Should You Choose a Ceramic Car Coating or Paint Protection Film?


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A ceramic coating is a coating process that covers the surface of your car with synthetic substances containing Si (silicon) particles. This coating is mainly used for hydrophobic (water-repelling) and scratch-resistant properties. You may have heard about paint protection film already when people talk about \”clear bra\”. A clear bra is a form of PPF that is used to protect the front, rear fascias, hood, or trunk. This special thermoplastic is derived from urethane, which has better resistance than traditional paints which are sprayed on commercial vehicles. However, some brands have better quality than others. At DC Clear Auto Bra in Fort Washington, MD, our team of automotive window tint and paint protection experts knows just how important it can be to have the right protection for your vehicle.

The Good and Bad of Ceramic Coatings

Although there are various types of liquid ceramic coatings, they all contain at least a small amount of silicon. Silicon is known to penetrate the smallest pores of paint and is difficult to remove. This makes it tough to repaint your car even if you can remove the ceramic coating. 

The paint of your vehicle can be given water repellant properties by a ceramic coating. You can spray liquid silicone on a snow shovel or other surface to achieve the same hydrophobic function. This is not a revolutionary concept. Although the thin layer of ceramic coating is more like a durable wax, it does not offer the same warm luster as conventional wax.

Most people apply ceramic coatings if they want to keep paint longer using a low maintenance routine that doesn\’t take into account traditional detailing concerns. Although it forms a very thin layer to reduce micro abrasion on the surface of the paint, it is not resistant to severe abrasion.

The Function of PPF

Paint protection film (PPF) is an alternative solution available in various strengths. This makes it suitable for a variety of applications and budgets. Most PPFs are considered self-healing solutions that can treat themselves when they are scratched or marred. This makes it a perfect addition to any vehicle because it protects paint from damage and absorbs shocks from minor debris. PPF can even absorb the effects of minor hail, rocks, and other common roadside debris. This resistant \”skin\” protects against elements such as acid rain, bird waste, sap, and even wind-borne debris.

The Differences Between Ceramic Coating and PPF

The discussion of ceramic coatings compared to automotive paint protection films is somewhat confusing because they are both meant to offer the same basic functionality. The degree of protection of the ceramic coating versus PPF, however, is very important. The real question is: \”What is the best solution to protect your vehicle?\” 

Responding to this question, our team began looking into the different ceramic coating and PPF products on our own. After completing various tests, we concluded that ceramic coatings do not protect to the same degree as paint protection films for vehicle surfaces. What we found is that PPF offers superior physical protection. It has the strength and durability to protect car paint from scratches, stone chips, and other external elements. 

The ability to protect the surface of the car and paint is the main difference between the ceramic coating and PPF. This depends on material thickness, composition, and type of application. Ceramic coating is applied in liquid form and wiped or sprayed. This makes thickness inconsistent in many areas.

On the other hand, PPF is a thermoplastic that is molded to fit the entire surface of the vehicle. Its thickness is constant and can, therefore, protect the paint with higher surface tension. Surface tension is the same reason you can skip rocks over water. This secret increases the effectiveness of preventing damage to your vehicle even if the paint surface is exposed to minor hail, rocks or other road debris at high speed. Think of surface tension as invisible protection that debris must pass through first.

Is There a Need to Apply Both?

If you are considering using a ceramic coating in addition to a PPF, this is not necessary. Even a very liberal spray of liquid for a ceramic layer will be too thin to measure. This thin layer does not protect the clear coat and paint. Silicone-based products are slippery and can deflect some elements that can scratch and smear surfaces. Although this offers a minimal level of scratch protection, it is hardly worth mentioning.

Because the effect of debris is stronger at high speeds, smart car owners always choose PPF over ceramic coatings. Given that PPF was originally designed for military vehicles that were more expensive than supercars, it is easy to see why this would be the best choice. 

Ask DC Clear Auto Bra for a Recommendation

If you’re worried about the protection of your vehicle, or if you have concerns about how to prevent scratches and dings in your paint, then the last thing you want to do is spend hours upon hours wading through all the information out there alone. Instead, your best option is to reach out to our team so we can help you find the best possible solution. With years of experience and knowledge of the industry, our team is always ready to work with you to find the perfect solution to meet your needs. Be sure to contact us right away to find out more!