Coatings in the form of paint protection and protection for other surfaces of the car have come a long way since a few years ago. In the latest innovative solutions, you will get to enjoy high gloss, hydrophobic effects and a reasonable amount of protection against UV, acid rain, contaminants and mild abrasions for at least a few years.
It is common knowledge that a good coating nowadays is definitely a must-have if you want to keep your vehicle looking nice and beautiful. Having said that, there are certain things or situations where it simply won’t be up to the task:
Suffered mostly by vehicles going fast on the highway, pebbles or rocks that hit your car at a high speed will leave you with a bunch of unsightly chips. These are permanent damage where your paint has come off at the point of contact, exposing the bare metal beneath. Your only remedy would be to respray the affected panels to restore the original look. But most people will just learn to live with it after awhile. A popular preemptive step these days is the use of paint protection films that are thick and strong enough to withstand the impact of a flying rock.
Similar to stone chips, scratches on the paint are also part and parcel of everyday driving. Whether by accident, neglect or abuse, scratches can appear in the form of minor hairline swirls, or a deeper scratch that goes right through the paint. Whatever some people mistakenly tell you, a coating is not immune to scratches, even if it boasts a 9H hardness, which means very little when you know what it really is and how the test is conducted, or if you’re the most careful person in the world looking after your car. Truth be told, even a microfibre cloth will leave a certain amount of surface hairlines on your car during your weekly wash sessions.
These ugly spots are a result of corrosive acid, minerals or other contaminants in the rain water that have built up and etched into the paint over time. Once settled in deep, it tends to be very difficult to completely remove them and the most you can hope for is an 80-90% improvement of its appearance. Newer marks are more easily removed with the right products, and polishing is required for a full recovery. How a coating helps to minimise the formation of water marks lies in its water beading and hydrophobicity where much of the water from rain for example flows off the paint surface, avoiding puddles sitting on your paint. When water stains do form on your coating, it is also easier to rectify as the coating acts as an additional sacrificial layer on top of your original paint. But coated or not, it’s best to keep your car dry as much as you can.
Many people are lured into the world of coating as they believe wrongly that it gives them the license to forever forget about having to maintain their vehicles. Some vendors also sell their expensive packages as a silver bullet for the time-strapped driver. No maintenance required, no more polish and wax, shine that lasts forever.. the list goes on when it comes to the claims and boasts of these people. Unfortunately, this is quite far from the truth. The reality is that your car may look cleaner for longer in between washes, and each wash will reveal its lasting shine again and again, but there’s where it ends. While the coating will allow you to be somewhat lazier and spend less time maintaining your vehicle, you will still need to make that one or two follow-up visits to your detailer — but only if you’re the type who likes your car to be in that very same condition when it rolled out of the studio.