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5 Disadvantages of Paint Protection Film

It’s true that having a quality paint protection film installed on your vehicle is one of the best things you can do for your paint.

Providing protection from contaminants, sun damage, and road debris, paint protection film, also known as PPF, can make a huge difference in the longevity of your vehicle’s paint.

When making any decision, it is best to know both the pros and cons. Disadvantages are just as important as advantages regarding what you should know about paint protection film. The following are five disadvantages of paint protection film:


Paint protection film is not a cheap endeavor, but pays for itself in slowing the devaluation of your vehicle due to paint and sun damage, and avoiding paint repairs.

There are many factors involved with how much you will have to pay to have paint protection film installed on your vehicle including the quality of the paint protection film, the experience of the installers, the complexity of the job, and the amount of your vehicle you want to be covered.

You can expect paint protection film installation to cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. This is one of the main considerations of people who are choosing between paint protection film and vinyl wraps for their vehicle since vinyl wraps are much cheaper. These wraps only provide a tiny amount of protection though and are really only for aesthetic purposes.

Still, at the end of the day, paint protection film pays for itself. With its self-healing properties preventing you from having to have the panel of paint protection film replaced every time it gets nicked and it’s shielding ability for your paint preventing paint repairs, it is worth the cost.

Bad Installation

The last thing you want to do when you make an investment like getting paint protection film is to have it ruined before you even get any benefit out of it. With proper installation by a reputable shop, you won’t find yourself wondering what to do about bubbles, dirt, and dust under your new paint protection film. It is imperative that you go to someone who knows what they are doing.

If your installer does not complete all steps of installation or does not have experience and makes a mistake, your paint protection film will not be as effective and will not be invisible. For example, if they do not do a good enough job cleaning your paint, or correcting paint defects, the paint protection film will not lay flush against your paint and will leave bubbles with dirt underneath!

Do your research and go to one of the top installers like StickerCity, one of the top XPEL paint protection film dealers in California.

Not Permanent

As the name suggests, paint protection film is a very thin film put over top of your paint. Despite its incredibly thin profile, it’s durable enough to withstand the elements. This being said, it will not last forever. Each paint protection film product will have a different life span, but none of them are forever.

If you get paint protection film, having reasonable expectations is important to satisfaction. After between 5 to 10 years on average, you will have to have your paint protection film removed and replaced.

The paint protection film will not leave residue on your vehicle’s paint and any good installer has all of the tools necessary to remove and replace (or just remove) your paint protection film when it reaches the end of its lifespan.

Removal Before Resale

Even if you think you will never want to sell your vehicle, it is good to have a plan for if you ever do decide you need to sell your vehicle.

You would think that having such an expensive paint protection product installed on your vehicle would increase its value but it generally does the opposite. This being said, pristine paint does increase your vehicle’s value and paint protection film can help keep it in great condition.

The way to get around this problem is using paint protection film to keep your paint in factory condition, then remove it before it comes time to sell your vehicle. Removal leaves behind no evidence of the fact that paint protection film was once on the vehicle.

It’s best to have the shop that installed your paint protection film remove your paint protection film but if that is not possible, most reputable dealers of paint protection film can remove it instead of the original installer.

Car Washing Considerations

To get the most out of your paint protection film, you need to know how to maintain your paint protection film and tricks and tips for cleaning it.

Maintaining your paint protection film is much like maintaining your vehicle’s factory paint in many ways. For example, mild soap and water should be enough to clean your paint protection film. It’s also best to get contaminants off of your PPF as soon as feasibly possible.

There are some differences though. Paint protection film can not hold up to some things that paint can, and visa versa. It is important to check the ingredients of any soaps or waxes that you decide to use (even though waxing is absolutely unnecessary if you have paint protection film).

Do not use any products on your paint protection film that contains naphtha, kerosene, or any type of dye. Both naphtha and kerosene can eat through your PPF, and dyes can stain your perfectly transparent paint protection film.

Another thing you have to be careful with when maintaining your paint protection film is any pressurized water. It is best that you do not use a pressure washer on your vehicle at all if it has paint protection film installed.

If you insist on using a pressure washer, stay a great distance away from your vehicle with it and angle the jet of water so that it will not push up under the edges of the film.

Wrapping Up

Paint protection film is an amazing form of protection and is worth all of its disadvantages.

Regardless, everyone should be aware of these drawbacks so that they can prevent any problems or unexpected dilemmas. For example, knowing that you should not pressure wash your paint protection film can prevent damage, and knowing that resale value decreases if PPF is not removed first can increase the amount you can sell your vehicle for.

Despite any disadvantages though, PPF is a great thing to have in your protection arsenal. 


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