Best Car Paint Protection (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022
Keep your car’s exterior looking sharp and scratch-free with one of the best car paint protection products.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON November 18, 2021
Whether you’ve got a factory-fresh paint job or a custom spray on your car, you’ll want to protect your investment against scratches and marks. Car covers are great, but they don’t work while you’re driving, and plastic films are difficult to apply and might cover important cooling areas. That’s where car paint protection products come into play. A little bit of extra time after your next car wash could extend the life of your paint and give you a lasting shine. We’ve gathered our favorite car paint protection products to help you get started.
JetSeal is designed to work in extreme temperatures and can be applied on a variety of surfaces.
- Provides an anti-corrosion synthetic sealant
- Long-lasting, mirror-like wet finish
- Works quickly and is easy to use
- Small bottle
- Spray bottle feels flimsy
Meguiar’s sealant is easy to apply and provides an excellent shine, but its soft finish may leave you with marks and streaks days after application.
- Hand application, rotary buffer, or a dual-action polisher application
- Ensures your car maintains its sleek, glossy finish
- 64-ounce container
- Sealant is soft and scuffs easily
- May leave streaks
- Wears off after the first wash
Its ability to shine and seal, combined with its ease of use makes the Shine Armor Polish a must-try product.
- Easy to apply
- Eliminates grease, grime, and dirt, and gives your car a layer of protection
- Clean, shiny finish, and the paint will not be affected
- Small bottle
- Doesn’t leave a silky smooth finish
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
In order to find and highlight the products we’ve listed here, we sought out car paint protection in every form. We took a look at sealants, different types of coatings, and protective-layer products. As we examined different protection products, we also compared them based on their ease and style of application, as well as their durability. The products we chose offer longevity and attractive surface finishes that will make any car look better, and the suggestions are based on users’ reviews and remarks after putting them to use on their vehicles.
Best Car Protective Paint Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on Car Paint Protection
For a high-quality paint protector that will make your car look brand new, consider the Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant. Save some cash and check out the Meguiar's M20 Mirror-Glaze Polymer Sealant for an inexpensive but effective high-gloss paint protector.
What to Consider When Buying Car Paint Protection
Picking out a quality, long-lasting car paint protection product isn’t exactly easy. There are a lot of different options to choose from, each with its own application style, formula, and benefits (or disadvantages). But we’ve got all of the advice you need to find the best products for your desired results and level of protection.
Types of Car Paint Protection
Sealants are synthetic polymers that improve your paint’s shine while protecting it against dirt, grime, and weather elements. These products are different from waxes, which are composed at least partially of natural ingredients. Sealants typically last longer than waxes and can provide better protection against things like tree sap and UV rays.
Glass coating, unlike paint sealant, has silicon dioxide as the base component. The compounds work to repel dirt and give the paint the desirable wet look that shows car owners and Instagram love.
Ceramic coating is not a layer of ceramic over your car’s paint. It’s a chemical solution applied by hand. It bonds with the car’s paint to create a protective layer. You can think of it as an extra layer of protection against things such as sun damage.
Clear paint protective layer
This is a plastic film manufactured from thermoplastic urethane. It protects the car’s paint from rock chips, mineral deposits, acid rain, and small scratches. However, it is only used on parts that are susceptible to the damages highlighted above.
Car Paint Protection Key Features
Depending on the treatment you choose, you may see benefits that include a deep shine, a more consistent paint color, and fewer small scratches. Some treatments, especially glass coatings and ceramic coatings, can give your paint a wet look with a superior shine.
Most companies promise multiple months of life between applications of their products, but most fall short of that mark. In general, you should be getting at least a month out of a paint protection product, but some last several weeks.
Ease of application
Ease of application and method of application is another area where paint protection products could be clearer. Some promise to deliver their benefits without the need to wash your car ahead of time, but in most cases it’s best to wash before applying. Sprays, while easier to apply, may not last as long as a hand-applied protectant.
Benefits of Car Paint Protection
Keeps Damage to a Minimum
The biggest, most critical reason to consider car paint protection for your vehicle is the actual protection it offers. When applied across the exterior of your car, a paint protection product of any kind will help keep potential damage and visible woes such as scratches and marks to a minimum. It’s like an invisible shield for your paint, helping automatically limit scratches and other signs of damage without you even realizing it’s hard at work. A layer of ceramic coating, paint sealant, or other variety of paint protection can be a key aid in preventing everyday damage and signs of wear.
Protects Your Investment
You might not be planning to sell your car right now, but if that day does come years into the future, you’ll definitely discover a financial benefit to using car paint protection products. Because these products help reduce unsightly marks and unwanted scratches, keeping your car’s paint job looking new, they help you recoup more value. They’ll protect your original investment and prevent you from having to spring for a paint job. With added benefits such as UV protection, these products can save you money and help you get more value should you put it up for sale.
While there’s quite a bit of variety in the lifespan of car paint protection waxes, sealants, and other products, they all are formulated to give you some longevity. Once these products are applied to your car’s exterior, they can last anywhere from weeks to months, or even up to a year in some cases. With regular application, you’ll get long-lasting protection that keeps you and your vehicle well-protected for your car’s lifespan. And if you don’t want to reapply frequently, you can choose a protectant and formula that offers the longest lifespan.
Car Paint Protection Pricing
Your standard bottle of car paint protection costs between $15 and $20. This price point includes eight- to 16-ounce bottle of liquid waxes, sealants, or detailing sprays. However, if you’d like to opt for a more premium product, you’ll spend more. Top-tier options will run you between $40 and $50 per bottle. Within this price range, you’ll also find bulk options for some products, giving you an opportunity to buy more protectant for less.
Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and car paint protection. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- Some paints are affected by relatively high temperatures. Some paints become sticky to the touch when temperatures rise. Ensure you purchase the paint that suits the climate of your location. This is also true for winter weather, as the cold can impact drying time and your ability to apply the product.
- Protective paint for vehicles can cost up to a few hundred dollars, depending on the company, application, and other factors. It’s paramount to choose a paint that’s within your budget range to ensure proper application.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: How long will a paint protector last?
The majority of paint protectors will keep the paint shiny and glossy for perhaps a week. They will not last through several downpours or snowstorms. Check with the manufacturer to learn more about its longevity.
Q: How much paint protector should I use?
The bottle should come with a chart or guide to show you how much to use. If you find that the amount is not enough to wax or protect an area effectively, you may want to use more.
Q: What is the best way to apply a paint protector?
Typically, each one will come with a multistep process. Start by rinsing off the surface with a hose. Then apply the cleaner to the paint and other parts of your vehicle. Lastly, wash it away with a microfiber cloth and let it dry.