The Complete Guide to Choosing Paint Protection Films for Car Owners

The Complete Guide to Choosing Paint Protection Films for Car OwnersPhoto from Unsplash

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Finding the right film to protect your car’s paint requires knowing your options. Here is the complete guide to choosing paint protection films for car owners.

Did you know that the paint protection film industry sells over $400 million every year? Many people are just hearing about this product for the first time and want to know how they can protect their vehicle best.

Choosing paint protection film for your vehicle comes down to a few key decision points. Installing paint protection film is the easy part. You need to have an understanding of which of the films will be best for your vehicle.

In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about paint protection films for your vehicle and how to choose the best overall film to keep your vehicle looking clean.

What is Paint Protection Film?

Paint protection film (also known as clear bra or clear bra film) is a fairly thick, clear layer of urethane that is put on top of the exterior of your car to protect the sensitive paint beneath it.


Urethane is a polymer that is used in almost every industry, including the auto industry. Modern cars have bumpers and other major component parts inside that are made of urethane.


The material is chemically stable and strong at high temperatures. It doesn’t break down when exposed to UV light. Applied to your car, it forms a second skin for body panels, protecting paint from mechanical damage, UV, and chemical degradation.


Vietnam-era helicopter rotor blades were protected by paint protection film against shrapnel, debris, and dust. It worked well, and people still use it now.


In the 1980s, racing teams recognized a translucent, lightweight film might shield vehicles from flying rocks, debris, and rubber, as well as close-quarters collision.


Paint protection film is a massive business that protects hundreds of thousands or millions of automobiles from everyday dirt.

How Does PPF Work?

Paint protection film is often sold in rolls of material that are already cut out and prepared for usage. The individual rolls will have different layers, each of which does its part in protection in its own way.

A release liner on the bottom will protect and keep the remaining layers clean until installation. The liner is then taken off and thrown away once the owner wants to use the film.

A small but thick coating of acrylic adhesive will lie inside the center of the material. The adhesive will hold the film onto the vehicle coating, however, it’s primarily made to stick to the film and not be moved. The film will be completely removable without damaging the paint or changing it in a way that makes it susceptible to falling off.


The most important part of the paint protection film is the urethane layer. This layer is about six millimeters thick and it does the majority of the work in protecting your vehicle.

When a rock scrapes up against the car, it will hit a sharp edge or point, which concentrates all the force of the impact in one spot. Thin, brittle paint will fracture and chip. After a few years of driving, you will have hundreds of these small defects on the various sides of your vehicle and exterior.


If this keeps happening, the paint will never look good again. You may try to reapply the clear coat and touch up the chipped areas.


However, after a certain amount of time, it is more cost-effective to repaint the whole panel. However, this is already costly and will likely set you back.

When the protection film is used, the urethane layer will bend after being struck. It will absorb most of the force initially, then spread it out over a much larger area to protect the paint.

Finally, modern products in this industry will have a thin layer of clear coat. This clearcoat is approximately 0.5 mils thick and it helps to seal off the urethane layer from dirt and debris.


That’s because the urethane layer will normally have small holes in it, so if there is no exterior protection, it will soak up debris off the road. This can change the color of the film over time, which most owners don’t find desirable. That’s why protection film products that are older or that cost less will tend to turn yellow over time.


This final exterior layer will be able to stand up to ultraviolet light, oxidation, and many chemicals and pollutants present in the air.

Choosing the Right PPF

The best thing to do when trying to decide which film is right for your car is to discuss each of the considerations with a local provider. These include the material that you want to include in the paint protection film, as well as the manufacturing process of different raw materials. You’ll also want to discuss how long the film will last, as well as the amount of maintenance that you need to keep up the protection.

Finally, you also need to discuss the overall cost with the provider to make sure that if it’s within your budget. There may be certain parts that the protection system covers and certain parts that it does not.

Choosing Paint Protection Film

At the end of the day, choosing paint protection film comes down to discussing each film’s key features with your local auto mechanic or supplier. You’ll want to discuss the budget, materials, and how long the film will last. If you can get a sense of the longevity of the different available films, you’ll be able to match the film with your vehicle correctly.

If you’re interested in protecting car paint with paint protection film, please contact us today. We can help you in comparing PPF prices and give you a suggestion for which product to go with to maximize the effect for your vehicle at Winter Park Tint & Paint Protection.

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