A recent study found that maintaining a new vehicle costs $792 a year. Maintaining your vehicle's appearance is costly and hard to accomplish when your car sits in the sun and drives over roadside debris and rocks. With a paint protectant applied to your car, you'll preserve its appearance and lower yearly maintenance costs.
However, which paint protectant is better ceramic coat or paint protection film? We've gathered all you need to know about a ceramic coat vs. PPF, so you can choose which protection type best suits your needs and budget.
Read on to learn more about vehicle paint protection.
What Is a Ceramic Coat?
A ceramic coat is a type of paint protectant that uses ceramic particles to create a durable layer over the exterior paint. After its applied, the ceramic coat chemically bonds with your car's factory paint, creating a thick hydrophobic surface. The hydrophobic surface prevents contaminants from bonding with the vehicle's paint, preserving your car's appearance.
The hydrophobic surface also keeps your car clean for longer and protects against common types of damage. It can reduce the risk of chemical stains, chemical marks, and fading from UV rays. Applying a ceramic coat is a great way to add a little bit of protection to your vehicle while preserving your vehicle's paint quality and overall value.
What Is Paint Protection Film?
Paint protection film, or PPF, is a transparent material that's applied to a vehicle's painted exterior. It helps maintain the quality of the paint by protecting it against scratches, chips, and other surface-level damage.
The film is typically applied to the fender, hood, and front bumper, as these areas are more likely to get damaged from everyday driving. However, the film can be applied around the whole vehicle if needed.
The film is designed to self-heal, meaning any scratches or minor scuffs will disappear over time as the film goes back to its original shape. The film also protects the paint against acid contaminants and fading or yellowing due to UV rays. Paint protection film effectively prevents damage to your car's exterior while preserving its appearance and protecting its resale value.
How Are Ceramic Coating and Paint Protection Film Similar?
Both products are designed to protect your vehicle and keep it looking like new for longer.
For instance, both ceramic coating and paint protection film protects your vehicle from acidic contaminants and fading from UV rays. Both products provide an invisible, durable layer to your paint, making it more hardwearing and shiny. No matter which product you choose, you'll add value to your car and help maintain its appearance so it can last for years.
How Are Ceramic Coating and Paint Protection Film Different?
While ceramic coating and paint protection film are designed for the same purpose, they do have some key differences.
For example, paint protection film provides a physical barrier to help prevent the paint from getting damaged, while ceramic coating only provides a chemical barrier. The difference between the barriers is that a physical barrier can help prevent chips or scratches in the paint, protect against minor abrasions and impacts, but a chemical barrier can only protect against chemical damage.
Thus, paint protection film provides better overall protection as its barrier prevents chips and scratches from everyday driving, plus paint deterioration from the sun and acid.
Ceramic Coat Vs. PPF: Which One Should I Choose?
Deciding between a ceramic coat and a paint protective film can be difficult, especially since the products have similar features. Below we've listed a number of factors to help you consider which product is better suited to your needs.
Both products help maintain your vehicle's aesthetic without changing the color or composition of the vehicle. With that said, ceramic coating outshines its competition simply due to its appearance after application.
With a ceramic coat, your vehicle will always look like it's waxed. Its shiny appearance increases its visual aesthetic, making it an obvious favorite for a number of drivers. After all, it keeps your car cleaner for longer, requiring fewer visits to the car wash and, thus, enabling you to slack on the upkeep if desired.
However, if you dislike overtly shiny vehicles, you're best bet is to opt for PPF. PPF does not increase or decrease your vehicle's shine, so it won't be naturally shiny unless you get your car washed and waxed.
Level of Protection
If you want your vehicle to be protected against all forms of damage, purchase a paint protection film. PPFs are superior when it comes to their level of protection. They last longer and protect against more roadside debris than a ceramic coat, providing you with more bang for your buck.
However, if you drive less regularly, you may not want to spend the money for your paint to be ultra-protected. A ceramic coat provides a vehicle with a lower level of protection, so there is a chance your vehicle may get scratched or dented by debris. When deciding which product to purchase, consider your annual mileage and how much protection you want for your paint job.
Both products reduce the amount of time you'll need to spend maintaining your car's appearance.
Paint protective film establishes a barrier between the paint and the elements making your vehicle easy to clean. All you need is some warm water and a towel; the dirt will come right off. Plus, with its self-healing properties, small abrasions will disappear, leaving your car looking like new.
A ceramic coat that can be applied on top of your XPEL paint protection film, on the other hand, won't just make your vehicle easy to clean, but it will also reduce the frequency you have to wash your car. Due to the product's hydrophobic properties, dirt and grime will naturally come off. Plus, its thick coat will look much like car wax, meaning you won't have to wax your car for it to maintain its shine.
As for maintaining the product, there's not much you'll need to do. Paint protection film can last years without needing to be retouched. However, the ceramic coating will need to be retouched since the chemical bond might weaken over time. If you want a protection method that makes your car easy to maintain and that doesn't need to be retouched, choose PPF.
When it comes to choosing a ceramic coat vs. a paint protection film, the overall cost is an important factor to consider. Think about its installation cost, lifetime cost, and how the product will increase your resale value.
Both products are an investment, but the installation cost will differ slightly based on the amount used. The difference in cost truly lies in its upkeep.
Since PPF doesn't require periodic maintenance, it has a higher upfront cost, but you won't have to pay for any upkeep, which will save you money over time. Sadly, PPF does not increase the shine of your vehicle, so you will have to pay for car waxes to maintain your vehicle's shine.
Ceramic coating, on the other hand, has a lower upfront cost but may need periodic maintenance, leading you to pay more later on. Although, since ceramic coating adds a natural shine to your vehicle, you won't have to pay for waxes to maintain your vehicle's appearance.
In short, do you want to pay in full upfront or split the costs over a period of time to protect your vehicle's appearance? Also, think about if you want to pay for car waxes or if that's something you don't need.
Now, let's discuss resale value. Applying either product will help you secure a positive resale value. Your resale value will likely be higher if you apply a paint protection film since it will last much longer than a ceramic coat.
Get Your Vehicle Protected Today With Paint Protection Film
Deciding between a ceramic coat vs. PPF isn't easy. A ceramic coat gives your vehicle a shiny appearance that's easy to clean but provides less comprehensive protection against surface damage.
For car owners that drive constantly, you may want a little more bang for your buck, and that's where PPF comes in. PPF provides a superior level of protection, is easy to maintain, and is cost-effective for a number of different budgets.
At Supreme Wraps, we can provide you and your vehicle with the best paint protection film, window tinting, and automotive wrap in the Orlando area. Our certified installers will ensure that your vehicle is protected and customized to your liking.
Contact us today to receive a quote for PPF.