If you love your car and care about how it looks every day, you have most likely thought about finding the right products to protect and preserve your vehicle’s paint. During your research, you have probably noticed that there are two main products that people swear by ceramic coating and paint protection film.
If you are not sure about one or either of these products, you are in the right place! In the following article, we will discuss the difference between ceramic coatings and paint protection film, what each product brings to the table, and which option will be the best for you and your car’s needs.
What is a Ceramic Coating?
A ceramic coating is a protective layer that is made of a liquid polymer. When it is applied to the outside of your car, it attaches to the car’s original paint, creating a waterproof surface. The protective and waterproof layer makes it very hard for external elements to stick to the surface of your vehicle or the paint.
Benefits of a Ceramic Coating
The two main benefits that a ceramic coating provides are that it helps keep your car cleaner for a longer period of time, and it makes it easier to clean your vehicle when you do need to wash it. A ceramic coating will also protect your car from various types of damage, including fading from overexposure of the sun, as well as chemical stains or etches that are caused by acidic elements.
On the aesthetic side, a ceramic coating will enhance your car’s gloss. A ceramic coating provides a slick and smooth surface to your car and makes the paint more reflective, allowing your car to really stand out when you drive during a bright, sunny day.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Getting a Ceramic Coating?
Compared to the benefits listed above, the pros do outweigh the cons when it comes to applying a ceramic coating to your car, but it is important to go through the drawbacks as a ceramic coating is not a be all end all protective solution. Here are a few things that you should be aware of before pursuing a ceramic coating:
- Doesn’t Prevent Scratches or Chips: Although a ceramic coating will prevent some minor scratches, it isn’t fully scratch resistant. A ceramic coating will also not stop rocking chips when a rock hits your car while driving.
- Won’t Stop Water-spotting: When it rains, the water usually contains microscopic minerals and dirt. After the water evaporates, a visible spot will appear because the minerals and dirt remain on your vehicle. A ceramic coating will not protect your vehicle from water-spotting.
- You Will Still Need To Wash Your Car: As mentioned above, a ceramic coating will prolong the need to wash your car, but you will still have to do it every once in a while. If you drive your car regularly, it will get dirty. The good thing about a ceramic coating is that it makes this chore really easy.
What is Paint Protection Film?
The paint protection film is made from a urethane material that is transparent, and it can be applied to the painted areas of the exterior of your car. The purpose of the paint protection film is, quite simply, to protect the paint of your car from various types of damage, including:
- Scratches and chips from rocks
- Swirling caused by washing your car
- Chemical stains and etches caused by acidic elements.
- Fading from long exposure to the sun
- Water spots
Can Paint Protection Film Cause Problems to my Car?
Once the paint protection film has been applied to your car, you will barely notice it as it is invisible to the naked eye. However, as time goes by, people wonder if there are any visible effects that are left behind in the film. If you choose a high-quality paint protection film, you won’t experience any negative effects. However, if you choose a lower quality paint protection film, you may experience yellowing, blistering, or peeling.
Are There Any Similarities Between Ceramic Coatings and Paint Protection Films?
For the most part, both ceramic coatings and paint protection films are used to protect and preserve the paint on your car to keep them looking new and vibrant for a long time. Both have similar benefits, including protecting your car from fading due to overexposure from the sun and keeping the paint protected from acidic elements. No matter which option you choose, you will be adding something to your vehicle that will protect its paint and increase the value at the same time.
What Are The Differences?
As similar as these products are, there are stark differences that you will notice. To start, a ceramic coating is thinner than paint protection film. Paint protection film has an element that allows it to withstand small scratches and rock chips by “healing itself” to its original form. It will also prevent water or swirl marks from appearing after washing your car or after a rainstorm.
A ceramic coating, on the other hand, creates a hydrophobic surface of your car, making it easier to wash your car and enhances the gloss.
Which Option is the Best For Your Car?
Now that you know the benefits of each option, it’s time to decide whether a ceramic coating or paint protection film is the best choice for your car. If you want the best protection for your car, you can actually use both options at the same time!
If you choose both options, the paint protection film is applied to your car’s most susceptible areas for scratches and rock dents. This is because ceramic coating won’t protect your car from those elements. The most common areas that paint protection film is applied to are the side mirrors, rear-wheel arch, bumpers, and the hood.
After the paint protection film is applied, the entire exterior of your car (minus the windows and windshield) will be draped with the ceramic coating. The coating will attach itself to the paint of your car, as well as the film that was already applied to your vehicle. When the ceramic coating is applied over the paint protection film, there will be an added layer of protection from stains and etches caused by acidic elements.
For the best protection for your vehicle, it’s a great idea to apply a high-quality paint protection film and a ceramic coating at the same time.