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Which of the following paint protection options are worth it?

  • Plastic film coating (frontal coverage)

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife and I got a new 2020 Outback Limited, and we plan on keeping the vehicle for as long as possible. We intend to use it for road trips (long stretches of highway driving), ski trips (snowy and/or icy roads), and camping trips (some light off-road driving). I'm happy to be joining this community!

I was wondering if it's worth investing in additional paint protection to extend the vehicle's lifespan (against rust) and keep the Outback looking good for years to come! I'm mostly worried about chips caused by rocks, but there might be other risks that I'm less aware of. I've heard of ceramic coatings and plastic film coatings (often restricted to the frontal areas).

Are any of these worth it? I realize that modern car paint is much better than it used to be (from what I've been told), so I'm torn. Is a hood deflector good enough?

Full disclosure: I'm a new car owner, so I'm still learning lots about car ownership! Any tips in general to maintain the vehicle would be very appreciated!

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2020 Onyx
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Paint protection film is good but pricey. If you follow large trucks or the roads in your area tend to throw gravel at you then it might pay for itself - and the skill and experience of the installer for paint protection film is super important. On a Porsche 911 turbo it's something I'd do, but on an Outback it's not a slam-dunk.

Ceramic coating won't help at all with chips or scratches. The so-called 9H hardness is on the PENCIL scale not the glass harness scale, and they don't tell you but you have to keep maintaining it with toppers so it's not like you buy this ceramic coating and you're done. You still have to maintain the paint almost the same as if you never had the ceramic, if it's a daily driver and exposed to the elements.

I use the full line of the Turtle Wax Hybrid Ceramic line. It may not be the ultimate but it's very very good plus it's inexpensive and almost zero effort so I highly recommend it unless you're a perfectionist.
 

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2020 Onyx XT
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I echo what @SilverOnyx says. Except I use Meguiar's Hybrid. There are a ton of choices out there. Some are very, very expensive. Is it worth it? Dunno. Not sure I really care all that much. I'm totally happy with Meguiar's and @SilverOnyx is happy with TurtleWax Hybrid. Some spend thousands on film protection. That's ain't happening on this car. If it was an RSR GT2, absolutely. Ceramic is the absolute bomb. I have never had a car so slick and shiny and super easy to apply. The water can hardly wait to get off the paint!
 

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2020 Onyx
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Yes these new formulations of clear spray products is so effortless when it can be applied to glass, rubber, plastic, anything and everything, it's almost as if you don't have to do "real waxing" in the traditional sense, yet they provide good durability, beading, slickness and shine. Spray on and wipe off. What could be easier than that?
 
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Welcome to the community and congrats on your new purchase! This is a great forum with a lot of knowledgable people who can give you some solid insight.

Here is my recommendation - I'm someone who buys neglected used cars and fixes them up to look good and last 15+ years and I'm located in the salt belt.

  • a good non hardening/ non rubber annual rust proofing (in the spring when temps warm up) By far the most important on this whole list
  • annual DIY ceramic coating, or every 2-3 years professionally done ceramic coating, or every 3 month DIY synthetic wax application.
  • good quality ceramic window tint to protect your interior
  • use an interior protectant every few months to protect your interior from UV Ray's.
  • PPF professionally applied to the front bumper and edge of the hood
  • buy a paint pen to touch up any rock chips that happen.

Now for mechanical reliability:

  • use a good quality full syn oil and change it regularily (follow recommended change intervals)
  • drain and fill coolant every 5 years
  • drain and fill trans/cvt and diff fluids approx every 3-5 years depending on use/mileage
  • in the cold months ensure you take your OB out for a 30+min jaunt on the highway. This will allow the oils to fully get up to operating temps and evaporate moisture and fuel
  • take your engine up to redline at WOT at least once a week as long as it is up to operating temps
  • drive your car very easy when it is cold and not fully warmed up yet.
  • annually change your air filters.

This may seem excessive and you can pick and choose what you think you want to do but these things go a very long way if you want the car to be reliable and still in great aesthetic shape at the 15 year mark.

It is possible and IMO it is awesome to see a 15 year old car still look and run amazing from an owner that cares for it.
 

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Beautiful choice, Bruno! Your Outback paint job will hold up for many years as delivered - except for the unavoidable door-dings coming your way. My latest of 5 Outbacks is 10 years old; no rust, no paint fade, periodically treated to some Meguire's - just door dings! Save your money and buy a share of Tesla - down payment on a 2030! Good luck!
 

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Welcome to the community and congrats on your new purchase! This is a great forum with a lot of knowledgable people who can give you some solid insight.

Here is my recommendation - I'm someone who buys neglected used cars and fixes them up to look good and last 15+ years and I'm located in the salt belt.

  • a good non hardening/ non rubber annual rust proofing (in the spring when temps warm up) By far the most important on this whole list
  • annual DIY ceramic coating, or every 2-3 years professionally done ceramic coating, or every 3 month DIY synthetic wax application.
  • good quality ceramic window tint to protect your interior
  • use an interior protectant every few months to protect your interior from UV Ray's.
  • PPF professionally applied to the front bumper and edge of the hood
  • buy a paint pen to touch up any rock chips that happen.

Now for mechanical reliability:

  • use a good quality full syn oil and change it regularily (follow recommended change intervals)
  • drain and fill coolant every 5 years
  • drain and fill trans/cvt and diff fluids approx every 3-5 years depending on use/mileage
  • in the cold months ensure you take your OB out for a 30+min jaunt on the highway. This will allow the oils to fully get up to operating temps and evaporate moisture and fuel
  • take your engine up to redline at WOT at least once a week as long as it is up to operating temps
  • drive your car very easy when it is cold and not fully warmed up yet.
  • annually change your air filters.

This may seem excessive and you can pick and choose what you think you want to do but these things go a very long way if you want the car to be reliable and still in great aesthetic shape at the 15 year mark.

It is possible and IMO it is awesome to see a 15 year old car still look and run amazing from an owner that cares for it.
Thanks so much for all this info!

Rust proofing? what is that? What products?
Is that the same as iron remover?
 

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We all have our favorite brands. Even before I went to Meguiars school in California I’ve been using their cleaner wax, available just about everywhere. I do once a month the first 6 months, then 4x a year after that. Outback is a small car, easy to do in less than an hour.
 

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Let me add this.....

If your hood rusts, you have serious problems! The Hood is Aluminum, and as long as the paint is protected, there should not be an issue.

One other thing to consider, I found this out after having an Eyesight equipt 2019 Crosstrek. With my adaptive cruise set to the MAX to keep me away from the cars in front. I always clean and wax my cars and I am very Anal about inspecting for blemishes or chips. In 18K miles, no chips. Now I may have been lucky I guess. Darn, I've already been stone chipped in the windshield on the 2020 Outback.

For Paint protection I use Chemical Guys JetSeal. It is a sealant and protectant that goes on very well, protects and seems to be long lasting. (months not years) I apply it myself so I get to see how it is protecting. It does have some of the properties of a ceramic coating. Since the purchase of my 2020 in September, I have 3 full coats on the vehicle and so far, very pleased. Of course this is a garage kept, Retired Owned Vehicle and that can make a difference too.

But....When I sell my cars, usually they are gone before I know it. Seems I take care of my vehicles for the next owner to enjoy! LOL!
 

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My wife and I got a new 2020 Outback Limited, and we plan on keeping the vehicle for as long as possible. We intend to use it for road trips (long stretches of highway driving), ski trips (snowy and/or icy roads), and camping trips (some light off-road driving). I'm happy to be joining this community!

I was wondering if it's worth investing in additional paint protection to extend the vehicle's lifespan (against rust) and keep the Outback looking good for years to come! I'm mostly worried about chips caused by rocks, but there might be other risks that I'm less aware of. I've heard of ceramic coatings and plastic film coatings (often restricted to the frontal areas).

Are any of these worth it? I realize that modern car paint is much better than it used to be (from what I've been told), so I'm torn. Is a hood deflector good enough?

Full disclosure: I'm a new car owner, so I'm still learning lots about car ownership! Any tips in general to maintain the vehicle would be very appreciated!

View attachment 498996
that car is really sharp,,,,,don.t see that color to much witch makes it better ,,,,,i would just keep it washed and wax it yourself once a month
 

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Let me add this.....

If your hood rusts, you have serious problems! The Hood is Aluminum, and as long as the paint is protected, there should not be an issue.

One other thing to consider, I found this out after having an Eyesight equipt 2019 Crosstrek. With my adaptive cruise set to the MAX to keep me away from the cars in front. I always clean and wax my cars and I am very Anal about inspecting for blemishes or chips. In 18K miles, no chips. Now I may have been lucky I guess. Darn, I've already been stone chipped in the windshield on the 2020 Outback.

For Paint protection I use Chemical Guys JetSeal. It is a sealant and protectant that goes on very well, protects and seems to be long lasting. (months not years) I apply it myself so I get to see how it is protecting. It does have some of the properties of a ceramic coating. Since the purchase of my 2020 in September, I have 3 full coats on the vehicle and so far, very pleased. Of course this is a garage kept, Retired Owned Vehicle and that can make a difference too.

But....When I sell my cars, usually they are gone before I know it. Seems I take care of my vehicles for the next owner to enjoy! LOL!
me too,,,traded my 2018 15000 miles for a 2021 not a mark on it ,,,,i'm ocd
 
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