Whether you have a professionally installed coating or have applied a DIY 2-3 year coating, the lifespan of the coating can be extended by "layering". Layering is simply applying more ceramic based products on top of your base coat that act as a sacrificial layer. This layering process is shown in the diagram below...
Once your base coat is applied anytime you use a product on top of the base coat that product has to wear away first before any of your base coat is affected.
For example, if I use a ceramic infused car wash soap the ceramics in the car wash soap will "protect" the base coat ceramic until it wears away. If I wash the car with a ceramic infused wash soap, then use a ceramic based detailer on top of that both the ceramic in the car wash soap & the ceramic in the detail spray need to wear away before your base coat is affected. Durability on these maintenance products varies with driving conditions and other factors but as a general rule of thumb the durability of these products is as follows..
Ceramic Wash Soaps: 1-2 weeks
Ceramic Detailers: 2-3 weeks
Apply on Wet Vehicle Spray on Ceramics: up to 3 months. (These types of products are applied to a wet vehicle after a car wash. You simply spray the product onto the vehicle, re-rinse the car & dry as usual)
Apply on Dry Vehicle Spray on Ceramics: 6 to 9 months (These products are applied to a dry car, similar to a spray wax)
Its a pretty simple concept here. My base coat ceramic is protecting my paint, my maintenance products are protecting my base coat. The more ceramic based products that are on top of your base coat the longer the base coat will last.
Maintenance Schedule: Use a ceramic wash soap and/or detail spray for the first 6 months. After 6 months CLAY BAR the vehicle & then apply a ceramic spray-on coating. Always clay bar your vehicle every 6 months to remove built up contaminants on the coating surface. Repeat this process every 6 months.
Do I need to use the same brand maintenance products as what my base coat is?
No. All ceramic products on the market contain Si02 which is just the chemical name for "ceramic". Sio2 is pretty universal. You can for example use a Meguiar's detail spray on top of a CarPro coating or use Griot's Garage ceramic car wash soap on top of a Gyeon coating.
Do I have to use ceramic based products on top of my ceramic coating?
No you don't. Using a wax based detailer on top of your coating will not harm your coating at all but from a visual standpoint it somewhat defeats the purpose of putting the coating on in the first place. One of the main reasons many people apply a ceramic coating is not only for the protection but for the look. Ceramics give your paint a high gloss, highly reflective look. Using non-ceramic products on top of your ceramic coating may alter that look slightly. Using ceramic based maintenance products maintain that look & give your vehicle that "freshly coated" look and feel every time you use them. In addition, ceramic based maintenance products have more durability than wax based products. For example the protective/gloss properties of a ceramic based car wash soap will last longer than a car wash soap that contains wax.
Do ceramic wash soaps work in a foam cannon?
Yes they do, but sometimes not that great. We have found that the Si02 contains in ceramic wash soaps somewhat inhibits the foaming abilities of the soap (this is also true of car wash soaps that contain wax). If you only care about applying the soap to the vehicle that will be achieved but if you desire a "shaving cream" type foam you may want to stick to a conventional type wash soap then just use a ceramic detailer after your wash to make that fresh washed paint "pop"
Click the links below for suggested maintenance products...