For those people who absolutely love their cars, protecting the paint becomes an obsession. Years ago, the promise of perpetually perfect paint was introduced with the invention of clear coat paint protection. Clear coat was definitely an improvement and offered great protection against sun damage and oxidation, but it fell far short when it came to physical protection from road debris and scratches.
To protect against road debris, a couple of inventions came about. One was referred to as a car bra. This was basically a polyurethane cover that fitted over a car's front end and protected the most vulnerable part of the vehicle from flying gravel and bugs. This helped, but there were two main problems. It did not protect the entire vehicle, and it was absolutely atrocious to look at. The other attempt was something called a bug shield. This was a small plastic piece that attached to the front of the vehicle and re-directed the air currents up and over the vehicle. Though somewhat effective in protecting the front end of the vehicle from flying debris and bugs, it did nothing to protect a stationary car from scratches. And, who would want one of those on their $ 70,000 corvette?
The next evolution in paint protection is commonly called paint protection film, though individual companies refer to it by various names. This is a thin, thermoplastic urethane material that adheres to the vehicle's paint and protects it from all types of minor damage. It can be applied to the entire vehicle, giving overall protection, unlike the other devices.
The paint protection film is applied in a similar fashion to window tinting film. Anyone who has attempted a do-it-yourself window tinting job understands how difficult the job can be. Though not impossible for amateurs to do, if one expects perfect results the job is best left to professionals.
These days it is easy to find professional paint protection film installers across the country. Nearly all automotive paint shops offer this service for a reasonable price and many offer package deals with the purchase of a new paint job.
There are a couple of important reasons why professionally installed clear paint protection film is the best option. First, the professionals have the proper facilities. Before installing the film, the car must be spotlessly cleaned and must stay that way until the film is applied. The pros have clean, dust-free bays where they can do the work. The average amateur's garage is somewhat less than a dust free environment. The second reason is the fitting of the film. Applying the film to curved surfaces offers a challenge requiring more than simple straight cuts. It takes time to perfect this technique and the average Joe will likely need several tries to get it right. It's best to save the time and let the pros handle it.