Ceramic coatings and backup cameras
When I was in drivers training, one of the paramount ideas of becoming a road worthy and safe driver, was the consistent use of both my side mirrors as well as my rearview mirror. I can still hear my dad screaming out, "check your mirrors," as I would have otherwise made an erroneous decision that would have led to higher than already sky high insurance rates and yet another trip to visit our friends at the collision shop.
Perhaps ten years ago, automobiles had started including backup cameras, lane departure warnings and blind spot detection software that sought to aid drivers (new and veteran alike) in making proper lane choices, thus enhancing saftey and improving the driving experience. With these technological advancements, I still wonder though, has it really made us better drivers?
Nanotechnology is nothing new. Scientists have been in the lab playing with the "small world" for decades, but with recent breakthroughs in the automotive industry, ceramic coatings (nano coatings, glass coatings, etc) have taken the vehicle protection game to the next level. Many ceramic coating options include warranty durations and longevity stretching for a number of YEARS as oppose to a synthetic wax that may last a few weeks, or at most a couple months.
This is great, then. Ceramic protection that claims years of durability to protect the finish of our automobiles and backup cameras that help us see the full picture of our surroundings. All is good. Or is it?
While both technologies (ceramic paint coatings and backup cameras) seem completely unrelated, I believe there is a correlation that is worth noting.
First, we must get back to the basics. It's time to check our mirrors.
A few thoughts: Backup cameras should AID in the driving experience, but in no way should they replace the necessity of our mirrors. In a similar way, ceramic paint coatings should AID in the maintenance of our vehicles, not be a substitute for it. In laymen's terms, you still must wash and maintain your vehicle.
Ceramic paint coatings, contrary to what some people have been told, STILL REQUIRE routine maintenance to maintain their stunning hydrophobic properties and longevity. A dirty paint coating, is usually an "unhappy" paint coating and just because a coating claims a certain lifespan, doesn't mean it will always perform its best, especially if it is contaminated.
To reiterate, merely power washing your ceramic coated car (or driving it through a rainstorm), will not be sufficient in removing ALL the debris from its exterior (although it sure is fun to watch the water beads "dance" around!).
Detailers who install paint coatings (including myself), should be able to inform perspective clients on the pros (and limited "cons") of ceramic paint coatings, as well as be a resource for quality maintenance products and techniques that ensure the customer gets the most from their "vehicle dipped in glass." Many high-end detailers will also offer maintenance solutions for their clients who may opt out of doing it themselves.
There are times when I'll consult a customer and recommend a ceramic coating for optimal surface protection, because lets face it, when used and maintained properly, they're unbeatable. But there are also times when consulting with a customer and I'll gladly steer them toward a synthetic paint sealant. Why? Do I not believe in ceramic products? Simply put, if we rely on the ceramic coating to do something outside of what it was designed to do (aid in the ease of maintenance of our automobile, protect and preserve our finish) then it may not be the best fit for our application- and I'll always be committed to honesty.
So what is it then? Do backup cameras make us better drivers? And are ceramic coatings really all they're hyped up to be?
If we chose to completely rely on a backup camera to replace the mirrors (instead of supplement them), it can actually be a detriment to our driving experience, as our view is quite limited. However, if we first familiarize ourselves with our mirrors (properly washing and maintaining our cars), adding a backup camera to the mix (or ceramic coating) can only improve the driving and vehicle ownership experience.