Are Paint Coatings Worth the Money?

By Patrick Horrigan

Owner/ Lead Tech at We Care Car Care

 

This scene is plays it out every day at new car dealers…luxury-car-dealerships-3

You have found the perfect new car and spent most of the day playing the game at the dealership. The game where they pretend they give you the best price for the car, you give your counter offer, yet another number. Then your sales person disappears to that giant desk at the front of the dealership where a couple of grumpy or important looking people sit and magically comes back with a slightly better number but not what you want. Sometimes this can go for a few rounds. You have a trade-in. The value they want to give you for the trade goes through almost the same process. Finally you agree on a number that you are happy with. Then you go visit another guy behind a desk. They ask you tons of personal information, you wonder if they really need to know all this info? Then you sit and wait, and wait. Sometimes they make you wait until the next business day.  Finally you are told your loan is approved. Now, onto the best part, all the paperwork. You get to sit down with yet another important looking person in a secret or private office area. He/she will drop a huge folder on the table. The $695 document fee they are about to hit you with starts to make a bit of sense. First, they hit you with a review of what you are buying and what you agreed upon. Next is when they start hitting you with the extras such as that $695 document fee followed by delivery fee. Having just purchased a 2016 Ram vehicle I was hit with a $1495 delivery and prep fee. That over $2,000 over what I said I wanted to pay. buying-used-car-dealer-vs-private-seller-02Next, is the very well rehearsed extended warranties speech. They sometimes offer several different options but always include a chart of what items and parts in your car cost to replace at the dealership. I could do another blog just on these alone. Last thing they always hit you up with is an additional “paint protection warranty”.

Most new vehicles come with a Corrosion Protection Warranty, or protection from your vehicle painted exterior from rusting out on you.  The average corrosion protection warranties are a 5 year, unlimited mileage coverage. Some higher end manufactures like Audi, BMW/ Mini and Mercedes offer 10 and 12 year unlimited mileage warranties. This protection is from rust forming on the outside of your car, and if you read your warranty carefully, they all have a clause about the rust forming due to workmanship or manufacturing defects. What’s not covered? Damage to your paint from actual real world environmental conditions such as sunshine, hard water staining, bird droppings, tree sap, brake dust, etc, are never covered.  This is where additional paint protection warranties come into play. Car dealers will try to sell you this added protection and warranty, sometimes they just add it into your contract either hoping you don’t notice or just go along with what they are selling and not get upset over the small fortune they are selling it for.  All of them come with some form of paint protective coating installed at the time of delivery of the vehicle.  The coatings basically all do the same thing with some of them performing better than others.  There are two different types of coatings, polymer and ceramic based. They offer an additional long-lasting layer of protection on top of your factory clear coat. Think of it as adding a second clear coat to your vehicle.

Is the coating and warranty worth the extra money?

The short answer is YES. These coatings can give you years of protection from all sorts of environmental problems as well as additional paint scratch protection.

Think about this. Chances are when you were considering optional and extending warranties your sales person covered the typical costs of most common parts prone to failure. How much it would cost to replace those parts once your warranty runs out if you had one? What is the most expensive part on your new car? Most people would say it is the engine. Remanufactured motors start around $2000 before adding labor. Factory crate motors, or brand new motors costs even more.  What about your paintjob? Around the Boston market, a quality paintjob at a reputable body shop runs around $1500 per panel. A complete car re-spray could set you back $10,000 or more! Is it worth purchasing the coating through your new car dealer and adding it into your loan? That’s for you to decide. I know a few people in the car sales/ dealership industry. They have told me that they sell a fair amount of these warranties and coatings but more often than not do nothing more then put the fancy “Protected by XYX” stickers on the car windows. At least you have the warranty to feel a bit better about it. Maybe your independent detailer or installer might be the better option. With better products, experience in application and service all without dealership pricing sounds like a much better option! That’s were car detailers like We Care Car Care can come in.

So what are paint protection coatings?

8659To understand what modern car paint coatings are we need to go back a little bit.
Using wax for paint protection goes back before cars were even a thing. Back in the 1800’s people use to coat their painted wood and natural finish horse drawn carriages with different types of protective coatings made from things such as oils from animals and plants to keep them from rotting out. As automobiles came into existence a lot of them were built with wood frames as well as steel and people continued to protect them the way they would protect their old carriage.  As vehicle technology continued to develop, so did paint technology. By the mid 1990’s nearly every vehicle on the road was painted with a two step process consisting of a base coat and a clear coat we use today. The use of a clear coat protects the paint much better then old single stage paint. It also adds a whole new level of gloss to the finish. Think of how a mirror works. It’s basically a piece of glass with black paint or coating on one side. The glass creates the reflection. Clear coat acts in the same way, creating refection and depth. Adding wax (or any other coating) increases that depth of gloss. As we move into the future, paints are moving towards water based, environmentally friendly formulas that will still require additional protection from the vehicle owners.

Modern paint coatings add extra protection on top of your existing clear coat finish similar to wax. Rather that lasting a few months as wax does, the protection can last for years. Paint coatings provide protection of harmful UV rays which can dull and oxidize your finish. Coatings also protect your car from damage from bird droppings, bugs, tree sap, hard water stains and environmental fallout while maintaining a hydrophobic finish (ability to repel water). car-wax-royal-blueIn addition to the length the product lasts, unlike wax, paint coatings offer some level of scratch protection. It does this in two ways. First, these coatings can add a measurable level of thickness to your cars overall finish. This creates an additional layer available for paint correction. Light scratching and scuffs may not even make it to your clear coat layer. Some coatings can add as much a 1 Mil or  1 thousands of an inch on top of your clear coat. A typical clear coat is 2 to 3 mils thick. Coatings also help protect your cars finish by having a hardness level as great as or greater than the original clear coat itself. The standard for hardness testing is the ASDM D3363 Test. It uses a lead pencil under varied pressure to check for scratching resistance. Coatings and paint are rated on a H1 to H9 scale, with H9 being the most scratch resistant. Clear coat on factory installed paints varies greatly by brand but typical fall into the H3 to H4 range.  By comparison some aftermarket paint coatings can test off the charts, H9 on the scale. One of the ceramic coatings We Care Car Care installs hits that mark making it more than twice as resistance to scratching then factory installed clear coats!

There are two types of coatings that have become very popular with detailers and car enthusiast and both perform in similar fashion.  Coatings come infused with either ceramic or plastic (polymer) nano particles that cure in air and form a bond to your clear coat on a molecular level.  There are a few differences between the two types of coatings as well as variations from one brand to the next.

Having tried numerous coatings through the last few years we have settled with one vendor which we feel is far superior to the others in the way the product performs and the way it is applied. We Care Car Care installs our own product line made just for us overseas in Korea. The Formula we use is made just for us by the same company that makes 3 of the top 4 coatings in the industry. We tweaked out our formula to our liking and has the ability to be applied in extreme conditions (below 50 degree panel temps) as well as in full sunlight. It contains just under 97% Si02, the main ingredient in any Ceramic or Glass coating.   It is very important to us to work with manufactures, vendors and suppliers  that stands behind the products we are installing on customers vehicles as well as support for their installers.

Our coating carries a 5 year transferable warranty on new to 2 year old vehicles and 3 years on any other vehicle with protection from weather-induced fading or loss of gloss, oxidation, hard water etching, industrial fallout, bird droppings, insects, tree sap, and acid rain. It’s high hydroponic formula which means less washing of your vehicle and normal rain water can carry the dirt away on its own. It also measures above H9 on the hardness scale making it one of the hardest coatings available you can apply to your vehicle. The finish has a very deep shine and does not contain any kind of fillers so the product is best suited for new or close to new paint finishes. It also requires labor intensive muli-step paint correction, even on brand new paint since it will magnify and ‘lock-in’ any existing paint defects such as scratching and etching.

14238234_1774883672788580_3027696089190134073_nWe Care Car Care also installs a polymer coating for older vehicles. This special polymer offers the same protection from weather-induced fading or loss of gloss, oxidation, hard water etching, industrial fallout, bird droppings, insects, tree sap, and acid rain as the Ceramic coating does. It also is very hydroponic. The coating carries a 3 year transferable warranty. This coating is better suited to older vehicles since it has some scratch and defect filling properties and is less labor intensive application only requiring a one step polish using various polishing options selected to match each vehicles clear coat.

Back to our original question, are paint coatings worth the money? We have already shown you what paint coatings can do for your car. If you are planning to keep your vehicle for a long time paint coatings make a lot of sense to keep you vehicle looking as new as possible. If you are the type of person that drives a car for just a few years then trades or sells off the car, coatings make a lot of sense as well as it will help retain value and in the case of our coating, offers a value added transferable warranty. You also need to factor the money and time saving aspect. A quality paint coating such as ours means you will need to clean your car less often. I have found myself washing my own vehicles less than half as often as I was with traditional wax coatings. If you take your car to the local touchless carwash once a week at $12.95 that trip through the tunnel that comes out to around $675 a year! Cutting your washing in half will save over $300 in the first year alone! Also, not having to wax the car it will either save you a few Saturdays of time each year or for paying someone like We Care Car Care from doing the work.

Interested in getting a quote for your car, truck, SUV or even RV, boat or motorcycle give us a call today!

 

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