With many ways of protecting your car’s paintwork, car owners are facing a variety of choices. From ceramic coatings to regular wax, different options give a multitude of various perks and features. Paint protection film (which can go under names such as Scratch Protection Film, Clear Wrap, or a Clear Mask) is often offered as the lowest maintenance, highest protection solution.
Composed thermoplastic urethane, elasticity, grime resistance, and crystal clear transparency are some of the primary features of paint protection film. Beyond this, paint protection film also boosts a multi-year lifetime, far beyond other paint protection solutions such as ceramic coatings and wax.
Additionally, thermoplastic urethane boasts unique self-healing properties, shrinking the size and depth of scratches/blemishes over time and eventually removing them together. However, it is worth noting that it will not” heal” any rips or tears in the film or gashes which slice through both sides of the film.
The paint protection film is easy to install and maintain. It preserves the paint perfectly and alleviates concerns about paint damage through branch scratches, key scratches, or damage from automatic car washes. Depending on the manufacturer, paint protection film can come with extended warranties, with some (such as XPEL) offering up to a ten-year warranty period.
Installation of the paint protection film is likely one of the most complex and costly components of the product, with specialized equipment and training required for proper installation. This is not to say that it is impossible to install paint protection film manually, and some have had great success. Some considerations if you are to install paint protection film yourself are:
- Wash the car thoroughly
- Wait for ideal weather
- Correct any paint imperfections or blemishes
- Make sure that the film fits the chosen application location (it is not advisable to use multiple sheets over a single panel on the car)
- Purchase high-quality installation materials and hardware
- Apply the film evenly
- Use specialized tools to ensure no bubbles remain after installation.
It can take several hours to install the film on the car, and installation time varies by car design and size (the more complex the invention, the more difficult i
Paint Protection Film Maintenance
It does not take much to maintain paint protection film. However, you can take some simple steps to ensure that your paint protection film stays in top condition and does not become noticeable over time. Some tips are:
- Remove contaminants quickly. Any bird droppings, tree sap, or acidic residue may stain the film, so removing these fast is important to maintaining the film’s transparency.
- Wash your car regularly to prevent long-term staining of the film. It is only essential for preserving the film; however, regardless of how often you wash your car, your car’s paint will still be protected.
- Apply wax to your vehicle to achieve the most “natural” look possible.
In large, maintenance for preserving your paint protection film is an optional consideration, as ultimately, the paint underneath the film will be perfectly preserved. These techniques are mainly intended to protect the clarity and condition of the film itself.
When it comes to committing to install paint protection film on your car, the cost will likely be a significant deciding factor, as it is by far one of the most expensive paint preservation methods available (although some may argue that it is one of the most economical options long term). Some considerations when it comes to deciding on such a purchase can be:
- The paint’s current condition. It is not uncommon for the paint correction step in the installation process to cost more than the actual installation itself. While this is an essential and worthwhile step, it can become astronomically expensive, mainly is some panels require respraying and refinishing.
- Coverage of the car. Some may choose not to cover the entirety of the car in paint protection film. Some prefer to do the doors or front-thirds of the vehicle, while others select particular panels for enhanced heat reflection, while even more choose to do the entire car. This directly impacts the cost of installation.
- The complexity of the car’s design. The more complex the panels on your vehicle are, the more time and effort will be needed to apply the paint protection film. This directly affects the overall installation cost.
- The projected lifespan of the vehicle. While the pre-installation of paint protection film on a car can be a selling point, the primary value proposition is undoubtedly utilization of the protection during your use of the vehicle. Subsequently, it may not be worth installing the film on your vehicle if you plan on changing cars anytime soon.
In conclusion, there are many advantages of paint protection film, and choosing it to protect your car over other solutions. While cost and installation time may be some disadvantages, the long-term continuous advantages that paint protection film brings will often offset the disadvantages, making it worthwhile for most car owners.