PAINT PROTECTION FILM: WHAT TO CONSIDER?
When choosing a Paint Protection Film for your specific needs, what should you consider or ask the installer:
In the in the past few months there has been many new entrants into the market, and dealers go for the cheaper option films that they have not necessarily thoroughly tested over time, nor has their fitment technicians been trained and up-skilled over time, which raises the risk before, during and after a PPF install.
How thick is Paint Protection Film film? The accepted norm is between 140 and 200 microns, XPEL’s range of Paint Protection Film are between 198 and 205 microns thick. OEM films fitted at the Factory is 300 to 400 Microns. Exterior body Protection film should not ben less than 180 for optimal protection again not only road rash but Scuffing as well.
Do not be fooled by people who sell you ‘Clear Vinyl’ or Lamination Vinyl, this is NOT PolyUrethane Paint Protection film. Vinyl is plastic and can be anything from 40 to 60 microns thick and will not a) Protect your car against Stone Chips & scratches and will only last you 1 to 2 years.
How elastic is the film? The more elastic the film feels the more it will be able to absorb impact, the harder the film, the more likely it is to peel when picking up debris? The thinner the film is, the more likely it can ‘tuck in’ around difficult areas, but you won’t necessarily have the optimal protection against damage.
Does the dealer provide you with true computer generated pre-cut kits?Research the brand thoroughly, XPEL is an established International brand, and market innovator and leader of Pre-Cut Design patterns.
Why XPEL ppf computer wrap all edges pre-cut patterns instead of Hand-Cut (custom cut)?
1) Pre-Cut carries 100% less liability when it comes to Cut/Knife marks in a new paint job.
2) When a car is taken apart to wrap all edges, for film to be installed, then all panels touching any ONE panel that needs to be fixed or replaced for any reason, will need to be removed and reinstalled instead of just the ONE that has the damage.
3) An inexperienced installer will tend to overstretch when hand cutting where through proper training on the installation of pre cut patterns yields more long-term adhesion because the XPEL DAP patterns are made to work within the limits of the film.
4) A good pre-cut pattern database like the DAP offers the ability to manipulate patterns to wrap any available edges without needing a knife!
5) Supercars are made to a very high tolerance accurate. If you attempt to get two panels on a car like a Nissan GTR closer together by 17 mils (the film is 8.5 thick so two sides are getting closer by twice that amount), and the car won’t move/shift between panels like intended by the manufacturer causing the film to rub and potentially lift due to constant friction.
No 2 Paint protection films are the same, nor do they apply the same and therefore key questions such as chemical resistance, self-healing ability, yellowing, texture in both the short term and long term comes into play.
What method of application does the installer use? A Heat Gun is generally used with Vinyl (plastic) wrap applications but NOT recommended on PolyUrethane Paint Protection films, except for drying edges. If an installer tells you they use a heat gun, stay away, as incorrect usage can also bond the glue to the paint work, which will cause a massive issue when you one day decide to remove the film.
The reason for this is that it hardens the film and affects it’s ability to absorb impact and can leave unsightly stretch marks or even bond the films adhesive to the paint.
Do not be fooled by ‘Life Time Warranties’ this is generally 5 to 7 years when you read the fine print.
XPEL Ultimate PLUS and XPEL STEALTH carries a 10 Year Product Warranty in SA, whilst XPEL 9300 caries a 7 Year Warranty.
Cheaper PolyUrethane Paint Protection films are developed and manufactured in the far east, where the climate conditions are either, colder, more humid and not as dusty, South Africa’s Climate is very unique in that we tend to have warm day and cold night temperatures in parts and this is where a good, great or poor Paint Protection Film will either withstand fading & yellowing or not.
Paint Protection films consist out our 3 key elements, the adhesive (glue) layer, the PolyUrethane Layer (which will protect your car or not) and the top layer (which protects the TPU from elements, contaminations and gives the film it’s self-healing characteristics).
The top layer typical protects the PolyUrethane from contracting/absorbing contamination, discoloration and will also give a film it Self healing or determine its scratch resistance. All three of these elements make for a poor, good or great PPF.