Many car owners just don’t want to see dings, scratches, and chips on their vehicle’s paint job. Therefore, they turn to paint protection film (PPF) to safeguard their vehicles against the daily wear and tear they encounter on the road.
However, PPF has drawbacks. Most of the car enthusiasts I have ever met complain that PPF becomes yellow/cloudy over time with dust, dirt, grime, and especially sunlight. Such an appearance worsens the look of their car.
However, this is just one thing that is most common; many narratives seem like telling us to stay away from the PPF. But what are those? Be with me in this guide to know, most probably, the dark side of the paint protection film.
What Is Paint Protection Film (PPF)?
Paint protection film, also known as a clear bra, is a clear, plastic film that is put onto the exterior of a car to shield it from scratches and minor damages. While ceramic coating can’t stand against rock chips, paint protection film (PPF) really does this job.
Although PPF is commonly known for saving your car’s paint against scratches and swirl marks (which is true), I believe everyone should know the possible disadvantages of PPF-hype as well. So, keep reading to weigh the pros and cons of paint protection film.
Disadvantages Of Paint Protection Film (PPF)
Have High Initial Cost.
PPF has a significant initial cost, especially if you opt for top-tier film and professional installation. Although the exact cost depends on size, type, quality, and vehicle-based installation complexity, PPF is still pricier than ceramic coating or vinyl wraps.
Professional installation is needed for PPF so there are no peeling edges, wrinkles, and/or air bubbles. So, if you are considering getting a non-professional installation or opting for a DIY procedure to save cost, it won’t give you excellent results.
Ultimately, you would have to invest a reasonable chunk of money to get your PPF done. This financial outlay can be a deterrent for budget-conscious vehicle owners.
Require Regular Cleaning And Minor Headings.
To maintain the appearance and effectiveness of PPF, regular cleaning and maintenance are needed. Contaminants, grime, and dirt can pile up on the film’s surface, potentially impacting its aesthetics and performance.
Also, PPF can suffer from yellowing or discoloration primarily due to UV radiation, road debris, or chemical contaminants over time. This can detract from the vehicle’s aesthetics and undermine the film’s primary purpose of preserving the car’s paintwork.
I suggest using proper washing techniques and appropriate cleaning products, such as car wash shampoo, to prevent issues like yellowing and discoloration. You can also get a built-in UV inhibitor to further mitigate the risk of these problems.
TIP: DO NOT use any product on a surface having PPF installed that contains kerosene, naphtha, or any kind of dye. Why? Because kerosene and naphtha can get to the car’s paint through the PPF covering, while dye can change its appearance.
Can’t Protect Against All Kinds Of Damages.
The paint protection film is not a full-proof shield in front of all kinds of damage. It does a great job of protecting cars from scratches, chips, and other forms of abrasion, but it may not be able to guard against more serious damage.
For example, if a car gets hit by a rock at high speed, the force of the impact may still leave a visible mark on the film. Other than that, PPF is porous. Certain chemicals and bird droppings may be able to get through it. They can harm the paint if left for a long while.
You should always remember that paint protection film is not a miracle solution that will prevent all damage to your car’s paint. It is a tool that can help reduce the risk of certain types of damage, especially if you take good care of it over time.
May Change The Overall Look Of Your Car.
PPF typically boasts a glossy finish for a high-level shine and clarity. However, this glossiness may not perfectly match the original paint finish, especially on matte or satin surfaces. This results in a slightly different appearance than the vehicle’s original paint finish
Some PPFs may also exhibit an “orange peel” texture, potentially affecting the overall vehicle appearance. While high-quality films aim for a smooth finish, the potential for texture issues is a factor to consider when evaluating the aesthetic drawbacks of PPF.
Potential For Noticeable Seams.
Another aesthetic concern with PPF is the potential for visible edges and seams. Although PPF is made to blend seamlessly with the vehicle’s paint, no one can guarantee complete invisibility, especially on vehicles with complex shapes.
However, the installer’s skill and expertise significantly influence the film’s final appearance. If you select a reputable professional, you can achieve optimal results. Certain techniques, like using pre-cut kits or wrapping edges around body panels, can minimize seams.
Isn’t A Permanent Solution.
PPF is not a permanent protective solution. Its longevity varies based on the quality of the film and the environmental conditions it comes across. Though designed to be durable, PPF typically lasts between five to ten years.
It may lose its protective properties as it ages, requiring eventual removal and replacement. As a vehicle owner, not just me but all of you must account for the long-term costs associated with maintenance and potential replacement.
Becomes Difficult And Time-Taking to Remove.
The paint protection film is designed to provide a long-lasting barrier between your car’s paint and external elements, but eventually, it will need to be removed. This can be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially if the film has been in the car for a long time.
This is the reason why I always find it important to consider both the PPF’s ability to protect your car and its ease of removal. If I were at your place, I would look for a film designed to come off easily without leaving behind any residue or damaging the paint.
Advantages Of Paint Protection Film (PPF)
Right now, I want to tell you about a long list of the advantages of PPF, being a fan of it; however, let me just focus on a straightforward answer and save you time for now.
Ultimately, It Protects Against Scratches.
Simply put, PPF is an excellent barrier against rocks, gravel, and other road debris, preventing these from chipping or damaging the vehicle’s paint. This ensures you never get that “peppered” or worn appearance, particularly on the front end and rocker panels
It also guards against everyday scratches and scuffs, such as those caused by people walking near the car with bicycles, loading items into the trunk, or opening doors too widely. This helps maintain the paint’s finish better than powder coating.
Applications Beyond Automotive
PPF can protect motorcycles, bicycles, helmets, and other equipment, preventing cable rub, rock damage, and wear and tear.
However, as far as cars matter, you can install PPF on fenders, bumpers, hood, mirrors, door edges, rocker panel, and pretty much most of their parts. Isn’t it amazing?
Typically, It Is Easy To Clean.
The paint protection film is easy to clean, meaning you can keep your car looking spotless without putting in too much effort.
Can We Repair The Damage To PPF?
Simply, no. If your PPF wrap has a scratch or is damaged in the other way, there is practically no way to repair it without replacing it. I once tried to polish the PPF with my dual-action rotatory polisher, but I got bigger damage instead of a repair.
Is Paint Protection Film Worth It?
Personally, I am a huge fan of paint protection film. If possible, I would wrap every car with PPF. Why? This is my personally-tested way to protect the car paint against most scratches, and it really works. I recommend PPF for anyone on anything; that is it!
While paint protection film has benefits in protecting your car’s paint job, it also has several surprising disadvantages.
Regular cleaning and maintenance are required; it may not protect against all types of damage, and it can even depict a different color than what your car really has.
Moreover, although PPF can save your car’s paint from minor scratches, it is not a full-proof solution for all the high-force impact on the exterior. It is not that big of a miracle!
Additionally, not only is the initial installation challenging, but removing it isn’t a straightforward job as well. It is also not always compatible with car washes.
Ultimately, you should weigh the pros and cons of PPF and see your specific needs and circumstances before deciding on PPF.
Are Paint Protection Film Worth It?
The worth of paint protection film (PPF) depends on individual preferences and needs.
PPF can help safeguard your car’s paint from chips, scratches, and abrasions, reducing the risk of damage. However, it comes with a cost and may require replacement after about 5 years.
Consider factors such as the condition of your car’s paint, budget, and potential long-term costs before deciding if PPF is worth it.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Paint Protection Film?
The disadvantages of paint protection film (PPF) include its cost, potential color alteration, limited protection against severe damage, the difficulty of removal, incompatibility with certain car washes, etc.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A PPF Car?
I have seen PPFs below 5 years of age in very bad condition, while some were even in good condition despite the fact they were older. So, in my experience, PPF can last for about 5-8 years, depending on the film’s quality and maintenance.
Does PPF Dull Paint?
PPF does not typically dull paint when properly installed and maintained. In fact, it is designed to preserve the paint’s original appearance and protect it from damage caused by environmental factors and minor abrasions.
George Alexander is a seasoned automotive expert, boasting an impressive background in the industry. Having spent considerable time in a range of mechanical garages, he has developed a profound understanding of diagnosing and repairing various types of vehicles, including cars, SUVs, and ATVs.
His unwavering dedication to resolving vehicle faults has earned him a reputation as the go-to person for all your car-related concerns. With his extensive knowledge and hands-on experience, he excels at troubleshooting issues and finding effective solutions that ensure optimal performance and longevity for your vehicle.