Paint protection film, often referred to as PPF or Clear Bra, is transparent urethane film that comes in high-gloss or matte finish. They are professionally applied to the exterior painted surfaces to protect against damage by rocks, salt, insects, environmental elements and scratches and more. They offer outstanding durability and the high-quality versions are self -healing to repair itself.
WHY IS PAINT PROTECTION FILM NECESSARY?
Peace of mind! Simply put, automotive paint protection film preserves the quality of your cars paint by reducing the risk of multiple kinds of damage. When applied to the painted surfaces of your vehicle, PPF acts as a clear and unnoticeable protective layer against:
- Scratch and stain resistance
- Paint chip resistance
- Self-healing technology
- High-gloss or matte finish
- Self-healing properties. Light scratches will disappear when the film is heated from the sun or a heat gun.
- Stain resistance
- Water spots
- Oxidation (fading) from UV exposure
- Salt corrosion (especially along the shores of Long Island)
For the everyday commuter a clear bra installed on the front end will protect against highway sand blasting and more. For high use areas such as tailgates it protects against scratches from loading and unloading packages. Meanwhile exotic car owners, prefer to cover the entire car. Protecting and preserving their investment from UV rays, environmental elements, scratches and more.
HOW IS PPF INSTALLED?
Surface preparation is essential prior the installation. A clean contaminant free surface is necessary for proper adhesion and a flawless looking finished product. After perfectly preparing the coverage area soapy water is sprayed enabling the film to be maneuvered into position. There are two types of installation techniques, precut and bulk. Precut means the film is cut perfectly to size by a computer. Bulk means an uncut roll of film is cut by hand on the car. A perfect installation can be obtained with either technique. Each installer will have their own preference and each model car may be easier with one technique over the other.
After the film has been laid out across the surface it is stretched out to conform to the shape with which it’s being applied. During the stretching process the installer will begin to squeegee the film to remove any excess water and bubbles. Then final step is to trim, if necessary, any excess material and wrap all the edges creating an invisible appearance.
HOW LONG DOES 3M PPF LAST?
When speaking about the three major brands (3M, Xpel and Suntek), film longevity will depend on numerous factors. For example, if the installed vehicle is rarely driven and kept in a garage, the film will last much longer than a daily-driven car exposed to harsh elements on a regular basis. However, regardless of how you use your protected vehicle, you can expect a five year lifespan of the film if you live on and around Long Island.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST PPF INSTALLER NEAR YOU?
There are two important factors to consider when buying Paint Protection Film (PPF):
- The brand of film
- The installer / shop
When it comes to researching paint protection film installers near you a great place to start is through a referral from a friend who’s had work done their before or to search the internet for a paint protection film installer near me. In my opinion choosing a certified reputable installation center is most important. A poor installation will ruin the look and longevity of even the best of films.
Some suggestions of questions you may want to ask are:
- See who has good reviews.
- Visit the shop in person.
- Is the shop well kept?
- Are they able to answer your questions concisely?
- Are they established and plan to be there well into the future?
- Do they have any recent work they can show you?
After asking these questions, you should have a good idea of your comfort level with that shop.
There are many brands manufacturing film on the market, however XPEL, 3M and SUNTEK have emerged as the premier products in the market place. They each make high quality films, come with a warranty and are well established companies. When compared visually they all look amazing, it is difficult to see it at all. One difference is in the adhesives, some are more aggressive then another. This only is a factor during installation as they all cure to the same strength. Another difference is the extent of the pattern database. Many shops like to pre-cut the film on a computer using the patterns supplied by the film manufacturer. The greater the database, the better it is for the installer. Currently, XPEL has the most extensive database of patterns to choose from.
We at Top Edge Window Tinting hope you found this article helpful. If you have questions, or would like a quote on PPF installation, call or contact us today!