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Discover the 4 different types of paint protection and learn what each one offers!

What is paint protection?

Paint protection comes in many different forms. You have waxes, sealants, coatings and PPF’s (paint protection films) and even the clear coat on your car is a form of paint protection! In fact the clear coat on your paint is the ultimate in paint protection the rest of the items on the list are more for protecting the clear coat over. This post is to explain the different types and the pros and cons of each type of protection.

Is clear coat necessary?

Clear coat was first introduced on cars in the late 1970’s. Clear coat is a three layer system (primer, basecoat, clear coat) used on most modern day vehicles. Some manufacturers still use single stage paint on certain models of certain makes (as an example Toyota still uses single stage paint on its white trucks). Clear coat is usually between 35 to 50 microns (1.5 to 2.0 mils) thick. This is the first layer of protection against stones, the elements and the harmful UV rays of the sun. Unlike the other forms of paint protection in this post it is the most expensive to replace as it typically requires a full repaint once it starts to fail.

Is car wax dead?

Wax still serves a purpose in today's detailing world and while it’s not typically used by professional detailers many DIYers swear by it. Some say that wax gives you a deeper gloss over most modern day protectants. I personally feel that it has its place and that it is a relaxing thing for the mom or dad that enjoys spending a full day on the weekend cleaning up the old family ride.

One of the downsides of wax is its longevity, most waxes only last 2 to 3 months at most and then they need to be reapplied. That and the fact that waxes take a while to apply and they can stain the black textured trim on the car are reasons that they are not highly used by professionals anymore.

Is paint sealant worth it?

Paint sealant is basically new age wax. It's easy to apply, gives a jaw dropping gloss and protects the car for around 4 to 6 months. Paint sealants are quicker and easier to apply then wax, unlike wax a sealant can be applied to the trim without getting that white residue. Paint sealants have specially formulated polymers that allow it to take a lot of abuse and still protect your paint.Paint sealants are a great option if you are looking to sell your vehicle as they will offer incredible gloss upping the resale value of your vehicle. Another benefit of paint sealants is that the car doesn’t need to be dry to apply it! In fact if you spray a paint sealant on to your paint while it is wet it can act as a drying lubricant allowing you to towel dry your car without the risk of marring the paint.

With all that paint sealants have to offer they do come with some draw-backs. They don’t last near as long as a coating or PPF and they are not chemically resistant.

What a coating does?

A coating is a more permanent way to protect your car over a wax or a sealant. Coatings react with the clear coat of your paint and bond to the surface making a hard shell. This is the main reason it has become so popular. Instead of having to wax your car every couple of months or paying someone to do so you can have a coating applied that will last years. Coatings have been around since the 1970’s and were first used to protect military and commercial aircraft.

There are a lot of myths out there about how a coating can protect from scratches and stone chips. There are also videos of people protecting panels with a coating and setting the panel on fire. Unfortunately this has lead to people getting the wrong idea about coatings and thinking that they are some form of “snake oil”. A coatings job is to add a sacrificial layer on top of the clear coat and aiding in ease of maintenance. It will not protect against scratches and stone chips, but it will protect against bug guts, bird droppings, and harmful UV rays.

What is PPF?

PPF or paint protection film is a film that is applied over the vehicle's paint creating the strongest form of protection you can get for your vehicle. PPF is typically between 8 and12 mils thick and will protect better against scratches and stone chips then any of the other forms of paint correction on this list. PPF is also the most expensive form of paint protection but that goes hand in hand with the fact that it also yields the highest product cost and takes the highest level of skill and most amount of time.

PPF paired with a ceramic coating will give your vehicle both ease of maintenance and the highest level of protection available.

For the most part PPF is one of the best forms of protection you can apply to the vehicle if you are looking to protect against scratches and stone chips in the paint. Unfortunately when they get to the end of their life cycle they can be time consuming and expensive to remove and if left onto long they can start to deteriorate and become even more of a mess.

If you have any questions or would like to see about getting your car professionally protected contact us here!

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