Your ride is looking right, and you want to keep it that way. If you’re trying to decide between paint protection film vs. ceramic coating, we’ve got you covered in this article. There’s a lot more to making a good choice than just the price. We’ll break down the benefits of both options and then help you see what questions you should be asking before making a decision.
Paint Protection Film: What is It?
Paint protection film (a.k.a. clear bra/clear film/PPF/etc.) was originally developed for the military to protect helicopter rotor blades and other important parts of vehicles that were prone to preventable damage. Technically, it is thermoplastic urethane — a clear, plastic film installers apply to the surface of vehicles that often has some self-healing properties.
Paint Protection Film Benefits
Not all paint protection films are the same, so the benefits can vary quite a bit (more on that a little later in the article). Generally, though, these are some of the common benefits this option has to offer:
- Paint protection film helps protect your paint job from minor damage like stone chips, minor surface scratches, bug splatters, and more.
- As far as paint protection options go, it’s not the cheapest option, but it’s also not the most expensive. Consider it a mid-level protectant that’s worth the up-front investment.
- At DeDona Tint & Sound, our films from Suntek and 3m are so strong that they come with a ten-year warranty. Cheaper films that other installers might use may only last a year or two before needing to be replaced.
- There is a DIY option for paint protection film. We wrote an entire article on why we don’t recommend it, but it is possible to do yourself. Basically, to do it well, you need some experience, high-grade film, and a perfectly dust-free space to do the work. Even then, you’ll probably spend about the same in time and money as letting a pro team knock it out.
What is Ceramic Coating?
This protectant has really made an impact in the car care industry in recent years. Ceramic coating creates an intensely strong chemical bond with your vehicle’s paint when it’s applied. At the microscopic level, your car’s paint job has tiny grooves and valleys in it. Ceramic coating fills those spaces and creates a shielding layer of durable, hardened protectant over the paint.
Ceramic Coating Benefits
If you decide to go with ceramic coating as a protectant for your vehicle, you can expect benefits that include:
- Protection from plant and insect acids, road salt, minor scratches, and sand or grit abrasion.
- When applied properly, ceramic coating also blocks UV rays from damaging the color quality of the paint on your vehicle.
- It’s a very durable protectant. The Assurance 9H Ceramic Coating from Croftgate we use at DeDona lasts up to three years. The chemical bond is built to withstand very high temperatures and weather conditions.
- Ceramic coating provides superior dust and moisture repellant. Since all the micro pockets of your vehicle’s finish are filled in, dirt and rain have a hard time sticking to the glass-like surface of the ceramic coating.
How to Choose: Paint Protection Film vs. Ceramic Coating
As you can see, some of the benefits for both options are very comparable. So, if you’re trying to make a decision between paint protection film or ceramic coating, what should you be asking yourself to make the best choice? Use these questions as a go-to guide.
Durability or Easy Maintenance?
In general, paint protection films offer longer-lasting protection compared to ceramic coating, but everyday cleaning is easier with ceramic coatings, so you get a superior, spot-free shine. Would you rather have an option that lasts up to 10 years or a finish that looks better with less work on your part?
What’s Your Environment Like?
Where you live and drive can be a big factor in picking one option over the other. Do you rack up a lot of interstate miles or live in a more rural area where rock chips and other debris are a more common hazard to your vehicle’s finish? Paint protection film might be the way to go.
Ceramic coating could be the preferred option to cut down on water spots from afternoon rain showers or road salt accumulation in the winter, so ask think about what kind of weather will you deal with in a typical year.
What’s the bottom line on price?
When it comes down to it, ceramic coating and paint protection films are comparable on price. By now you probably already know that either of these options will run anywhere from several hundred dollars to a couple thousand. Different factors affect how professionals price installation, but some of the biggest are:
- The size of your vehicle (bigger vehicles require more film/coating and installation labor)
- Your vehicle’s current condition (which affects how much prep work it takes before installation)
- The color of your vehicle (darker colors are more labor-intensive for ceramic coating)
Maybe the Right Choice is Both
While many customers may choose one option over the other, it is entirely possible to have both paint protection and ceramic coating applied to your vehicle. The paint protection film is applied first to ensure superior protection for your car’s coat, and then the ceramic coating goes over that for an easy to clean surface.
Get a Quote for Your Vehicle
Any reputable installer should offer you a hassle-free quote or estimate for the work and tell you exactly what it will include. That’s how we run our business at DeDona Tint & Sound, and it’s part of why we’re such a trusted dealer in our community. If you’re looking for ceramic coating or paint protection film quotes in the Greensboro, NC, area, simply fill out our online quote request form with some basic information and we’ll get you a quote today!