As the government continues to crack down on volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions more and more states are moving to waterborne paints. California is one of those states that has required it for years now.
Waterborne paint is composed of synthetic resins and pigments that are kept dispersed in water by surfactants. Waterborne paints still contain solvents, they just contain them to a lesser degree.
Currently Tesla produces, and paints, their vehicles in Fremont, California. Meaning they must comply with California’s paint rules, including reduced VOC emissions. Making waterborne paint a necessity.
Why does waterborne paint seem to chip easier?
Waterborne paint requires fewer layers of color and even a thinner clear coat than solvent-based paint. Solvent-based paints usually require three to four coats of paint. Versus one to two coats of waterborne paints. The thinner the paint the easier it will be to have a chip go through it, for a scratch to go all the way through the paint, and for the clear coat to become damaged.
Another factor to the quality and durability of the paint is the formula that companies use. Each company and brand uses its own specific formulas, offering its own chemical composition and performance characteristics. Some waterborne paints will be more durable, or even thicker depending on the mixture being used.
What can you do?
There are a couple options when it comes to protecting water based paint. For the highest impact areas of the vehicle, like your front bumper, paint protection film is the best protection available. It is durable and long lasting, with top brands carrying a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. Suntek Ultra offers film that is both hydrophobic and offers a self-healing top coat to prevent swirl marks or small/light scratches.
For the non-high impact areas of the vehicle ceramic coatings are a perfect solution to strengthen the clear coat and help prevent damage to thin, waterborne paint work. Depending on how you maintain your vehicle ceramic coatings offer 3-4 years of protection. Using a silica based spray can maintain the coatings hydrophobic quality over the years.
The main goal with either paint protection film or ceramic coatings is to protect the paint of your vehicle for as long as you own it.