Paint protection film is a layer of thermoplastic urethane applied to the painted surfaces of an automobile to protect the paint job from chips, splatters, and small abrasions. Is is also commonly used on airplanes, motorcycles, electronic, cell phones and other electronics. Almost all automotive manufacturers have approved the usage of paint protection film on vehicles. It is also commonly referred to as Clear Bra which was the original manufacturer.It is recommended by manufacturers to entrust the application of the product to certified Vinyl Wrap and Clear Bra professional shops as the installation requires unique skills and techniques to get it to look right and last the life of the film. Many Window Tinting and detail shops also perform the installation.The primary purpose of Clear Bra is to prevent scuffs, rock chips and other types of vandalism which cause damage to a vehicle’s paint and body. It is commonly applied on the front facing portions of cars, trucks, and SUVs. It may also be used on the full body of a vehicle to provide maximum protection for the vehicle’s factory paint.Originally developed for use in military applications, it is now commercially available for public use. The automotive industry took note of the benefits offered by the paint protection film and began applying it to race cars to protect the expensive carbon fiber and fiberglass bodies. Originally the film was thicker and tough to install because the thick film was designed to protect helicopter blades from sand erosion.The film available on the market today is specifically designed to be flexible and conformable to a vehicle’s body. There are many options available in the market with specific types manufactured primarily with the technical capability to offer top level protection and even self-healing capabilities.Why use Paint Protection Film?Scratches on brand new or well-maintained vehicles not only destroy the look of your car, truck or SUV, they reduce the resale value. To prevent a car from suffering at the hands of vandalism or road debris, paint protection film is the perfect solution.Clear Bra has the strength to withstand the hazards on the road such as debris, rocks, sand and cement. It will shield the areas on the vehicle where it is installed and keep the body looking like it did the day you applied the film. Many of the premium films have self-healing properties so the film will heal itself when damaged by scratches and cracks. Another great application is to protect your vehicle from children playing near the car and scratching the paint surface with their toys.Which Paint Protection Film Brands are the most trusted?The most reliable brands of paint protection film on the market today are the original Clear Bra, 3M, Suntek, and Xpel. Xpel and 3M are the preferred films used in our shop due to their self-healing properties and industry leading warranties. In addition to full rolls of film, many of these manufacturers offer the DIY enthusiast pre-cut kits that are unique to a vehicle’s make, model and year.Today there is no shortage of cheaply made films imported from places like China and India and sold on sites like eBay and Amazon. Always be wary of any material that does not come from a reputable manufacturer. Cheap paint protection film will not protect your vehicle, and often the cheap adhesives used in this type of material will damage your factory paint when you attempt to remove it.How is It Applied?There are many types of installation for paint protection film. Most installers do not have plotters. Therefore they have no choice but to apply the fill directly from the roll and cut the material to length on your vehicle. Reputable installation shops that have invested in plotters use specially designed software to create a pattern for the shape of the panel on which the film is to be installed and have it plotted or cut with precision. A plotter can also be used to modify the cut pattern to fit custom patterns such as aftermarket body kits and bumpers.A popular installation technique for the DIY customer is a pre-cut kit. A pre-cut kit can be ordered by your vehicle make, model, and year and comes ready to install out of the box. The downside of a pre-cut kit is if you damage one of the sections of material during installation, you’ll have to purchase an entirely new kit. Pre-Cut Kits are also not available for any custom parts you have on your vehicle such as an aftermarket bumper, body kit, or spoiler.When you are looking for a Clear Bra installer, it is imperative to select a reputable shop with good reviews. The installation requires cutting near your car, truck or SUV’s paint with razor blades. An impatient or unskilled installer can quickly cause substantial and irreversible damage to your expensive vehicle.Where can the Film be Applied?Paint protection film is manufactured to appear practically invisible to the naked eye to maintain the appearance of your vehicle. It can be applied to any area of the car however it is mostly recommended for portions of the car that are susceptible to damage. The most common areas are the side mirrors, front bumper, and hood of your vehicle. Another area that Clear Bra can be used is door edges as they are prone to wear and tear from the constant opening and closing. Protecting door edges offers an excellent shield against chipping and scrapes which often happen in parking lots.It may also be applied to door handle cups because they get damaged from constant use. The scratches and scrapes can are prevented through the application of an invisible film of Clear Bra on the door handle cups.Benefits of a Paint Protection FilmClear Bra is flexible and stretchable as well as long lasting. It is almost invisible and can be molded to fit any surface of the vehicle. It seals the painted surfaces to give a long lasting glossy appearance and shiny exterior. Clear Bra is a branded self-healing coat which is resistant to scratches and cracks. It puts up a tough defensive front to damage of any kind which in inevitable when it comes to cars.
Due to the fact that consumers automotive tastes and need differ from country to country, it is not uncommon for car manufacturers to offer different cars in different markets. For example, BMW produces and sells a 1 series hatchback which is absent in the U.S. market. Similarly, the Ford Fiesta has been in production since 1976 but has not been sold in the U.S. since 1980. Ford has recently announced that it plans to bring the car back to its home country.The Ford Fiesta to be sold in the U.S. will actually be produces in Mexico and is planned to enter the market in late May. Other than a few minor changes to meet safety regulations, the car should be very similar to the one sold in Europe. The car will come with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine under the hood which will produce about 120-horsepower. This should be sufficient given that the car only weighs around 2,500-2,650 lbs., which depends on specific model and options. The car will be great for those trying to spend a small amount of money on a car that will provide them with excellent gas mileage. So far news is that it will be available in four-door and five-door versions.With a price tag starting at $12,999 for the base model, the Fiesta will prove to be tough competition for cars like the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris. All the Ford Motor Company has to do is market it well and get consumers to drive the car and high sells will follow.
When the biggest automotive aftermarket show in North America, and even perhaps the world breaks its attendance record, then you know that there is a reason for the renewed optimism that automotive accessory manufacturers are showing these days. Although aftermarket sales by SEMA members for 2012 are expected to reach almost 30 billion dollars, this is still 4 billion short of its record from five years ago. Seems improbable that its beginnings were as an informal swap meet held in 1976 at a stadium in Los Angeles.SEMA executives have also reported that China and the Middle East have seen explosive growth. These are two entirely different, and dare we say opposite markets however, as Middle East buyers from oil-rich nations do not think twice about extravagantly spending for cars and luxury aftermarket items. China, on the other hand, is justifiably derided for having manufacturers that turn out inferior and unsafe copies of popular aftermarket products and designs.Along the way though, car owners and enthusiasts have seen an explosion of new products from competing manufacturers. These include HID lights, coilover suspensions, engine upgrades and body kits. In terms of mechanical and electronic upgrades, the best seem to come from German, Japanese and U.S. companies. The aftermarket industry includes about a dozen categories, ranging from business services, to collision repair and refinishing, to wheels and tires, mobile electronics and technology, utility vehicles, racing and performance parts, vehicle restorations, body kits and restyling and car care. It also includes a host of other products ranging from automotive accessories to tools and equipment.These new products are sold in traditional brick and mortar outlets as well as online. Nowadays, with most people cramped for time, online sales have also grown exponentially. And often offer the same products cheaper. What’s more, it’s so much easier to compare prices from the comfort of wherever your are, instead of physically going to different stores to check out the same items. This is not to say that you can do all your shopping online. For example, purchasing a coilover suspension and setting it up properly are two different things, and the experience can sour if the product support is not there. Then again, some shops don’t really offer any product support at all. With the vast amount of information available on the net, however, it’s very easy to look up user and long-term review of the products you are looking at. Do remember that you get what you pay for and what looks like a terrific automotive upgrade now may turn out to be a piece of junk down the road.