Whether you drive a Lamborghini or a Honda, maintaining your car’s paint can be a struggle. Dull, scratched or swirly paint can take the luster out of any car, and with so many things out to ruin your paint, it’s hard to make sure your car looks brand new year-round. Car detailers and automotive enthusiasts know some easy tricks to keep their paint show-ready, and it totally makes sense: putting a protective layer over your paint.
Clear Bra / Vinyl Wraps
There are many benefits of applying a clear bra or vinyl wrap over your car’s paint. A clear bra is a transparent film that is relatively unnoticeable. The film covers the car in any location you can choose, typically the front bumper, side view mirrors or side skirts, but can be put on the car anywhere you want.
A vinyl wrap, similar to a clear bra, is a film that can be used to cover the entire car, but can be offered in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and designs. Besides protecting the paint, vinyl wrapping is also a great way to temporarily change your car’s color and is a good option when you want to test out an exotic color, metallic style or you have a leased car.
Both the clear bra and vinyl wrap offer many forms of protection for your paint. The film protects the car from harmful rock chips or other small debris, and because your paint is completely covered you aren’t at risk of dealing with water spots and their pesky mineral deposits. Clear bras and vinyl wraps often last for several years, but care must be taken that any dents or surface imperfections are taken care of, as they will be noticeable through the film.
Ceramic coating is very different from the film of a clear bra or vinyl wrap. This wax alternative is a liquid polymer that is applying to a car by hand, very similar to the waxing process. The polymer forms a semi-permanent bond with the car’s paint, meaning it doesn’t need to be applied after every wash.
One critical part of the ceramic coating is that your car must be perfectly detailed and paint-corrected before the treatment is applied because it will not only lock in the shine and gleam of your paint but also any scratches or imperfections.
The ceramic coating protects your car from harmful sun exposure and oxidation and prevents your clear coat from failing and peeling away. It may not be 100% perfect at preventing water spots but its hydrophobic nature means water will bead off, making it less likely that harsh minerals will be left behind after the water has evaporated.
Unlike the clear bra or vinyl wrap, the ceramic coating offers no protection from rock chips or scratches, but can still be a great way to keep your paint looking pristine.