When it comes to paint protection of your vehicle, there are many different products out there that will provide various levels of protection. Our West Sussex and Hampshire car detailing clients often want to know the pros and cons of each of the methods available. So in this article, I thought I’d drill down on paint protection. I’m going to write about Wax vs Sealant vs Ceramic Coating vs PPF (Paint Protection Film).
Paint Protection Options – The Details
Wax has been the go-to product for paint protection for many years now. There are a plethora of different types and blends to choose from, the most common being Carnauba Wax. This is taken from the leaves of the Carnauba Palm tree. Used for its ability to protect again UV damage (this is especially important on cars with single stage paint) and to create a deep glossy shine.
However, wax is now obsolete thanks to the invention of nano/ceramic coatings. These are just as easy to apply, give a deeper richer shine, last far longer and provide much better protection against the elements and even very light scratches.
Sealants were created to focus more on protection rather than aesthetics. These often have wax layered on top of then to get the best of both worlds. Most sealants use a synthetic polymer blend to provide a layer of protection. Just like wax, they have become obsolete due to the rise of nano/ceramic coatings.
Ceramic coatings have been around for a while and are becoming a very popular method for paint protection. Most people refer to this product as a “ceramic coating” which leads to a belief that the coatings contain some form of ceramic. While this may be true for some coatings, generally the term “ceramic” is referring to the synthetic or non-organic formula of the coating.
Ceramic coatings come in many different forms, and there’s plenty to choose from. These include;
- GTechniq’s EXO and Crystal Serum
- Gyeon’s Mohs Plus
- Kamikaze Collection’s Miyabi coat and ISM 2.0 Hydrocarbon
All of these products provide long-lasting protection (usually up to and exceeding two years durability). They have fantastic hydrophobic properties giving the coatings a slight self-cleaning effect and making it a lot easier to clean. The dirt doesn’t stick to the paint the same way it would with an uncoated car. They also give an incredible deep glossy finish superior to any wax.
A lot of coating manufacturers describe their coatings as being “scratch resistant”. While I can’t speak for any manufacturers, I can say that in my experience this isn’t true. Coatings can help prevent scratches from happening. They stop harmful dirt particles sticking to the paint, then scratching it when a cloth drags the dirt particle along the paint’s surface. However, in most cases I’ve seen, if the paint gets into a situation where it would be scratched without a coating, it will most likely get scratched with a coating. That said, the severity of the scratch has the potential to be greatly reduced.
PPF (Paint Protection Film)
If you’re looking for unbeatable protection, then PPF is the way to go. This will provide your vehicle with unbeatable protection against stone chips, scratches and staining.
PPF has come a long way in the past ten years. Gone are the days of worrying about the film yellowing or becoming stained. You no longer need to worry about the film having a heavy orange peel or the paint being cut into during installation.
Modern paint protection film like Xpel’s Ultimate Plus and Suntek’s PPF Ultra use different manufacturing methods and materials compared to the films that were available ten years ago. Most reputable films have features such as self-healing where light marring and scratches will disappear with the application of heat. They have anti-staining technology, self-cleaning coating built in and a tough urethane material to offer long-lasting protection.
Installation of PPF
The installation of these films has also changed. Where the film used to be cut on the car with razor blades, the installation is now done using a pre-cut template. A plotter is used to cut out the shapes required for different body panels of a vehicle. The cut film is then taken over to the car and laid over the panel revealing a perfectly cut piece of film ready to be installed.
The look of PPF has improved massively as well. This is due to the new films we have today and the improved installation techniques. PPF generally used to have a lot of orange peel and a slightly dull look to it. Now the film is virtually invisible, matching the OEM paint texture. The only way you could tell a car had PPF on it is by looking for the edges of the film. This is often considered the biggest downside for some people.
PPF is the best form of paint protection out there, but it has two major drawbacks. The price of the film and the installation. There will also be visible edges to the film which can be rather annoying for some people.
If you want to know more about the car detailing and paint protection services we offer at Black River Details do contact us. We work throughout West Sussex and Hampshire and also offer a vehicle collection and delivery service.