Will clear bra hide scratches and rock chips?
The short answer here is, it depends on the scratch. If we are talking about scratches or defects that can be felt/caught with a fingernail, the answer is probably not. And definitely not rock chips – although we can LESSEN the look of SOME of the rock chips by filling them in with a crayon.
Scratches being hidden by clear bra are a little more complicated. Typical swirl marks you see from improper washing technique, to some degree oxidation of the paint, and even some deeper scratches that you can’t feel with your fingernail (such as the ones you get from an automatic brush car wash), will mostly be hidden by clear bra / paint protection film.
How does this work? The adhesive from the clear bra will fill in many of the scratches in the car’s paint without changing the overall appearance of the film on the car. This is only for superficial issues.
Specialty films, known as clear bra or paint protection fashion films, primarily by the PPF company STEK, can completely distract or cover up imperfections. Two examples from our own car:
- When we bought our 2019 BMW i8 used, it had been poorly taken care of and all of the piano black trim was heavily swirled. On the trunk deck lid, there were bird droppings that had etched into the clear coat (bird poop is very acidic, and left on just about any automotive surface for any length of time, will cause problems, regardless of whether it has clear bra or ceramic coating). Due to the fact that this defect was more significant, clear paint protection film was not enough to hide it. However, the trunk deck lid was gloss black, and putting STEK dynoGLOSS Black fashion film on it (and later the high gloss carbon fiber clear bra from STEK), it covered it entirely.
- The car also had an issue where a rock had hit the hood on the black painted surface of the hood. In this case it didn’t damage the paint but did skip across the surface and created two small dings and a scrape mark. Clear bra gloss transparent did disguise this to a certain extent. However, when we applied high gloss carbon fiber fashion film to the hood, it became unnoticeable. This is likely for two reasons – one, the clear bra is opaque, and two, it has a pattern which likely disguises the change in appearance from the minor dings. To be clear, the clear bra is not hiding or filling the dings – the pattern is tricking your eyes into not seeing the dings at all.