In our latest Podcast, we explored the differences between wax, sealant, ceramic coatings and paint protection film (PPF) also known as “clear bra.” We think about the pros and cons of each, and ultimately what kind of car owners they suit.
Let’s dive in:
First, a quick summary of the main types of paint protection we have on the market today:
1) Waxes – it’s more of a shining product than one of protection, but it’s a common-enough choice for many drivers and can provide a 1- to 2-month lasting layer of shine to the car and short term protection against the elements. A professionally done waxing may set you back around $80. Examples include wet wax, carnauba wax, beez's and others.
2) Sealants – more expensive than waxing at around $150, but lasting a much longer time (around 6-12 months depending on quality). It’s typically a polymer sealant, and applied either by hand or machine, and it is much more protection-oriented than wax with an increase in resistance and shine.
3) Ceramic coating – a more expensive but longer-lasting option that will provide your car with a great shine as well as a near perfect, self cleaning, look.
4) PPF (clear bra) – a sturdy, plastic-based coating that will act like more of a heavy-duty shield against things like gravel and rock shards getting thrown up against your car.
Many opt for waxes and sealants from day to day because the lower price tag makes them accessible, and we’re generally happy with the results. I want to take some time, however, to explain in more detail the benefits of both ceramic coating and clear bra, as well as the similarities and differences that exist between the two styles of coating.
How can both ceramic coating and clear bra benefit your vehicle?
- Enhanced protection that lasts for years (5 or more years) – superior to waxes or sealants.
- More expensive – will range into over a thousand dollar ($1,000+)
- Likely will need professionals to help install/apply.
- Both represent the best-possible day-to-day protection for your car.
When you compare ceramic coating and clear bra side by side, it’s obvious that they both have some advantages, but, overall, it’s fairer to say that ceramic coating does have an edge. Below, as we contrast the two a little more closely, you’ll see what I mean.
Point 1: If it’s gloss you’re after, then you can’t beat ceramic coating. It’s more of a glassy shine than wax or sealant would offer. The shine from ceramic coating is actually quite amazing and will undoubtedly take you aback. Clear bra is a great strong protective feature, but really lacks that kind of shiny finish you might want to make your paintwork really pop.
Point 2: Ceramic coating has the added advantage of hydrophobicity. Once covered in the coating, rainwater and dirt will seem to retreat from your car, and you’ll find it clean even after driving around in bad weather.
Point 3: The 9H protection rating of ceramic coating is great, but truth be told, in terms of debris making direct contact with your car’s surface, clear bra is unmatched in brute protective strength. Contrary to Clear-film where rock chips may create holes in the plastic, Ceramic coating does provide you with a slick finish, repelling any rock chips from going straight through the finish whereas with the clear-bra, those rock chips would tear through, making it look ugly.
Point 4: There’s a definite risk of paint chipping when it comes to removing clear bra from the vehicle, no matter how well it was applied initially. It’s a standard hazard that you’ll have to accept. You’ll get many years of use from your PPF, but in the end it may have the last laugh on your paint job in a negative way.
Point 5: You’ll may pay upwards of $5,000 for ceramic coating, depending on how long you want it to last. $5,000 might cover up to ten years. Take estimates with a pinch of salt and take a warranty where you can. PPF will set you back even more money, and yet you may run through that hazard of damaging your paint after those ten years.
Are you worried about ROCK CHIPS?
If you are worried about Rock chips and therefore you are leaning towards clear-bra, we may have a tip for you to analyze in one short sentence:
Although Clear-bra will better protect your paint from rock Chips, and you are willing to not have a ceramic coating Shine and slick finish. Then consider the hazard you will go through when removing the clear-bra after 10 years. is Clear Bra really worth it if the you run through that risk of damaging your paint at the very end?
If Yes, then consider Ceramic coating!
And there we have it, the main pros, cons and key similarities/differences between the various paint protection methods. When you have a lot of choices, sometimes it helps to get a professional opinion on what would work best for you and your circumstances, so call us any time at 804-250.1028. Look out for future podcasts on different automotive topics, as well!
For service prices click HERE