Your vehicle is most likely one of your biggest investments. For that reason, you probably want to keep the value of your vehicle as high as possible. Keeping your vehicle's exterior protected is essential for maintaining its value and ensuring it looks its best for years to come. There are several ways to protect your car's exterior, including waxing, using sealants, ceramic coatings, and PPF film. Each of these methods increase in longevity, durability, and price.
Why You Should Keep Your Vehicle Protected
Before we get into how to protect your vehicle, let's talk about what sorts of issues arise when you don't keep your vehicle protected. The most common and destructive elements your vehicle will face include UV rays from the sun, rain water, salt, and food and drink spills on the interior.
UV rays caused by the sun are known to cause fading on exterior and interior panels of vehicles. Even though vehicles come with clearcoats on the paint and other protective coatings from the factory, they are no match for the constant attacks from the sun. Over a couple of years you will begin to notice the paint becoming more dull looking, the rubbers and plastics begin turning greyish rather than that fresh black color, and even interior dashes, door panels, and leather can begin to lose color and crack.
Water exposure can also become a big problem over time. When it comes to your vehicle's value, one of the worst things that can happen is rust forming on the frame and body. Did you know that paint was originally invented as a protective coating to keep surfaces from oxidizing and rusting? Aside from the exterior of your vehicle, once water starts seeping into the interior due to old dry-rotting seals, it can become a nightmare of mold and mildew growth. On top of normal rain fall, there can be acid rainfall which will just speed up the process of your vehicle's appearance degrading.
Salt and Industrial Damage
Another major issue that we see degrading cars over time is salt. Whether you live in a coastal area near the salt water, or in northern areas that require salted roads in the winter, salt can cause all kinds of rusting on your vehicle. Industrial damage often comes from something called "rail dust". This is common in areas near train tracks or when your vehicle is transported via train. It occurs when the iron from the tracks turns into powder and the wind picks it up and blows it onto your car. Once the iron particles are on your car it can begin to rust. This will begin causing little black and then orange rust spots all over your vehicle.
There are plenty of other causes for damage in the outside environment including bird droppings, bugs which have acidic chemicals in them, and tree sap. As your vehicle is exposed to all of these things, it is important to clean it as soon as you can to reduce the possibility of damage occurring.
How to Keep Your Vehicle Protected
The most common part of a vehicle that people think about protecting is the paint, but there are actually quite a few different areas and different materials you'll need to keep in mind. These include the glass, rubber, plastic, chrome trim, wheels, and more. Each one of these areas need to be approached differently when it comes to keeping them protected.
Paint began as a protective coating on it's own for materials like wood and metal. Over time, painting methods on cars has improved greatly by including more durable types of paints, as well as additional coats of paint including clear coats for extra protection. However, after a couple of years all of these layers of paint begin to breakdown and we begin to see fading and chipping start. In order to avoid the eventual degradation of your vehicle's paint it is recommended to regularly add layers of paint protection.
What is Wax?
Waxing is one of the most popular and time-honored ways of protecting your car's paint. It helps to create a barrier that prevents contaminants from sticking to your car's paint, such as dirt, bird droppings, and tree sap. Waxing also gives your car a high-gloss shine and makes it easier to clean. Wax traditionally comes in a paste form, however many new wax products come in an easier to apply spray form.
What are Sealants?
Sealants are another popular way to protect your car's paint. They are synthetic products that create a protective layer over your car's paint. Sealants are designed to last longer than wax and provide greater protection against UV rays, oxidation, and other environmental factors.
What are Ceramic Coatings?
Ceramic coatings are a relatively new and highly effective way to protect your car's paint. They create a more permanent, durable, and hydrophobic layer over your car's paint that repels water, dirt, and other contaminants. Ceramic coatings are also resistant to UV rays and can help prevent swirl marks and scratches.
Applying a ceramic coating to your car is a more involved process than waxing or sealing. It requires a high level of preparation, including a thorough washing, decontamination, and polishing of the paint. It is recommended that you have a professional apply a ceramic coating to your car.
What is PPF?
PPF film, also known as paint protection film or clear bra, is a transparent film that is applied to the surface of your car's paint. It is designed to protect your car's paint from scratches, chips, and other types of damage. PPF film is particularly effective in protecting the front of your car, including the hood, bumper, and fenders.
To apply PPF film to your car, it is recommended that you have a professional install it. The process involves cleaning the surface of your car, cutting the film to fit, and applying it to the surface. The film is then heated to ensure a proper bond to the paint.
The costs of wax, sealants, ceramic coatings, and PPF film can vary depending on several factors such as the quality of the product, the size of the vehicle, and the professional installation cost (for ceramic coatings and PPF film). Here is a general breakdown of the costs of each:
Wax is the most affordable option for protecting your car's paint. A good quality car wax can cost anywhere from $10 to $30, depending on the brand and size of the container. The application can be done at home, which eliminates any installation costs.
Sealants are more expensive than wax, but they last longer and provide better protection against environmental factors. A bottle of sealant can cost between $20 to $50, depending on the quality of the product. The application can be done at home, which eliminates any installation costs.
Ceramic coatings are a more expensive option for protecting your car's paint. They require professional installation and preparation, which can drive up the cost. A ceramic coating can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500, depending on the quality of the product, the size of the vehicle, and the complexity of the installation process.
PPF film is the most expensive option for protecting your car's paint. It requires professional installation and custom fitting to the vehicle, which can drive up the cost. The cost of PPF film can range from $500 to $2,500, depending on the quality of the product, the size of the vehicle, and the complexity of the installation process.
Overall, the cost of protecting your car's paint can vary depending on the method you choose. Wax and sealants are affordable options that can be done at home, while ceramic coatings and PPF film require professional installation and custom fitting to the vehicle. If you're on a budget, wax and sealants may be the best option, but if you want the ultimate protection, ceramic coatings and PPF film are worth the investment.
In conclusion, protecting your car's exterior is crucial for maintaining its value and appearance. Waxing, using sealants, applying ceramic coatings, and using PPF film are all effective ways to protect your car's paint. Whether you choose to wax your car, use a sealant, apply a ceramic coating, or use PPF film, remember to keep your car clean, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results. If you don't think you have time to keep up with regular cleaning maintenance, don't hesitate to book a cleaning with Quickease!