Ceramic and PPF. What’s the Deal?

Some Tesla owners get paint protection film, some go with ceramic coating, and others choose a combo. Everyone thinks they’ve made the best decision, but have they really?

Honestly, yes.

Separately or combined, PPF and ceramic are major protective upgrades for your Tesla’s standard factory finish. What’s best really depends on what you want most – or if you just want it all. (We see you, combo people.)

What is PPF?

Paint protection film, usually called clear bra or PPF, is a thin sheet of elastic polyurethane that is paired with an adhesive solution and applied over your paint. It can be clear with a glossy or matte finish to show off your paint and is also available in shades that will alter the appearance of paint color. Like ceramic, it adds a layer of protection against UV rays and other threats to a flawless finish, but the difference in material gives it additional benefits: self-healing properties, for one. With heat from the sun or your engine, light scratches and swirl marks in PPF will fade away and disappear.

What is Ceramic?

Ceramic coating, also known as nano-ceramic coating or nano coating, is a liquid typically containing silicon dioxide and other ingredients. The “nano” is a reference to the size of the molecules that make up the coating. Ceramic is dripped onto an applicator and wiped onto your car. It forms a microscopic layer over your paint to create a more uniform surface that’s resistant to scratches, UV rays, bird droppings and chemicals (similar to a paint protection film).

How to Choose

It truly depends on what you want from your paint protection product. PPF and ceramic are both hydrophobic, which basically means they have a water-shedding surface. This translates to greater overall durability for PPF, and deep shine for ceramic.

If you want hydrophobic protection that’s a breeze to wash, you’re covered with either PPF or ceramic. 

If you want serious, self-healing protection against UV rays, corrosives, scratches and impact damage such as rock chips, you want PPF. If you want defense against UV rays, corrosives and scratches with a slick, glassy finish, you want ceramic. And if you want tough PPF protection with a swanky ceramic shine? You just identified yourself as a combo person, and SunTek says go for it!

Ceramic-Friendly PPF

As long as you have ceramic applied second, over the top of your SunTek PPF, it won’t affect PPF performance or self-healing ability. SunTek recently ran a battery of tests to confirm this. We took a variety of ceramic products, applied as instructed by the manufacturers, and looked at self-healing and extended weathering performance. The results were what you’d want to see, so warranty coverage was updated in 2019 to include a clause stating that application of a ceramic coating over SunTek PPF will not void the warranty. 

And Lastly, Lasting Power

With a limited warranty of 5 to 10 years, there is no substitute for PPF when your priority is protection for your finish. PPF longevity also means that you’ll have your Tesla at the installer’s shop less over the life of your car, and get out your wallet less too. But if you crave slickness and high shine, ceramic is ideal, even if it might need re-application more frequently. Look into product lifespans/warranties before you make a pick; some last multiple years, others just one. That research just might free up some extra time and money for more Tesla customizations you have in mind.

Anything else you need to know to make up your mind? Share it in the comments.

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