Suspension Kits (Lift, Level, Lower)
Suspension Upgrades (Air Ride, Sport)
PPF,Vinyl Wraps & Tint
Wheel & Tire Packages
Tuning, Exhaust & Performance
Custom Audio Packages
Exterior Accessories (Bumpers,Side Steps, LEDs)
Suspension Kits (Lift, Level, Lower)
Suspension Upgrades (Air Ride, Sport)
Wheel & Tire Packages
Custom Tuning, Exhaust & Diesel Performance
Custom Audio Packages
Exterior Accessories (Bumpers,Side Steps, LEDs)

With so many PPF brands to choose from and so many installers offering various packages and deals, where do you begin? Are you selecting the right type of PPF? How do you know you're getting the best value for your money? Is PPF even right for you and your vehicle?

This guide has been developed by our team of automotive customization experts to help answer your PPF-related questions and help you make the most informed decision regarding installation.

Trident Motorsport's PPF team is lead by two certified master installers, each with years of experience in a wide range of automotive films and applications. From sports, luxury & exotic cars to Texas-sized trucks, our team is well equipped to handle your PPF needs.

Have questions? Need advice? Click Request-A-Quote to have one of our PPF experts contact you to help guide you through this process.

Contents of this Guide

Click a topic from the list below to skip ahead to a particular section.

What Is PPF?

Paint Protection Film, previously known as a Clear Bra, is a nearly invisible, protective layer that is applied to the surface of your vehicle (though various colors and patterns are now available). The primary purpose of PPF is to protect the vehicle's paint from road debris, scratches, bug splatters, and minor abrasions. It's a thermoplastic urethane film which has self-healing properties, meaning light scratches will typically disappear with heat exposure.

PPF is highly durable and can last many years, depending on the quality of the film, installation, and how well it's maintained. Some warranties for higher quality PPF even extend up to 10 years. It's typically applied to high impact areas like the front bumper, fenders, hood, side mirrors, and rocker panels. However, it can be applied to the entire vehicle for maximum protection.

PPF VS Vinyl

While PPF was traditionally available in clear-gloss or matte, is now available in a variety of colors and patterns. However, this does not make PPF the same as a vinyl wrap. Vinyl wraps are made of different materials which are significantly less durable. Thus vinyl is primarily used for aesthetic purposes and has a much shorter lifespan.

BENEFITS OF PPF

Paint Protection & Impact Resistance
PPF acts as a shield against common forms of damage to your car's paint, including rock chips, road debris, insects, bird droppings, tree sap, and minor abrasions. It helps maintain the pristine appearance of your vehicle's finish. Its designed to absorb and disperse the energy of impacts, reducing the likelihood of stone chips and small dents caused by road debris, gravel, or flying rocks from other vehicles.

Self-Healing Properties
Some higher-end PPFs have self-healing properties, which means that minor scratches and swirl marks can disappear when exposed to heat, such as the sun or hot water. This feature helps keep the film looking fresh.

Aesthetics
PPF is not only available in glossy or matte clear finish, but also in a variety of colors and designs, including carbon-fiber patterns.

Longevity
When professionally installed and properly maintained, high quality PPF may last 10 or more years, providing long-term protection for your car's paint.

Enhanced Resale Value
Well-maintained PPF can enhance the resale value of your vehicle by preserving the original paint and protecting it from wear and tear.

Custom Fit
PPF is custom-cut and can be applied to specific areas of your car, such as the front bumper, hood, fenders, mirrors, and more, to target high-impact zones.

TOP BRANDS

PPF is constantly evolving, with new brands and options being introduced quite often. Some of the top brands in the PPF market are listed below, all of which are known for their quality, durability, and innovation. With so many new brands and evolving options to choose from, one of the most important differentiators is the warranty. Warranty-related considerations are provided at the end of this guide.

STEK

STEK quickly went from being the new guy on the block to an industry leader. The brand has gained recognition for its cutting-edge product development, advanced self-healing PPF technology, and ultra high-performance films. STEK PPFs boast not only superior protection, but also extreme clarity and depth in a variety of finishes, colors, and patterns — making it a popular choice among car enthusiasts and professionals looking for top-tier vehicle protection solutions.

XEPL

XPEL is another top contender in the PPF market, famous for its self-healing technology that makes minor scratches disappear with heat from the sun or an engine. Their Ultimate Plus series is particularly popular among car enthusiasts for its clarity and longevity.

3M

3M is a well-respected name in the automotive industry, offering a variety of automotive films including their Scotchgard Pro series. Their PPF is known for its high-quality, durability, and excellent clarity, along with a strong reputation for protecting vehicle paint from damages and UV rays.

SUNTEK

SunTek offers a range of PPF products that are praised for their ease of installation and high gloss finish. Their films are designed to be hydrophobic, making them easier to clean while offering excellent protection against the elements.

Types Of PPF Films

High-Gloss

The most common and cost-effective option, this film is almost completely invisible and features a smooth, gloss-enhancing top-coat.

Average thickness:
7-8 mils

Matte

Matte films, sometimes referred to as "stealth" films, turn the underlying surface into a smooth, satin finish.

Average thickness:
7-8 mils

Color & Fashion

These films offer the same level of protection as high-gloss or matte films, and are available in variety of colors and patterns - including matte and metallic color-shifting options.

Average thickness
7-8 mils

Extra Durable

For extra protection even in  harsh offroad environments, some film manufacturer's offer this even more durable option — up 25% thicker than traditional films.

Average thickness
~10 mils

Common PPF Packages & Prices

Common PPF packages are provided below. Pricing is based upon a high quality, high-gloss film. Matte, color/fashion, and extra durable films typically cost extra. If you're looking for less coverage, many installers offer a-la-carte options as well such as front bumper only or partial hood only.

NOTE: Prices below are estimated national averages, not Trident Motorsports' prices. Request A Quote for our pricing.

Partial Front

Partial Hood
Partial Fenders
Full Front Bumper
Mirrors

Average Price: $1,300*

Install Time: 1-2 Days*

*Will vary by region and installer

Full Front

Full Hood
Full Fenders
Full Front Bumper
Mirrors

Average Price: $2,000*

Install Time: 1-3 Days*

*Will vary by region and installer

Track Package

Full Hood | Full Fenders
Full Front Bumpers
Mirrors | A-Pillars
Roof Edge
Rocker Panels

Average Price: $2,900*

Install Time: 1-3 Days*

*Will vary by region and installer

Full Vehicle

Full Hood, Roof & Trunk
Full Fenders & Quarters
Front & Rear Bumpers
Doors | Rocker Panels
Mirrors | A-Pillars

Average Price: $6,000*

Install Time: 5-7 Days*

*Will vary by region and installer

PPF Warranties

With so many brands and variations of PPF films, you should always review the manufacturer's warranty for specific terms, exclusions and length of coverage. The warranty for a high quality PPF is often 7-10 years. Anything less may be a potential warning sign of a lesser-quality product.

Aside from the manufacturer's warranty, you should also pay close attention to the installer's workmanship warranty. Of course your installer should always offer to repair any defect resulting from an error on their behalf (at least for a specified period of time). However, you should also pay attention to any clauses pertaining to the repair/replacement of PPF resulting from an issue with the film itself. In other words, if your film chips and replacement film is covered by the manufacturer's warranty, will the original installer charge you labor to conduct the replacement? Is this type of coverage offered for free or for an additional fee? If so, for how long is the coverage?

Comparing warranties should help you quickly narrow down the list of both the brands/types of PPF and the installers.

Manufacturer's warranties generally cover…

Bubbling film

Yellowing film

Cracking film

Chips or scratches on the film (not the vehicle)

Manufacturer's warranties generally do not cover…

Damage due to accidents or collisions

Damage due intentional acts or extreme use (eg. off-roading, mudding...)

Physical impacts (such as rocks, road debris or other objects) that result in dents or other damage to the underlying vehicle body (fiberglass, metal, etc.)

PPF Tips & F.A.Q.

Read and understand the manufacturer's care instructions for your particular PPF. The tips below are a general guide only. Your PPF may require different care or special considerations. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for care.

Prior to your installation...
Your vehicle's exterior must be clean prior to PPF installation. While your installer will likely clean the exterior during the preparation process, you should have your car washed before your appointment to remove any major debris, mud and excess dirt. Do not apply any waxes or protective coatings before PPF installation. This will prevent the PPF from properly adhering to the surface.

Keep your PPF clean...
Remove any bugs, bird droppings, liquids, and other contaminants promptly. Hand-wash only — avoid automated car washes. It should noted that PPF is quite easier to clean than automotive paint. Use a clean microfiber cloth or chamois, never an abrasive cloth or brush. Use gentle detergents, never harsh chemicals. Isopropyl alcohol may generally be used to remove stubborn stains but should never be used in direct sunlight. If using a pressure washer, keep the nozzle at least 3 feet from the surface never spray the edges of the PPF directly. Avoid any waxes or protective coatings unless they are approved by the PPF manufacturer. These may damage the PPF topcoat (usually required for self-healing) or interfere with the PPF's hydrophobic properties.

Maintaining your PPF ("self-healing")...
If attempting to repair PPF using it's "self-healing" properties, pay close attention to your manufacturer's instructions. If using a heat gun, be careful not to get too close to the film or stay over an area for too long. Know the melting point of your PPF and stay well below it!

Can PPF be removed?
Of course. But once it is removed the same piece may not be re-installed, it must be replaced with a new film.

Can I install PPF over damaged paint?
You should reapir any damaged paint (oxidation, cracks, etc.) before PPF installation. This will help avoid any paint peeling.

Can I install PPF immediately after a paint job/repair?
You should wait at least 30 days after any paint work before installing PPF. Failure to allow the paint to fully dry and cure may result in paint pulling or bubbling.

Can I drive immediately after PPF installation?
You should wait about 24 hours after installation before driving. Your installer will generally build this waiting period into your installation time.

DISCLAIMER

There is great variation among PPF materials. Before making a final purchase decision, understand the specifications, care instructions, and warranty for your brand and type of PPF.

This guide is intended for general informational purposes only.  Always consult your PPF manufacturer's literature as well as any documentation provided by your installer.

Live in Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, Lago Vista, Marble Falls or surrounding areas? We're happy to answer any questions and provide a quote. Request-A-Quote below to have one of our PPF Experts contact you.

OUR TOP BRANDS

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