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Old 08-31-2017, 04:34 PM
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Default Paint protection film

Howdy everyone,

New owner and fairly new forum member here with a few questions about paint protection film.
Has anyone had any experience with working with paint protection film like 3m and Xpel?

I recently acquired a 05 S2000 in Silverstone Metallic and the paint is in emaculate shape. I would like to keep it this way and wanted to see how others have protected their front bumper, fenders, headlights, side mirrors and hood from the elements. I wont be doing a clear bra... i can't stand that line.

Some questions I had were:
- Cost
- Upkeep and maintenance
- how well the film "self heals"
- longevity

Appreciate your help,

A_Spec
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:22 PM
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I have a 3M clear bra, and it has held up pretty well. It was installed in 2003. The front of the bumper is pretty dull, and the bug spatter seems to etch the clear bra surface over time. The surface of the bra on the hood has become a little crazed, with visible hairline cracks on the surface. It's not noticeable from 10+ feet away but quite obvious up close.

But with14 years and around 350,000 miles with the clear bra, I'd say it did its job. I peeled the clear bra off of the side mirrors and the exposed surface is pristine. I plan on peeling the rest off sometime soon but it's not going to be easy. It took a lot of work to get them off the mirrors due to the age of the adhesive.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:34 PM
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I have used 3M PPF as early as 2000. It protected the hood of my SiR, even though it was the first generation and was not UV stabilized- it crazed eventually- but again, the hood stayed paint chip free- for 17 years. I have been using 3M PPF on all forward facing surfaces, as well as behind the front wheels, the scallop in the door, in front of the rear wheels, and of course bumper and 24 inches up the hood. i use 3M exclusively and am pleased. It cost me $240 CAN for the front bumper precut- I installed it myself. I have no experience with Xpel.

Don't stress about the line- just use a really large piece- the bumper will have no seam line to be concerned about. A friend of mine had his ENTIRE GPW Xpel'd and it cost about $3K. It looks great. There are no seam lines. There is no other way to protect your car against stone chips- apart from never driving it. oh, yes- clear bra IS Xpel and 3M PPF. I tell you this- I rather have a seam line than paint chips.

I cut all the pieces except the bumper myself. Any new car I buy will get the PPF treatment. It requires no maintenance except wax occasionally.

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Old 08-31-2017, 10:31 PM
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When I hear stories of people dropping $2,000-4,000 on paint protection films or the "nano" protection crap, I can't help but shake my head. That's the cost of a new paint job!

If you're willing to step down in protection against chips, but step up in sanity and pricing, consider applying a few layers of:
https://www.autogeekonline.net/forum...ndary-wax.html
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Old 09-01-2017, 06:55 AM
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I have the film on both my S2000 and NSX. Rather expensive and absolutely the best money that I've spent on the cars. My only regret is that I didn't do it immediately upon buying the NSX ( it WAS applied immediately to the S2000 when I bought it a few years after buying the NSX). Both cars are covered with the film over all painted areas forward of the doors, the rocker panels and mirrors. My biggest complaint about both the S2000 and NSX is the soft paint and severe vulnerability to rock chips, scratches, etc... I haven't ruled out eventually covering the entire NSX in the film, and agree with darcyw when he or she said that "there is no other way to protect your car against stone chips - apart from never driving it...". Do yourself and your car a favor and cover it with as much film as your budget permits.
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:20 AM
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I don't have it on my S2k (my front end is too chipped up to warrant even getting it). But, my dad's LS F-Sport has it (XPel Ultimate). It is for sure a good purchase.

- Cost was $500-600 for the bra, I forget. Can hardly see the line.
- Upkeep and Protection is the biggest Pro obviously. Sooo much easier to wash the front end and no more stuck on bugs, tar, dirt, grime, etc. Also, no more chips and scratches.
- Seems to self-heal quite well. A big piece of stray tire on the road hit the front bumper; hard enough to knock off a parking light and left a lot of black tire marks. Tire marks came off and polished off easily. No scratches.
- Around 2 years now.. still looks new and crystal clear.

I saw that guy’s YT video of him bashing clear film (Obsessed Garage). Guy is kinda retarded imo. I guess he likes rock chips more than the “line”.
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:29 AM
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I debated back and forth about this on my current car, and decided not to do it. Don't know if I made the right decision or not, I guess we'll see. BMW's paint is a lot tougher than the S2000's was.

The two main things turning me off with the film are the cost (the prices you guys are quoting are way less than I was seeing in my area - figured you could do a good respray for the same price) and the fact that if you have some sort of parking mishap or other accident that screws gouges the film, you have to redo it.

BTW, for tire marks, one thing I've found that works WONDERS is bug & tar remover.
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:06 AM
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I could not be a stronger advocate for clear films. I have tried many types over the years and my absolute favorite is Xpel Ultimate. I appreciate it for more reasons than just to protect from rock chips however as I am a fanatic about scratches and swirls, given the soft black paint. It was sucking the fun out of the car always worrying about the paint and it getting marked after a fresh polish. I wrapped the full front end, fenders, bumper, headlights, and hood which is essentially half the car and it was the best thing I ever did.

I thought Xpel was a gimmick and it would swirl up and not "self heal" however after 4 years it is as good as the day I bought it. There is not a single swirl mark and I have been able to drastically scale back my maintenance to a quick sealant every once and a while. The film is extremely clear and the only issue is a few slight stretched areas with barely visible creases if you look really closely on the bottom of the fenders. The film is apparently really hard to stretch and install on our massive fenders with all of the many curves in every direction.

The cost I found to vary hugely based on location however decided on a installer near me for about $1100 (CAD) I believe out the door. The high end shop near me was more than double this price and I am sure I would have had a couple less minor creases however for the savings, I am more than happy! Of course this could go the other way too if you have an installer that is not experienced it could turn into a disaster. I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking.


Day of install 4 years ago:



Picture from yesterday - still shiny and clear as before:
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:17 AM
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It should also be mentioned that it is hard to compare the cost of a "fresh paint job" with the cost of a clear film because no paint job I have ever seen has held up the way OEM paint does. The car will look good right after painting but the bumper will chip much easier and will need continuous resprays. This was a large consideration for me when deciding to spend the money on a film. It is always an option however to paint the car when it gets bad enough and then you could throw a film on then so it stays good.
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Downgear View Post
It should also be mentioned that it is hard to compare the cost of a "fresh paint job" with the cost of a clear film because no paint job I have ever seen has held up the way OEM paint does. The car will look good right after painting but the bumper will chip much easier and will need continuous resprays. This was a large consideration for me when deciding to spend the money on a film. It is always an option however to paint the car when it gets bad enough and then you could throw a film on then so it stays good.
OEM paint will always be much better in quality too. Even the most high-quality re-sprays will always have at least a few (although maybe very small and hardly noticeable) "fish-eyes" here and there, uneven paint thickness on the very edges and/or odd overspray under the edge's lips or elsewhere. Fisheyes from resprays are simply impossible to avoid, unless it was painted in a hermetically sealed factory room/booth with robots and crazy exhaust fans.
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