When it comes to taking care of our cars, we want to do everything we can to make sure they look as good as new for as long as possible. Some people wash their cars regularly, while others might choose to get a ceramic coating. But one option that many people are wondering about is getting paint protection film installed. This film is applied to the outside of your car to protect the paint from scratches, dings, and other damage.
But there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to vehicle protection films. It’s not just a matter of whether or not you want your car to look good; there are also practical considerations, like how well the film will protect your vehicle from scratches and chips. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what paint protection film is, what it does, and how it can benefit you as a car owner. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of getting your car wrapped in paint protection film so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you.
What is paint protection film?
Paint protection film, or PPF for short, is a thin, transparent film that is applied to the paint job of a car to protect it from scratches, chips, and other damage. The film can be clear or colored, depending on your preferences.
What Parts Can Be Protected?
There are different levels of paint protection film, and each offers an extra level of protection. You can opt for just the clear bra and front bumper, or you can even get the whole car done. You can also get your windshield protected along with your vehicle’s interior to protect screens, door panels, dashboard, and more.
Can Protective Paint Film Be Removed?
Yes, you can remove the paint protection film. The film cannot be reinstalled on another vehicle or the same once removed. This is an excellent example of why PPF is best suited for people who are leasing a car and want to ensure no exterior paint damage or plan on keeping it for a long time. PPF can be removed at any time, but it should only be done by a professional.
A 3M protective film can last ten years on factory paint. Adding a professional-grade nano-ceramic coating on top of the PPF can provide lifetime protection.
Can You Apply Paint Protection Film to Headlights?
Yes, paint protection film can be applied to headlights. Headlight protection films are an excellent idea to protect against chips and scratches. Paint protection film can also help protect against bug splatter, bird droppings, and tree sap. It is a good idea to apply paint protection film to high-exposed areas like the front end, the fender, the front bumper, the hood, grille, side-view mirrors, door edges, and, of course, the headlights, fog lights, and even your taillights.
The Advantages of Applying Paint Protection Film
There are several benefits to applying paint protection film to a new car. PPF can protect the paint job from scratches, chips, and other damage. It also helps keep paint looking fresh longer because it’s not exposed to the elements. There are also benefits to applying paint protection film to an older car. The combination of paint correction and PPF can help return the appearance of your vehicle’s exterior to its original state, making it look new again. Additionally, PPF is less expensive than getting the entire exterior repainted.
PPF has many advantages: you won’t have to wax your car as often. When driving in areas with harsh weather conditions, like saltwater and sand, it’s essential to have your paint protected. Using PPF, you won’t have to worry about these elements chipping away at your paint job, especially when combined with a ceramic coating.
Here are the top benefits to paint protection film.
- PPF is virtually invisible, and it will protect your paint job even when driving through car washes. However, we highly suggest cleaning your car with a 2-bucket hand wash and avoiding automated car washes with brushes, and using touchless car washes when you have to.
- PPF helps prevent damage from road hazards like rocks and gravel.
- PPF can reduce or eliminate the need for extensive detailing and waxing because your car’s exterior will remain free of dust and dirt that typically gets stuck in the paint. Plus, you will love the way the dust slides right off when you hand wash it yourself.
- PPF can help resist minor dents and scratches, as well as the dreaded door ding and shopping cart bumps.
- Paint protection film is a lot less expensive than getting your paint repaired or a new paint job.
You should use paint protection film on your car if you have an extended daily commute because it protects your vehicle from various environmental elements and prevents the paint from fading and oxidizing. Even if you don’t drive your car daily, applying paint protection film will prevent damage to your vehicle’s exterior and preserve its overall value. This investment will protect your vehicle and keep it looking new for many years.
Disadvantages of Applying PPF on New Cars
The main disadvantage of applying paint protection film to a new car is the cost. PPF can be expensive, and it’s usually not something that comes cheap. However, the price may be worth it if you’re concerned about keeping your car in good condition for as long as possible.
How Much Does Paint Protection Cost?
The price of paint protection film installation varies depending on the type of film you choose, the size of your car, and the location where it will be installed. Generally speaking, paint protection film ranges in price from $500 to $2000.
Is Vinyl the Same as Paint Protection Film?
No, vinyl is not the same as paint protection film. Paint protection film (PPF) is a transparent or lightly-tinted film installed on painted surfaces to protect the paint from rock chips, scratches, and other types of damage. The vinyl wrap we offer at Limitless Wraps is a different product entirely. Vinyl wraps can be used for vehicle advertising and color-changing applications.
How Do Vinyl Wraps Compare to PPF?
Vinyl wraps are much lighter and more forgiving during installation than paint protection film (PPF). The material used for the vinyl wrap is a bit thinner and is not as heavy as PPF. PPF can also be more expensive than a vinyl wrap. Since PPF is very heavy, it is typically installed on the hoods and roofs of cars. This material tends to distort images viewed through it because of its thickness. The sticky adhesive used for the film can sometimes leave marks or residue if it is not correctly cleaned during installation.
Will My PPF Look Perfect?
The installation of paint protection film is difficult and time-consuming. It is also a costly process, as the materials are not cheap. Bubbles, lift lines, and water under the film are common occurrences with every installation. Liftlines are where a section has been laid and then has to be raised to remove an air bubble or speck of dirt. Air bubbles will evaporate over several days (or weeks, depending on the weather) when the film is exposed to heat. If air bubbles are still on the film, the only solution is to replace that piece of film or use a needle to abstract the air out.
When you are looking for a quality film installer, the little things matter. There is no “perfect” install. Even when a panel is replaced or reapplied, it has an underlying structure or substrate of material that cannot be perfect. If something does not look right to the eye, a reputable installer will take care of it and make sure that it will become unnoticeable.
There’s No Such Thing as Perfect
It is common to have specks of dust on the screen during installation, but if there are too many defects, experienced installers should be able to clean up their work without too much fuss. If there are still issues, it may be time to start looking for someone else. Remember, your new film coating will take some time to cure properly.
The Environment Used To Apply PPF Come To Play
The ideal PPF installation working environment should be clean, well-lit, and equipped with debris control and air filtration. Most installers do not have a clean room where the film is installed. It’s impossible to achieve perfect PPF installation, but installing in your garage or a non-enclosed shop is the worst place possible. Working in an environment as close to a laboratory as possible will assure you have done everything you can to protect your investment.
What’s The Condition of Your Vehicle?
The condition of your existing paint has to do with whether your PPF will look perfect or not. In most cases, minor defects in the paint can be removed during the course of the paint correction process. If there are existing defects in the paint, they may be apparent after the film is installed. In this case, your installer will have to remove those imperfections and make them look as close to perfect as possible. Even brand new vehicles can have minor defects in the paint that may or may not be able to be removed.
The Preparation Makes a Difference
In addition, it is vital to have your vehicle’s paint prepped as much as possible before installing a PPF coating on it. If there is any residue on the paint’s surface, this will show up and become visible under the film. It does not mean the film is defective; it just means the paint was not clean when installed.
To get a perfect PPF installation, you can set your expectations at either high or low. If you have a brand new vehicle with no defects in your paint, then your expectations should be to have a perfect PPF installation. However, if there are scratches, swirls, etc., in your paint, these imperfections will show up under the film unless they are corrected. There will be a little bit of silvering with every PPF installation. This is especially true if you have ever waxed or sealed the vehicle’s paint in the past.
How Long Does PPF Last?
Paint protection film can last up to ten years if professionally installed and properly maintained. However, just as all PPF makers claim that their warranty covers you for the longest time possible, they also say that you need to take good care of your car. If a tree falls on it and damages it beyond repair, no one will cover the damage under warranty.
Paint Protection Film is designed to act as a barrier between the film and the clear coat. It’s designed to protect the paint underneath, like how your windshield protects you from getting hit by rocks.
Application of Paint Protection Film is precision work. The longevity of this product is based on how long the film can stay bonded to your paint. This depends on how well it was installed and the proper care of the clear coat.
Here are some tips to ensure that your PPF lasts as long as possible.
1. Don’t press any bubbles under the film and let it cure for at least 24 hours before adding any wax or sealant to your car. This will ensure that the surface is free of contaminants and oil before you apply the film.
2. Keep your car waxed and sealed, using products formulated with ceramic coating. This will keep the surface cleaner and prevent contaminants from bonding with it. A ceramic coating product is a great choice, as it also contains UV protection to keep your paint from fading.
3. Avoid automated car washes. These high-pressure washers can cause damage to your PPF if they hit it too hard or for too long. Plus, the slapping of huge brushes can damage the film easily.
4. Wash your car with the 2-bucket system and an adequate car wash solution that is gentle on PPF films. Rinse well after every application of your soap. Wash your car regularly to keep it clean.
5. Clean bird droppings, insect splatters, and other natural contaminants immediately after seeing them. Do not let them sit on your paint for extended periods before wiping them off, as the longer they stay on the surface, the more likely it is that you’ll permanently damage your film with some scratching.
6. Remove swirls and scratches by polishing the PPF, which keeps its clear coat looking great.
Will I See Seams on My Car?
The short answer is yes. You will see seams, most likely if they are your primary edge type (where one piece meets another). If you use a different type of seam (side edge, butt edge, etc.), you will not see as many seams. Good installers use primary and secondary seams, so they know where to concentrate more pressure on the film for a better installation. Even an adequately wrapped edge can lift or peel due to the numerous radiuses.
As mentioned above, seams will occasionally peel/lift, and the most common reason is improper installation. This could be due to the
- Installer’s inexperience.
- Faulty equipment.
- Not using a heat gun to shrink the film before application properly.
- Over-applying the pressure during the lamination process.
- Applying too much pressure when installing the film to the car.
- Not applying enough pressure when wrapping corners.
The other primary reason seams will peel is the improper installation of the paint protection film itself. It’s recommended that you ask for a warranty with your wrap. This way, if anything lifts or peels during the next 3-5 years, it can be removed and reapplied at the installers’ expense. Even if there is no warranty, many shops will reapply film for free within three years.
Are All PPF Installations the Same?
Installation quality varies depending on who installs the paint protection film. It’s essential to choose a reputable installer who has experience with paint protection film. Poor installation can result in bubbles or wrinkles in the film, which will affect its ability to protect your paint job.
Is It Worth It To Get Paint Protection Film on Your Car?
Whether or not paint protection film is worth getting depends on how much you value keeping your car looking new. Paint protection film can be expensive, but it’s an investment that may pay off in the long run if you plan to keep your vehicle for many years. Paint protection film is worth it if you want your car to be perfect, with a glossy paint job, and keep its value high. Vehicle paint protection film is nearly undetectable, has self-healing properties to keep swirls away, and typically carries a 10-year warranty.
Paint protection film can be an excellent investment for your paint job. It will help prevent paint from getting scratched and prevent paint fading due to oxidation. If you’re interested in purchasing paint protection, consider what type of installation process would work best for you and your vehicle. Many reputable companies offer this service, so make sure the installer has experience with paint protection films before signing on!