What is paint protection and is it worth it?

You may be offered paint protection when you’re buying a new car. We explain what it is and if it’s worth buying...

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What Car? team
17 December 2018

Is paint protection worth it?

Paint protection treatment is a common optional extra offered by dealers to people buying a new car.

It’s essentially an invisible coating applied over the top of the car’s paintwork and serves as a protective layer. It shields the paint from the likes of stone chips, tree sap, bird droppings and fading, all of which are common and damaging to untreated cars. It doesn’t protect against heavier damage such as parking scuffs and dents, though.

There are several different types of paint protection: it can be a physical film or a liquid that is sprayed on and sets.

Dealers are often keen to sell such treatments to buyers who want to keep their new car looking as good as possible. The cost can be anything from a few hundred pounds for a basic coating on a small car to four figures for more involved protection on large, luxury models. Either way, dealers make good money from optional extras and it’s safe to assume that they’re generating a profit.

Is paint protection worth it?     

Paint protection is definitely a good, low-maintenance way of keeping your car’s exterior in top condition. It means it will be easier to clean and you won’t have to worry so much about polishing it or small bits of damage.

Before you decide whether or not to pay for it, you should consider where your car will spend most of its time when you’re not driving it. If you park it outside overnight, near trees or overhead cables where birds roost, paint protection is probably a good investment.

It’s also worth considering if you cover a lot of miles, because the paintwork is more likely to pick up small bits of damage, such as stone chips.

However, if the car is usually garaged overnight, rarely spends an evening outside or doesn’t cover many miles, there’s probably less need for a protective coating.

Equally, if you’re prepared to clean your car regularly and look after the paintwork, or get a professional detailer to polish it and remove any blemishes, there’s little argument for protection products. This approach might also work out cheaper, depending on how frequently you clean the car.

Ultimately, it’s down to you, and you should make the decision based on how you use your car and your requirements, rather than the salesman’s smooth talk. It’s a good haggling point, too, so see if you can get it for less than the price the dealer initially offers.

Paint protection

Also consider…  

If you decide to buy paint protection with your new car, make sure it's mentioned somewhere in the paperwork relating to the sale, because it could give the car a slight edge when you come to sell it.

It’s also possible to buy paintwork protection from aftermarket specialists. This might or might not be cheaper than the main dealer’s offering, and the cost will again depend on the exact type of treatment you choose, the size and type of your car and the company, among other factors.

Older cars might need to have small blemishes repaired before they can receive paint treatment, too, so you’ll need to factor that into the overall cost.  

Read more: should I buy a car with a credit card? >


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