Car Paint

Does Ceramic Coating Protect Against Rock Chips? Really?

Ceramic coating is simply too thin that it can not protect a car’s exterior against rock chips. A single ceramic coat is usually about 1-2 microns thick, even thinner than a human red blood cell. 

While a ceramic coat can resist chemical etching and minor scratches, it isn’t rugged enough to stand against rock chips, scratches from keys, swirl marks from abrasive cleaning techniques, harch car wash brushes, dents, etc.

So, if a ceramic coat can’t stand against rock chips, is there something capable enough to win this battle? Hmmmm! Yes. I won’t tell you the name; be with me in this guide to uncover that thing.

What Is Ceramic Coating? How Does It Work?

A ceramic coating, also known as ceramic paint protection, is a liquid polymer. It acts as a protective shield for your car’s paint with its primary ingredient, Silica Dioxide (SiO2). 

Once applied, this viscous liquid undergoes crystallization, forming a hardened shell that overlays the clear coat of the car’s paint. The coating establishes a molecular-level bond with the clear coat, effectively filling in tiny, microscopic pores in the paint. 

This process enhances the water contact angle, resulting in the familiar beading effect, commonly known as the hydrophobic property.

Thanks to the active components in silica dioxide-based ceramic coatings, the resultant layer exhibits resistance to both UV rays and chemical substances. 

This resilience means that, for instance, acidic substances such as bird droppings are less likely to cling to the exterior surface, making them effortless to clean off. 

Advantages Of Ceramic Coating

The following are the primary mind-making reasons why I suggest having your car enveloped in a ceramic coat.

  • Enhanced paint optical clarity
  • UV protection
  • Prevention of paint discoloration and oxidation 
  • Protection against etchings and watermarks 
  • Gloss enhancer
  • Increased hydrophobicity

Can A Ceramic Coat Protect Against Pebbles?

ceramic-paint-protection

Simply put, I don’t recommend having a ceramic coat on your car to protect against pebbles; it is not a full-proof solution in this scenario. A ceramic coat is only about 1-2 microns thick. It is too thin to guarantee adequate protection against rock chips.

The Best Way To Protect Car Exterior Against Rock Chips

One tested way to shield your car from rock chips is by utilizing Paint Protection Film (PPF). It is 140-200 microns thick, which is too much for a 1-2 microns thick ceramic coat. 

Paint Protection Film (PPF) is a thermoplastic urethane film that acts like a thick, flexible armor that can absorb the impact if a rock hits your car. 

But remember that even with PPF, I can’t promise 100% protection against all rock chips. I have seen some scratches on the PPF-protected pick-ups when my friends take them for offroading.

Ceramic Coating Vs Paint Protective Film (PPF) — Differences & Similarities

AspectCeramic CoatingPaint Protective Film (PPF)
Thickness2-5 microns140-200 microns
Durability1-5 years5-10 years
Cost (Per car)About $500-$2,000About $1,000-$5,000
Protection against rock chipsFareExcellent
Protection against fadingExcellentExcellent
Protection against chemical stains and etchingExcellentExcellent
Self-healingNoYes

Can Ceramic Coating And PPF Be Used Together?

Yes, ceramic coating and PPF (Paint Protection Film) can be used together. You can put a ceramic coating on top of your PPF to get the most comprehensive protection.

ceramic-coating-vs-ppf-cost

PPF provides physical protection against rock chips, scratches, and other impacts, while ceramic coating adds chemical and environmental protection, including UV resistance and a hydrophobic effect. This combination provides comprehensive protection of a vehicle’s paint and finish.

Applying PPF on high-impact areas such as the front bumper, hood, and fenders and then a ceramic coat on the top can provide the best protection of both worlds.

Can Ceramic Coatings Prevent Severe Scratches?

Ceramic coatings can protect against small scratches but not severe, deep ones. For instance, if someone keyed your car with a ceramic coating, it would still show damage, although it would be less severe than if your car didn’t have the coating.

Do Ceramic Coatings Defend Against Water Spots?

Ceramic coatings can’t stop hard-water spots, especially if you live in an area with a high amount of minerals (such as calcium) in the water, like in some parts of Arizona. I suggest three things in such a case:

  1. Wash your car regularly.
  2. Avoid parking near sprinklers that can spray hard water.
  3. Use paint protection film, which is more robust and better at defending against water spots.

Can Ceramic Coatings Prevent Dings and Dents?

Ceramic coatings can’t prevent big dents, especially with a strong impact. Even if your car is ceramic coated and gets into an accident, it can still get damaged. 

However, it’s true that ceramic-coated cars tend to have less paint damage than those without ceramic coating in accidents, which is a plus. 

Conclusion 

The ceramic coating does not offer complete protection against rock chips. While it can provide some resistance to minor scratches and debris, it is not designed to withstand high-velocity impacts.

Additional measures like paint protection films or regular touch-ups are recommended for optimal rock chip protection. 

Ceramic coatings primarily enhance the appearance and offer ease of maintenance. For comprehensive defense against rock chips, supplementary measures should be considered.

FAQs 

Does Ceramic Coating Protect Against Rust? 

Ceramic coating can protect against rust but only to some extent; it is not a full-proof solution for this purpose. Instead, If your vehicle is prone to rusting, I suggest you use a different form of protection, called an anti-rust coating. 

How Do I Protect My Car From Rock Chips?

To protect your car from rock chips, I suggest you use clear paint protection film (PPF) or install mud flaps to minimize the impact of rocks and debris.

Does Ceramic Coating Protect Against UV?

Ceramic coatings can actually block UV light from penetrating into the car’s paint, which prevents oxidation and fading. The only downside of ceramic coating is that it cannot protect against rock chips. 

Can You Ceramic Coat Over Stone Chips?

Ceramic coating cannot be applied directly over stone chips as it requires a clean and smooth surface for proper adhesion. 

What Coating Prevents Stone Chips?

While no coating can 100% prevent stone chips, clear paint protection film (PPF) is the most suitable option that is designed to offer better protection against rock chips and small debris compared to traditional coatings.

Does Ceramic Paint Chip Easily?

Ceramic paint coatings generally provide a durable and hard surface that is more resistant to chips and scratches compared to regular paint, but they are not completely immune and can still chip under certain circumstances, such as extreme temperatures.