Tips, Tricks & Trends

Is the Paint Protection from the Dealership the Same as a Ceramic Coating?

If you have ever purchased a new car from a dealer, then you might have had them try to sell you on products like PermaPlate, Xzillon, or Cila Jet in order to protect the paint on that brand new car that you’re buying. It’s a tempting proposition, however, a professional ceramic coating sounds like a good idea as well. But is the paint protection that the dealer offers a good substitute for an actual ceramic coating?

The paint protection at the dealer is similar to a normal wax

Car being waxed to help maintain its value.
Maintaining the exterior of you car is a great way to preserve its value | Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The paint protection that is typically offered by the dealer is not too unlike a normal wax that you can buy at your local auto parts store. However, according to claims from companies like Permaplate, the paint protection coating that is applied to the car is an “exclusive formula” that bonds with the paint surface and seals it for a long-lasting shine and protection. The sealant not only protects all of the painted body panels, but it also protects headlight lenses, chrome trim, and even alloy wheels from issues like fading, oxidation, bird dropping, UV rays, tree sap, and water spots.

It all sounds like a pretty good deal, right? The only issue is that many dealers will charge between $600 to $1,000 in order to apply it and truthfully, the application process is just like how you would apply a wax finish in your own garage. After the new car that you just bought gets washed and dried, one of the detail techs will likely just wipe the PermaPlate on and buff it out. And while it does do a good job and lasts longer than a typical over-the-counter wax, you still have to come back to the dealer every few years to get it re-applied.

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A ceramic coating is a more detailed process

While the paint protection coatings offered by the dealer have a lot of promise, if you want more protection, then we suggest getting a professional ceramic coating done. The difference is almost night and day, even in the application alone, as a professional detailer will wash, dry, and apply a clay car treatment to your car to clean up imperfections before the ceramic coating is even applied.

Much like the paint protection offered at the dealer, the ceramic coating is then applied by hand, although, the chemicals in the ceramic coating are much better for protection as they are silica-based and protect against water spots, UV rays, and even light scratches. After the ceramic coating is applied, it normally takes around 24 hours to cure and will last around three to five years. As far as cost, it will depend on what type of car you have and on the professional detailer’s labor rates. But you can typically expect it to cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 due to the amount of prep work involved.

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Which method of paint protection is better?

The interesting part in comparing the paint sealant offered by the dealer to a professionally-applied ceramic coating is that both methods almost do the same thing and cost the same amount. However, the ceramic coating seems to have a longer-lasting effect due to the chemicals used and how it’s applied and based on the glowing consumer reviews that are found online (as compared to the not-so-glowing ones on PermaPlate), it seems like the better method to spend your hard-earned dollars on and protect that brand new car of yours.