Considering a dealership paint sealant / paint protection?
So you're there at the dealership, in the finance department. You're in the final stages of paperwork to close the deal on your new ride, and you're ready to drive it home, BUT the finance manager starts pitching you this "lifetime" sealant. They say it lasts longer than the car itself, and that you will never have to wax your car again. It makes dirt fall off - water can't stick - no more water spots or scratches or headaches.
It sounds too good to be true: At just around a thousand bucks, or a tad extra each month on top of the car note. They say it is warrantied for 5 or so years, and that they'll repair any damage that the car cosmetically collects within those 5 or so years. Any problems that occur, they will be solved (even to the point of replacing panels on the car).
But wait, are these "lifetime" paint sealers really what they claim to be? (good enough to protect aircraft???)
The reality of a dealership-sold sealant
If this thing they sold was about as ethical as the dealership itself (where you get manhandled with slick talking and questionable service bills), then it's likely that these paint sealants are a bit of a sham. Well, to be honest, and from experience, the sealants they put on these new cars, are not that bad - but surely will NOT get the claimed protection. The problem with their whole pitch is that they over-sell the product. What you essentially get installed, is a synthetic paint sealant, that will last for a few months, then need to be reapplied to get the same effects (The effects are not as good as a ceramic coating unfortunately).
Will this paint sealant protect against rock chips, water spots, and scratches? Well... probably not. But you do get a warranty that, after filing a claim, DOES get taken care of. If there is tree sap that gets stuck on the paint, the company usually takes care of it. If water spots end up on your ride, then these too, will usually get taken care of. If you have a discerning eye for swirl marks and micro scratches (that are bound to happen), the sealant companies may also get these "removed." All that to say, that the warranty that covers your car when applying the "lifelong" sealant, is a solid one. (Albeit most of the "repairs" will be taken care of by "detailers" at the dealership, and are usually subject to a regular check up to avoid voiding the warranty.)
Ceramic coating vs Cila Jet, Perma Plate, Xzilon, etc
Is there actual value in these sealants (Cila Jet, Perma Plate, Xzilon, etc.)???
If you are ok with the reality that you are essentially purchasing a warranty, for the dealership to detail your car for free, when you file a claim, then absolutely - this is a perfect solution for you (especially considering that you can just "wrap it up into the financing!") The (small) problem is that these sealants are being sold as something that they simply are not.
They are being masqueraded as what a ceramic coating REALLY is - kind of (Coatings are great, but some of the benefits are also commonly over-hyped). They shed dirt and water, but coatings are better at this. They protect against bird dropping damage and bug damage, but coatings are way better at this. They last a long time, but again, coatings are super way better at this. Scratch protection? That's debatable. But coatings actually do, to some degree, protect against light hand-car-wash-scratches/marring.
Hi! This blog is written by Detail Pros' very own, Ken! I am the owner and detailer at Detail Pros in Yuba City, CA, which is a smallish town between Sacramento, CA and Chico, CA. Thanks for reading!
Yuba City, CA 95993
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