“The paint coating will prevent rock chips, 15 layers will provide a lifetime of protection, Never wash or wax your vehicle again, Nuclear fallout, no problem.”
Okay, I haven’t heard the last one, except at SEMA as a joke, but at the rate marketing claims are going it seems to be just a matter of time. Remember the quote from the movie Tommy Boy; “They know that all they sold you was a guaranteed piece of crap. If you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will.”
In a world filled with empty promises and smiles, the coating market is surely NOT exempt. Some coatings even go so far as to aggressively name their product to sound like a type of super hero armor, yet these same coatings hardly last a year and offer next to no protection.
The largest issue with automotive based coatings tends to be the magical promises made within the ‘warranty’. While they tend to promise the world up front, when it comes to the fine print, the loop holes to allow the companies to not provide warranty service are as frequent as the holes in Swiss cheese.
A large majority of automotive coating manufacturers have loopholes within their warranties to allow easy denial of potential claims. This is because many of the automotive coating companies have an actual insurance company underwrite their warranty. So, what good is a warranty if all they are going to do is deny your claim to keep their premiums down?
An example of a typical disqualification clause within warranties:
VOID IF: … “the owner has deemed to have been careless, negligent, or fails to maintain the exterior painted surface in the correct manner.”
This is clearly a blanket statement to avoid potential claims to be made against the company.
Coating Marketing Claims:
As mentioned earlier, another big issue with many coatings being sold today is the misleading or outright false information claims either make or infer. For example, the advertising will make frequent mention of common defects such as: Swirl marks, marring, scratches, scuffs, scrapes, chips to the painted surface:
Even though many of these companies exclude these defects from the warranty, the marketing departments of these manufacturers advertise these defects are prevented. In simple terms, straight out lying to customers to drive business. The problem isn’t with the coatings, problem lies at the methods in which many of them are marketed and sold.
Some coating companies will encourage detailers to “pad” or add a percentage into your prices during the initial service to cover any future claims. What they are saying is that the installer should expect some issues and get paid for those issues up front.
How To Avoid – Confusions Commonly Associated With Coating Marketing Wars:
Instead of placing all your faith in the coating itself, put that faith in a professional that understands automotive protection and provides excellent customer service. An honest detailer will tell you that a coating will make maintenance washes faster and easier and the car should stay cleaner longer than a non-coated car. If they promise more than that, then just make sure you do your homework as a consumer. While a coating can help prevent fine swirl marks from improper washing, that is not the main intent. Coatings mainly function to add hydrophobic properties to the paint system with some additional UV and chemical resistance. So if you’re relying on a coating to prevent scratches and swirls, I think you will end up being upset with a coating.
As with anything, neglect will take its toll on a coating. If not properly maintained, you will never see the long term benefits of a coating. Regular washing is an important part of maintaining a coating on your car in order to keep the protection benefits intact.
The detailing market is being flooded with new coatings everyday – each one promising more and more. How can they tell you that it will last 5+ years if it was only released 2 weeks ago?
There are a few signs of an “over promised” coating. Lighters – if you see them hitting cars with lighters, that’s a sign they are reaching. Fire – if they are lighting their cars on fire, that also is another pointless demonstration that has nothing to do with real world use.
Since paint coatings are the evolution and future of surface care, when you’re choosing a coating, the most important variable is the detailer installing the product, not the coating alone. A quality detailer will be upfront and honest with you with what let you know works and what is just snake oil. In the end, the warranty will fall back upon the installing detailer to take care of any issues that may arise. So in the end, the warranty is only as good as the detailer installing it to begin with.