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Is Dealership Paint Protection Worth Buying?

If you’re buying a new car from a dealership then chances are you’ve been offered a paint protection package. As independent paint protection specialists we get asked all the time about this.

The main question is; is dealership paint protection worth buying? And secondly what’s the difference between theirs and an independent professional ceramic coating service.

In answer to this specific question; dealer applied coatings aren’t worth paying for. But a properly-applied professional ceramic coatings are worth having done and will look after your paint.

But it’s not a one word answer so read on as we explain each part so you can make your own mind up.

Its not just the product to blame

Poor dealership paint protection isn’t just down to the product. It’s a combination of incorrect preparation, bad conditions, poor performing products and lack of time. Oh and the uncertainty of if they even apply it after paying for it..! (We see this happen far too often; customers paying dealers for coatings and it doesn’t get applied!)

Like anything, bad preparation leads to poor results. You wouldn’t paint a dirty or flaky wall in your house just as you wouldn’t seal a scratched or contaminated painted panel on your car.

The main difference here is that a dirty wall you can see; contaminated paint is usually much harder to see. Some things are easier to see on white paint like fallout, tiny orange specks of rusting metal, but others can be felt not seen.

Dealership paint protection doesn’t remove or check for contaminated surfaces unless it’s blindingly obvious like bad over-spray. So they get sealed over. This not only looks bad but means the protection can’t bond to the paint and therefore becomes ineffective.

As part of our process we remove all bonded contaminants including industrial fallout, over-spray, transport wax, sticker residue and all organic and non-organic particles.

And all new cars are subject to this due to the delivery methods these days. So once they’ve hit the showroom they’ve been exposed to miles of traffic film, industrial fallout and bad washing methods. Plus more if they’ve been stored before sale.

Only then will the surface be clean enough to treat.

Removing imperfections

Once the car is free of contamination the next step is to check for imperfections.

Again, this is a step that dealership paint protection systems don’t include. Their bad washing methods will result in swirl marks, marring and even scratching from the first wash.

We even see brand new cars with panels repaired and resprayed without the customer being notified. Ask us for a paint report if you’re not sure about this and want a professional paint report.

Only under ultra bright lights can you see or check for any imperfections. Every new car benefits from some light machine polishing. But most need further polishing due to the bad condition new cars are delivered in these days.

Only once any defects are removed would we say your car is in a condition to protect. A professional will also wipe panels down with panel prep or alcohol to check it’s true condition as well as aid bonding for the ceramic coatings.

Now at this point most dealerships will be saying you don’t need to do this or that…but they are salesmen not paint specialists. They haven’t got a clue about how and why paint protection works so don’t listen to them.

But the difference in a proven good quality paint coating over a poorly prepared, low quality dealership paint protection package is vast. By choosing a ceramic coating specialist your investment will pay off and give you something that looks after you and doesn’t just add more to your finance deal!

Poor Working Environment

Leading on from defect removals is about the working environments at dealerships. Another reason why they don’t carry out high standard finishing is mainly because they can’t see the defects. To be able to see swirls, light scratches and other fine defects you need really good lighting. The brighter the lights the more you will see. Yes this can mean every single mark will stand out but that’s why we use 60 different lights and the dealership don’t. We want to see the scratches; they don’t!

And it also takes more than just a couple of floodlights. Each different colour of paint will show different defects in different lights. So a mixture of different light colours and brightness are needed as well as hand held torches to be able to see everything.

Most of the time new cars look great under soft lights but can look terrible in a brightly lit studio! But again, that’s the difference between a dealership paint protection and your car being protected properly. All our new car protection details go through all the points raised here for quality guarantee. We want to make your sure your paying for protection!

Low quality products

So as well as the incorrect preparation, the dealership coatings are cheap and very basic products. We know, as we buy them and test them. The dealership systems offer some hydrophobic properties (water beading) so initially look like something is there. But we have tested all the available coatings they use and found they offer very little abrasive or chemical resistance.

We get around a month or two protection from them, nothing like what they claim. Plus they don’t provide the abrasion protection that any professional grade ceramic coating offers; protection against swirls and light scratching.
And even basic tests show this. We wetted many suede pieces of cloth with popular dealer coatings and professional ceramic coatings. The dealer coatings left the suede feeling the same and still floppy. While the professional ceramic coatings turned the suede into stiff unusable pieces. Sounds simple but you can see and feel how hard a quality coating will be on your paint. The dealer coatings add no physical to your paint.

And it’s that physical barrier that gives it the protection against damage, wear and keeps it shining like new for much longer.

Taking time to protect

The final piece of understanding this is the time taken. We have worked in dealerships to prepare cars for customers before collection so have seen ‘behind the scenes’. A new car detail will take between 24 – 72 hours to allow time of preparation, polishing and curing time for the coatings to bond before they can be exposed.

In the time we have been working on the same car at a dealership one guy has done 5-7 different cars applying the dealer ‘protection’. And some even got a sticker on the window but no product applied..Just shows how little time they spend on preparing and protecting your car!

We hope you find this helpful and can now say no to the salesman who doesn’t have a clue about what he’s selling. There are many other ways to protect your car such as paint protection film and protecting it yourself. So find what works for you and enjoy your new car.

If you are local to us, live in Surrey and would like to book our paint report service please use our online quote form or to find out more click the link to read more about our new car detail.