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Understanding the Different Types of Protective Coatings for Cars

One way your car wash business can stand out is by offering protective detailing services as well as basic washing. 

Most drivers come to a car wash simply looking to get dirt and grime removed from the exterior of their vehicle. However, a car wash that offers additional detailing services can make their cars look even shinier than when they came in. Plus, many detailing products provide additional layers of protection to a car’s exterior once it leaves the car wash lot. These kinds of services can attract a much larger customer base to your business and help you retain more customers in the future. 

If you’re interested in offering protective coatings for cars, you should familiarize yourself with the different types of coatings available today. And with the leading brands available from NCS, you can find exceptional protective coating products for any vehicle’s needs.

The Science Behind Protective Car Coatings

Simply washing the dirt and grime off a car with soap and water can make it look clean initially, but the car will have to go back out into the world sooner or later. 

Back in the elements, cars can quickly get just as dirty as they were when they first came to your car wash. Not only that, but environmental hazards like debris, sunlight, and rain can also damage a car’s surface and diminish its overall appearance. 

When you apply a protective car coating, you’re adding a specific layer of protection that keeps the car looking shiny and new long after it leaves your lot. Protective coating chemicals work by forming a thin coat or film on a car’s exterior. This protective layer remains on the car after the soap, water, and detergents have been washed off. Not only do these protective layers usually contribute to a much brighter shine, but they also help protect the car from future damage. 

Depending on the substance, protective coatings can minimize future scratches, paint chips, water spots, and other blemishes. Many types of protective coatings also make it harder for things like bird droppings or dead bugs to accumulate on the car’s surface. 

Protective coatings are usually made from waxes, ceramic materials, or polymers that can adhere to a car’s surface, repel water, and even get into small crevices in the car’s paint to provide a firmer protective film. 

5 Types of Protective Coatings for Cars

Car owners looking to protect their cars from dirt and damage have a few options to choose from. However, for commercial car wash owners, the following five options are the most common types of protective coatings available from major suppliers like NCS. 

Ceramic Paint Coating

Ceramic paint coatings are made of ceramic products like silicon dioxide. Because these materials tend to be hardier than simple waxes or polymers, ceramic paint coatings have a reputation for providing much greater protection for cars. 

While ceramic coatings tend to be more expensive, they also provide superior protection against potential environmental hazards. Ceramic paint coatings are among the best protective coatings for new cars because they minimize ongoing damage and maintain the “new car” shine that so many owners crave. 

Paint Sealant

Paint sealants help protect a car’s paint from future damage while maintaining a pleasing shine. Upon application, paint sealants coat the car’s surface and seep into any small crack, grove, or pore within the paint. This helps seal the car’s surface off from future damage and prevents potential debris or dirt from getting through and doing further damage. 


Wax is a type of organic compound that usually features a higher melting point and insolubility in water. Like other kinds of protective substances, car waxes cover the car’s exterior in a protective film that prevents dirt and grime from staining the paint. Plus, coatings made of wax can also protect a car from scratches and blemishes over longer time frames. 

Polymer Coatings

Some protective coatings are made of polymer chemicals. Polymers are organic or inorganic compounds made from large molecules known as macromolecules. Polymer macromolecules are arranged in repeating units to form a more complex whole. Synthetic polymers used in car coatings are usually synthetic plastics that can be applied as a liquid but quickly dry into a harder, protective film. 

Polymer protective coatings are particularly useful for cars because they form chemical bonds with the car’s paint. Once the bond is formed, this kind of protective coating cannot be removed by other substances. Because of this, polymer coatings provide long-term surface protection to the car’s exterior while holding up against inclement weather and environmental hazards. Polymer coatings can also provide ongoing protection against dirt, stains, and scratches. 

Graphene – the New Kid on the Block

Graphene is only a few years old. But it’s a “miracle material” in the carwash world. This Nobel Prize-winning innovation creates ultimate strength and glorious shine. Imagine a material ultra-thin yet stronger than steel. Now picture it as an illustrious honeycomb, flatly spread in a 2D pattern, enriching your vehicle’s shine and color even more than ceramic finishes.

Graphene is a form of carbon, like diamond or graphite. Graphene is only one atom thick – and in spite of its tremendous strength, incredibly flexible, resisting chips and cracks. It’s transparent, anti-static (meaning less dust), and highly hydrophobic (encouraging more water beading). No wonder car wash manufacturers jumped at the chance to build it into their products.

If ceramic is good, graphene just might be better. Like ceramic, graphene provides excellent UV and contaminant protection. But graphene is much stronger. And this superstar of materials features a unique water-repelling capability, ensuring your vehicle remains spotless and sparkling clean. Your customers will bask in the beauty of their vehicle, with a deep rich gloss and longevity that ceramic coatings can’t always match.

Find the Best Auto Detailing Products for Your Car Wash Business

Investing in protective coatings for cars is a great way to take your car wash business to the next level. Customers will appreciate the option for additional detailing services, and more detailing options will likely mean more customers in the future. 

But your car wash’s detailing services are only as good as the detailing products you have. With NCS, you can find the industry’s best protective coating products for all sorts of detailing needs. Plus leading equipment, marketing solutions, and other services to help car washes thrive.

Get in touch with NCS today for the best protective coating products including the new kid on the block – graphene. Find what you need to know to take your business to the next level.

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