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Dealership Coatings: Do They Actually Work?


When you are purchasing a new vehicle, the dealership will often try and sell you a “coating” to help keep it protected. Should you purchase it? Most detailers will tell you no as they are not as good as the professional ceramic coatings we use, but there are a few angles to look at before you make your decision.

First, let me clearly say that the dealership coatings are by far inferior to the “professional” ceramic coatings from reputable brands. What the dealership is selling you, for upwards of $800+ most of the time, is a warranty. They state the product can offer these amazing protections and if anything, ever goes wrong they will fix it for free. Well hey, that sounds great, right? $800 over the course of a 5-year payment is nothing and they will fix anything that goes wrong? The issue is the warranty language. Most, if not all, have many loopholes and wording that will get them out of covering almost anything. Granted many professional coating warranties have the same language and it falls on the detailer to correct mistakes and manage client expectations.

Now you are paying $800 for a coating and no warranty, still not too bad right? You still are paying it over the course of time and it’s a lot easier than paying $800 to a detailer upfront. Then the issue of performance comes into play. Regardless of outlandish claims anyone makes about either kind of coating, when put under the same tests, the dealer coatings fall way short.

I have done several vehicles that had the dealer coating installed and after a clay and a good Eraser wipe down there is little to no water beading and the paint feels dry, not entirely like bare paint, but similar. With a true ceramic coating installed it needs to be polished, and I mean POLISHED off, it is not an easy task. So, while the initial dealer coating may work decent and not everyone may notice the difference in performance, the durability is where the pro coatings shine. They will work just as well as day 1 over years of time.

So, are the dealer coatings a rip-off? Would you be better off paying a few hundred for a detailer to apply even a ceramic spray such as Gtechniq C2 v3 Liquid Crystal? Absolutely. But don’t feel bad if you were convinced into getting this, or if it was already applied when you got the vehicle as it is a decent product initially and over the course of time the hit to your wallet is minimal. If you ever wanted to upgrade in the future it doesn’t take any extra effort by the detail to remove the coating either.

Ian Martinez
Gloss Angeles
Irvine, CA
Instagram | YouTube

22 comments on Dealership Coatings: Do They Actually Work?

  1. Greg Pautler says:

    Great article Ian! I also like to point out that many dealerships offer this only on new vehicles and most normal wear and tear will not destroy the finish to the point of repair/warranty work within the first few years, thus the warranty has limited value in my eyes. Quality coatings applied by knowledgable detailers can protect brand new and older vehicles relatively equally, not just new vehicles.

    • Ian says:

      Thanks Greg! The more we can spread the knowledge to consumers the better their money can be spent on quality products instead of dealer nonsense.

  2. Ron Ayotte says:

    I had a friend who had a couple of bottles of “Simoniz Glass Coat”. He asked me to apply it to his Mercedes. I followed the instructions to the letter… it lasted less than 3 months.

    • Ian says:


      Unfortunately the words “coating” and “glass coating” are thrown around a lot in products that don’t fall into the categories of a true ceramic coating. While Ive never used that product it may be a fine sealant and the name just lumps it into a category it does not belong.

  3. Kevin says:

    Let me explain dealer installed or applied coatings. If you as a customer purchase the coating then it has worked 100%. Perfect. Because the purpose is not about quality or performance as we would judge it but simply about dealer profit.

  4. Great Article man!!

    I wish I could say that the dealers in my area even charge under a thousand for their coating 🙁 My girlfriend and I recently purchased a new vehicle and they wanted to charge 3,000+ for the BASE coating. Having protection for your paint is always a good idea..but it feels like these dealerships are just trying to grab onto more things to prey on people with. I’ve met a few good dealerships, but for the most part it’s all about the money, not the love of detailing.

    • Ian says:

      They definitely are, they are selling you a piece of paper in the form of a terrible warranty. But over the course of the cars payments the amount seems so small so they get a lot of people with it unfortunately.

  5. Rodney Tatum says:

    Ian, articles like these, I feel are so important! Thank you for bringing this issue up.

  6. TheBigOldDog says:

    Who invented Ceramic coating? Simoniz. They called it Glass Coat and sold only through dealerships. Don’t believe me? Go to YT and search for “Modern Marvels” (The History Channel TV show) and “Glass Coat” to find the episode that aired many years ago. When I had it applied to 2 new vehicles in 2012, ceramic coatings were not as popular as today. New cars got either a lifetime or 7 year warranty. Some reapplied free after 6 or 7 years. On both vehicles I got around 6-7 years out of them with rarely top coating either of them. Kept both of them in great shape. When I did it, it only cost $500 per vehicle for both interior and exterior. They used a Dupont teflon product on the interior. It was money well spent.

    • Ian says:

      I have no experience with that particular product and if it is worth it then that is great. Unfortunately most dealers are offering things like Xzilon that will “protect against dents” and the outlandish false claims are backed by a “warranty” that states for any reason at the companies discretion that can deny any claim brought to them. As I was saying if you are happy with the product then there is no harm done.

  7. rlmccarty2000 says:

    I have had dealers pressure me to buy their coating by saying “it has already been applied”. I simply say “ok, take it off”. Of course they can’t take it off and the pressure sale stops there. Convinced=Conned. It’s the wording of the “warranty” that makes the coating worthless.

  8. Mark Kouba says:

    I’m also used Simon X glass coat I don’t know where you got yours but mine is a phenomenal product I’ve had it on for a year-and-a-half it’s holding up beautiful

  9. Vincent Brewer says:

    I see a product being sold at one of the dealers I call on its called Cilajet. They have all kinds of claims I”m not impressed.I feel its a rip off to he customer. I do mobile paint repairs and a lot of paint corrections and touch up.I do not offer ceramics mainly work on pre owned units. A good poly sealant is better than those dealer offers.great article Ian

  10. jeremy says:

    Mark Kouba – I also applied the Simoniz Glass Coat to the roof of my ’18 Pacifica minivan, because, who wants to deal with that huge amount of real estate??? Now the vehicle is garage kept, but it is no garage queen and it has been going strong for nearly 2 years. Very impressive considering that is a horizontal panel that gets blasted by the sun. Quite impressed by it, so I would assume maybe the other Glass Coat was a different variant/version/formula. I did a nice light polish before application as well, after wash and then chemical and mechanical decontamination. Could have been prep also…who knows.

  11. Tim Jones says:

    One other point I always mention to potential clients about a coating is the prep part of the job. I’ve heard too many story of how the dealership will tell the customer “we’ll have it ready in two hours”, etc. and we all know good and well that it’s not being prepped correctly.
    I also explain to them that I have been trained and certified by the company whose product I’m installing, etc while the dealership is hiring someone off the street and paying them $9:hr and yelling “hurry up. Hurry up, we’ve got three more to get done”!

  12. Very good article always bringing detail information to the detail world. Thank you

  13. Dave Boiano says:

    I’ll be installing a bonded window in a Transit van that had the Sentinel coating applied. Whats the best way to remove it in the area I’ll be applying the primer and urethane glue?

  14. Sally A Boutte says:

    can you buy the same product dealers use? Simonize glass coat? Sally

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