

As always I hope you have an amazing day! Have a question about something I haven't covered in our blog or on our website? Someone else likely has the SAME question(s) so please... Email Me!

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