What Is Automotive Paint Protection Film?
Paint protection film is a layer of thermoplastic urethane applied to the painted surfaces of an automobile to protect the paint job from chips, splatters, and small abrasions. Is is also commonly used on airplanes, motorcycles, electronic, cell phones and other electronics. Almost all automotive manufacturers have approved the usage of paint protection film on vehicles. It is also commonly referred to as Clear Bra which was the original manufacturer.
It is recommended by manufacturers to entrust the application of the product to certified Vinyl Wrap and Clear Bra professional shops as the installation requires unique skills and techniques to get it to look right and last the life of the film. Many Window Tinting and detail shops also perform the installation.
The primary purpose of Clear Bra is to prevent scuffs, rock chips and other types of vandalism which cause damage to a vehicle's paint and body. It is commonly applied on the front facing portions of cars, trucks, and SUVs. It may also be used on the full body of a vehicle to provide maximum protection for the vehicle's factory paint.
Originally developed for use in military applications, it is now commercially available for public use. The automotive industry took note of the benefits offered by the paint protection film and began applying it to race cars to protect the expensive carbon fiber and fiberglass bodies. Originally the film was thicker and tough to install because the thick film was designed to protect helicopter blades from sand erosion.
The film available on the market today is specifically designed to be flexible and conformable to a vehicle's body. There are many options available in the market with specific types manufactured primarily with the technical capability to offer top level protection and even self-healing capabilities.
Why use Paint Protection Film?
Scratches on brand new or well-maintained vehicles not only destroy the look of your car, truck or SUV, they reduce the resale value. To prevent a car from suffering at the hands of vandalism or road debris, paint protection film is the perfect solution.
Clear Bra has the strength to withstand the hazards on the road such as debris, rocks, sand and cement. It will shield the areas on the vehicle where it is installed and keep the body looking like it did the day you applied the film.
Many of the premium films have self-healing properties so the film will heal itself when damaged by scratches and cracks. Another great application is to protect your vehicle from children playing near the car and scratching the paint surface with their toys.
Which Paint Protection Film Brands are the most trusted?
The most reliable brands of paint protection film on the market today are the original Clear Bra, 3M, Suntek, and Xpel. Xpel and 3M are the preferred films used in our shop due to their self-healing properties and industry leading warranties. In addition to full rolls of film, many of these manufacturers offer the DIY enthusiast pre-cut kits that are unique to a vehicle's make, model and year.
Today there is no shortage of cheaply made films imported from places like China and India and sold on sites like eBay and Amazon. Always be wary of any material that does not come from a reputable manufacturer. Cheap paint protection film will not protect your vehicle, and often the cheap adhesives used in this type of material will damage your factory paint when you attempt to remove it.
How is It Applied?
There are many types of installation for paint protection film. Most installers do not have plotters. Therefore they have no choice but to apply the fill directly from the roll and cut the material to length on your vehicle. Reputable installation shops that have invested in plotters use specially designed software to create a pattern for the shape of the panel on which the film is to be installed and have it plotted or cut with precision. A plotter can also be used to modify the cut pattern to fit custom patterns such as aftermarket body kits and bumpers.
A popular installation technique for the DIY customer is a pre-cut kit. A pre-cut kit can be ordered by your vehicle make, model, and year and comes ready to install out of the box. The downside of a pre-cut kit is if you damage one of the sections of material during installation, you'll have to purchase an entirely new kit. Pre-Cut Kits are also not available for any custom parts you have on your vehicle such as an aftermarket bumper, body kit, or spoiler.
When you are looking for a Clear Bra installer, it is imperative to select a reputable shop with good reviews. The installation requires cutting near your car, truck or SUV's paint with razor blades. An impatient or unskilled installer can quickly cause substantial and irreversible damage to your expensive vehicle.
Where can the Film be Applied?
Paint protection film is manufactured to appear practically invisible to the naked eye to maintain the appearance of your vehicle. It can be applied to any area of the car however it is mostly recommended for portions of the car that are susceptible to damage. The most common areas are the side mirrors, front bumper, and hood of your vehicle. Another area that Clear Bra can be used is door edges as they are prone to wear and tear from the constant opening and closing. Protecting door edges offers an excellent shield against chipping and scrapes which often happen in parking lots.
It may also be applied to door handle cups because they get damaged from constant use. The scratches and scrapes can are prevented through the application of an invisible film of Clear Bra on the door handle cups.
Benefits of a Paint Protection Film
Clear Bra is flexible and stretchable as well as long lasting. It is almost invisible and can be molded to fit any surface of the vehicle. It seals the painted surfaces to give a long lasting glossy appearance and shiny exterior. Clear Bra is a branded self-healing coat which is resistant to scratches and cracks. It puts up a tough defensive front to damage of any kind which in inevitable when it comes to cars.