What is car paint protection?

Keep your car looking factory-fresh with paint protection; it’ll be easier to clean and could also save you time and money

By Matt Rigby

What is paint protection and how does it work? If you’re looking for a low maintenance way of maintaining your car's paintwork, paint protection might be exactly what you need...

Paint protection is an invisible coating which is applied to the exterior of your car’s body panels to protect against anything that may cause damage or corrosion. This includes everything from bird droppings to tree sap, motor oil and stone chippings.

If you are leasing or financing your car using Personal Contract Hire (PCH) or Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), applying paint protection is a great way to protect you against charges for damaged paintwork when you return the car at the end of the contract.

It’s also useful to have paint protection applied if you are purchasing a car using Hire Purchase (HP), or already own the car outright, as having damage-free paintwork could help you get more money when it’s time to sell the car.

If you’re looking to purchase a new car, meanwhile, it’s worthwhile checking whether the dealer offers their own paint protection service or having paint protection applied as soon as you have the car. That way, your car’s paintwork will be protected from any corrosion or damage before you get it out on the road.

Car paint protection

Paint protection products are offered by a wide variety of suppliers such as AutoProtect, GardX, and Supaguard. The coating process involves exposure to some potentially dangerous chemicals, so having paint protection applied by professionals is definitely the best way to go.

There are aftermarket products that claim to offer similar benefits and which you can apply at home, but these are generally not as effective as having paint protection professionally applied.

How to order paint protection

You can order a paint protection product as soon as you reserve your car - and normally it’ll be put on your car before the vehicle is delivered to you.

Different dealers may use a variety of paint protection processes and work with different firms, so the cost of paint protection can vary. The size of your vehicle can also impact how much you need to pay in order for it to be protected.

Getting a quote for an individual vehicle should be a simple matter though and, as a rough rule of thumb, paint protection starts from around £6 per month if you roll it into a PCP finance package.

How paint protection works

When you choose to go for a paint protection product with your new car, any wax, oil and traffic grime is removed from the paintwork, as the product must be applied directly to the paint. It will then seal the paint and be entirely transparent.

Once the coating has dried, your car will be protected and ready to drive. It’ll work to repel water and prevent corrosive dirt and grime from eating into the paint. The paint protection will also protect the paintwork from bird droppings, but you should still try to wipe these off within seven days for the best protection.

The suppliers of these products generally provide a lifetime guarantee, giving you confidence that your car has a level of lasting protection.

How to care for your paintwork if you have a paint protection layer

Although dirt and general grime will be repelled by a paint protection coating, you will still need to wash the car. Paint protection does make this easier, though, as any dirt should be clinging less strongly to the paint surface.

This all means less time scrubbing with a sponge. You also shouldn’t need to use polish, wax or any other paint care products, as the temporary protective layer these products provide is redundant with this sort of coating.