What is Paint Protection Film, and How does it Protect your Vehicle?

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What is Paint Protection Film, and How does it Protect your Vehicle?

What is Paint Protection Film, and How does it Protect your Vehicle?

There is a lot that goes into maintaining your car to keep it looking as good as new. It goes from having a regular cleaning schedule, detailing schedule, and overall maintenance schedule. Care like this is a considerable investment, and you want to be able to protect it the minute you make that purchase and take it off the car lot. For most car types, doing the above and maybe applying some wax or a ceramic coating is enough to keep it looking good enough. 

 We’re not here to talk about keeping your car running and looking ‘good enough. We’re here to talk about a way to protect your vehicle in a way to make it look as new and shiny as it did on the first day that you bought it. The best way to handle this is by using some form of Paint Protection Film, otherwise referred to as PPF, Xpel, or clear film. 

 Paint Protection Film is one of the best choices that you can make for your car, even though you’ve probably never really heard about it or heard it once or twice in passing. PPF is superior protection intended for individuals who cherish their car and want to keep it pristine. 

 What is Paint Protection Film? 

Paint Protection Film’s (PPF) history lies within the US military, seeing its inception during the Vietnam War on helicopters. It was a lightweight and durable film directly applied onto helicopter rotary blades to protect those blades from getting damaged by debris and dirt. 

Naturally, paint protection film was quickly adapted for other applications, and it made its way into the automotive industry. It is a urethane-based plastic clear wrap that goes onto the car’s painted surface and protects it from the elements, especially those that can attack your car when you’re driving, such as small rocks and other debris. What it means when we say self-healing is the fact that the urethane will naturally stretch back out to its original shape so that your car maintains its uniform pristine look. 

Who benefits from getting Paint Protection Film?

Technically speaking, anyone who cherishes their car should consider getting this product on their vehicle. It is guaranteed to provide that nice suit of armor to ensure that your vehicle has an extra layer of security to prevent scratches, rock chips, and normal wear and tear. PPF is something that someone should consider if they have just gotten a new car, new paint job, or go off-roading a lot, as it will protect the actual paint and block the particles from causing permanent damage. 

 You don’t also have to be off-roading to take advantage of this. Simply driving at a higher speed on the open highway can bring up particles and dust that could start hitting your paint job around the wheels and sides quickly. Many cars today have extremly thin paint such as most Teslas and scratch easily. You may have not realized it before but have you ever noticed circular scratches on a vehicle that almost look like spider/cobwebs? We refer to those as swirl marks from improper washing and the dreaded drive through car wash! Check out our article about the Two Bucket Wash Method to learn how to wash your vehicle properly.

PPF seems excellent, but how costly can it get? 

Sometimes there is a pricing issue to consider since the cost of the film and getting it professionally installed can be pretty high for some. Prices can range anywhere from around $2500 to sometimes up to $10,000, depending on the type of PPF used and the required customization needed for each car. The application for this film is always a custom job because the paint protection film needs to be cut for each specific section of your vehicle that has paint on it. 

 Keep in mind that after the application of this film, your car will continue to look brand new for the life of the paint protection film. So depending on your make and model and exactly how long you plan on keeping your car, this is a fantastic investment that pays for itself over time and removes the need for getting your car re-painted. Why buy a brand new car to have stone chips within the first month? Especially here in Michigan!

How long does the Paint Protection Film last?

PPF, once applied properly by experts, can last anywhere between five to seven years easily. Of course, if you are using your car beyond normal means (such as long road trips or weekly off-roading), you should check in after the four-year mark. It also depends on how you’re cleaning your car, and it’s always best to hand-clean your car (regardless if you get PPF), and make sure to not wash your car when it’s too hot outside, don’t let it air dry, or there could still be some water spots.

If organic items hit your vehicles, such as bird droppings or tree sap, or just dead bugs that decided to end themselves on your car, remove those immediately. We’re talking about organic-based materials that could start affecting the coating more often than not. 

It’s already considered that you’re taking care of your car when you apply protective paint film, but that doesn’t mean that your care and maintenance ends with using the PPF and simply walking away from your other car maintenance responsibilities. 

Can I install it myself!?

Of course, you can! Installing Paint Protection Film, like anything, can be a DIY project. Should you install protective paint film yourself? Probably not. Here’s why. Proper ppf installation is a technical and tedious process akin to adding protective film to a new iPhone. Just imagine your iPhone is the size of your car! It’s something you can do but probably will still have some air bubbles on it. You also only have to apply the screen protector once. The film needs to must be placed in sections throughout your entire car. 

It also needs to be expertly cut and prepared for application on your car, and part of the high cost is that the film itself is costly compared to other detailing options for a vehicle. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake and continue to reapply onto places, constantly wasting the film. It also requires a specialized touch and multiple people to handle it correctly. Unless you have a specialized workshop in your garage, all the right cutting equipment, and protective gloves, we recommend using an expert to apply this armor to your car. 

When it comes to removing it, it’s also best to use an expert, as the adhesion is so strong that you don’t want to accidentally be abrasive on the paint job below the film, or in the worst case, accidentally end up scratching the paint. This would, in effect, remove all the hard work you did by deciding to place this car wrap in the first place. The cost is more about labor and can sometimes be included immediately for the eventual wear and tear needing you to remove it. 

One thing to note when installing this paint protection film is that there is a lot of noise out there that it can be ready in a day or two. We highly recommend waiting at least a full seven days before handling any extreme off-road trip or desert driving. Also, do not even consider cleaning your car, or heading to a car wash within that seven-day period, because the PPF needs time to seal and adhere to your vehicle. 

If you threw moisture and cleaning chemicals into the mix, there’s a good chance that the PPF won’t stick properly, and a lot of time, money, and resources have been wasted. 

OK – that sounds about right. What type of Paint Protection Film should I use?

Well, since you’ve decided to go with an expert such as ourselves here at The Detail Nerds, we’ve enhanced our offering by switching to a new and amazing Paint Protection Film made by Xpel. We have looked over many different options, and we felt that this brand had produced such a quality set of different kinds of PPFs that covered every possible need a car enthusiast such as yourself would need. 

Their main offerings are to either maintain your glossy look through their Ultimate Plus, which keeps that day one sheen lasting for a long time, to their stealth option that is perfect for those that have decided to go with a matte, flat finish. 

For those that aren’t driving race cars but want something tougher to protect their big trucks, we’re able to install their Armor series as well. Xpel’s Armor series is their thickest available option that puts a layer built to protect and made to last. 

We also have you covered with a specialized protective interior film that will keep it looking brand new for those who decided to opt-in for a luxurious interior. This means you don’t need to only consider your external protection, but you can always bring back that new car feeling every time you hop inside. Do you have that glossy black piano trim on the inside? Look at this stuff wrong and it will scratch!

If you want a primer on what a long-term paint protective film can look like, or you need something right now, there’s also the short-term option of using Xpel’s TracWrap. TracWrap will protect your paint job, but keep in mind, it is not intended for long-term usage, and the wear and tear on the PPF will show (don’t worry only on the PPF). TraccWrap is perfect for your day at the track or drifting event.

Some final thoughts

Keep in mind that you might consider the paint protection film option if you stroll around in a bright Lamborghini, but this is a type of protection you might want to consider to protect any kind of make and model. Why would you not want to protect your car’s aesthetic look? We love Teslas and have one on order so please do not take this as Tesla bashing but, if you own one, you should give us a call.

PPF will help with the resale value if that’s on the horizon and can help even those who decide to lease their car over purchasing, as this is helping to give the vehicle back in near-mint condition. 

You also don’t need to do the entire car right away and can simply start with the front since each piece is cut to a custom size. We have plenty of options from complete protection to just the front bumper, mirrors, and so on. Give us a call today to discuss what options we have for your vehicle. 

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