What is Ceramic Coating for Cars?

Sea-Land Chemical Company |

The phrase Ceramic Coating has taken off in the car detailing world, but what is ceramic coating for cars? Ceramic coating is a protective layer between the car’s paint and the environment around it. Ceramic coatings can be done in a professional shop, at home or in a tunnel wash. These products can come in various forms, from concentrate to wet sprays; and can be purchased in many forms. Ceramic coatings for cars has replaced carnauba waxes and other polymer sealants to help protect the vehicle’s paint after cleaning.

What is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coating, in a professional detailing sense, is a semi-permanent nano-coating that provides a protective and hydrophobic clear coat for the vehicle’s paint. This coating is a paint treatment typically made from silicone dioxide and creates a chemical bond with the car’s paint to create a hydrophobic effect.

In a tunnel wash, this is a spray-on silicone that helps to keep the vehicle shiny and prevent water spots when drying. How long does ceramic coating last? Unlike a professional shop, the tunnel wash ceramic coating will not have long-lasting effects but is longer lasting than the standard tunnel wash treatment. Car wash users can benefit from longer lasting shine and protection when using a tunnel car wash with this offering.

Tunnel wash ceramic coating has chemical components different from the professional detailing version. This is because it must be sprayed through a nozzle in the tunnel wash. Also, unlike a professional detailer, a ceramic coating effect in tunnel wash does not get cured or chemically bond to the vehicle.

What Does Ceramic Coating Do?

Adding a tunnel wash ceramic coating will elevate the car wash experience providing your customer with a shine that lasts longer than traditional tunnel wash coatings. This coating can also make the next car wash smoother since it provides a minimal coating to the paint surface, protecting it from dirt and debris.  With increases in car wash usage and memberships consumers benefit from these addons.

Ceramic coating in tunnel car wash also can help prevent water spots when drying. These spray-on coatings have a hydrophobic effect with excellent beading and sheeting. This allows water to slide off the paint’s surface.

Generally, the ceramic coating received in a tunnel wash provides a week or two of protection, whereas a professional ceramic coating provides 2-5 years if properly maintained.

Additives For Your Tunnel Wash Ceramic Coating Product

The ceramic coating effect in a tunnel wash requires different chemistry than the professional ceramic coat. Because of the way it is applied, the tunnel wash ceramic coating effect needs to be able to be sprayed from a nozzle in the car wash. Additionally, this coating may need to be mixed with other chemicals in the car wash formulation. This adds a layer of complexity to ensure proper chemistry throughout the tunnel wash formulation.

The two products below will provide a quality ceramic coating effect in a tunnel wash.

  • TEGO® Polish Additiv Q 70 provides high gloss and hydrophobic effect benefits and can offer some protection to the vehicle. The Q 70 also provides excellent beading and sheeting to give the ceramic coating effect in a tunnel wash.
  • Tomadry™ C 340 is an 18% active cationic emulsion of pure carnauba wax. This product provides a thin layer of carnauba wax over the vehicle’s paint, resulting in a protective layer, a gloss, and a reduction in dirt pick-up.

Benefits of Ceramic Coating

There are a handful of tunnel-wash ceramic coating benefits. The most significant benefit is the shine it gives the vehicle. The ceramic coating effect from a tunnel wash keeps the paint looking shiny and new. Tunnel wash ceramic coating also allows for a temporary hydroponic effect to be applied to the vehicle. This allows water and debris to run off the vehicle easily. This hydrophobic effect also helps prevent water spots as the vehicle dries.

Disadvantages of Ceramic Coating

There are a few disadvantages to the tunnel wash ceramic coating. The first is that it does not provide a long-term coating. A professional ceramic coating will last 2-5 years, depending on the maintenance, while a tunnel wash ceramic coating is more of short-term and will need to be reapplied regularly.

Tunnel wash ceramic coating also does not provide a protective layer on the paint. It is a thin coating to help boost the visual of the car’s paint. This means it does not protect from any chips and scratches. The ceramic effect of the tunnel wash also does not help to protect the vehicle against UV rays like a professional ceramic coat would.

Is Ceramic Coating Worth It?

Is it worth the time and money? It depends on the consumer preferences. There are many different ceramic coating and ceramic coating effect options. A professional ceramic coating will provide a long-lasting coating, but it is also very expensive. A tunnel wash ceramic coating effect will provide a more cost-friendly option and keep the vehicle looking shiny and a like-new feeling.  The tunnel wash option will also provide a short-term hydrophobic effect and help to prevent water spots while drying.


There is much buzz around ceramic coating and its effects as well as where you can receive a ceramic coating. To recap, a ceramic coating effect in a tunnel wash provides a cost-friendly way to keep your vehicle looking shiny and new.  While less long-lasting than a professional ceramic coat, a tunnel wash ceramic coating effect can help keep a vehicle like new.

To learn more, visit Sea-Land’s car care page or talk to an expert.

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