If you love your car, you’ll know that keeping your paint in pristine condition is a very hard task. You might have heard about paint protection film (PPF) and how it can save your car’s painted surfaces from damage, but then looked at the expensive price. In this article we’ll answer the question of is car paint protection film worth it and teach you the ins and outs along the way.
What Is Car Paint Protection Film?
Car PPF is a protective plastic film applied over car paint
So what even is PPF? Also referred to as clear bra, car PPF is a film made of either polymer or polyurethane plastic. It is placed over the surface of cars to protect the paint from becoming damaged. The top layer of PPF is made of a substance called elastomeric polymer; a rubbery material that can recover its original shape after being stretched.
What does it do?
Car PPF protects your car’s paint from being damaged by:
- Swirl marks
- Rock chips
- Road debris
- Bird poo
- Tree sap
- Road tar
- UV damage
- Hard water deposits
- Acid rain
Minor scratches in the PPF will also disappear over time due to its top layer containing self healing properties.
Is Car Paint Protection Film Worth It?
PPF is the most expensive paint protection product available, typically starting at a few thousand dollars to wrap an entire car. However, it is the only way to protect the car paint against light to moderate scratches without changing the colour.
You can choose to install PPF on your entire car or specific places where scratches are likely to occur, such as the front bumper, side mirrors and door handles. Partial PPF will save you on costs whilst still protecting the most at-risk areas.
No Need For A Respray
Respraying a car takes a longer time and costs more
PPF is one of the best ways of protecting your car’s exterior. It saves you from having to get a new paint job from someone scratching your car. A respray could cost you $500 per panel, and good paint shops can also be hard to find. Resprays also need more time to complete, taking your car out of commission for a longer time. And in terms of selling your car, people may be more afraid to buy a car that has been repainted, hurting its resale value.
Save Your Paint From The Elements
If you don’t have the luxury of a garage or a covered car spot, PPF will be the next best thing to protect your car’s paint from the elements. Fading paint and peeling clear coat is a common problem for cars that are left parked on the street or in open carports. And if you live near the beach where salt can be blown onto your car, PPF will prevent it from oxidising the paint.
Save Yourself From The Anxiety Of Street And Public Parking
Shopping trolleys are one of the most common causes of car scratches
We have all experienced or know someone who has had their car scratched or scuffed in a shopping centre car park. People can be very careless with their shopping trolleys. And worse yet, sports cars and exotic cars often have people touching and climbing onto them. PPF will ease your worries and let you get more use out of your pride and joy.
Great for Low Slung Sports Cars
Cars lower to the ground are more likely to scratch their lower sections from rocks and debris
Front bumper lips are a very common area that gets scratched up from going up steep driveways, ramps or even speed bumps. And with lower suspension, paint in the lower portion of the car will also be more prone to rock chips. Having PPF installed on a car that is low or has been lowered with aftermarket suspension parts will prevent the low hanging parts from scratching.
Easy To Fix Damaged Film
If a section of your paint protection film gets permanently damaged but leaves the paint underneath in perfect condition, you can replace that section of PPF. This process is also simple and easy to do, and will be quicker and cheaper than repainting the scratched panel.
It’s important to choose high quality PPF that will last a long time. Professionally installed, high quality paint protection film will last up to 10 years with some care and maintenance. This means that the cost of your PPF will end up being only a small amount per year. And with frequent or daily use, the cost of your PPF will end up being well worth it in the long run.
Why Get It Over Other Paint Protection?
Advantages Over Vinyl Wrap
Vinyl wrap is thicker and comes coloured
Compared to vinyl wrap, PPF is musc thinner and lighter. It is also transparent, whereas vinyl wrap is not. If you’ve got a rare or custom paint colour, PPF will let you continue to love how it looks. And it will also last you longer, with vinyl wrap lasting up to 5 years.
Advantages Over Ceramic Coating
Ceramic coating can last up to five years, about half the time of PPF. It will also not be able to provide you with anywhere near the same level of scratch and rock chip protection.
However, you can actually layer ceramic coating over the top of your PPF to protect it and make it even more hydrophobic. A good coating over the top of it will also prevent the PPF from going dull over time.
It’s Difficult To Install. Leave It To The Pros
Professional installers will ensure your protective film lasts longer
Correct installation of PPF is difficult, and will be even more difficult if you have never tried doing it before. First off, your existing paint needs to be in perfect condition. This is because the PPF will only exaggerate any scratches, swirl marks or scuff marks after it’s applied. Get a professional paint correction to prevent this from happening, and to also help the film to bond properly.
If you are doing this by hand without the help of special equipment like a ‘plotter’, you will need to do a lot of measuring and test fitting. You will also run into a problem where you waste lots of film in the process. Some of the other tools that you will need are a very sharp knife or cutting tool, spray bottle, squeegee, and a heat gun. Altogether, the equipment can cost you hundreds of dollars for something you will probably only do once.
Getting dirt, air bubbles and water trapped inside your PPF is a very common occurrence. Getting the PPF to fit properly, whilst avoiding any of the previous problems, will require you to reapply or reposition the film. In doing so, creases may also appear or you may overstretch the film. That’s why it is highly recommended that you get car PPF installed by an experienced professional.
Car Paint Protection Film Is Worth It
So is car paint protection film worth it? Yes, it most definitely is if you want to care for your car paint. This can however depend on how well it is installed and how good the film that gets used is. We at Seven Smart Auto are trained and experienced with the installation of PPF. Make your car’s paint last and contact us today to book your appointment!