Due to how competitive the landscape of protection products in the automotive industry has become through the years—with many such products (i.e. solutions, waxes and coatings) quickly coming and going, the question of how long any surface protective product can last has unfortunately become an inadequately instant indicator of performance rating. Incorrectly used as a product differentiator, it is often misrepresented as a capable measure of how good a surface protection product is—leading to misconceptions on longevity metrics, confusion for consumers, intangible value attached to products and downright false claims made on protective abilities.
Because there really is no way to guarantee an exact duration of protective abilities for surface protection products, a good way to contextualize this question before answering it is by looking at what a protective product can do in the long term, and to be fully transparent with what can be expected from it.
For ClearFX, we believe that the benefits of a protective solution have less to do with how long, and more with how well it protects. ClearFX as both a product and a service are tightly developed together to provide real-world value, comprehensively engineering not just the tangible aspect of a product, but the entire experience of the service it is provided with.
First, ClearFX generates a hardened and chemically inert crystalline layer of silicon dioxide (SiO2) atop an automotive paint finish, just like other ceramic and glass-style coatings. It seals and closes off the entirety of the original paint finish (e.g. paint and clear coat) from the outside world. Like a thin sheet of glass that is initially malleable to form, it then hardens to contour at 9H and sits extremely hydrophobic.
Because silica is highly affined—reacting only with itself, this top layer does not chemically mix, correspond or participate with elements that an automotive surface is typically exposed to. It therefore renders the covered surface highly inert to contaminants and debris, enhancing its final finish and provides more definition, clarity, gloss and luster.
Second, ClearFX goes beyond being a top covering and continues its crystalline structure within the underlying paint finish itself, unlike the other coatings that just adhere on top of the surface. ClearFX seeps into the porous structure of a paint finish and forms a chemical infusion into and mechanical impregnation with it, to create not just a strong adhesion but a permanent cohesion with the vehicle surface. Thus, ClearFX is a permanent addition to the finish and one with the original substrate, treated as a single, whole unit upon cure; and the only way to remove a cured ClearFX treatment is through mechanical/physical abrasion (e.g. grinding, sanding and others). In other words, how the original surface would be normally dealt with is a good way of understanding how to deal with the final, infused amalgamation with ClearFX after it has cured.
These two things are what ClearFX does and does well, which makes it the best protective solution and professional service currently available for an automotive surface. How it protects is what sets it apart—more than just a topical application, it is an attogenetic cohesion that equilibrates into intense protection.
Being permanently bonded onto the finish, ClearFX is one with the surface and therefore subject to the same conditions that would cause normal wear-and-tear on the original paint finish. No matter how well it performs, its intense characteristics will still realistically fade in time with repeated exposure to abrasive elements and naturally degrading actions (e.g. washing, scrubbing and others) that eventually deplete, scour and ultimately alter the refined properties of a freshly-treated/unscathed surface on a microscopic scale.
Coming from such context now allows for properly answering the question of how long ClearFX lasts.
Because of how ClearFX functions, if the treated surface is never exposed to normal wear and tear, ClearFX will last infinitely. It is ultimately the type and length of various exposures that determine how the treated material will wear out over time. This behavior applies to all coatings no matter the manufacturer or product claims. The only real way for a surface to receive ongoing protection is to maintain its protective coating. This upkeep ensures the membrane stays tight, its surface tension is maintained and it performs as intended with continuous protective properties.
As such, though ClearFX lasts for many years, varying degrees of unknown exposure will slowly diminish its protective properties. This is why all ClearFX treatments are eligible for a yearly ClearFX Refine application. A topcoat to the original exterior ClearFX application, ClearFX Refine is specifically developed to replenish protective properties such as hydrophobicity and scratch resistance to a membrane slowly degraded by the elements over time.
The science behind protective products is proof that any claim to years and years' worth of protection from an initial application is simply not true. The real answer to the expectation of longevity over time is a proactive system that continuously ensures long-term protection.