Paint Protection Film: Cheap PPF vs Good PPF Review

What is Paint Protection Film and Clear Bra?

Paint protection film, commonly known as "clear bra," is a transparent film that is applied to the exterior of a vehicle's surface to protect its paint and headlamp from scratches, chips, and other forms of damage. The film is typically made of thermoplastic urethane (TPU) or polyurethane, which is highly durable and resistant to damage from abrasion, UV radiation, and environmental contaminants.

Popular brands will have a self healing top coat that is designed to remove any light scratches or scuffs with the application of heat.

Paint protection film and clear bra also protects your vehicle from damage caused by road debris, rocks, scratches, and other types of wear and tear. The film is usually applied to the front-facing areas of the car, such as the hood, fenders, bumper, and mirrors, where damage is most likely to occur.

How long does Paint Protection Film and Clear Bra last?

The lifespan of paint protection film largely depends on the quality of the film and its intended use. Higher quality films designed for long-term use can last up to 10 years, while cheaper films may only last a few months — ALL DEPENDS ON THE QUALITY. Several factors can contribute to the lifespan of the film, such as the frequency and severity of use, exposure to harsh weather conditions, and how well the film is maintained.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the film can help prolong its lifespan. The better you treat, the longer it lasts. It is also worth noting that the installation of the film can affect its lifespan. Proper installation by a trained professional can ensure that the film adheres well to the surface, reducing the risk of premature peeling or damage.

A professional paint protection film installer will take all necessary precautions by removing any surfactants prior to the installation. Ultimately, the durability of the film will depend on the quality of the product and the conditions in which it is used and maintained. It is important to choose a high-quality film and follow proper installation and maintenance procedures to maximize the lifespan of the paint protection film. In this video we compare 2 different paint protection film and clear bra products both with similar age at 4 years.

Comparing Paint Protection Film 4 Years Later:

Toyota RAV4 Hazy Headlight Paint Protection Film

The 2006 Toyota RAV4's Paint Protection Film and Clear Bra did not last well. The film peeled at the edge of the hood causing it to break apart. The film lost its glossiness and clarity causing it to get streaks and yellowing—everything the film was designed to protect against. Most notably you can observe this most in the headlights which is a surface that is intended to stay clear in order to fully maximize the brightness of the light. 

On the contrary, the 2011 Toyota Avalon's Paint Protection Film held up well by maintaining its glossy nature and protecting the headlights from getting yellow due to UV exposure.

Although the clarity and integrity of the film lasted, there was evidence of areas in the vehicle where the paint protection film did its job. Minor rock chips and scuff marks shown on the film demonstrates that the film has taken the damage as opposed to the paint. That is because Paint Protection Film and Clear Bra is the sacrificial layer between outdoor elements and your auto's paint and surface.

rock chip on xpel paint protection film

The picture above is an example of a rock chip impact on paint protection film and clear bra. As you can see in the picture above, the paint protection film and clear bra absorbed the impact and protected the paint. Although it did "crater" the film, it did NOT damage the paint. This is useful because the paint protection film and clear bra is easier to replace than repainting a vehicle surface. Replacing a paint protection film will not hurt the resale value of the vehicle, however repainting a vehicle can hurt its resale value. 

What happens to rock chips on unprotected car paint surfaces?

In short, it is NOT good. If an object traveling at high enough speeds impacts your car, it can penetrate through the layers of the paint into the metal. If left un-repaired, the exposed metal begins to slowly rust as pictured above in this Toyota Avalon. 

One of the best ways to shop for quality when it comes to Paint Protection Film and Clear Bra is to shop VALUE & WARRANTY. A reputable product by a popular manufacturer or supplier will come with a long term warranty policy. Although Paint Protection Film and Clear Bra is designed to protect your car, IT DOES NOT GUARANTEE THAT YOUR CAR WILL NEVER BE DAMAGED. The same as a phone screen protector won't protect your screen should you drop your phone from a 50 story building. Paint Protection Film and Clear Bra has its limitations.

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