My grandma always told me: “A smart lad always finds a way to do it” and you know what? – She was definitely right.
Paint protections have been around since the time of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, silently shielding our precious vehicles from all kinds of threats, such as scratches, oxidation and many more.
Of course, back then people didn’t have a lot of options like we do now so they had to work their way around with poor protections that simply didn’t work.
The only breakthrough back then was Carnauba Wax, which by the way is so awesome that we still use it to this very day.
So, i’m probably guessing that you have a sick passion for your vehicle and you’re trying to find smart ways to protect it from scratches, swirl marks and other minor damages and guess what – I feel you my friend.
That’s why, we’ve decided not to give you “smart tips” to just do your job, but we carefully mastercrafted 8 genius ways that will definitely help you shield your beauty and prevent surface scratches all the way up to deep ones.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
1. car wax
Car wax if not the oldest is definitely one of the oldest paint protection products ever known to mankind.
Basically, automotive car wax is a natural or synthetic product created with the purpose of shielding the exterior surfaces of your vehicle from minor scratches, UV rays and other threats that may lead to oxidation.
Nowadays, 9 out of 10 car waxes are a mix of carnauba, which is made from the wax on the leaves of the carnauba plant and natural oils, beeswax and petroleum distillates.
Applying wax on your vehicle is not expensive, while it offers a variety of benefits, like:
- Shine – A carnauba wax offers amazing clarity and depth on your vehicle’s finish, while it enhances its shine.
- Protection From Contaminants – Bugs, dirt, and other contaminants will no longer be a threat on your expensive clear coat. A thin layer of wax is all it takes to keep you and the exterior dangers at a distance.
- Easy Maintenance – In order to maintain the wax, the only thing needed is a simple washing once every two weeks. Be careful though not to use a wax-striping shampoo.
- Fills In Scratches – Wax does not remove scratches, but it fills them to a point that they won’t be noticeable. [*Regarding surface scratches]
- Prevents Minor Scratches – It can prevent minor scratches by soft tree branches, but do not expect it to be as hard as a ceramic coating.
2. paint sealant
An Automotive Paint Sealant is a fully synthetic product created to protect a vehicle’s exterior surfaces while producing a mirror-like shine.
Now, because sealants are chemically engineered to bond with the surface, they will last a lot more than a common wax while providing stronger protection against UV rays, contaminants and minor scratches.
Many people who are fans of paint sealants will tell you that is one of the most suggested paint protection products right now, while it offers:
- Enhanced shine – Paint sealants tend to produce a surprisingly shiny appearance that shines like no other traditional paint protection.
- Extended lifespan – Compared with a car wax, paint sealants can last up to 5 times longer.
- More resilient – Again, compared with a traditional wax, paint sealants offer better protection against dirt, contaminants, water spots and minor scratches.
- Makes maintenance easier – When your car has been out in adverse conditions, it’s easy for mud and grime to get dried onto your paintwork, making it difficult to clean. Car paint sealants have hydroponic qualities, though, which make it more difficult for water, mud, and grime to stick to the surface, making it much easier to clean.
Check this out: Ceramic Coating vs Paint Sealant
3. paint protection film
Paint protection film, also known as PPF or Clear Bra is a protective transparent film that shields your exterior surfaces from liquids and contaminants, while they can be stretched to fit extremely complex curves and edges.
The key benefits of a Paint Protection Film are:
- Keeps your vehicle looking brand new and shiny – A paint protection film provides a permanent protection over your car’s paint, which assists you in maintaining your car’s look new and shiny for a long time. It prevents your vehicle’s paint from fading and gives it a polished glossy style at all times.
- Increases your car’s resale value – Used cars often loose their resale value on small things, such as nearly visible scratches. Even if your car’s mechanics are flawless, even if you have done all of your service properly, poor appearance directly affects its resale value. With a PPF installed, you guarantee a protected vehicle at all times, thus increasing your car’s resale value.
- Makes maintenance a lot easier – Paint protection film repels dirt and dust, so your car’s exterior surfaces will only require a traditional washing once every two weeks. In a matter of fact, if you do not have the time to wash it or you just can’t, a simple wet cloth is all it takes to clean your amazing PPF.
- Eliminates environmental threats – UV rays combined with humidity is one of the deadliest combinations for your car’s paint. With a PPF installed, you are now able to fight back mother nature!
- Provides scratch and chemical resistance – A clear bra is one of the most effective paint protections of our generation. It does not only prevents minor scratches and damage from rock chips, but some of them can also self-heal!
- It is totally transparent – Who would want to pay so much coin for a paint protection that is not even transparent? Thankfully, PPFs are 100% invisible, so that you car will always display its outstanding gloss and finish.
- Saves money on repairs – Like i said before, most PPFs have the ability to self-heal, thus, paint correction will no longer be needed for quite some time. If you are careful enough you won’t be seeing your detailer for a really long time.
4. ceramic coating
Ceramic coatings, aka nanoceramic coatings or nano coatings are liquid polymer solutions engineered by scientists with the purpose of creating an extremely strong, but ultra-thin protection that will last for a really long time.
Nanoceramic coatings have two main ingredients:
- SiO2 (Silicon-Dioxide)
- TiO2 (Titanium-Dioxide)
While most paint protections are simply applied on top of your car’s paint, a nano coating penetrates the tiny pores of your vehicle’s clear coat and bond with it, while forming a semi-permanent transparent and protective layer that shields it from all kinds of threats.
Before continuing with the benefits, we must first explain the two basic categories of a nano coating, the DIY and the Pro-Grade.
The DIY ceramic coating is great option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on their paint protection, but still want a good shield.
On the other hand, those who chose to apply a Pro-Grade nanoceramic coating are willing to pay top coin, to get the ultimate protection they could possibly get.
Now, the key differences between a DIY and Pro-Grade are:
- With the DIY you can apply only 1 layer of ceramic coating, while with the Pro-Grade you can apply multiple layers.
- A DIY nano coating doesn’t have a warranty, while a Pro-Grade offers 3 different warranty packs. Either way, you’re covered.
- The longevity of a high-quality DIY nanoceramic coating is about 5 years, while most Pro-Grades can exceed the decade.
- And finally, the prices. A DIY ceramic coating costs about 70$, while a Pro-Grade starts from 700$ and goes all the way up to 2000$ or more, depending the vehicle, the professional installer and the paint correction needed prior to the application.
Now that we’re done with the two basic categories, let’s break down some of the most essential benefits of a ceramic coating:
- Prevents Chemical Stains – Chemical Stains are known to be extremely hard to remove without a paint protection installed. Unless you’ve coated your car with a nano coating, any chemical spilled can oxidize its surfaces.
- Reduces UV Damage & Oxidation – Although UV rays are amazing for us humans, our cars suffer from overheating. Sunlight is one of the most dangerous threats in automotives because it busts the clear coat and later destroys the car’s paint. Applying a ceramic coating prevents UV damage and oxidation in general.
- Cleaning Becomes Easy -Thanks to the hydrophobic properties of the nanoceramic coating, dust, dirt, debris, feces or any other contaminant simply “sits” on top of the coating, without leaving any stain or mark. A simple washing is all it takes to get rid off any unwanted “guests”
- Enhance Depth & Finish – One of the most common misconceptions about nanoceramic coatings is that they improve your vehicle’s shine. That’s not true. Basically, they enhance the depth of a glossy finish and increase the matte effect of a matty finish.
- Protection Against Scratches – What we really love about ceramic coatings is that they protect our car’s paint from scratches. Now, scratch-resistance is measured by the Pencil Scale Test, and the symbol we use to define how resistant is a surface to scratches with a sharp object is ‘H’. So, when we want to describe how resistant a coating is to scratches, we simply say for example 9H.
- Extended Lifespan – If you want a paint protection that lasts, this is what you’re looking for. We are talking about 5 years of a fully functional protection with 70 bucks and if you are a hardcore owner, you can always go for the pro-grade nano coatings that cost a lot but have a lifetime warranty.
- Hydrophobic Effect – Thanks to the SiO2 percentages infused in the sophisticated formula of a nano coating, when it is applied and cured it forms an invisible hydrophobic layer that repels liquids, dirt, and many more.
5. Indoor parking
I know that it might seem a little off, but trust me, having your own garage is totally worth it. You can’t even imagine how much you prolong the life of your paint/clear coat/paint protection simply by parking it in a closed space.
In a matter of fact, here are 5 benefits of parking a car in a garage:
- Away from mother nature – Obviously, constant rain, snow, wind and sun are not good for keeping your vehicle in shape. They can leave stains and marks on a vehicle, causing a serious amount of damage to the exterior, such as rust.
- Prevents dings and scratches – Falling tree branches, rocks, scratches, drunk guys coming home after drinking their weight in beer, all these are considered high-level threats for your beloved vehicle.
- Shields against UV rays – UV radiation can cause a serious amount of damage and the worst part is that most car owners don’t even realise it. It basically busts the clear coat and later destroys your car’s paint.
- Maintains the awesome looks of your vehicle – Believe it or not, mechanics can tell if a car is stored in a garage or outside. Vehicles are kept in much better condition when stored in a garage which can lead to greater resale values.
- No more visibility problems – Forget the ice scraper or dewy windshield. Parking in a garage helps keep windows clear of weather and condensation so there is no need to ride with one head out the window.
Check this out: How To Protect Your Car From Snow Without A Garage
6. car cover
Wether you have applied a ceramic coating or wax, a car cover is crucial if you do not have a garage.
Bird droppings, dirt, debris and other contaminants will not be able to hurt your beautiful car’s paint, while the thick layer of the cover shields your vehicle from damage from small rocks, tree branches and many more.
Oh! I almost forgot. You should totally check out this amazing guide on the best 25 car covers of 2020 by Motorday.com.
Actually, we will tell you not 1 but 3 amazing things that a car cover can offer:
Prevents minor scratches – Many car covers have very hard and thick layers protecting your precious investment. One thing manufacturers of car covers make sure is that minor scratches and damages will be prevented. Of course, do not expect a car cover to be as scratch-resistant as a ceramic coating, but it is definitely a great pre-paint protection solution, as well as post-paint protection. If you want to make the most out of your protection, we suggest you to apply a paint protection and after protect it with a car cover.
Battles mother nature – Trees, birds and dust. They seem peaceful but without a car cover, they are your worst enemies. See, all of these three “harmless” threats when combined for an extended period of time, they trigger the most insidious process which many of you definitely have heard of. It is called… oxidation! Oxidation happens when natural or chemical elements penetrate the protective layers of your car, such as the clear coat and come in contact with the finish or the metal surface itself and we all know what happens when a metallic part stays to long with acidic elements. Let me put it this way:
Bird Poop + Metal = Rust | thus | Rust + Time = Goodbye dear old paint
Resistance to UV damage – UV rays are commonly known for their destructive abilities in the automotive world. UV light is so devious that it can destroy your clear coat without you even noticing and the worst part is that once the damage is done, it can’t be undone. If the sun penetrates your clear coat, no polisher in the world can fix it. Now, a car cover can shield your vehicle from extreme heat and UV rays, while offering a normal climate in the interior of it.’s
7. vinyl wrap
Vinyl wrapping is the process of protecting your car’s paint with an ultra-thin film that is applied on top of your clear coat. A lot of new cars choose a vinyl because it gives a variety of customization options, without having any limitations.
A vinyl wrap is applied in the entire car, while the manufacturers have developed a wide ranged of coloure vinyl, offered in a huge amount of finishes.
Here are some essential benefits of a vinyl wrap:
- Provides good protection from scratches, rock chips and paint fading.
- 100% removable, keeping the original paintwork intact.
- Affordable customisation of your vehicle.
- Cost is far lower than re-painting.
- Maintains good resale value of the vehicle.
- Colours are durable and long-lasting.
- Guaranteed to last 5-10 years.
- Quality and appearance is almost identical to painting.
- Transforms the appearance of your car.
- Fast turnaround – most jobs take from 1-2 days for completion.
8. Graphene Coating
Graphene coatings are now one of the hottest paint protections in the automotive detailing market.
This extraordinary carbon-based nanomaterial has been around for quite some time, while a couple British professors discovered it back in 2004 and who could imagined that those two guys after 6 whole years would win the Nobel Prize for their research.
Today, graphene is growing constantly not only in the scientific world, but also in the detailing, while huge brands like Adam’s Polishes and Ethos Care Care have release graphene paint protections that promise a longevity up to 10 years.
Of course, many professional detailers and other veterans of the industry are not convinced, emphasising the lack of data proving its superiority to ceramic coatings.
It’s just to soon to make assumptions and say that it’s better than something else, since there is no user who has a graphene coating for 10 years, thus, no one can validate such claims yet.
However, here are some benefits that manufacturers claim to has:
- High water contact angle (more beading)
- Highly flexible (less susceptible to cracking or chipping)
- Very easy to apply
- Extended lifespan (5 to 10 years)