What Is the Best Paint Protection for Your New Car?

Protecting your car’s paint job is important. It keeps your vehicle looking good and helps retains its value.

When it comes to paint protection for cars, there are a lot of products to choose from. It can feel overwhelming trying to decide on one.

Fortunately, there are two main categories to choose from, and each comes with distinct advantages. If you are considering paint protection for your car, keep reading to find out what your options are and which one may be right for your unique vehicle.

Paint Protection vs. Ceramic Coating

Paint protection refers to a thin, transparent film applied to the surface of your car. It consists of a thermoplastic polyurethane that creates a thin layer on top of the factory paint.

As the name suggests, paint protection film guards against various kinds of damage. These include scratches and chips from rocks and debris or chemical threats from salt or tree sap. It also protects against oxidation brought about by UV rays, which is what causes paint to fade.

This is distinct from ceramic coating, a liquid polymer that chemically bonds with the vehicle’s factory paint to create a hydrophobic surface. This makes it is harder for contaminants to adhere to your vehicle’s paint. It also provides the same protection against UV rays and acidic contaminants as protective film.

Note that you do not have to apply either of these products to your entire vehicle. Paint protection is often applied only to vulnerable areas, such as the hood or roof.

Distinct Protections

While both films and ceramic coating protect against the sun, chemicals, and debris, there are some distinctions between the two. In general, film is going to provide better long-term preservation of your paint job, while ceramic coating will enhance the immediate appearance.

Ceramic coating will improve the gloss of your car and make it easier to clean. Protective film is better at fending off chips from rocks and at absorbing small scratches.

As an example of the ruggedness of higher-end films, take a look at XPEL automotive paint protection. The company makes a similar product for watercraft. This gives you an idea of the type of conditions–like saltwater–it is designed to withstand.


Both protective film and ceramic coating last about the same duration: between two and five years. However, ceramic coating is harder to wash off than film.

Since these two applications offer distinct types of protection, many people decide to apply both, with paint protection film going on first. Ceramic coating is added and binds to the film. This adds a layer of protection that will help lengthen the life of the film by keeping it free from contaminants.

Learn More About Auto Paint Protection

Now that you have an idea of the differences and commonalities between protective films and ceramic coats, you can decide which auto paint protection solutions are right for you. Remember that you can select a combination of the two and apply them to different segments of your vehicle.

We hope you found this information on paint protection useful. If so, be sure to check out our other posts on all things automotive. We cover everything from repairs and car reviews to motorcycles and hybrid fuel vehicles.