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How to Maintain Paint Protection Film – 6 Quick Tips

If you are looking for a way to keep your paint safe from road hazards while also keeping its factory appearance, having paint protection film installed may be the thing for you. Maybe you have been wondering how to take care of a 3M Clear Bra, or possibly you’re curious about what is the best method to maintain your new Stealth Paint Protection Film. Regardless of the specific paint protection film, your vehicle is donning, it’s imperative to take proper care of this great investment!


1)     Washing Your Vehicle

There are many things you should know about paint protection film, and how to properly wash a vehicle with PPF installed is no exception. For the first 48 hours after installation, you cannot wash your vehicle. Sometimes, you may need to wait even longer than 48 hours. If you wash your vehicle too soon, you may completely ruin your paint protection film and waste your money.

Luckily, after the first couple of days, washing your vehicle isn’t a big deal after installation. Although it is best to speak to your installer and check with the paint protection film manufacturer, you can wash your paint protected vehicle much like you would with any other vehicle.

The only thing to watch out for is car washing products that may damage your new paint protection film or clear bra. Using water and mild soap should work just fine. With some paint protection film, like all of XPEL’s, you can even put your vehicle through an automated car wash according to XPEL’s frequently asked questions.

The fact that washing your vehicle will not become a bigger chore than it needs to be is one of the thinks that people thinking about when choosing between paint protection film and vehicle wraps. If you decide to get a vinyl wrap opposed to paint protection film, you will have to use a lot of care, gentle hands, and a soft sponge when washing your vehicle.


2)     Immediately Remove Contaminants

One of the fast things you can do to keep your paint protection film protecting your vehicle and looking great is to immediately remove contaminants. This includes bird droppings, oil splatter, and mud. Leaving contaminants on your vehicle can result in the film getting stained or degrading.

If a contaminant does not come off easily with a normal wipe down, you can use XPEL’s paint protection film cleaner. If this does not work, Isopropyl alcohol can be used. You can find this product at your local pharmacy since it is sold as a first aid antiseptic. If you do use isopropyl alcohol for a hard to remove stain, be sure not to touch any paint that is not covered with paint protection film.


3)     Wax

With the sleek appearance that paint protection film can give your vehicle (since there are gloss and matte options available), there is no reason that you need to wax your vehicle.

 If you have XPEL’s Ultimate Plus Paint Protection Film and want to keep up its very lustrous appearance, it is advisable to seal the paint protection film with XPEL’s Flawless Finish Paint Protection Film Sealant once every three months. If you want to use this product on another type of paint protection film, it should be applied by a professional because it can lead to an irregular appearance when not applied properly on other paint protection film types.

If you just really like the act of waxing your beloved vehicle, you can wax over your paint protection film if you are careful about the wax’s ingredients. You want to check the label for any solvents that might degrade the adhesive keeping your paint protection film firmly attached to your paint or any abrasive materials that can damage the top layer of the film.

Of special concern with paint protection films are the ingredients naphtha and kerosene. If a wax you pick up has a concentration of more than 5% of these ingredients, it can damage your paint protection film. You also want to stay away from any waxes that have dyes in its ingredients, to prevent staining your paint protection film.


4)     How to Handle Light Scratches

Preventing scratches is one of the many reasons why your car needs paint protection. Paint protection films like XPEL’s Stealth and Ultimate Plus paint protection films have a self-healing property so not only will your underlying paint be protected, the paint protection film will heal itself after it is impacted.

If you get a scratch on your paint protection film and it has self-healing abilities, leave your vehicle in the sun for between twenty and thirty minutes. The heat from the sun will cause your paint protection film to return to its original shape and fill in any scratches. If it is cold outside, it may take significantly longer.

Do you have something to do and can’t wait half an hour for the scratch healing to occur? Pour some warm water over the scratch to speed up the process. The water only needs to be 120° F. This is also a good option if it’s chilly outside and your vehicle will not get warm enough in the sun to activate your paint protection film’s self-healing properties.


5)     Do Not Pressure Wash

To prevent the film to start lifting away from your vehicle’s paint, it is in your best interest not to use any kind of high-pressured water source on your vehicle, including a pressure washer. If you feel you need to, keep it a safe distance away from your paint protection film and do not let the spray touch any of the edges. The water is liable to push up under these edges of the film and peel it away from your vehicle’s paint surface.


6)     Detailing Clay

Detailing clay is used to get your paint feeling smooth and sleek by removing contaminates, overspray, rail dust, and brake dust. It’s a great idea to routinely remove anything that doesn’t belong on your paint protection film often, but usual measures may not get it all. If your paint protection film feels like there’s grit on it when you rub your fingertips on it, you can bring it to a detailer with experience with paint protection films for claying.


Wrapping Up

Maintaining your paint protection film is easy and quick, letting you ensure it continues protecting your vehicle for years to come. The main points to take away from this article is to make sure you remove contaminants immediately, check the ingredients on waxes if you choose to use them, and do not pressure wash your vehicle. Another paint protection option that is easy to maintain is ceramic coating. With ceramic coating, mud and other contaminants bead up and can easily be washed away. If you want this additional ease in cleaning your vehicle, it can be applied over the top of the paint protection film. 

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