“Sir iwax ta nalang?”
Every time I have my car washed I’m always greeted with the same question. And every time I give my standard reply: “Indi lang ah, naka ceramic na”
The attendant would always look at me with raised eyebrows and shrug. Maybe because they don’t believe me, maybe because my car isn’t shiny enough, or maybe because I didn’t avail of the add-on service. Whatever his reasons were, it always makes me wonder: was having my car ceramic coated really worth it?
Part of our responsibilities as car owners, aside from the usual hated-sundo-bili-mo-ko cycle, is paint care. And there’s a lot to choose from: there’s waxes, sealants, protection films, and ceramic coating. The first two are considered old technologies and can easily be washed off or fade as soon as you have your next carwash. Protection films and ceramic coating, on the other hand, are more on the expensive side but provide longer protection and can endure more abuse.
Paint protection products are of course useful and effective, they’re really meant to aide us by providing an additional barrier on top of our paint. Car paints tend to fade in time due to regular exposure to sunlight and rainwater, not to mention the dings and dents from third party elements (read: mga sabad sa dalan).
All car waxes generally contain one main ingredient – carnauba wax. Carnauba wax comes from the leaves of a plant native to Brazil and is responsible for the “glow” of your vehicle. It does not wash away with water and can withstand high temperatures. That said, it does have its limitations. Even though it can stand up to hot temperatures, it is no match for a hot coat of paint where temperatures easily reach the wax’s melting point. After an extended period of sitting under the sun (maybe less in our particular part of the world), the wax melts and eventually evaporates.
Unlike the carnauba wax, sealants are engineered in labs. They are specifically designed to offer a higher resistance to washing than waxes while still providing an excellent shine. Although many car owners would say that wax just provides a different kind of glow.
Paint Protection Films
Remember those notebooks and textbooks we covered with plastic wrap to preserve their makeup? Well, think of Paint Protection Films (PPF) as plastic covers for our cars. The only difference is it costs way, way more (reaching 6 digits!).
PPFs were developed primarily to protect military vehicles. Eventually, the car industry, seeing its marketability, brought it to mainstream consumers. Aside from providing that gloss look, PPFs are advantageous for long drives on expressways and superhighways where travel speeds are much faster, thus a higher chance for rocks and other debris to chip your vehicle’s paint. Although the film would protect your paint by essentially providing another layer, the film itself would still scratch.
Ceramic coatings are essentially souped-up sealants. They bond to the surface of the paint to create a permanent layer of protection while providing increased shine. Ceramic coatings also provide UV protection, has hydrophobic properties, and scratch resistance (not scratch-proof). Application of ceramic coating must be done by a professional though, as the finish can look bad if not installed properly.
For those looking for a quick shine and polish, having your car waxed is never a bad idea (cheap too). But for those who don’t mind spending a little bit more, I would recommend getting your car ceramic coated. It would ensure your car’s shine as well as provide relief knowing it has that added layer of protection.