No matter how careful you are with your vehicle, the world is a dangerous place for your paint. The suns rays beat down on it, environmental contaminants damage it, and road debris comes flying at it at high speeds on the highway.
Paint protection film, especially in the most high-impact areas of your vehicle, is the best way to keep your vehicle’s paint looking as if it just rolled off of the lot.
Clear bras are not always called clear bras. Sometimes they are simply called paint protection film or scratch protection film and sometimes they are called clear masks. There are some differences though.
Although clear bras are crafted from paint protection film, there are paint protection film applications that are not clear bras. Clear bras are installed on the front areas of your vehicle that are most likely to be hit with road debris instead of the entire vehicle.
Getting a clear bra installed on your vehicle can cost anywhere between $900 and $2500 in Los Angeles.
How Much of Your Vehicle Will Be Covered By The Clear Bra?
The reason that there is such a wide difference in prices is because there are many factors that go into how much you will end up paying. One of these factors is how much of your vehicle you should have included in your clear bra application.
The point of getting a clear bra is to protect high impact areas from rock chips and other debris, but which exact parts you want covered is up to you and this will change the price you should expect.
For example, you may pay $2300 to have paint protection film applied to the entire front of your vehicle including headlights, fog lights, hood, bumper, rocker, and mirrors, but only have to pay $900 to only have your bumper, rocker, and lights done.
If you are looking to have several areas covered by the clear bra and the price is too low, be suspicious about the quality of product that is going to be used or the experience of the installer. If you show up at a customization ship and they quote you at $800 for your hood, fender, front bumper, headlights and foglights, pillars, and windshield, you should probably walk away.
Many reputable installers have different packages for all different budgets. The best way to find out how much of your vehicle you should cover with paint protection film is to contact a trustworthy installer and get their expert opinion.
How Much Prep is Needed?
Before you get a clear bra installed on your vehicle, your vehicle will have to be prepped for application. This may include cleaning your vehicle, claying it to remove all small contaminants, and polishing. This allows the paint protection film to lay flat against your paint without creating bubbles because of small specks of dust underneath the clear bra.
It is also possible that you will need your paint corrected before you have a clear bra installed. Paint protection film can be placed on top of very minor paint defects, though it is best to have it placed on pristine paint.
If you are trying to figure out if you can have a clear bra installed on top of a minor scratch, do the fingernail test. Run you nail over the scratch. If you can feel it with your nail, the scratch is too deep to place paint protection film on top of.
Quality of Material Used
Price will also depend on the quality of materials used. If the clear bra you have installed is of lower quality, you will pay less, but you may run into problems like yellowing and peeling, and it will not last as long. This is because the adhesives used with older or lower quality paint protection film can be oxidized by UV light.
Good quality paint protection film, such as XPEL’s and LLumar’s, is UV resistant and will not discolor. For example, XPEL’s Ultimate Plus 10 Paint Protection Film is made with an elastomeric polyurethane, has a self healing topcoat, stays invisible and will not yellow, is resistant to staining from contaiminents, and is resistant to lifting and delamination.
Another benefit of choosing a high quality paint protection film when getting a clear bra installed is that it will be more likely that it wont affect your vehicle’s warranty. Nearly every vehicle manufacturer approves high quality paint protection film.
Expertise of Installer
As you would expect, going to an experienced technician at a reputable shop is going to cost you more than going to someone who is just learning. One of the most common myths people still believe about paint protection film is that they can install it themselves. Installing paint protection film or a clear bra takes expertise to get the best results that will last the longest amount of time.
Even though you could save some money up-front by going to someone less experienced, there is always the risk of bubbling and delamination if you go to an inexperienced installer. If you want to prevent having to figure out what to do about small bubbles, dirt, and dust under new paint protection film, go to an experienced technician.
Not only can peeling happen because of bad adhesives being used, but it can also happen because the installer improperly applied the paint protection film. Your best bet is go to one of the best XPEL installers in the LA area and save yourself the costs of having to remove and replace your clear bra down the line.
Are Clear Bras Worth The Cost?
Yes! Clear bars help to preserve your paint for as long as possible and lessens the devaluation that happens with vehicles over time. The paint protection film used during clear bra installation has impact resistance, corrosion protection, wards off chemical stains and etchings from bird droppings, and can even protect against acid rain and mineral deposits.
Another benefit of getting a clear bra is that the clear bra is UV resistant, which means that your paint will not fade due to sun exposure. This also means that having your hood included when you have your clear bra installed is probably a good investment since the hood is at a particular risk of sun damage.
The self-healing properties provided by more expensive clear bras are something to also consider when deciding if the cost is worth it since it is one of the ways to protect your car’s paint from rock chips. Instead of having to pay for paint correction each time there is a little scratch, XPEL’s paint protection film is able to self heal, going back to it’s original form with a little heat exposure.
Clear bras are a wise investment to keep your vehicle looking it’s best. Like any investment, you want to protect it. The way you maintain your clear bra will determine the likelihood of any complications down the road.
You should not pressure wash your vehicle if you can help it. If you must pressure wash your vehicle, make sure you stay far enough away from the vehicle and be particularly careful around the edges. A pressure washer can easily force the paint protection film off of the paint when sprayed at the edges.
Contaminants sitting too long on a your clear bra can also cause problems. Make sure to wash off contaminants. If some contaminants sit on your paint protection film it can discolor or even etch into it. Although it will definitely protect your paint, it is not invincible. Still treat it with care.
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