Which Paint Protection?

Last time we looked at “how to choose the right protection?” today we look at the choices for Paint Protection here in Perth that protect your vehicles paint and help you keep it in prestige condition. 

 

There are 4 main types of Paint Protection that vary in their ease of application, effectiveness, longevity and appearance and we will go over them briefly here. 

Wax – Like all coatings there are many brands of wax available in the marketplace. Carnauba is the main content of all quality waxes with varying amounts of Carnauba Wax in each.  You will often see wash and wax products in your local car care shop or offered in your local hand car wash. These often have a minimum wax content where if you go to the other end of the spectrum some waxes have a 70% content. 

In the harsh Perth climate, waxes will last typically 6 months if a quality product is applied.  Some will last longer and some less dependant on each wax product. The wax will protect from UV rays but will break down from washing your car with detergents so use a PH neutral shampoo to minimise this. 

The other  major benefit from a high quality wax is the wet gloss look you can achieve if applied to a well prepared vehicle.  If you enjoy maintaining your vehicle regularly then this could be ideal for you.

Sealants – These are for those who require a longer lasting protection than a traditional wax, they have come a long way over time. These are most likely to be a synthetic resin or polymer and will last longer than the traditional waxes with a life span of 12- 24 months depending on your choice of brand.

They will break down over time but at a much slower rate than the Carnauba Waxes previously mentioned.  These are ideal for those that want to maintain their own vehicle paintwork but do not want to go to the lengths of the more regular waxing. 

Ceramic Coating – These coatings are your long term option that were originally created by our Asian neighbours and of course, like many good things these have been duplicated and in some cases improved upon by others around the globe. Ceramic Coatings are also known as Glass or Quartz  dependant upon the brand you were to choose but are all based on the original Ceramic idea. 

It is crucial to understand the Ceramic coatings are not a forcefield for your paintwork. They are great and they do their job excellently but there are many false claims out there of its capabilities by the companies or the salesman and again in our opinion un-achievable warranties that come with terms and conditions that could make it hard to have a claim due to many clauses included.  We highly recommend that you obtain a copy of these terms, read them and ask the hard questions before committing to what sounds too good to be true. 

The amount of brands available in today’s market is mind blowing and hard for even a professional detailing company to keep up with.  We will touch on this in our next blog but for Perth Detailing Centre we use the market leading Gtechniq brand that has accredited us to be an approved applicator of their premium professional coating Crystal Serum Ultra . 

Regardless of the brand you have applied, it must be noted that they are only as good as the preparation that goes into preparing the paint work and the skill in which they are applied. It’s not a simple process of just washing a car and applying the coating and can certainly not be done in a couple of hours which we have heard claims of. 

So what are the added benefits to a ceramic over the waxes and sealants we have already touched on other than the longevity?

As the ceramic coating chemically bonds to your paintwork it does not wear down with your maintenance washing anywhere as quick as the previous two options and can only be removed quickly by machine polishing using an abrasive compound (do not try this at home). 

Other key benefits are 

  • Invisible surface protection 
  • Helps reduce fine scratches caused by washing 
  • Maintains a cleaner vehicle longer as it is harder for debris to attach to the coating than paint alone 
  • Increases the appearance of your vehicle through enhanced protected gloss
  • Easier to wash the vehicle (do not believe any claims that you just have to hose it off and your done) 
  • Increase the resale value of your vehicle if you maintain to the manufacturers simple  guidelines 

Paint Protection Film (PPF) – This is the fourth option and arguably the best.  Originally called a clear bra or car bra as it was applied to the front bumper of your vehicle, where today it is common to protect the whole front end of the vehicle if you choose.  You can literally protect any panel you want. Another example is that 4WD’s in Perth can do the sides of their vehicles to protect the original paintwork from the pinstripe (and worse) scratches caused from driving in the bush. 

One of the original reasons for the car bra was it is extremely thick and also being capable of withstanding stone chips that can ruin the appearance of your vehicle especially if you do much of your driving on the country roads.  It also avoids the need to touch up the small holes with unsightly touch up paint. 

In the early days, these films were prone to not lasting very long turning yellow and brittle. These two main issues have now been eliminated and will only be seen on older cars or those that may have had cheaper poorer quality films installed. 

This film is applied from either a pattern that is precision cut on a plotter so that it fits  exactly to the contours of the vehicle or what is called bulk cut which is where a pattern is not available. This happens more often for models that are designed for the Australian market, the reason being is that the demand is much smaller here than in countries such as the USA, but this is changing over time as PPF becomes more popular.

Bulk cutting should be known more as bulk “scoring” as this is the process used. The film is layered over the chosen panel and a line scored in the film so that it can be pulled apart, this is a highly skilled task and must be done with absolute care with a very sharp blade. Some installers may refuse to put PPF on a car where a pattern is not available. 

We expect, and it is already starting to happen, that the market will be flooded in the coming years with many brands and we will keep our eye on them and their development, but for now we know brands such as Flexishield are leaders in their field with great ability to stretch, clarity and the overall protection of the surface it is protecting. 

Not only does it protect from all the things a ceramic coating does, it also protects from stone chips but also it can be a bumper saver too. If you just scrape the corner bumper, instead of respraying the area you can often just remove the film leaving your paintwork in tact when selling or just replace the PPF panel only. 

Another significant advantage of the PPF is its ability to chemically self heal, so when you get those minor scratches or swirls when the area is heated they will disappear, meaning that your film maintains its gloss to a very high standard.  

Although these films come with a great warranty and are a great product, we do recommend to coat with a ceramic coating such as the Gtechniq Halo that has been designed specifically for PPF and vinyls.  This coating increases the hydrophobic qualities and helps with the ease of cleaning especially with bugs on the front of the vehicle.   

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