By M T H Toha
You might have planned to apply a paint protection film (PPF), which is a thermoplastic urethane, on your vehicle to protect its paint. But you should also know about the various demerits of it before you make a decision.
Proponents of PPF point to its strong protection from damage and self-healing property, but still, numerous factors are against the use of it. In this article, I am going to explain about the common brands of PPF, their flaws, and my recommendations.
PPF is used mainly in car care. They originated from military applications and eventually caught on in the automotive industry. In recent times, their usage has expanded to bikes. Below are the main brands of PPF in commercial use.Clear Bra: While this is a popular brand, it is also a common term used by some PPF-makers to refer to their top lineup of protective films. They usually can be installed on your own or by most paint film installers. These PPFs are great for door edges, bumpers, and fenders.
Clear Mask: This company was established in 1993, and is also well-known for manufacturing great PPFs.
Disadvantages of PPFs
Hinders the Natural Look
No matter how well a PPF is manufactured, there will always be a difference in the natural and with-PPF look of your vehicle’s body. A paint protection film might reduce the shine of your car or bike.
Before opting for a PPF, you should know that you will have to compromise on the design factor. While close to invisible, they aren’t completely undetectable. This means if your pride yourself on having a shiny paintwork for your vehicle, you would have to choose between added protection or a slightly duller look.
Not being hydrophobic (water-repellent) is another problem that comes with PPF. There usually remains an issue of debris and stains which do not come out readily. Thankfully, PPF makers have addressed this issue and improved the technology in recent years. If you must have a PPF, look out for a brand that is hydrophobic.
Some PPF installers also offer ceramic coating applications on top of PPF, which further improves paint protection.
Turn Yellow Over Time
This is another issue that has been addressed by manufacturers in more recent times. In the early days, PPFs succumbed to Ultraviolet (UV) rays and turned yellow over time. Nowadays, you have the option of purchasing a more advanced PPF that stays clear, and some even come with a warranty.
Paint protection films always require replacement. Some brands will offer you a good range of warranty period, for example, 5-10 years. If you intend to use your vehicle beyond the warranty period, you should be prepared to replace the PPF in future.
A paint protection film can cost you thousands of dollars, which can be quite hefty if you are riding a budget or mid-market vehicle. If you add in the cost of paintwork, it is definitely no small sum.
If you engage a less-than-competent installer, you could end up with a botched job and fork out even more to correct it. Make sure to do your homework and only engage the services of a trusted, reputable installer.
Damage to the Film
If the PPF gets damaged, some brands have “self-healing” properties – meaning you could pour hot water over the spot, and scratches would disappear. However, for deeper scratches and rock chips, the PPF may be compromised and require replacement.
Paint protection films (PPFs) are a hefty option for protecting your vehicle. If your budget allows, you could go for a PPF.
However, if you want to showcase your vehicle’s original shine, you should not install a PPF. In contrast, Best Net Review has a list of top ceramic coatings that could be used for paint protection.
M T H Toha is an engineer and tech geek who is passionate about all things automotive. He blogs regularly at BestNetReview.com, sharing about all kinds of automotive parts and solutions.
Featured Image: Pixabay/ CreaPark