Ceramic coating considerations 

December 7, 2023

With the popularity of ceramic coatings, a technician may be challenged with identifying and removing ceramic coatings prior to the repair process. Let us look at ceramic coating considerations for collision repair. 

Essentially, ceramic coatings are: 

  • Water repellant 
  • Chemical resistant products, which are permanently bonded to the paint surface 
  • Colourless protective coatings to enhance depth, luster, and the overall maintenance of an automotive finish 

Vehicles can have ceramic coatings applied at various stages of ownership, including by a dealership during the sales process, professional detailer, or even as a do-it-yourself application. 

Here are a few ways how to identify ceramic coatings: 

  • Ask the vehicle owner 
  • Check for “beading” of solvent or water-based cleaners 
  • Slippery and high-sheen surface 

An important thing to consider is surface cleaner. Per PPG PD 8-11 Ceramic Surface Coatings, most surface cleaners will not wipe the ceramic coating off the surface. If a surface cleaner removes the ceramic coatings, it may damage other parts of the vehicle as well.  

So, when it comes down to the importance of ceramic coating removal, keep in mind the following: 

  • Per Axalta Recommendations for Ceramic Coating Removal, to refinish the vehicle properly, the coatings must be removed prior to paint preparation. Extra labour and materials are required to effectively prepare and deliver a quality repair on a vehicle treated with a ceramic coating. 
  • As per DEG Inquiry 18614, ceramic or nano coatings to vehicle surfaces may affect the overall preparation of the vehicle and refinish process. 
  • According to AkzoNobel Surface Cleaning, if one does not completely remove the ceramic coating before the refinishing process, there is a high risk of paint defects or paint system failure. 

There are several methods to remove ceramic coatings, including, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Based on PPG PD-811 Ceramic Surface Coatings, it can be done by buffing the coated panels with a heavy-duty compound and a wool pad. If you opt for sanding, use P600-P800 grade paper. Be aware that sanding or scuffing may imbed the ceramic coating further into the surface. 
  • Per AkzoNobel Surface Cleaning Recommendations and Best Practices, a nylon scuff pad is not recommended for ceramic coatings.  
  • According to Sherwin-Williams Best Demonstrated Practices Ceramic Coatings, clean the surface area and spray the VOC-compliant wax and grease remover on the surface. If the cleaner beads up, repeat the buffing process until that no longer happens. 
  • Ceramic Pro states that it is only removable through abrasion. Body shop solvents or paint thinners will not remove the coating since it is resistant to harsh chemicals.  

It is important to note that ceramic coating should not be applied over fresh paint, as curing recommendations vary by refinishing product, paint curing method, and ceramic coating. It is vital to always refer to the paint maker and ceramic coating maker recommendations. Additionally, when it comes to paintless dent repair glue systems, Keco Body repair products recommends removing the ceramic coating, as per the manufacturer’s directions, to ensure tabs have maximum adhesion to paint surfaces. 

To ensure a successful repair, early identification and removal of ceramic coating is crucial. 

If you are interested in learning more about ceramic coatings, consult I-CAR Canada’s course catalogue and sign up for a course. 


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