Ceramic Coating Cure Times Explained: How Long to Wait

During the first week after applying a ceramic coating it is essential that it is allowed to cure (harden) properly in to achieve the maximum durability and performance. In this article I’ll take you through everything you need to know including:

  • How long you should wait before the coating gets wet
  • What you should do if it rains on the coating
  • How long you need to wait before driving the car
  • How long you need to wait before washing the car
  • If a ceramic coating can be exposed to sunlight
  • If colder temperatures stop the coating curing

This article will give general advice and specific examples taken from manufacturer’s guidelines. However, I’d always recommend following the exact guidance provided by the manufacturer of your specific coating with regards to prep, application, and aftercare as every coating is slightly different.

How Long Before a Ceramic Coating Can Get Wet?

With most ceramic coatings, is recommended to keep the car dry for at least 12-24 hours after application. If the car gets wet during that period, it can lead to water spotting on the coating if it has not had time to properly cure.

Some coatings are more forgiving than others with regards to how long the coating needs to be kept completely dry for. Here is a table showing the recommended wait time for popular ceramic coatings.

Ceramic CoatingTime Before Getting Wet
Infinity Wax Synergy30 mins
Pyramid Car Care4 hours
Gyeon Evo12 hours
Gtechniq CSL/ EXOV4/ C112 hours
CarPro Cquartz24 hours
Garage Therapy Cerberus24 hours
Scholl Concepts C-Rock24 hours

What if it Rains on the Ceramic Coating?

If the ceramic coating car gets rained in within the recommended time that it needs to be kept dry the best thing to do is to use a car dryer (or leaf blower if that’s all you have) to push the rainwater off the panels without actually touching the paintwork.

This gets rid of the risk of inflicting marring or swirls and ensures the car is dry again. Do this as soon as it stops raining.

So long as the car is not dusty, if the ceramic coating gets rained on within the first 4-6 hours, it is possible to use a very soft and plush (and clean) microfiber towel to very gently pat the surface and soak up the rain droplets. Do not swipe or drag the towel across the paintwork as this risks inflicting swirls if there is any dust or debris on the car.

I would be very mindful though of using a microfiber towel to remove the water from the car, as even if you use a patting technique, there is still a risk that there’s some dust on the panel that might be pushed around without adequate lubrication and inflict marring.

If the car is dusty and it has rained, and you don’t have a leaf blower or car dryer, you should not try to dry with a microfiber towel it as it will very likely inflict some swirls/ marring. The fortunate thing is that rain water is much softer in comparison to tap water, so it’s not quite as problematic and hopefully the coating will have cured enough to withstand any damage.

Never use any other drying tools such as water blades (squeegees), bath towels or chamois leather as these will damage the coating.

I’d highly recommend trying to prevent the car getting wet in the first place by either keeping it undercover or applying the coating when it is very unlikely to rain recommended waiting period.

If you are concerned that you won’t be able to keep the car dry for 12-24 hours, choose a more forgiving coating such as:

  • Infinity Wax Synergy (30 minute wait required)
  • Pyramid Car Care Pro/ Premium/ New Era (4 hour wait required)

How Long Before a Ceramic Coated Car Can Be Driven?

For most coatings, it is advised to wait 12-24 hours after ceramic coating the car before driving it to ensure it has cured enough to be exposed to the elements.

Typically, it is a good idea to wait for the amount of time that the manufacturer advises that the coating stays dry for before driving the car. Hence, if the instructions say to keep the car dry for 24 hours, don’t drive it until it’s been 24 hours.

There are some coatings which say you can drive the car sooner, for example, cars coated in Pyramid Car Care Pro/ Premium or New Era coatings can be driven after just 30 minutes as long as the conditions are dry, but should not get wet until 4 hours.

Since it’s very difficult to guarantee there will be no water of the road, I’d always stick to the time that the coating should be kept dry for, before the car is driven.

How Long Before a Ceramic Coated Car Can Be Washed?

Ceramic coatings take a while to fully cure (harden). During this curing process, the coating essentially compacts to form a tough layer of protection and within this time it should not be exposed to any chemicals.

It typically takes most ceramic coatings 7 days to fully cure, during which time the car should not be washed or subjected to any other chemicals. Some coatings require 14 days before they can be washed so it is vital that you check the application information provided by the manufacturer.

If you wash the car too soon, the chemicals and minerals in the water can damage the coating and prevent it from achieving it’s maximum durability and performance levels.

Check out my complete guide to washing a ceramic coated car.

Here are some popular coatings and how long you should wait before washing them.

Ceramic CoatingWait Time Before Washing
P&S Legend3 days
Pyramid Car Care3 days
CarPro Cquartz5 days
Infinity Wax Synergy7 days
Gtechniq CSL/ EXOV4/ C17 days
Garage Therapy Cerberus7 days
Scholl Concepts C-Rock7 days
Gyeon Evo14 days

Should the Coating be Exposed to Direct Sunlight?

Direct sunlight can help a ceramic coating to cure faster. However, you should still wait the recommended period of time before washing the car even if the coating has been allowed to cure in higher temperatures or direct sunlight to ensure the coating has fully hardened.

Make sure you do not expose the car to direct sunlight too soon. For most coatings, you should wait at least 12-24 hours before parking the car in the sun.

Also make sure you do not park it under trees, so contaminants such as bird mess and tree sap will not settle on the car as these can damage the coating during the curing process.

Will a Ceramic Coating Cure in the Cold?

Ceramic coatings will cure in colder conditions, but they will do so more slowly.

It is recommended to try and keep the car in the same environmental conditions as recommended during the application process for 12-24 hours after applying the coating.

For example, it the manufacturer advises the coating should be applied in 15-25°C (60-77°F), and under 70% humidity, then ideally the car should be kept in very similar conditions for at least that initial 12-24 cure time. After which, the car can be subjected to lower temperatures.

Don’t panic if the temperature falls a bit below this in the initial curing period, as long as the application process was performed properly then it should not cause any issues. It may just take a bit longer for the coating to fully cure.

If the car has been subjected to particularly cold temperatures (close to freezing or below) in the week following application, I would advise waiting a few days extra before washing the car just to make sure the coating has fully hardened.

Check out my article on the best environmental conditions to apply a coating to learn more.



Heather is a professional car detailer & valeter based in Cheshire and the owner of Auto Care HQ. A familiar face in the car detailing community, she has written over 200 car detailing guides on autocarehq.com and has produced over 165 videos on the Auto Care HQ YouTube channel.

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