Everything a Car Aficionado Should Know About Paint Protection Film
For most people, vehicles are vessels for transportation. However, if you ask any luxury car owner, they’re more than that. A high-end car is not just a tool to get you from one place to the next. It’s about traveling in style and comfort, and the vehicles also serve as status symbols.
If you own a luxury vehicle, much of its value comes from the sleek design, alluring aesthetics, comfort, power, and speed. Therefore, as much as it gets you where you are going, you must go the extra mile to keep your car looking brand new at all times.
One key feature of a luxury vehicle’s beauty and elegance is the quality of the paint job. Since paint covers the largest surface area of the car, if it begins fading or becomes damaged, your vehicle may look a lot older than it is. This is why it is vital to protect the aesthetic appeal of our car using paint protection film.
Though paint protection film is a somewhat unknown method of protecting cars, it is very effective. In this article, you will learn all about paint protection film and why it’s a must-have for your vehicle.
What Is Paint Protection Film for Cars?
Paint protection film (PPF) is also known as clear mask, clear bra, clear wrap, invisible shield, car scratch protective film, and rock chip protection, among others. It is a thin layer of material that is placed over the vehicle panels to offer protection against scrapes, debris, and flying rocks. To some extent, automotive film also protects your vehicle from hail damage.
PPF is made using a type of plastic known as Urethane material. Its elasticity and malleability allows it to be stretched, curved, and bent around to take the shape of your car perfectly. To offer maximum protection, the top layer of PPF is made of an elastomeric material. Once the protective film has been applied to your vehicle, the elastomeric material ensures it retains its shape. This property also enables the PPF to self-heal in case there are minor scratches.
One of the main reasons paint protection film has not been a popular method of protecting cars is because the film has a history of bubbling or yellowing. However, this is all in the past. In recent years, the technology used to create paint protection film has improved a lot, and the benefits are too good to pass up for anyone who loves their car.
How Long Will Paint Protection Film Last?
The whole idea of installing paint protection film is protecting your car, and the duration of this protection is equally important. If your PPF is applied by a professional, you should expect it to serve you for 5 to 10 years. For added protection, make sure that the installation company is certified to use the products by the manufacturing company. If they are, you will be eligible for a PPF warranty from the manufacturer.
However, there are still other factors that will affect the longevity of PPF. They include:
1. How the Paintwork Was Prepped Before Installation
PPF cannot offer sufficient protective value if the paint underneath it is not well prepared before application. In fact, preparing the surface is the most important and time-consuming part of installing PPF. Preparation involves removing contaminants from the paint and ironing out any imperfections. There are no shortcuts at this stage as any contaminants left on the surface will greatly reduce the amount of time PPF will protect your vehicle.
Once the contaminants have been removed and imperfections ironed out, the PPF must be applied correctly for it to offer the required level of protection. However, this is easier said than done. The material must be laid onto the vehicle perfectly for it to adhere properly and so that there are no bubbles formed. The formation of bubbles is usually a sign that contaminants were not properly removed.
Air bubbles will continue increasing in number over time, making your vehicle an unsightly view, and the PPF will not last long.
3. Environmental Elements
Car scratch protective film is highly durable and resistant to environmental factors such as UV rays and heat from the sun. However, it is not impermeable. If you make a habit of leaving your exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, the adhesive that holds PPF to the vehicle will weaken. Therefore, even if your car has a layer of protection, you still need to take some precautionary steps.
Steps for Installing PPF
If you believe in your handy skills, you can apply protective film yourself. Here’s how to go about it:
1. Prep the Surface
Begin by cleaning the surface of your vehicle properly to remove debris and contaminants. A greasing agent will help with this. From there, polish the surface to remove any imperfections.
2. Make Cuttings of the PPF Material
PPF installation is done section by section to make work easier and ensure a quality application. Therefore, you will need to make cutouts of the material suitable for your hood, side mirrors, rocker panels, and other parts.
3. Apply the Activator Solution
PPF has an adhesive that enables it to stick to the vehicle. For this glue-like substance to become active, you must apply an activator solution, which is also referred to as fitting solution. This solution is usually something basic like a soapy solution or even water. Read the user manual to know which is best for the PPF brand you are installing.
4. Fit the Cutouts
After applying the activating solution, proceed to fit each cut out in its respective position. Once it is in position, use a squeegee to remove creases and bubbles then dry it using a heat gun. This will cause the PPF to shrink and have a more compact fit for your vehicle.
Leave It to the Professionals
Though it’s possible to install PPF yourself, it is better to leave such delicate tasks to professionals. Why spend a fortune buying a luxury vehicle then risk ruining its elegance only to save a few hundred dollars.
Want your car to have the gloss you bought it with five years down the line? American Wrap Company offers paint protection services as well as window film installation and automotive detailing in the Los Angeles area. Contact us today to ensure your car remains scratch-free.