Paint Protection For Your Car In Colorado Springs

There are many ways to protect your car’s paintwork, many coatings and sealants you can use to keep your pride and joy looking as good as it did the day you drove it off the dealership’s lot (and sometimes even better!). For long-lasting protection, most car owners choose one or both of the two leading options: paint protection film (PPF) and ceramic coating. These two products work in very different ways, and both have a range of pros and cons. Pro Auto Spa, a leading provider of paint protection for your car in Colorado Springs, has explained ceramic coating in some detail in other posts. In this article, we examine the two options side by side before focusing on some of the most frequently asked questions about PPF.

Benefits of Paint Protection Film for your car

There are many reasons to get paint protection for your car in Colorado Springs. Paint protection film (PPF), also known as Clear Bra, is a layer of durable transparent thermoplastic urethane that covers and preserves your vehicle’s finish. Once applied, it protects your paint job against environmental contaminants such as bird droppings; tree sap and fallen fruits; salt, oil and tar from the road; and the rays of the sun. It seals the paint to prevent scratches or bubbles from allowing any contaminants in, and reduces exposure to all the elements. It also helps you to retain your car’s appearance and value. A professionally installed clear bra will last for anywhere between 5 and 10 years, and is usually installed with a warranty if done by a vendor-certified installer. During the lifetime of the film, you will not have to wax the protected area, and cleaning will be easier. We’ll explain more about waxing vs. sealing over PPF a little later.

How is PPF applied?

Benefits of ceramic coating for your car

The other most common choice, when it comes to paint protection for your car in Colorado Springs, is ceramic coating. Ceramic coating has very different chemical and physical properties from PPF, and its protection is complementary to PPF. It forms a hydrophobic layer that protects your car against UV rays and chemical stains, while creating a beautiful, candy-gloss and providing for easy cleaning. It may not last quite as long as PPF, with most applications being good for between two and five years.

Ceramic coating vs. PPF

Which of these two options is right for your car? They are similar in many ways. Both of them protect your car’s paintwork, keeping it looking like new for longer and preventing sun damage, and marks caused by various contaminants. Both of them will preserve the beauty of your car and add value to it. That being said, the two products differ from one another in a number of significant ways. PPF is the thicker of the two, and has a chemical composition that allows it to heal itself, meaning it can sustain an abrasion and return to its original form. It absorbs rock chips, small scratches, swirl marks, and hard water spots without permanent damage. Ceramic coatings are not quite as strong in this regard. What they do have is a powerful hydrophobic property that allows moisture to bead and roll off the paintwork with ease. The dirt and dust that often come with rain and water from puddles on the road, and more importantly the salt, sand, magnesium chloride, and other chemicals used during snow & ice storms in Colorado Springs, can be cleaned off much easier with a ceramic coating. It doesn’t offer quite as much protection against physical impacts such as those from stones and other hazards. Ceramic coatings also provide an eye-catching glossy finish, which you won’t get with PPF.

Benefits of ceramic coating for your car
Ceramic coating vs. PPF
PPF is the thicker of the two

In short, PPF provides a physical layer against potential damage and contamination, while ceramic coating forms a hydrophobic, chemical layer that guards against water and dirt.

Both solutions do the following:

  • Stop chemical marking and etching
  • Keeps the car looking newer for longer
  • Prevents swirl marks and hard water stains
  • Prevent oxidation and fading

PPF provides the following benefits, which you cannot get from ceramic coatings:

  • Stops rock chips
  • Prevents small scratches
  • Self-heals after impacts from stones and debris

Ceramic coating offers a better-than-showroom shine for years to come.

Depending on your vehicle and coverage area, PPF can be more of a financial investment than ceramic coating, so you need to consider the benefits and your own budget. 

The good news is that, if you want paint protection for your car in Colorado Springs, you don’t have to choose between the PPF and ceramic coating, if you don’t want to. The two solutions can be applied together. PPF is applied to the areas of the car that are most vulnerable to chips and scratches. These areas include the bumper, hood, fenders, side mirrors, rocker panels and wheel arches. Once the PPF has been applied to these areas, a ceramic coating is applied to the entire painted surface of the car. The coating bonds to both the paint and the PPF, providing an additional layer of protection against stains and chemical etching. It will also help the film last longer by keeping it clean and free from contaminants. Together, the two products can protect your car’s paint in the long term and preserve and enhance your vehicle’s stunning showroom appearance.

How is PPF applied?

Whereas ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that is applied by hand, PPF is formed from solid sheets of urethane that are first cut to size to fit specific areas of the car and then secured in place using a fitting solution that activates the glue-like substance on the underside of the film. It is very important that installation is left to a professional, because it can be very tricky.

It requires a careful process of preparing the surface, positioning the film, spraying the fitting solution and patiently squeegeeing the film into place in such a way that it adheres directly to the paintwork without any particles, bubbles, or creases. A heat gun is then used to dry the film and shrink it so that it clings tightly to the car’s surface.

How is PPF applied

Can you wax a car with PPF?

Technically, it is possible to wax a car that has been coated with PPF, provided you use a wax that does not contain kerosene or naphtha in more than 5% concentration. Your  car will require far less waxing than it ordinarily would without a PPF. Having said that, it isn’t really necessary or even advisable to wax over a PPF. Wax can build up along the edges of the film, which can become unsightly over time. It is a better choice to apply either a ceramic coating or a sealant over the PPF, which will usually prevent the need for waxing entirely. It’s best to follow the film manufacturer’s guidance here, and we proudly use XPEL film at Pro Auto Spa for its superior performance.

Can you machine polish a car with PPF?

You should never attempt to machine polish a vehicle on which PPF has been applied. Firstly, you cannot polish PPF in the same way that you polish paintwork and clear coat, so it is a pointless exercise. Secondly, you will probably damage your PPF in the attempt.

PPF doesn’t really require any special maintenance. However, you can treat it with a sealant twice a year to make it easier to clean. Alternatively, you can apply a ceramic coating, which will provide an additional, hydrophobic layer that will last for up to nine years.

What factors should you consider before opting for PPF?

Some of the factors you should keep in mind, as you decide whether it is worth getting PPF installed on your car, are as follows:

  • Where is the car parked most often? If you keep it out in the open in your yard, under trees that drop sap, pine cones, pine needles, leaves, etc., PPF will protect your car against this natural debris. 
  • How much do you drive and where? If you have a long daily commute along busy highways, or if you like to take leisure drives along mountain roads, PPF will keep your paintwork safe against chips caused by small rocks and other road debris.
  • How frequently do you wax, polish and clean your car? Both PPF and ceramic coating can help you reduce the need to do any of these too often, saving you time and money while protecting your investment and keeping it looking beautiful.

Is It Worth It?

All other things being equal, it is well worth considering paint protection for your car in Colorado Springs because of the money it can save you in repairs and touch-ups in the long run. Washing your car is easier, and you won’t need to wax the car as often or at all. You may also avoid having to repaint it as these treatments prevent paint swirls. PPF provides effective protection against chips, scratches and contaminants and is worth the money in the long run. PPF, ceramic coating and other paint protection products are not essential to the running of your car; they are an option for those who really take pride in their vehicles and want to maintain their showroom appearance while also saving on the long-term costs (in both time and money) required to keep cars clean and beautiful.

Once you have had a professional detailer apply your paint protection film, caring for your car’s finish is really easy. If you are looking to enhance your vehicle’s look and provide a robust protective layer with a quality coating, contact Pro Auto Spa, the leading provider of paint protection for your car in Colorado Springs.