What is paint protection?

Maintain your car's showroom gleam with less effort: paint protection products

BuyaCar team
Apr 9, 2018

Helping to keep your new car gleaming for years after it’s delivered, paint protection products offer a more durable finish than a quick wash and wax.

These products – which come under a wide range of names, such as GardX, Diamondbrite or Supaguard – seal the paintwork, acting as a barrier between your car’s showroom shine and the corrosive, abrasive elements of the road network.

The benefits typically include:

  • Protection against some (but not all) chips and scratches
  • Delaying the effects of harmful substances, such as bird droppings
  • Making your car quicker and easier to clean

By helping to preserve the quality of your car’s paintwork, protection products can help to avoid damage charges at the end of a finance agreement. It can also ensure that the value of your car isn’t affected by paint defects, maximising the amount that you have to spend on your next vehicle.

Paint protection products contain some serious chemicals, so they have to applied by experts and can’t be added at home. There are some aftermarket products that make similar claims to those of the professional products, but, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for and aren’t normally as effective.

How does paint protection work?

If you opt to have a paint protection product added to your new car, the coatings of wax, oil and pollutants are first removed from the car, as the chemicals only work if applied directly on the paint.

A proper treatment will then seal the paint and should be invisible – if there are any swirls or scratches, it's been applied incorrectly and you should insist on it being fixed.

Once dry, the coating is designed to repel water and shield the paintwork against dirt and pollution - including bird droppings - so that it maintains its sparkle.

Many of these products come with a lifetime guarantee, with suppliers claiming that owners only have to give the car a quick wash to ensure that the shine remains and water just beads and runs off the surface of the bodywork.


Is paint protection worth it?

If you are leasing your car or have it on a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) agreement, then paint protection can help to guard against large scratches and serious paint damage that often result in additional charges if you return the car at the end of the term.

The promise of fewer paint marks may also help to maintain your vehicle’s value. As well as benefiting owners when they come to sell their car, this can also give you more money towards your next vehicle if you trade it in at the end of a PCP agreement.

Paint protection is likely to be worth the investment if you’re the kind of owner who takes pride in how their car looks, and spends time washing it, not least because it can reduce the time that you need to spend cleaning your car.


How much does paint protection cost?

Prices vary depending on the size of the car where it comes from, as the brand of paint protection and process required varies between dealership groups.

The cost starts from around £1.50 per week when added to a finance package and it shouldn’t take long to get a quote for any individual vehicle.


How do I get paint protection?

You can request it as soon as you reserve your car. Because the coating must be applied professionally, it will normally be added before the vehicle is delivered, so that it’s protected from day one.

In addition to paint protection, suppliers are also now offering other products, with perhaps the most useful being a glass protection product that adds a water-repellant coating to windscreens, ensuring that they stay cleaner and, as a result, increase safety. These products often do need re-application, though, which can prove expensive.

Another product that forms part of a total care package is interior fabric protection, which helps to prevent dirt and sills from soaking into your vehicle’s upholstery.


How do I look after the paint protection layer?

Although paint protection makes it more difficult for dirt to attach to your paintwork, the grime doesn’t just bounce off, so your car will still need to be washed.

The protective layer should make the process much easier and quicker, with less need for scrubbing. Most manufacturers recommend washing at least once a month with a solution containing a special conserver to maintain the finish.

The product does offer considerable protection against bird droppings, which can be highly corrosive, but you should ensure that these are removed within seven days.


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