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What to Do About Small Bubbles, Dirt, and Dust Under a New PPF?

As one of the most effective ways to protect a vehicle from scratches, debris, and abrasions, paint protection film (PPF) is widely sought after by car owners all over the world. 


Also called clear bra or clear film, PPF is an easily accessible solution in Los Angeles to keep regular wear and tear at bay. Since the film does not diminish a car’s exterior and only enhances it after installation, it is often the top choice for luxury car owners to protect their investment. 


McLaren 675LT with Xpel Ultimate

But apart from those who flaunt their style through high-end wheels, PPF is also a popular option for everyday drivers and car owners alike. This is not surprising once you learn about the larger benefits of PPF, which go beyond saving your car from minor scratches and inconveniences. 


Since PPF is a long-lasting solution against everyday paint chips, scuffs, and bug splatters, it protects your car from overtime damage that can call for massive repair costs. With it, the film also prevents you from spending hours at an auto body shop every other month just so your car can retain its fresh-

McLaren 675LT clear bra

off-the-showroom look. Along with delivering benefits in continuous usage, it also helps you retain the resale value of your car.


With that being said, there are times when the protective film gets affected by external elements during the installation process itself. When air bubbles, dirt, and dust creep under your brand new PPF, it can bring a rightful cause of worry to your table. 


To help you resolve these problematic issues in Los Angeles in a stress-free way, here is what to do when your PPF is affected by unwanted elements. 


Small Bubbles, Dirt, and Dust Under a New PPF Relate to the Installation Process


Before you understand how to dispel unwanted elements from your PPF, it’s important to see how its installation process works in the first place. This helps you understand which problems call for your immediate attention and which apparent issues can resolve by themselves over time.


When you use a premium PPF material, it comes with the ability to cling to the car’s body without leaving any loose spots. This is what makes PPF a seamless part of any car installation, and gives your vehicle a flawless look that doesn’t even make it seem like it has a protective coating over it. But this look can only be achieved when your car is properly prepared for PPF installation. 


The steps involved in the process typically include the following aspects:


  • Ensuring optimal condition for the car’s paint. Your auto body expert makes sure that your car’s paint is in an ideal state. If there are paint chips or peels, they fix it before the PPF installation.


  • Removing all badges. The professionals working on your car remove all badges to make sure the film can be spread over the car evenly. 


  • Washing the car. Your selected experts then wash the car to ensure that it is free of any external contaminants. 


  • Claying the vehicle properly. Using a Clay Bar for the car is often required to ensure that it steers clear of catching any external elements that are prone to stick under PPF. 


  • Cleaning the car thoroughly. A final cleaning is still needed to make sure that the car doesn’t catch any dust or debris. 


By following this extensive process, your auto body professionals ensure that your car doesn’t have any contaminants that remain under the PPF for ages to come. 


With it, this process also ensures that any dips and bumps from paint chips or body fillers aren’t going to create air pockets or bubbles for the PPF installation. When this procedure is performed in an ideal manner, it makes for a smooth installation that does not create any issues in long-term use of PPF.


However, when this process isn’t carried out in an optimal way, it can increase the probability for external contaminants to make their presence known. Dirt or dust can stick to the auto body and appear under your PPF later, while large air pockets can also show up in the same way. 


But this is where it gets interesting: Not all problematic signs after PPF installation call for immediate action. While issues such as dust or large air pockets require professional assistance, typical instances such as small air bubbles don’t pose any cause for worry.


Small Bubbles After PPF Installations Are Normal, Large Air Pockets Are Not


The usage of moisture in the PPF installation procedure can sometimes make way for small air or water bubbles under the film. If these small bubbles are noticeable immediately after the installation, it is perfectly normal. As the trapped moisture evaporates in a few days, these small bubbles disappear without any intervention. 


The real problem arises when these bubbles don’t disappear even after a few weeks have passed. This indicates that there has been a problem in the installation process and it needs to be resolved by ideally the same professional who performed the installation for you. 


Typically, the remedial procedure involves the professional popping these bubbles using a needle and settling the film over the punctures. This process is performed in a way that keeps the rest of your installation intact and doesn’t make the punctures stick out of place. 


With that being said, if the bubbles exist in large quantities or if they become big enough to be considered air pockets, this requires a new installation of the film material. This is especially true if these air pockets emerge at the edge of the film, which indicates that proper preparation wasn’t done or careful installation wasn’t practiced by your chosen vendor. 


Dirt Under a New PPF Indicates a Bad Preparation and Installation Job


red car with silver grilleWhen you notice dirt under your PPF, there is simply no excuse for it. If the contaminant is present right under your clear film, it indicates that the professionals doing the installation did not take proper care during the process. Most of the time, it is due to a lack of proper cleaning and preparation. At others, performing the installation in an unclean environment or using unsanitized tools can also be the reason behind it.


In either case, you are stuck with a dirty car even after spending a hefty amount of money to achieve the opposite effect. The most effective way to resolve this issue is seeking out professional help in Los Angeles. 

If the dirt is along the edges of your car’s body such as your hood or your trunk, a professional can try to remove it by lifting the PPF and then fixing the film on top of the auto body again. However, this is not always possible. More often than not, you need to get a new installation of the PFF for the issue to get resolved. 


With that being said, if you find that the dirt is only along the edges of the film, you can try wetting a washcloth and running it against the seams. If it takes off the dirt, you are good to go. Otherwise, you will need to resort to having a fresh installation for your PPF.


When You Notice Dust Under a New PPF, It Calls for a New Installation


paint protection film installation

paint protection film installation

Similar to dirt, dust under a new PPF also points to inadequate installation practices. Typically, dust particles can get under a PPF if the car wasn’t cleaned or prepared properly before the installation. In other scenarios, it can creep up under the film if the installation was being done in a contaminated environment, such as an outdoor setting with natural dust particles moving about in the air. 


In these instances, you can clearly notice the dust under the film material. This is especially evident if your car has a darker color, or if the dust particles are spread all over the place. Since the PPF essentially covers the dust like it protects the remainder of the auto body, it remains out of reach while being right in front of your eyes. It not only looks out of place, but also causes an immense amount of frustration when you are unable to remove it. 


Once again, the most effective cure of this issue comes in the form of a new installation. Since it essentially means spending the same amount of money all over again, it is recommended that you take your car back to the same vendor and demand a reinstallation. But if a few months have passed since your PPF installation, this may not return any beneficial results. 


In such a case, you can find a renowned auto body expert in your Los Angeles area to take on the installation process for you. This ensures that your current PPF gets removed in a way that doesn’t harm your car, while your new film is installed in a manner that is free of any contaminants. 


Most PPF Installation Issues Require Professional Intervention


While small bubbles are typical to even the most careful of PPF installations, larger air pockets, dirt, and dust are not. This means that most PPF installation issues need you to consult with a professional in order to be resolved properly. 


As mentioned above, it is critical that you contact the same vendor who installed your protective film to manage these problems and save you from additional expenses. But in case your PPF installation was done a while ago, you may need to reach out to a different professional in Los Angeles to get these issues resolved. 


With 11 years of experience,  Sticker City excels at installing PPF over all types of vehicles. Whether you need a fresh installation or need us to look at salvaging your current clear film, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.


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