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Getting your car ceramic coated is a pretty big expense for your budget, but luckily, there are some alternatives you can use to still offer your car’s paint fantastic protection against weather elements, UV rays, chemicals, and more. Here I think of consumer-grade ceramic coatings that anyone can buy and apply.
There are plenty of do-it-yourself ceramic coatings out there, and I decided to share my personal best with you. So I’m bringing you the list of the 5 best DIY ceramic coatings for cars.
Quick Takeaways If You’re In a Rush:
- Best Overall DIY Ceramic Coating: Gyeon Q2 MOHS EVO Ceramic Coating (buy now)
- Best Budget DIY Ceramic Coating: Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light Ceramic Coating (buy now)
5 Best DIY Ceramic Coatings For Your Car
Here are my top choices.
Gyeon Q2 MOHS EVO Ceramic Coating
As a car detailing enthusiast, I’ve been thrilled by the performance of Gyeon Q2 MOHS EVO Ceramic Coating (check price). In my hands-on experience, this product stands out due to its unique fluoro modified polysilazanes technology, a first in the car care industry. The benefits this brings are truly impressive, from superior durability and chemical resistance to astonishing ease of use.
The application process is smooth and effortless, and the resulting finish is not only slick and smooth but also incredibly resistant, bringing out a lasting, glossy shine on your car.
What impressed me further was the efficient use of this product. A 30ml bottle of Q2 MOHS EVO offers as much coverage as 50ml of the previous version. I’ve found this feature particularly handy, as it cuts down the application time and effort significantly, all while delivering superior performance.
And for those like me, who might not always have access to a garage, here’s some great news. The Q2 MOHS EVO can be applied outdoors. Just be sure to pick a day with stable weather conditions, steer clear of direct sunlight, and keep the freshly coated car dry for the first 12 hours.
- Its application is remarkably straightforward.
- It can be applied in outdoor conditions.
- It outperforms others on this list with its top-notch results.
- It stays haze-free and maintains a perfect shine, even after a year.
- Hydrophobic properties might fade over time
- It’s less resistant to bird droppings, so a regular car wash schedule is important
CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0 Ceramic Coating
Moving on to the next star on our list, the CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0 Ceramic Coating (check price). It boasts impressive performance figures, with standout features like increased resistance to salt buildup, chemical resistance ranging from pH 3 to 14, and extreme temperature tolerance.
The folks at CarPro believe in under-promising and over-delivering, and they’ve done just that with CQ.UK 3.0. Officially, they claim a real-world durability of 18-24 months, which is impressive by any standard.
What I genuinely appreciate is the effort CarPro has put into making this coating user-friendly. Despite being a high-performing product, CQ.UK 3.0 doesn’t require “lab-like” conditions for application. After additional development and testing, CarPro has ensured this ceramic coating can be applied comfortably in a wide temperature range – from as low as 3 to a scorching 40 degrees Celsius.
What’s more, they’ve retained the classic CQUARTZ UK wipe-on/wipe-off application, allowing you to buff it off immediately or after a few minutes, leaving a non-sticky surface.
- Fantastic value for price
- Delivers a remarkable shine
- Straightforward application when the paint is in good condition.
- Some users reported receiving “old” coatings that didn’t bond well
- Returns are not accepted
- Though it claims to last up to 24 months, some users reported it lasting only 6 months to a year.
Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light Ceramic Coating
The next ceramic coating that I’ve used is the Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light (check price). This product brings quite a few distinctive features to the table. First and foremost, it’s all about protection. This coating offers paint protection with impressive levels of gloss, durability, and resistance to scratches and chemicals.
One thing that caught my attention about this product was its efficacy. When compared to other ceramic coatings, Crystal Serum stands out. It forms a combined film that dramatically reduces surface hazing and improves gloss. This is something you can notice in the depth and clarity of the reflections on the coated surfaces.
Now, let’s talk about durability. Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light is regarded as one of the thickest and most durable true ceramic coatings in the industry. It’s so robust that if applied incorrectly, it can only be removed by sanding with a grit of 1,500.
However, do note that this is the prosumer version of the famous Gtechniq Crystal Serum. While it does offer 80% of the professional serum’s performance, it can be machine polished from your vehicle’s paintwork if applied incorrectly.
In terms of gloss, resistance to swirls, and contaminant and dirt repellency, the Gtechniq Crystal Serum and Crystal Serum Light offer considerable paint protection. However, despite its advantages, there are a few shortcomings.
- Relatively easy to use
- Produces an outstanding reflective gloss on your vehicle’s paintwork.
- Very affordable.
- It can’t quite measure up to Gyeon or CarPro.
- Support from the manufacturer can be lacking.
- Durability might not extend beyond 12 months.
Adam’s Advanced Graphene Ceramic Coating
Our next contender is Adam’s Advanced Graphene Ceramic Coating (check price). Here’s my take on this coating. It’s a relatively easy-to-use Ceramic Coating and one of the main selling points is that it employs the company’s patent-pending UV Tracer Technology. This allows users to visibly trace where the coating has been applied using Adam’s UV Flashlight, which I find quite useful.
This advanced version is particularly apt for achieving long-lasting, self-cleaning effects on a variety of surfaces like single-stage and clear-coated paint, glass, plastic trim, rubber molding, and wheels.
Adam’s Graphene Ceramic Coating boasts >10H hardness and promises 9+ years of protection, which sounds impressive, but take it with a grain of salt based on my personal experience. This coating variant has 50% more coating resin than the regular Graphene Ceramic Coating. There’s also an additional silicate resin inclusion, which is meant to enhance durability and longevity.
Here are some features that I’ve observed: it’s less prone to water spotting, offers higher stain resistance against bugs, saps, droppings, etc., and has higher scratch resistance during washing.
You can expect to see increased depth and clarity on all surfaces after applying this coating.
- User-friendly and a great option for beginners
- Provides deep shine and gloss to treated surfaces.
- The product does not come with a guarantee.
- Customer support is somewhat lackluster.
- Although marketed as suitable for use on plastics, I’ve found that it doesn’t perform well on these surfaces.
Chemical Guys Carbon Force Ceramic Coating
The Chemical Guys Carbon Force Ceramic Coating (check price) offers professional-grade durability and protection with a visually impressive finish. Utilizing ceramic nanotechnology, this coating bonds with the surface to provide up to 5 years of protection, enhanced gloss, and excellent water beading.
In my personal experience, it delivered an impressively mirror-like reflection and demonstrated advanced anti-scratch properties. Carbon Force can be applied on various surfaces such as paintwork, polished metal, glossy wheels, and glass, demonstrating its versatility.
The coating’s hydrophobic properties create a smooth surface that repels water and contaminants, which leads to reduced maintenance over time. It can be layered with other Chemical Guys products for added protection.
- Exceptional results with fantastic hydrophobic properties.
- Durable performance, looking like-new even two years after application.
- It’s priced on the higher side.
- The thicker consistency might make the application slightly harder.
- There’s no return policy, so make sure you use it properly.
Ceramic Coatings To Stay Away From
Navigating the world of DIY ceramic coatings can be like walking through a minefield. While there are some incredibly reliable and effective options available, there’s also an abundance of products from unknown or non-reputable companies that promise seemingly too-good-to-be-true results.
Many of these dubious brands are marketing products claiming to offer a staggering 10 years of protection for a mere $40. While this may seem like an attractive bargain, in my experience, the adage “you get what you pay for” rings particularly true in the domain of ceramic coatings. A genuinely high-quality ceramic coating that can provide professional-grade protection is typically not going to come with a rock-bottom price tag.
You’ll encounter a plethora of ceramic coatings on Amazon and other platforms, but I strongly advise exercising caution. My experience has shown that only a few selected brands genuinely provide the level of protection you’re seeking.
So, steer clear of extremely cheap ceramic coatings from questionable brands. These products often don’t deliver on their promises and could leave you with lackluster results or, even worse, potential damage to your car’s finish. Invest in a product from a well-established and respected brand—it’s worth the peace of mind.
DIY Ceramic Coating Buyer’s Guide
Selecting the right DIY ceramic coating for your car can be an overwhelming task with numerous brands and products on the market. To guide you through this process and help you make an informed decision, consider the following key factors:
Brand matters a lot when it comes to ceramic coatings. Established brands are typically more reliable, consistently delivering high-quality products that have been thoroughly tested and have a track record of satisfied customers.
Be wary of new, unknown brands that make lofty promises without the reputation or customer reviews to back them up.
A ceramic coating’s longevity is another critical factor. The protective layer should be resilient enough to withstand different weather conditions and regular wear and tear.
Brands typically indicate the durability of their coatings, which can range from six months to several years. Always verify these claims with independent reviews and real-world testimonies.
A quality ceramic coating should have excellent hydrophobic characteristics, causing water to bead on the surface and roll off, taking dirt and grime with it.
This not only keeps your car looking cleaner for longer but also reduces the risk of water spots and mineral deposits.
Customer reviews can provide invaluable insights into a product’s actual performance. Look for reviews that detail the user’s experience with the application process, the coating’s durability, and its effect on the vehicle’s aesthetics.
Remember to take each review with a grain of salt and look for common themes among them.
Finally, make sure to understand the application process fully before purchasing. Some ceramic coatings are more user-friendly than others.
Check if the product requires any special tools or specific conditions for application, such as a particular temperature range or indoor setting. Confirm that you have the necessary tools and the right environment, and feel comfortable with the application process before making your choice.
Best Alternatives To DIY Ceramic Coatings
While DIY ceramic coatings provide an exceptional level of protection and shine for your car, there are alternatives that might suit your needs better or complement your use of ceramic coatings.
Of course, these alternatives may not quite match the full performance of a DIY ceramic coating, but they do offer significant benefits and can be a better fit for those seeking a simpler or less intensive maintenance solution.
Waxes and Sealants
For those seeking a breathtaking shine that truly makes your car stand out, you might want to consider car waxes. They’re known for delivering a high-gloss finish that no other product can match, albeit with shorter durability.
On the other hand, sealants offer a more balanced approach, combining ease of application, good chemical resistance, and an impressive shine. They’re synthetic formulas that provide stronger and longer-lasting protection than traditional car waxes.
While they may not outlast ceramic coatings, they are a fantastic, lower-maintenance option that will still keep your vehicle looking great.
Spray Ceramic Coatings
If you’re looking for a middle ground between traditional waxes/sealants and full-blown ceramic coatings, spray ceramic coatings could be the answer. These products combine the convenience and ease of use of a spray-on product with some of the protective and aesthetic benefits of a ceramic coating.
While they won’t quite reach the durability and protection levels of traditional ceramic coatings, they often outperform waxes and sealants and are a great choice if you’re after a balance between performance, durability, and ease of application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Based on my experience, the top performer in DIY ceramic coatings is GYEON Q2 MOHS EVO.
Absolutely, the ceramic coating provides long-lasting protection, enhanced hydrophobic properties, and makes cleaning your car significantly easier.
DIY ceramic coatings typically last between 1 to 3 years, depending on the product and conditions.
The main drawbacks are the higher price tag compared to waxes and sealants, a more complex application process, and the requirement of specific equipment and proper paint preparation for effective application and longevity.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in paint protection, Paint Protection Film (PPF) is a step above. However, among coatings like waxes, sealants, and ceramic coatings, ceramic coatings are the best choice available.
Choosing the right ceramic coating isn’t just about the product itself but also about the process and commitment you’re willing to make. The best DIY ceramic coatings offer an excellent balance between professional-level protection and the flexibility and savings of doing it yourself.
Just remember, no product is a magic fix — good results always come hand-in-hand with proper application and maintenance to extend ceramic coating longevity.