We deal with protecting paint on a daily basis. We carry XPEL Paint protection film, and Ceramic Pro coatings. One of the biggest sources of confusion and questions for our customers stems from this: Which one do I need, and what is the difference?
On the surface, both products seem very similar, and can be advertised similarly. They are both virtually invisible and they both protect your vehicle’s paint. But there is a major difference – what does each product protect against?
Let’s start with film. XPEL is an 8 mil thick film that comes on a roll. It is cut to size and shape for your vehicle, usually by a computer program and a plotter cutter, and it is installed with moisture and a squeegee. Most people have installed a screen protector on a cell phone – although it is not exactly the same, this process and film is similar to put it into perspective.
XPEL protects your paint from almost everything in daily use. It stops rock chips, scratches, and staining from ever coming into contact with the actual clearcoat. It is a thick physical barrier. In the event that minor scratches and scuffs do occur, they will self-heal in the sun – leaving the protected areas with perfect paint all the time. Eventually, when the film takes a beating or it gets old, it needs to be pulled off the paint.
Ceramic Pro is different. It starts as a liquid and is applied by hand to the surface of the vehicle. It covers paint, plastic, glass, and metal. It protects you against environmental damage like staining from water spots, bid droppings, etc. The surface that Ceramic Pro leaves behind is much glossier than factory clearcoat, and very slick. The biggest benefit is that the slickness of Ceramic Pro means that things like bug guts, road grime, etc. do not stick to the surface very well. That means the car is very easy to clean, and there is much less “scrubbing” on the paint – which leads to reduced micro scratching and marring. Ceramic coatings will bead and shed water better than any wax on the market, and as long as the coating is holding up, there is no reason to wax the vehicle any more. There are packages that last from a year, up to a lifetime warranty package. Plus, Ceramic Pro has a product specifically designed to be applied on top of Paint Protection Film.
So the main question becomes – which one should I do? In short, you should do both – and most of our customers do. Many people protect the high impact areas with XPEL, and the rest of the car with Ceramic Pro. Some customers wrap the entire car in XPEL, then ceramic coat it afterwards. Of course this is not always the case, some people care to protect the vehicle from some things but not others, and that’s perfectly OK too. If nothing else, at least one of these products should be on your list right after buying a new car. If you really want to get the most protection for your vehicle, XPEL coupled with Ceramic Pro is the only option.