PPF film - when is the best time to have your clear bra/paint protection film installed in Copperas Cove/Killeen/Harker Heights!
What is clear bra/PPF film?
Clear bra, otherwise known as PPF film, paint protection film, and much more, is an 8mil thick, durable layer of film that protects against most rock chips and scratches. PPF film stops the front of your vehicle from being destroyed by road damage and debris. The most clear bra/PPF film, including ours, is self-healing. That means, the film will heal minor swirls and scuffs with heat (from the Copperas Cove/Killeen/Harker Heights sun, or hot water/hot air). PPF film also fills in already existing minor swirls. This is because the adhesive will conform to those swirls at a microscopic level, but the film is thick enough not to distort appearance when filling in. There are what we call “fashion PPF films,” which include colors, patterns, and more. Some examples are carbon fiber, prism, matte, and more.
Clear bra/PPF film - why you should install right away!
You’re going to think this is a sales pitch, but it isn’t – the answer is to install PPF film “immediately.”
The short answer is, that automotive paints are thinner than ever, with some auto detailers refusing to even polish or compound (paint correct / paint enhance) some new cars due to the thickness from the factory.
Anecdotally, we have had some Tesla owners take delivery of their new Tesla Model Y at the Austin dealership, drive it up to us in Harker Heights, or home to Killeen/Copperas Cove, and it already is covered in chips. Even before they could get PPF film installed. Especially when we are talking about sports cars such as the C8 Corvette or a BMW M8 Competition we did – they already had a significant amount of chips even though they still had temp tags on the car.
PPF film install - we have waited too long, ourselves!
How could a clear bra/paint protection film/PPF film shop such as Harker Heights Ceramic Coatings manage to get rock chips before we could install? On our 2022 Mazda CX5 Turbo Signature, we actually got rock chips before our very first tank of gas. We purchased our Mazda out of town, and before we could install PPF film, a dump truck dumped rock chips all over us in the Copperas Cove/Killeen/Harker Heights area. Jeez!
You can see our PPF film install process video on our CX5 in the video or click here to see the blog article.
What happens when PPF film gets installed over existing rock chips?
Because clear bra/PPF film is 8mil thick, approximately 3x as thick as vinyl wrap – installing it over a small indented area, such as a rock chip, is very difficult. Clear bra/paint protection film is too thick to conform to small areas such as rock chips. It may not be as obvious on some lighter-colored vehicles, such as silver or white.
However, the darker the vehicle, the more obvious it becomes. Rock chips under PPF film appear as white specs or debris, and on something like our Mazda CX5, the front can look bad under the film.
In about 70% of cases, we can fill the rock chip with color-matched crayon to lessen the white spec look under the PPF film.
How old of a vehicle can get clear bra/PPF/paint protection film in Copperas Cove/Killeen/Harker Heights?
We can’t determine what age a vehicle can be before clear bra/PPF film won’t look right on your vehicle. However, we can say that the installation can be typically compromised if you wait more than a few weeks. Unfortunately, new vehicles have such thin paint, that even driving home from the dealership can be an issue. We have installed PPF film on cars as old as 2014, but turned away cars that are only a year old. It all depends on what mileage and type of mileage they have, and sometimes – dumb luck.
We want to protect the environment, but there are other effects.
What does the environment have to do with why you need to install PPF film right away? I’m going to tell you!
Did you know that the historically frail Apple charging cables result from environmental protesting? In 2009, Greenpeace lobbied for “Green My Apple” – they asked Apple to remove PVC from their charging cables. Apple obliged but now their cables are not as durable. This is why Apple’s cables don’t survive any abuse, while third-party companies’ cables do. The lobbying to remove PVC created an entirely new market for third-party accessory makers that might not have existed to the extent that they do today had Greenpeace been unsuccessful in pushing for the removal of PVC.
Does that mean that PPF film is frail, also? No, that’s not at all my point. Keep reading for more info.
Ok, so what's your point?
The auto paint industry is the same. As a result of lobbying and regulation outlawing certain amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), automotive paint has switched from solvent-based paint to water-based (or waterborne) paint.
The benefits of water-based over solvent-based paint are:
– Better for the environment, according to the EPA
– Healthier to apply to those in the industry due to fewer airborne toxins
– New products
– Cleaner and brighter than solvent-based paints
However, the one “benefit” for the automotive industry is a negative for our auto detailing industry and relates to clear bra/PPF film, and paint protection/paint enhancement:
“Less Clearcoat Needed. – For multiple hues and striping, waterborne paint has an advantage when it comes to spraying due to a thinner application. The different layers take less clear coat to even out the surface.”
This means paint is thinner, and therefore chips easier and faster. This is why we need to install PPF film RIGHT AWAY!
What does that mean for us?
That means that while we are making things healthier for those working with automotive paints and doing better for the environment, we are making clear bra/PPF film an absolute necessity for new cars.
The paint is so thin that there is very little rock chip protection. This goes for sports cars along the rocker panels, and where the tires kick up rocks, it goes for just about any forward-facing surface of any vehicle, regardless of sportiness. With Tesla, many owners choose to clear bra / PPF film their entire car because the paint is notoriously thin (above and beyond the issues with water-based paint mentioned above).