If you want the paint on your vehicle to always look like the day you bought it, you have to do something fast. The longer you wait and the more you drive, the higher the risk of damaging your vehicle.
Harsh elements, wear and tear, and environmental factors put stress on the exterior of your car. If you do not shield it from the forces of nature, the elements will take over.
When you want to preserve the life of your vehicle and save the hassle of consistent maintenance, there needs to be a protective layer in place. There are a few ways to accomplish this but the most popular are paint protection film and a ceramic coating.
What is Auto Paint Protection Film?
Car paint protection film (PPF) is a transparent, urethane material that is applied to the exterior of your vehicle. The process is designed to preserve the quality of your car’s paint by shielding the outside and reducing the risk of damage.
Car protection film goes by many names, like:
- Clear Bra
- Rock Chip Protection
- Clear Wrap
- Invisible Shield
- Clear Mask
- Car Scratch Protective Film
The point is that it keeps your car looking better, for longer.
How it Works
The top layer of the urethane film is composed of elastomeric polymers. These are materials that return to their natural form after being stretched or disfigured. This is why car protection film is referred to as having “self-healing properties.”
It follows that when scratches or trauma are inflicted on the film, it absorbs the damage. Thus returning to the natural properties and texture it had, prior to the incident.
The Benefits of Paint Protection Film
The advantages of a PPF car shield are inherent. The superior optical clarity provides an invisible shield that is virtually undetectable.
Key benefits include:
- Protects paint from chips and scratches caused by rocks and debris
- Creates a line of defense from chemical staining and etching
- Blocks swirl marks that are created during washing
- Never oxidizes (fades) with exposure to the sun or UV rays
- Protects from stains caused by acidic contaminants (i.e. bird droppings and bug spatter)
- Saves paint from hard water spots and mineral deposits
Whether the road has sand, cinders, or salt, rest assured your car’s paint is protected.
What is Auto Ceramic Coating?
A ceramic coating is a product that not only protects your car from hazardous elements but makes it easier to wash. Some find it similar to a powder coating, which is used to protect large machinery from rust and weather.
Car ceramic coating is also called:
- Nano-Ceramic Coating
- Ceramic Pro
- Opti-Coat Pro
How it Works
A ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that is applied to the exterior surfaces of your vehicle over the paint. The materials chemically bond with your car’s factory paint to create an extra layer of protection.
Ceramic coating provides a different line of defense than paint protection film. It’s closer to a premium car wax (ceramic car wax) than anything else.
It creates a permanent or semi-permanent bond with your car’s paint. This means, it doesn’t wash away or break down, nor does it require repeated applications every few months. A ceramic coating helps keep your car looking like new, with minimal maintenance.
The Benefits of a Ceramic Coating
The advantages of a ceramic car coating are plentiful.
Key benefits include:
- Car is more resilient and easier to clean
- Protection from UV damage and oxidation (fading)
- Creates a chemically resistant surface that keeps contaminants from bonding to paint
- More resistant to staining and etching
- Hydrophobic properties, which is a fancy way of saying “water repellent”
- Makes the exterior pop with gloss, adding to the depth and clarity of the paint
The best ceramic coating for cars reduces the risk of certain types of damage, like:
- Chemical etch marks caused by acidic contaminants
- Oxidation from UV exposure
- Chemical stains caused by acidic contaminants
How are Paint Protection Films and Ceramic Coatings Different?
Paint protection film and ceramic coatings are both valuable additions to your car, but each serves slightly different purposes. PPF is thicker than the ceramic coating and has a self-healing chemical composition. This helps it return to form after dents, knicks, and abrasions.
It’s applied to the hood, door edges, bumper, back of mirrors, fenders, and more. These qualities give paint protection film the ability to absorb small scratches, rock chips, swirl marks, and hard water spots. All without any permanent disfigurement.
Although a ceramic coating also has high-impact resistance, it doesn’t always eliminate the risk of scratches, chips, water spots, or swirl marks.
Ceramic coating car protection offers strength in the hydrophobic surface. When you apply it to your vehicle, you get the benefits of the hydrophobic properties across every surface, without having to cover the whole vehicle.
Although some paint protection films are equipped with a clear hydrophobic coat, it’s never as strong as a ceramic coating.
The good news is you don’t have to choose one or the other. Both can be applied to the same vehicle.
The paint protection film and the ceramic coating form a dynamic duo that gives your car the ultimate invisible shield against the elements. Together, they preserve your paint over time and enhance the appearance on a daily basis.
Paint Protection Film and Ceramic Coating in Flagstaff, AZ
The state of Arizona has one of the hottest and most arid climates in the country. The heat is oppressive and in some cases, the sun can be dangerous to your health. This means, those same elements beating down on your car, will cause oxidation (fading). It’s inevitable.
Sun damage is especially prevalent in black, red, and blue colors. It can also quickly deteriorate unpainted parts of your vehicle, like bumpers, fenders, mirror covers, and cargo racks.
Since the elements are such a large concern for residents in and around Flagstaff, Arizona, it’s a good idea to invest in some paint protection products for your car. There are several types of UV sealing products that can minimize the damaging effects of the sun’s rays.
Arizona is also very dry. That means dust, sand, gravel, and rocks constantly kick up from the road. These materials will ping your paint job, causing scratches, dents, and dings. Paint protection film and a ceramic coating ensure that even when this happens, your vehicle remains like new.
Additionally, Arizona has a lot of wildlife. Bird droppings and bug splatter can also eat away at your paint. If you’re an avid driver, this is an issue you’ll always run into. A combination of paint protection film and a ceramic coating ensures these contaminants never even reach your paint.
No matter where you live, car paint protection extends the life of your vehicle’s paint job and protects the exterior from the elements. Living in a state like Arizona requires residents to make accommodations for the pressure and heat.
A ceramic coating is a good start. It will keep the dust and dirt from sticking to your paint with minimal washing or maintenance required. If you find yourself constantly wiping your vehicle down, this hydrophobic solution may be the answer.
The paint protection film is the stronger of the two and has self-healing properties. This gives it the ability to “bounce back” from any dings or dents that happen on the road.
Ultimately, the best choice is to have both services on your vehicle. The ceramic coating will keep your shine lasting longer and the protection film will extend the life of the exterior. Your pricing will vary depending on the number of surfaces protected, but it’s always well worth the cost!
Our high-tech computer plotting system cuts specific vehicle patterns with minimal stress on your car. Plus, paint protection products come with a 10-year warranty. Just ask!
Click here to read about some automotive detailing tips from the pros.