Finding the right protection film for your car's paint job requires knowing your options. Here is a guide to choosing paint protection films for car owners.

The Complete Guide to Choosing Paint Protection Films for Car Owners

What’s the solution to protecting your car’s paint without denting your bank account? It’s simple; get paint protection film or PPF. Paint protection film, or clear bra, is a layer of urethane material that you put over your car’s body panel to protect the paint from scratches and defacing.

As of 2020, the PPF industry was worth about $440 million, with steady growth. Every day, new players are jumping into the PPF business, which is good news for consumers. However, with so many options, choosing paint protection films becomes a lot harder than you’d think.

If you’re having trouble picking the paint protection film for your car, we’re here to help. Today’s post is the complete guide on how to choose PPF for your car.

Qualities of a Good Paint Protection Film

Not all PPFs are worth your time and money, and some should come nowhere near your car. So what makes a good car protection film for your car? All high-quality PPFs have two things in common, which are:

Top-Notch Materials

Top-of-the-line clear bras consist of four layers of different materials. The materials are polyester release liner, polyurethane, clear coat, and acrylic adhesive. They are layered one on top of the other to form the paint protection film.

The polyester release liner is the bottom-most layer and is about 3 mils thick. What follows is the polyurethane layer, which is about 6 mils thick. The outermost layer is the clear coat, which is only 0.5 mils thick. 

Be sure to inquire about the PPF’s materials and their respective thicknesses before getting one for your vehicle. If it doesn’t contain the above materials, you’re better off finding another PPF.

Diligent Manufacturing

The manufacturing process plays a crucial role in determining the quality of the PPF. Although urethane’s origins trace back to the Vietnam War between 1955 and 1975, the material has seen major improvements over the years. Different companies have different manufacturing processes, so be sure to inquire about it before making your purchase.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Clear Bra

There’s no shortage of PPF providers in the country. The problem is finding the right one for your car. When in the market for a clear bra, here’s what you need to look for.

Transparency

As mentioned above, the outermost layer of PPF is a clear coat. This clear coat is transparent, meaning you can still see the car’s paint through the protective screen. High-quality PPF is fully transparent and doesn’t distort the look of the paint.

The PPF should retain this transparency for years to come without discoloring. It’s not uncommon for paint protection films to turn yellow after a few years. However, it’s not the PPF that’s changing color, but the adhesive that sticks it in place.

These days, PPF manufacturers utilize special adhesive that doesn’t discolor with time. However, glueless PPFs that work much better are slowly finding their way into the market. You can check it out and maybe consider it for your next purchase.

Ultimate Protection

The primary role of having a clear bra on your car is to offer protection against road debris and protect it from scratches. As such, the most important factor to consider when choosing paint protection films is the level of protection they offer.

The best indicator of a PPF’s protection level is its thickness. A good PPF should be no less than 6 mils thick minus the clear coat, adhesive, and release liner. This thickness is enough to offer protection against UV damage, bugs, and scratches from rocks and other road debris.

You’ll likely come across clear bras with thinner layers of urethane. They’ll be a lot cheaper, but also offer minimal protection against UV rays and scratches. Make the right choice and get a thick PPF for ultimate protection.

Longevity

Covering your car with paint protection film is a wise investment only if the protective film lasts for a long time. The problem is that it’s hard to tell how long a clear bra will last by simply looking at it. So how can you tell that you bought a long-lasting clear bra for your car?

Quite frankly, there’s no sure-fire way to tell how long a PPF will last. However, PPF manufacturers that are confident in the longevity of their products will throw in a warranty with every purchase. These warranties cover things like discoloration, bubbling, and defects in the PPF.

Different manufacturers have different warranties, but most offer warranty protection of up to seven years. Still, it’s not uncommon to find warranties that hit the ten-year mark. That said, always go for a PPF manufacturer with a reasonable warranty for its product.

The Cost of the PPF

Most people aren’t willing to fork out too much for a clear bra. That’s perfectly understandable, but you shouldn’t also skimp on your PPF. Try comparing protection film costs and finding something that’s within your budget.

Most of the cheap PPFs are a lot thinner and easily get discolored. The best approach is to do your digging and find a PPF that gives you the most bang for your buck. Check out the paint protection film features and see whether they match the price.

You can find some great deals on the internet that could save you a buck or two. These deals are common during the holidays, so keep your eyes peeled.

Self-Healing Ability

Although it sounds fictional, some PPFs have the ability to heal by themselves. It’s not as dramatic as you’d think, but it’s true. Some PPFs can make scratches and small scuffs disappear when you heat them slightly.

Be sure to ask whether the PPF you have in mind is self-healing. Remember, a self-healing PPF equals a longer-lasting PPF.

Choosing Paint Protection Films Made Easy

With the above information, choosing paint protection films should be a walk in the park. If you want your car’s paint to retain its sheen and smoothness for the longest time, then PPF is the way to go. Explore all your options and pick the best one for your budget.

For more informative articles, be sure to check out the other posts on the site.

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