Finding A Paint Protection Film Specialist - Vetting Your Installer
As Paint Protection becomes a topic of increasing concern amongst automotive consumers, how do you locate your nearest specialist with so many companies claiming to offer the same service? It is common for dealerships to offer these services and wind it into the purchase price of the vehicle, but are these really your best options? These are issues we are facing daily with clients who unfortunately find us too late.
This unfortunate victim, a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S finished in Carrera White Metallic. Full Front End 3M Clear Bra Installation Performed by the Dealership. The 3M Clear Bra has yellowed and degraded significantly in only 2 years since installation, thus ruining the look of the vehicle. The goal of Paint Protection Film is to above all protect the vehicles finish from Rocks, Dirt, Debris, and Impacts. However, it is our goal to do this without negatively impacting the look, fit, and finish of the vehicle. Let's face it, if you are going to apply a protective film to your proud new automotive investment you shouldn't be reminded of it every time you look at the vehicle!
In this case, the 3M Clear Bra left much to be desired. Present are a plethora of inconsistent edges, edges with larger gaps than should be allowed, poor quality hand trimming, work marks, lift lines, misaligned seams, and lots of still exposed paint work. This is NOT what your Paint Protection Film should look like!
Understand YOUR Expectations
It is important before searching for your preferred Paint Protection Film Specialist to understand your expectations. Do you care about the Appearance of the Film or are you more concerned about the Functionality of Protection? Do you want the installer to remove components of the vehicle to ensure as many edges as possible are hidden or are you fine seeing a seam or edge?
SPEND TIME EDUCATING YOURSELF
You are on the right track by reading this article! Before meeting local installers it is important to educate yourself on the nuances of Paint Protection Film and the Installer Themselves. Be sure during your initial visit with Paint Protection Film Installers you cover and discuss these 5 factors.
1. Are They Using Quality Raw Materials?
The "Big Three" premium Paint Protection Film on the market currently are XPEL Ultimate Plus, SunTek/LLumar Ultra, and STEK DYNOshield. All of these brands have their slight differences but all are top performing Films with a 10-Year Warranty protecting against Yellowing, Cracking, and Peeling.
At Naples Auto Armour, we only offer STEK DYNOshield because it utilizes a unique self-healing top clear coat that has less orange peel than competitors, which helps achieve an undetectable difference between your vehicles factory paint and the film itself. STEK DYNOshield has another advantage over other Paint Protection Film Manufacturers due to the STEK HYDROphobe® nano-glass top coat that is bonded to the film at a molecular level during manufacturing virtually eliminating the need for waxes or after-market top coatings, creating advanced water repelling properties. STEK DynoShield appears more glossy with less orange peel to the discerning individual in comparison to other films.
2. Do They Operate A Clean/Organized Facility?
High level installers are going to go to great lengths to ensure they operate in a clean environment while installing Paint Protection Film. Understand Paint Protection Film is an optically clear sticky sheet of plastic that is transferred onto your vehicle. To do this without attracting and picking up small or large specs of dirt/dust in the air or hidden on the car requires a thorough prep process and a surgical room type cleanliness.
At Naples Auto Armour our studio is outfitted with an Air Filtration System that flows 1450 CFM and cycles the air roughly 7 times per hour and SwissTrax Flooring that allows dust/dirt to fall below limiting the chances of it getting reintroduced into the air. Our studio is well-lit using LED lighting to ensure we see any imperfection before it becomes a problem.
3. What Type of Prep Work Is Done Before Application?
Preparing the vehicle for Paint Protection Film is a lengthy process in itself. Prior to Paint Protection Film all contamination must be removed from the surface to ensure proper bonding and no imperfections under the Film.
Remember, we come from a high level detailing background. We carry this over to our paint protection film installations. We take the time to properly prepare the surface to accept the paint protection film including multiple decontamination stages and machine polishing to remove paint defects to ensure the best clarity once the film is installed.
4. What is Their Installation Style?
How will the installer actually install the Paint Protection Film, are they using Computer-Cut Patterns or a Bulk Sheet of Material? Over the years, computer-cut patterns have become more popular with installation shops due to ease of installation, film waste, and efficiency. However, computer-cut patterns do have limitations when your goal is to wrap and tuck as many edges as possible. A skilled installer can make both Bulk and Computer-Cut processes look flawless, however, an inexperienced installer can make both processes look unacceptable and potentially damage the finish during a Bulk Installation. When using a Computer-Cut template edges should be a consistent 1/8" away from the radius, if there are many inconsistencies in spacing or large gaps this means the pattern was installed incorrectly.
Here at Naples Auto Armour, we employ a combination of modified computer-cut patterns and bulk "custom" installation techniques to achieve the finish we desire. Bulk installation is the process of taking a bulk sheet of material and manually stretching and trimming for a true custom installation, this is especially beneficial on hoods and fenders where we are able to make the film virtually undetectable with minimal edges shown. This is important on light coloured vehicles where edges are prone to attracting dirt that can make an edge or seam more noticeable over time. On High Wear areas such as Front and Rear Bumpers, Rockers Panels, etc we prefer to utilize modified computer-cut patterns which allow for an easier removal process down the road once the film has reached it's effective life span.
5. Visually See and Inspect Completed Work
This is the most important part of choosing your Paint Protection Film Specialist. This is where you are able to truly judge whether the installer meets or exceeds your expectations, or falls short. Don't be afraid to ask questions about how or why certain things are done. In many cases a High Level Installer will give you solid reasoning behind why certain areas are exposed versus being tucked/wrapped. Keep in mind you want the Paint Protection Film to #1 Protect the vehicles finish from Rocks, Dirt, Debris, and Impacts
#2 Protect the Paint without negatively impacting the look, fit and finish of the vehicle
#3 Be able to stand the test of time without edges lifting or peeling due to installation negligence.
We are SouthWest Florida's New Car Protection Experts servicing Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and surrounding areas. If you are interested in what our services can do for your vehicle please get in touch with us via our Contact Us page, Call (239) 219-6993, or stop by our studio located at 2141 Flint Drive, Fort Myers FL 33916. If you are located outside the State of Florida feel free to Contact Us and we will help you locate your local Specialist!