Categories: Exterior Detailing

If you are considering buying a new car or maybe you just purchased one, you may find yourself wondering “what is the best way for me to protect my car”?

When you spend your hard-earned money on a vehicle, you want to make sure you are taking every precaution to preserve your investment.  There are many things to protect your vehicles finishes from.  Rock chips, sun fade, sap, bird droppings, dust, dirt, de-icer are just a few.  When you are attempting to protect your vehicle from so many things it can be confusing to figure out what the best method should be.  We have two primary solutions that we recommend for different reasons to address the bulk of these hazards:  paint protection film and ceramic coating.

Many of our customers ask us, ‘What’s the difference between Ceramic Coatings and Paint Protection Film?’ and ‘which one is better for me?’ Here are the short answers:  1) There is a big difference between these two treatments; 2) The option(s) you choose will depend on what you are trying to protect your vehicle against and also your level of commitment to preserving your investment.  Read on to learn the benefits of each and the differences between the two.

Paint protection film and ceramic coating have two very distinct, different functionalities.  While they both serve to protect your paint, each one is unique in its method of protecting your paint. Let’s break that down, starting with paint protection film.

Targeted Protection – Paint Protection Film

Paint protection film (PPF) – sometimes referred to as clear bra – is a thermoplastic urethane film applied to specific exterior areas of your car as a protective layer. The transparent, high-gloss film protects your vehicle against the elements without changing design features or color.  We all know how frustrating it is to discover a ding in the paint on the front end of your car.  Paint protection film adheres to the paint creating a physical barrier specifically to prevent rock chips. It is an excellent solution to preventing fingernail scratches around your door handles and the edges of doors when you accidentally nick the paint on something. Many of our customers have it applied to headlights to prevent damage from road dirt.

3M Scotch Guard Pro Series film is our go-to choice in paint protection film in our shop. We are a 3M Certified Installer, which means Scotchgard™ Paint Protection Film Pro Series is backed by a 10-year warranty, which covers defects including yellowing, bubbling, and cracking. Paint protection film is maintenance-free, requires no special care, and owners can wash and use their cars without fear of damaging the film. 3M recommended applications for paint protection film include:

  • Front Bumper
  • Partial or Full Hood
  • Partial or Full Fenders
  • Door edges
  • Door handle cavities
  • Side mirrors
  • Headlights
  • Trunk Ledge

All Over Protection – Ceramic Coating

We talked extensively about ceramic coating in our blog “Ceramic Coating or Waxing What You Need To Know”  Although ceramic coating can go on many different surfaces of your car, including wheels, trim, glass, plastics, and brake calipers, we want to focus on ceramic coating for your vehicle’s paint compared to paint protection film.

Ceramic coating your vehicle’s paint serves multiple purposes. It protects your car better than anything else on the market from UV damage,  environmental contamination, bird droppings, SAP, etc. It provides resistance to wash-related swirl marks and damage to your paint from road dirt and general environmental damage. It keeps your car looking shiny – much longer than wax will do.  Some ceramic coatings last six months, others can last around two years, and some are guaranteed for several years.

Unlike paint protection film, ceramic coating is applied to the entire exterior painted areas on your car. Paint protection film is cut and customized to specific areas of your vehicle. Ceramic coatings are made from thousands of nanoparticles that link tightly to a car’s paint and form a chemical bond.

The Best Comprehensive Protection – Combining Forces

Imagine this scenario: You’ve scrimped, saved, and finally invested in a new car; maybe it is your dream car. It’s perfect.  The paint is smooth, shiny, and slick. You know, if you take that car for a spin at some point, it will get a rock chip or a minor scratch. You didn’t buy a car to sit in the garage. So, what is the best way to protect it and still enjoy it? Ceramic coating or paint protection film? That was a trick question because the correct answer is BOTH.

Each of the two paint protection methods “ceramic coating” and “paint protection film”, provides a different type of protection – the combination of both is a bumper-to-bumper assurance that your vehicle’s paint has the best fighting chance to last for years to come.  If rock chips are a concern to you and you’d like to protect the front end of your vehicle from aging prematurely, then you’re going to want to do paint protection film. That said, ceramic coating is a must-do to protect your car from fading, hazing, premature aging paint, and all the things that come from being exposed to the environment.

Many of the savvy owners who come to our shop have educated themselves on how best to protect their investment and choose paint protection film and ceramic coating for the optimum protection for their new vehicle. These two techniques work well together to keep your vehicle looking like you just drove it off the lot.

Make an appointment with us today and start driving your car for the joy of it without worrying about potential damage to your paint.