Are pricey ‘dealership protectants’ worth it or should they be avoided at all costs.
Now for the sake of transparency, the owner hadn’t actually paid penny for the product in this instance but I still thought I’d take advantage of the fact it’d been done to share my thoughts on the subject. Aside from some light surface soiling there wasn’t a huge amount for me to turn around here but that’s not what the video was supposed to be about so just be thankful you have something nice to drool over while I ‘wax lyrical’.
When I say “dealership protectants” I mean trade oriented and almost exclusively used by car dealerships. In and of themselves these products, which are often referred to as a “protective skin” for your paint, aren’t inherently bad but the myths and misconceptions perpetuated by those who flog them for commission quite possibly are.
In reality they’re just synthetic sealants which bond to the surface in the same manner as any other. They’ve been around for decades now and while the detailing world has grown and developed, little has changed in the “generic dealership protection” sphere yet despite that they still seem to be doing well within the insular car sales sector, something I can only attribute to the general ignorance and naivety of the average car consumer.
I’m all for protecting your new car and I’d rather have a dealership protectant sitting on my paintwork than nothing at all but I’m also for not being royally ripped off and £300+ in my humble opinion, is taking the mick. I’ve cleaned enough clearly unprotected cars with “generic dealership protectant” stickers in the window now to know this product doesn’t last forever. Even the most advanced ceramic coatings don’t last forever so either the slick suits at the dealership know something the rest of the detailing world doesn’t or they’re telling porky pies and I suspect the latter!
Interestingly despite apparently never needing to clean your car again following the treatment, when you fork out hundreds for a basic paint sealant you generally get given a maintenance care pack which in my experience just ends up gathering dust in the garage but hey, it at least helps give the impression you’re getting some sort of value for money.
Despite usually being pretty basic I thought it made sense to at least try the ph-neutral shampoo here on the freshly “generic dealership protected” surface and to be fair, aside from smelling like cheap toilet cleaner, it actually did a decent job of sudsing up and cleaning the moderately dirty surface, though any lasting effect it had on the protectant (good or bad), I couldn’t say.
When your new pride and joy is being prepped for dealer protection behind closed doors, can you guarantee it’s going to be thoroughly pre-cleaned with appropriate products to remove light contaminants it may have picked up on the lot like it would be by a professional detailer? Similarly do you know if it’s then going to be given a gentle two-bucket, grit-guarded wash from top to bottom with a soft mitt? Is it going to be thoroughly decontaminated to remove any road tar or industrial fallout it may have been exposed to during transport and storage and are the panels going to be properly wiped down to remove any product residue and allow the protectant you’re paying a pretty penny for to properly bond – maybe, maybe not but hopefully you see my point.
If all these essentials were guaranteed to be safely taken care of you could possibly justify the price but if corners are being cut, which in all likelihood they are, then you’re paying a premium price for a subpar service.
I’m not bashing dealership valeters, I appreciate they’ve a job to do and either haven’t got adequate time to spend properly prepping each vehicle they see or simply don’t get paid enough to care and to be honest I’m sure I’d be exactly the same in their “generic dealership protected” shoes!
A simple coat of quality wax applied following a gentle two-bucket wash and paintwork cleanse would be a far better option in my opinion, let alone a proper professional detail which, no brainer alert, could likely be had for the same cost
Any kind of decent polymer sealant or carnauba wax purchased from a reputable detailing supplies outlet will offer a realistic alternative to dealership protectants and despite this car having already been “generically dealership protected”, I’d brought along a couple of alternatives to try out as the car will be sitting outside exposed to the elements and so the more protection, the better.
This tinted wax from Dodo Juice, while intended for darker coloured vehicles I thought could help add a bit of depth to the shine on the lighter blue as I’ve had great results playing with it on a few of the panels of my similarly coloured C30. As with any tinted product you should test it on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t stain and while you could argue it’s a bit of a gimmick, it’s nowhere near as gimmicky as the dealership protectants that cost ten times as much.
Another superb protection product I frequently use is Collinite, whether in it’s paste or liquid insulator ‘getup’. Provided you keep it away from exposed plastic parts it’s super easy to use, goes a very long way and protects your paintwork for months. A decent decontamination wash, deep cleanse and a couple coats of this will absolutely blow any dealership applied protectant out of the Miami Blue water, both in terms of finish and durability.
There’s of course an array of other quality products from the likes of Gtechniq, Chemical Guys, CarPro and Gyeon to name but a few but honestly, anything bought from a reputable online detailing supplies store, assuming it’s properly applied is going to trump the likes of a “generic dealership protectant”.
So to wrap things up with my original question are they actually worth it or not, the answer (if you haven’t already worked it out) is a resounding no.
Dealerships specialise in selling cars not cleaning, enhancing or protecting them so leave the slick sales experience to the them and reserve the actual cleaning, enhancement and protection of the car to either yourself, or even better an experienced professional and I guarantee your car and your wallet will thank you for it.