Will Ceramic Coating Fill in Swirl Marks, Scratches and Other Damage?


Many vehicle owners wonder if ceramic coating fills in swirl marks, scratches and other damage. This is a big question before taking your car to the shop for ceramic application since you need to know whether you should fill in some of those scratches first. We talked to the skilled professionals of Calgary PPF to get some answers and are pleased to pass the insights on to you below.

Does ceramic coating fill swirl marks, scratches and other damage?

You are hardly alone in searching the web for answers about whether ceramic coating fills swirl marks, scratches or other damage. But it is hard to get a straight answer from most resources out there. In short, scratches and swirl marks will not go away.

It is important to know that ceramic coating is fully transparent. It is called nano-ceramic coating by some sources because of the coating’s microscopic nature. The ceramic coating consists of tiny quartz particles so minuscule that they bond together in the smallest cracks or crevices in your paint. These clear particles do not work like polish or cutting compounds, which fill and repair scratches.

How Ceramic Coating Improves Car Paint

Although a ceramic coating will not fix your car’s damaged paint, it does provide a protective shell that helps your paint look newer for a longer period of time. This coating keeps the elements, chemicals and general debris from affecting your paint. The ceramic enhances your paint’s shine, making it appear glossy. This makes car detailing easier, too.

Below are some ways that ceramic coating improves your car paint:

  • Scratch resistance
  • Road salt damage protection
  • UV protection to prevent paint fading
  • Corrosion resistance against acid rain, chemicals, bird droppings and bug strikes
  • Enhancement of hydrophobic properties, improving water repellency
  • Easier dirt and debris removal

How Ceramic Coating Affects Swirls and Scratches in Your Paint

Scratches are essentially thin lines etched into the paint surface. Swirls are usually a collection of fine scratches not as immediately noticeable to others. They are a pattern of horizontal, vertical or sideways scratches, not just those occurring in circles. To see swirl marks, you typically must see the paint in night lighting or direct sunlight.

Swirl marks are most visible on flat areas of your vehicle, such as the hood, roof and trunk. If your car is dark in colour, you can see your swirl marks better than the marks on a lighter-coloured vehicle.

As briefly mentioned above, ceramic coating will not improve or remove swirl marks, scratches or other damage. But this coating does protect your paint by improving resistance to these marks in the first place. The coating fills tiny imperfections like these in your paint and creates a flat, incredibly hard surface. This coating is also very hydrophobic. This means it is much harder for dirt, debris, dust, or other materials to adhere to your paint.

After your ceramic coating is applied, you have a smoother surface to wash and maintain. This surface is much harder to scratch than paint with clear coat, alone. It helps you keep your paint looking newer, longer.

Obviously, to realize the most benefits from your ceramic coating, it is important to get your vehicle coated earlier in its lifetime. Do so immediately after buying your car or when you feel satisfied with the state of its paint job. If you want to have some scratch repair conducted first, you can do so to improve your paint job for years to come. Regardless of when you decide to ceramic coat your vehicle, do what you can to prevent swirl marks and scratches before the application.

How Swirl Marks Occur on Car Paint

Car service worker applying nano coating on a car detail.

Most swirl marks occur as part of the car washing and drying process. Using a towel with dust, sand, dirt or other debris on it can easily create these marks. The same is true if you use a car wash mitt. Contrary to popular belief, using a microfiber towel does not prevent swirl marks. These towels make the occurrence less likely, but do not eliminate the risk.

Swirl marks occur from other causes, too. These include:

  • Used polishing or buffing pads
  • Aggressive paint cleaners or polish cutters
  • Using dirty dusters, chamois or polyester applicators
  • Automatic car washes
  • Neglecting to pre-wash before washing your car
  • Using a dirty car cover

You can prevent swirl marks and scratches by avoiding the above behaviors. But these marks will occur on the vehicles of even the most careful owners. Applying a ceramic coating prevents virtually all scratches and swirl marks by providing a clear yet highly resistant shell over your paint job and clear coat. Ceramic coatings encapsulate and protect your car to keep it look like it does today, but for years. This coating also provides enhanced shine to make your car’s paint look newer.

The Bottom Line About Ceramic Coating and Scratches

Ceramic coatings are not scratch-proof. But this material reduces much of the potential for scratches or swirl marks to occur. While the coating will not remove existing scratches or swirls, it will provide an incredibly strong layer of protection. This layer is super thin and flat with intensely hydrophobic qualities. Water beads on the surface of your vehicle and dirt and debris do not stick to the body paint as easily.

To enhance the results of your ceramic coating, have scratches or swirl marks removed first. A professional can buff these out or use an electric polisher with a light cutting compound. Then, when you have your coating applied, your car will look showroom new. The ceramic coating will preserve that look for years.

Ceramic coating applied onto your car paint and clear coat provides an additional layer of protection and strength against the elements and environmental debris. Instead of your paint and clear coat taking on damage, the ceramic coating acts like a shell to keep your paint job looking newer, longer.

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