What is the difference between ceramic coating and clear bra?
There is so much marketing and confusion around the hardness of ceramic coatings (9H, 10H, and all that) and whether they protect against scratches and chips (there are local Killeen and Austin auto detailing businesses claiming that ceramic coating protects against these damages), or even companies claiming that ceramic coatings protect against fire! There is so much hype out there, so let’s sort through the facts.
Ceramic coatings are typically around 1 micron thick. For reference, 1 micron is 0.00003937 inches thick. An automotive clear coat is about 35 to 50 microns. Ceramic coatings CAN NOT protect against scratches and rock chips. The only roundabout way that a ceramic coating will protect against scratches is ceramic coatings make it easier to clean or detail your vehicle. Therefore, you might have less contact with your paint and are less likely to scratch it. However, if you scratch a car with or without a ceramic coating, it will scratch.
The primary purpose of ceramic coating is to make cleanup easier, bugs easier to clean off, environmental protection, UV protection, and potentially deeper color and slicker surface. Ceramic coating’s purpose is NOT protection against damage, scratches, or rock chips.
On the other hand, a clear bra or paint protection film will protect against rock chips and scratches. Clear bra is self-healing (you can see our other videos about this), which means it can be scratched (within reason) and heal itself. Some ceramic coating companies claim to make self-healing ceramic coatings, but the amount or extent to which these MAY work is nothing like clear bra, and due to the thickness of the coating, it will only work for a short duration (if ever).
The primary purpose of clear bra is PROTECTION.
They can be used together to keep the car easy to clean and protect, but neither is a substitute for another. Most clear bra films are hydrophobic, but that is not their primary purpose, much like the self-healing ceramic coatings.