The most asked question that I receive about ceramic coatings is: how much do they cost? In this post, I will address this question in the clearest, most transparent way possible.
At Auto Shine Detailing, I try to be as upfront and simple in my explanation of pricing as possible but there are many variables in installing a ceramic coating. Please know that there will be variance in pricing based on our geographical location. Some variables include but are not limited to.
Size of the vehicle
A small 2 door compact is much less time-consuming than let’s say a 3-row large SUV, this will factor into the final price greatly.
Condition of the vehicle
Will an excessive amount of pre-cleaning and preparation be needed? A daily driven SUV with 60,000 miles will likely need much more work to prepare for the coating than a garage-kept sports car with 2,000 miles on it. This is one of the biggest factors in how long your coating prep and application will take, and your detailer should inspect the vehicle thoroughly to tell you how much work will be needed to bring the vehicle to an excellent condition before applying the coating. Each vehicle is different and unfortunately some dealerships do not prep vehicles correctly due to either lack of knowledge or in most cases not having enough time to do so.
Color of the vehicle
Darker-colored vehicles are significantly harder and more time-consuming to work on. While the cost of your coating may not be less with a light-colored car, it may be more due to a dark-colored car.
Type and brand of coating to be applied
Have your detailer discuss the different options (if any) of the brand or brands of coatings they apply. It is not uncommon for detailers to sell several different brands and makes of coatings so that they can provide the best possible option to their clients.
Experience of the detailer applying it
This is very important. A detailer that has applied hundreds of coatings to hundreds of different makes, models, and ages of the vehicle will likely charge more for his or her services. This is because of the years of experience that he or she brings to the service to provide you with an excellent prep and application of the coating purchased.
Level of paint correction needed before the coating is applied
If you are purchasing a ceramic coating from a true professional detailer, this will likely be the single largest factor in the final price of your coating package. A single stage of paint correction can easily take 5-8 hours, a two-stage paint correction can easily take 12-16 hours, and a multistage paint correction can take 20+ hours. Your detailer should discuss in-depth the expectations from the paint correction work that he or she is going to do to the vehicle prior to the coating application. If desired, even ask for a test spot so that you can see the expected result before scheduling your appointment.
My car is brand new. Will I still need to have the paint clayed and polished prior to coating application?
Yes, but in rare occasions exceptions can be made. Any quality detailer will see these steps as the foundation necessary for a quality ceramic coating application. Any detailer or dealership that does not follow these steps prior to applying a ceramic coating are likely improperly applying the coating. Even for a brand-new vehicle “off the truck” thorough wash, clay bar treatment, chemical decontamination, and (sometimes) a light polishing is the absolute minimum before coating application. Often much more polishing and compounding is needed even on a brand-new vehicle to make sure the surface is as flawless as possible before the ceramic coating is applied. This also makes sure the coating adheres to the clear coat correctly.