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Friday, 10 November 2023

How to Ceramic Coat Wheels: Expert Tips and Tricks

Discover expert tips for ceramic coating your wheels. This will keep them shining, protected, and looking great.

White pad with ceramic coating being applied to gray alloy wheel

What Tools You Need for Ceramic Coating

A successful DIY ceramic coating job requires a selected set of tools. It's a great investment that keeps your alloy wheels shining for months.

  1. High-quality ceramic coating kit
  2. Microfiber buffing cloths
  3. Surface prep wipes or spray
  4. Car wash soap and mitt for gentle cleaning
  5. Wheel cleaner
  6. Applicator pads or sponges
  7. A good pair of rubber gloves
  8. Masking tape (Not essential)
  9. Tire dressing

Yellow microfiber cloth with white applicator pad and ceramic coating on top of gray alloy wheel

Choosing the Right Ceramic Coating

When choosing a ceramic coating, prioritise enhanced protection. Look for features such as UV resistance, hydrophobic properties, and high-temperature tolerance. The right coating will protect against environmental hazards and road debris.

The right ceramic coating does two things. It makes your alloy wheels look better and protects them from damage caused by the environment and driving.

Selecting the right ceramic coating often seems complex. But it becomes easier when you know key things like how long the coat lasts, how easy it is to apply, and the final look you want. You also should consider the brand's reputation and reviews from previous users.

Understanding the Different Ceramic Coating Options

Ceramic coating choices may seem overwhelming due to the many product ranges. However, knowing the unique features, benefits, and drawbacks of each option will make choosing easier.

  • Nano ceramic coatings - offer superior hydrophobic properties and UV resistance but require professional application.
  • Acrylic ceramic coatings - easy to apply, durable, yet not as long-lasting as nano coatings.
  • Polyurethane ceramic coatings - have excellent resistance against chemicals and abrasion but might be challenging to apply.
  • Silicon dioxide coatings - provide strong resistance against water, minor scratches but need frequent reapplication.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Ceramic Coating

Selecting the perfect ceramic coating for your wheels entails thoughtful consideration. It's mainly about knowing what your alloy wheels need and choosing the right type of ceramic coating for them. Here are some pivotal factors you must take into account:

  • The durability of the ceramic coating: Consider how long the ceramic coating is expected to last and the conditions it can withstand.
  • The ease of application: Look for a ceramic coating that can be applied smoothly and evenly with minimal effort.
  • The price point: Evaluate if the cost aligns with the quality and durability offered.
  • Harmful ingredients: Ensure the coating doesn't contain substances that can harm your wheels or the environment.
  • Performance under different weather conditions: A ceramic coating should be able to protect your wheels in both high heat and extreme cold.
  • Manufacturer’s reputation: Go for a reputable brand that is known for producing high-quality ceramic coatings.

What Ceramic Coating We Went For

Carbon Collectives Platinum Wheels Ceramic Coating bottle in front of the alloy wheel

We opted for Carbon Collectives Platinum Wheels Ceramic Coating due to it's ultra-durable 9H coating and heat-resistant properties.

Preparing the Wheels for Ceramic Coating

Before applying ceramic coating, it's crucial to prepare the wheels carefully. First, clean them thoroughly to remove dust, grime, or brake dust. Then, take off any old coatings or contaminants.

Pre-coating care is paramount to maximise your alloy wheels' longevity. To keep your ceramic-coated wheels in good shape, regularly check and do any needed touch-ups. Washing them often with gentle methods and products will help the coating last longer and keep the wheels shining.

Cleaning the Wheels Thoroughly

A meticulous cleaning process lays the foundation for a successful ceramic coating application. Getting your wheels cleaned by a professional makes sure that tough residues, which could affect the ceramic coating's sticking ability, are completely removed.

Gray alloy wheel with soap being jet washed clean at Rolling Rims

Follow our How-To Guide for the Best Cleaning Results

Removing Any Existing Coatings or Contaminants

Equipped with the right tools, one can safely remove old coatings. Gentle brushing and non-acidic wheel cleaners break down even the most stubborn residues. However, avoid harsh chemicals or wired brushes, which could scratch or damage the wheel surface.

The presence of contaminants affects the ceramic coating's performance adversely. Grime, grease or old fragments of coating, if not entirely eliminated, interfere with the bonding of the new coating and the wheel surface. Consequently, the desired glossy finish might not be achieved.

After removing residues, it's important to rinse and dry the wheels well to make sure nothing is left. A good clean now will make your ceramic coat last longer and better, giving your wheels a lasting, brilliant shine.

Restore your wheels today.

Get your alloy wheels looking like new again with our refurbishment services.

Applying the Ceramic Coating

Start the application by working in small sections to ensure even coverage. Using lint-free applicator pads, apply thin layers of the ceramic coating, following the contours of the wheel for a smooth finish. Remember, less is more when it comes to ceramic coating.

Common mistakes, like applying too thick a layer or working too large an area at once, can lead to streaks or patches. Pay close attention to the edges and lug holes where the coating can accumulate. If you notice an uneven application, quickly correct it by buffing off the excess with a microfiber cloth.


Ensure the wheels are completely dry. Work in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Gather your ceramic coating solution, applicator pad, microfiber towels, and gloves. Before opening, shake the bottle well to mix the solution.

Apply Coating to the Applicator Pad

Applying ceramic coating to the applicator pad

Put a few drops of the ceramic coating on the applicator pad. Do not over-saturate the pad. Apply in Sections, Start applying the coating on one section of the wheel at a time, using gentle, overlapping strokes. Ensure an even application without missing any spots. Move around the wheel in a systematic way to ensure full coverage. Pay special attention to crevices and details in the wheel design.

Applying ceramic coating to the inside of the alloy wheel with an applicator pad

Allow to Bond

After application, allow the coating to bond with the surface for the time specified by the product instructions – typically a few minutes. Look for any high spots or areas where the coating has pooled. These will appear shinier or darker than the surrounding area.

Use a Clean Microfiber Towel

Gently buff the wheel with a clean microfiber towel to remove any excess coating and even out the finish. Use multiple clean towels if necessary to avoid reapplying the coating from the towel to the wheel.

Buffing the alloy wheel to remove any excess coating with a yellow microfiber

Allow for Curing

Let the wheels cure for the time specified by the product. This can range from a few hours to a day. Avoid getting the wheels wet or dirty during this time.

Inspect the Wheels

After curing, inspect the wheels for any missed spots or uneven application.

Apply Touch-Ups if Necessary

If you find any areas that need more coating, apply touch-ups carefully, following the same steps as above.

Applying the ceramic coating with the white applicator pad onto the rotiform alloy wheels

Gentle Wipe

After the curing period, give the wheels one final gentle wipe with a clean microfiber towel to ensure a perfect finish.

Tips for Achieving an Even and Smooth Coating

Be vigilant with your ceramic coating techniques to achieve a smooth finish. Use multiple thin layers instead of one thick coat to ensure an even spread, letting each layer dry properly before applying the next.

To ensure an even spread of the ceramic coating, make sure the application tool is fully saturated with the coating material. Apply it in a cross-hatch pattern to guarantee optimal coverage and do not rush the process.

Consider using a high-quality light source to examine the surface while applying the coating. This will help identify any areas where the coating is not evenly spread or where bubbles have formed, rectifying these issues before the application becomes a permanent fixture.

Drying and Curing the Ceramic Coating

To maximize the ceramic coating's cure, balancing time and temperature is crucial. Understand the product instructions, allowing the coating to dry at the correct temperature for the prescribed time duration.

Sidestepping rushed drying plays a pivotal role in ensuring long-lasting ceramic coating. Patience is required; haste can lead to imperfections, negating the coating's durability and shine.

Post application, monitoring the coating during the curing process helps to identify and rectify problems swiftly. Regular checks also maintain the uniformity of shine, producing optimally coated alloy wheels.

Maintaining the Ceramic Coated Wheels

To keep your ceramic-coated wheels looking good for longer, a careful maintenance routine is key. Frequent cleaning, checking for any issues, and gentle touch-ups will help maintain their shine and extend their life.

For your wheels to last, it's important to use proactive care. Avoid harsh products, stick to proper cleaning techniques, and quickly repair any small damages to prevent them from getting worse.

Audi RS3 with Rotiform alloy wheels

Cleaning and Washing Tips

Regular upkeep of your ceramic coated wheels requires mindfulness. Always use pH-neutral cleaning agents to avoid damage. Gently wipe clean with a microfiber cloth, avoiding abrasive tools that can scratch the surface.

For wheel care, how often and how you clean are key. Clean them regularly to stop dirt from building up. Start with a low-pressure water rinse to remove loose dirt, then use soft, straight strokes with your cloth. Always clean them when they are cool, never when they're hot.

Regular Inspections and Touch-Ups

Regularly checking your wheels is key to catching issues early and keeping them in great condition. Look out for any signs of damage, such as dust build-up or scratches. This way, you can act fast to prevent bigger problems.

Regular touch-ups are crucial to keep a lasting shine on your wheels. Small marks or scratches can weaken the ceramic coating's protection if ignored. By maintaining them regularly, you ensure your wheels stay shiny, eye-catching, and well-protected.

Close up of the ceramic coated Rotiform alloy wheels in gray

Avoiding Abrasive Products and Techniques

It's important to know how abrasive materials can harm ceramic coatings. Rough scrubbing and strong products wear down the coating, removing its protective qualities. This leads to the need for more frequent reapplications.

Choose gentle methods to care for your ceramic-coated wheels. Use mild cleaners, soft brushes, and gentle washing techniques. This approach helps the coating last longer and keeps your wheels shining for years.

Restore your wheels today.

Get your alloy wheels looking like new again with our refurbishment services.

Rolling Rims employee removing an alloy wheel from a Range Rover ready for alloy wheel refurbishment

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