There are many things that can ruin your car’s paint—from the harsh UV rays, acid rain, dirt, and even bird droppings. These contaminants can damage your car’s exterior paint. Read our Guide to Removing Ceramic Coating from Your Car:
Many car owners rely on ceramic coating to protect a car's paint. This coating forms a semi-permanent bond on a car's surface, protecting it from UV rays, birds dropping, dirt, grim and other contaminants that may damage its automotive paint surface.
While applying ceramic coating has been made easy by tools, supplies, and DIY techniques, many car owners still struggle with the removal process of nano ceramic coating from their cars. This article discusses three ways to remove ceramic coating from your car.
- Why Would you Want to Remove the Ceramic Coating From Your Car?
- Ways to Remove the Ceramic Coating From Your Car
- Reach Out to the Manufacturer of the Paint Protection Product
- Less than 3-Years Polishing
- Get Your Materials and Tools
- Give the Car a Thorough Wash
- Begin the Polishing Process
- More than 3 Years: Clay Bar and Washing
Many car owners remove the ceramic coating on their car to apply a fresh coat. Whether you are looking to apply wax paint on your car or use a more advanced nano-coating, removing the older layer on top is the ideal step to take.
Remember, ceramic coatings aren’t designed to last forever. The ceramic coating needs regular maintenance. These coatings will get old or worn due to regular washing. At this point, you may want to remove the older coating from your car and apply a new one to give it's exterior a newer look.
Here are some specific reasons car owners remove the ceramic coating from their cars.
Ceramic Coating Gone Wrong
As we mentioned earlier, ceramic coatings aren’t designed to last forever. Even the most professional ceramic coating that consists of 90%= SiO2 particles will wear over time, losing its sheen. If you decide to go for cheaper option, the coating will degrade faster, prompting you to consider reapplying a new one.
Want to know if your ceramic coating is failing? Check out these signs:
- Excessive accumulation of dirt and grime on your car surface
- Your car has begun to lose its luster
- The surface doesn’t appear sleek or slippery.
- You no longer notice water beads off. The surface stays wet when it encounters water
- The surface feels sticky to the touch
Do you notice any of the signs above? If yes, there is a huge chance that your ceramic coating isn’t functional. However, these signs could result from dirt on your car. So try washing your car. If you don’t notice any significant changes, consider replacing the coating to ensure that your auto's paint is well protected.
Yes, ceramic coating is resistant to bird droppings, water, UV rays, and chemical attacks. However, like typical car paint, it isn’t resistant to scratches. Why? Because the ceramic layer is only a few microns thick, making it is possible for scratches to penetrate the clear coat and leave unpleasant marks.
Are there scratches, swirl marks, dents or dings on your car? Or has it undergone paint transfers? If so, it may need some body work and paint correction. In such cases, you’ll have to remove the ceramic coating and reapply a new one after the bodywork or power polishing is done.
Botched Ceramic Coating Application
Installing ceramic coating on your vehicle is not easy. There are many ways you can ruin the process. This is common with DIY'ers who lack experience and knowledge of how it is done.
- Here are common errors people make when installing ceramic coating:
- Failing to clean and decontaminate the surface appropriately
- Applying excess or too little product and not spreading it properly across the car’s surface
- Forgetting to wipe off the coating after it flashes
- Failing to wait for the coating to cure before driving off
Though minor, these mistakes can ruin your ceramic coating. In addition, they can lead to issues like high spots, trapped dirt and contaminants, uneven thickness, and numerous other defects that spoil the exterior appearance of your car.
While a bad ceramic coating job won’t damage your paint, it’ll make the coat less effective, exposing it to potential contaminants. The worse part? Once the ceramic coating dries, wiping it off becomes difficult.
Always ensure that you install the ceramic coating appropriately. If you are a newbie and aren’t sure of your expertise, take your car to a professional who will do the job right.
Ceramic coatings can be easily removed using many techniques. Unfortunately, it is hard to determine the perfect or correct method for doing this, especially when you don’t know the condition of the coating.
For the best results, the method you use should be based on the following:
- The type of coating used-Opti-coat Pro, Opti-Coat Pro Plus...
- Length of application
- The product you intend on applying after removing the old coating
With these in mind, you should also note that removing ceramic coating depends on a variety of factors, including:
- Your comfort level
- Experience with advanced paint correlation methods
- Surface in question (be it a car’s exterior, plastic rim, glass, etc.)
Before you go ahead with any ceramic removal method, it is best to find out if the method will result in swirl marks or cause extra paint damage.
Here are 3 ways to remove the ceramic coating from your car.
Who manufactured the paint protection product used on your car? Is it company ABC? XYZ? If you know the type of coating used on your car, we advise you to contact the manufacturer and inquire about how to remove it. As the paint protection film product manufacturer, they should know how to remove their PPF using methods that yield the best results.
This approach doesn’t only apply to ceramic coating. If you use waxes, paint sealants, or ceramic pro coating sprays, you can also contact the manufacturer.
What if you used a ceramic coating like Armor Shield IX? In that case, we recommend trying one or all of the removal methods listed below. These methods are effective, and they come with zero side-effects. Plus, they were created based on the duration of the coating and not the specific brand or product.
Cars today are coated with the new ceramic coating, which can be difficult to remove. But, many professional detailers believe that using a polishing compound and orbital polishers can do the trick effectively. This is because it can cut deep into the hard coating until you arrive at the clear coating.
Unfortunately, there is a little problem with this method. While we can attest to its effectiveness, it is believed that this method isn’t suitable for novices, especially those with little polishing experience.
For the best results, many professionals often leverage cutting tools to remove ceramic coatings. Normally, they start with a medium-grit-cutting compound. When they are done, they go for lower versions, cutting through the coating until everything is off.
Again, this requires precision and polishing skills, which a typical novice lacks.
If you intend on using polishing compounds to remove the ceramic coating on your car, here are some tips to follow:
How old is your coating? Was it done less than 2 years ago? If yes, we advise you to start the process with a medium-grade polishing compound coupled with many microfiber cutting polishing pads.
Don’t forget to add a thin or finishing compound to the list, as you’ll need them for the final removal and preparation work.
Once you get all your materials ready, wash your car. For the best results, we recommend washing your car with a wax-stripping shampoo while using the two-bucket method. Doing this might loosen the coating. And even if it doesn’t, washing your car with stripping shampoo and the two-bucket method will rid the coating of any debris.
You can polish manually or with the aid of a polishing wheel. While the former is considered safer, the latter is usually faster and more effective.
Here is a step-by-step process on how to polish your car using a polishing wheel.
Step 1: Wash your car and rinse thoroughly.
Step 2: Attach a slightly damp pad to the polishing wheel and add little amount of compound on one body panel. Set the wheel to medium speed and start polishing. Ensure the spinning pad is parallel to the car's surface to prevent swirl marks. Apply gentle pressure on the machine while polishing, moving it slowly.
Step 3: After 3-4 minutes, turn off the polishing wheel. Next, rinse the foam pad with a pressure washer to ensure it doesn't get saturated.
Step 4: Remove the polish residue on the car’s surface using the inter-detailing 350 yellow plush clothes.
Step 5: Inspect your work using a torch.
The clay bar and washing technique is designed for car owners with high-quality ceramic coating (SiO2 percentage above 80). At this stage, the coating on the car should be thin, making it easier to remove.
You can start the process by washing the car using wax-stripping car shampoo.
Here is the process in detail.
Step 1: Wash Your Car Using a Wax-stripping Car Shampoo
Again, we recommend washing your car with a wax-stripping shampoo while sticking to the common two-bucket method. Don't use dishwashing soap, as it will likely strip away your car's protective coat.
For those looking for a fast way to remove the coating without complications, we advise using a car wash with polishing abrasives. It's just like washing and polishing your car simultaneously.
Step 2: Carry out a Clay Bar or Clay Mitt Treatment
After washing the car, the next step is the clay bar treatment. This process involves using a high—quality clay mitt and a concentrated car wash shampoo lubricant.
Step 3: Rinse with Fresh Water and Dry with Yellow Plush Towels
As soon as you are done with the clay bar treatment, spray the car clean and dry thoroughly using a plush towel (Microfiber Towels). Next, apply an IPA spray for the final preparation before adding the new coating.
Ceramic coatings help preserve your car’s paint, protecting it from elements that may dim its sheen or make it appear less appealing. However, like other paint protection, your ceramic coating will wear or get old, prompting you to remove and replace it. When that time comes, it’s important you stick to the methods discussed above for the best result.
Colorado Clear Bra provides top quality ceramic coating services in the Denver Metro Area. Contact us today!