Your car is not just four wheels and an engine. It’s your second home. Taking care of it properly is the key to longevity, stellar appearance, and comfort. Even a tiny scratch can ruin your mood and kill the driving enjoyment.
Each car aficionado is always looking for ways to keep their vehicle in mint condition for as long as possible. A smart way to go is to invest in paint protection film (PPF). Let’s take a closer look at what PPF is all about, and why you may want to install it.
What is Paint Protection Film?
Today, numerous ways exist to protect your car’s paintwork. From ceramic coating to regular waxing, car owners face a variety of choices. Paint protection film goes by many names like “Clear Wrap,” “Scratch Protection Film,” “Clear Mask,” and “Clear Bra.”
The film as we know it today is made of thermoplastic urethane. This material has a number of impressive properties including elasticity, oil and grease resistance, transparency, and abrasion resistance. That’s exactly what your car’s paintwork needs to keep looking fresh for years.
Additionally, thermoplastic urethane has self-healing properties. If the surface is scratched, the material extends and recovers its shape to render any minor scrapes invisible.
The paint protection film is easy to install and maintain. It preserves the stellar showroom finish and lifts your mood every time you look at your vehicle. Depending on the manufacturer, the film can maintain its protective and healing properties from 5 to 10 years. For example, XPEL PPF comes with a 10-year warranty.
PPF Installation: DIY vs Professional
Proper installation is the key to your PPF’s protective properties. That’s why DIY installation isn’t recommended. While the process may look easy on YouTube videos, achieving a smooth application may be complicated.
To make sure the film stays in place properly, professional installers:
- Correct all existing paint imperfections.
- Invest in high-quality installation kits.
- Choose ideal weather.
- Wash the car thoroughly.
- Make sure the film fits the chosen location perfectly.
- Apply the film evenly.
- Use a squeegee to push out the bubbles.
Pushing out the bubbles is the trickiest part of the process. A mistake during any of the application stages could make them tough to remove, leaving your car looking untidy, and what’s worse, unprotected.
It takes a couple of hours to install PPF while an amateur may spend the entire day struggling to achieve perfect coverage.
Paint Protection Film Maintenance
Wouldn’t it be nice to install the PPF and forget about paintwork maintenance for 10 years? However, to support the film’s protective properties, some love and care are in order.
- Regular washing — the PPF protects your car but doesn’t keep it clean. So you can wash your vehicle as often as you did before. Just make sure you don’t use low-quality cleaning materials, steer clear of automated car washes, and avoid washing the car in direct sunlight.
- Quick reaction — as soon as you notice any bird droppings or other chemical stains on your vehicle, remove them immediately. Chemicals can damage the coating, leaving the car unprotected.
- Apply wax — you can wax the vehicle once a month to give it a fresh and shiny appearance while making cleaning easier.
You should also keep the following tips in mind when taking care of a car with PPF.
- Give PPF at least seven days to cure before washing the vehicle.
- If you are using a pressure washer, keep away from the film’s edges. It could cause the edges to lift, reducing the protection.
- If you are planning to wipe the surface, make sure it’s hydrated. Wiping dry PPF can damage it.
- Don’t use any abrasives or chemicals. If you can’t remove dirt, oil, or debris from your car, ask for professional assistance.
- Never use a power buffer on PPF.
Overall, caring for PPF is not much different from maintaining factory paintwork.
When it comes to caring for a car, the cost is often the deciding factor. Let’s be honest, paint protection film isn’t the cheapest solution. Its impressive protection and self-healing properties make the material expensive.
The cost may vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars and depend on several factors:
- Vehicle condition — if the car already has cracks, scrapes, and scratches, they need to be corrected before applying the film. Otherwise, it won’t adhere properly.
- Coverage area — how many panels do you want to cover? Do you just want to protect highly vulnerable parts or the entire vehicle? The bigger the area, the higher the price.
- Difficulty — if your vehicle has a smooth hood and bumper, the film is much easier to apply than to curvy and odd-shaped areas. The harder it is to install the film, the more the installation is likely to cost.
When you are considering the PPF costs, make sure to think about the ROI. By investing in paint protection now, you can avoid paint correction for many years to come. This is especially true for high-end cars, repairing which always involves formidable expenses.
As a bonus, besides saving time and money on paint correction, you can enjoy peace of mind.
The paint protection film is a highly beneficial protection solution for your car. However, it comes with two disadvantages. One of them is the high cost. The other one is that it doesn’t last forever (however, most owners replace the car years before the film gives out).
If you are willing to put up with these two cons to keep your car looking stellar all year round, PPF is the right choice for you.
Exploring Paint Protection Film Options
If you are ready to take full advantage of the paint protection film, there is no reason to wait. Regardless of your vehicle’s condition, it’s possible to protect its most vulnerable parts and enjoy a showroom appearance for years to come.
At Ultimate Window Tinting, we install high-quality XPEL paint protection film that comes with a 10-year warranty. To find out more and schedule an appointment, please contact us today.