Paint protection film myths are often more hype that fact. While PPF has come a long way since its humble beginnings as helicopter tape used during the Vietnam War era – there is still a ton of misleading facts about how the stuff works.
Although technology has improved its quality significantly, there are still a lot of myths about paint protection film. Some are misconceptions, overhyping, marketing speak, and even fake news.
Will PPF damage the original paint of United States built cars? Do you need paint correction before installing PPF? Does it matter to purchase a high-quality PPF – or are all automotive paint protection film products the same?
These are just a few common questions that tend to have inaccurate answers spread throughout the interwebs.
Here are some of the most talked about misconceptions about PPF and why you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet – except for this blog.
So – let’s do some myth-busting.
Table of Contents
Myth 1: Paint Protection Film is Too Expensive
Here is one that is hard to bust – simply because everybody defines “expensive” uniquely. Let’s start with the facts.
First, paint protection film installation generally comes with the highest price tag. The paint protection film cost will vary depending on various factors such as size, prep work involved, type of product used, and installation labor cost by the paint protection film installer.
An experienced installer is likely going to charge a premium for their services vs. someone who is not among reputable installers in your service area.
The trade-off is that the professional installer is going to reduce the potential of unnecessary damages to your vehicle, specializing in the right surface preparation, and will deliver an exceptional finished product.
The new installer will use a cheaper film, have greater potential for human error on the installation, and likely produce an inferior aesthetic appearance.
Ceramic coating cost is also impacted by some of these attributes as well. However, several ceramic coating company sales folks tend to hide those facts when quoting ceramic coating packages.
So – as long as we’re clear on that fact, the question is what additional factors impact the PPF’s levels of protection, installation costs, and overall value.
The quality of the installation is the key to the longevity and performance of PPF. Assuming a certified PPF installer does it, once installed, it should last for many years without needing additional maintenance or repair.
The body lines on a vehicle also impact the cost of protective films services.
For example, if the car has rounded rocker panels, it might take more time for the installer to provide that layer of protection. If the paint surface is scratched, adding paint correction to fix paint damage also increases the cost.
But in the long run, installing PPF will likely be cheaper than having your vehicle repainted if it suffers severe damage from scratches or rock chips.
Plus, traditional paint protection film installation with a documented warranty and transferrable can improve your resale value.
So – essentially – in the end, you’ll get some of that initial investment when you sell the vehicle.
Myth 2: It Will Affect My Car’s Resale Value
Talk about a smooth segue into the next topic!
This one is true – but positively.
Adding high-quality paint protection film can improve your car’s resale value as it will help keep its original factory finish looking like new for many years to come.
It also provides added peace of mind knowing that your car won’t get damaged easily by road debris while driving or during an accident.
Being proactive by installing an additional layer of protection – such as a PPF specific ceramic coating, will protect the film – and improve hydrophobic properties. Thus – the resale value will increase.
But – this myth comes with a caveat.
When your PPF installation is backed with a 12-warranty – documented and attached to your vehicle’s Carfax history report – and is transferrable to the new owner – that’s where you’ll see the increased resale value.
Additionally – when you follow the recommended care advice for PPF and use the right automotive care products, the PPF will last longer, produce superior gloss, and improve the visual appeal of the vehicle you intend on selling.
These factors all impact the final sales cost – and your overall ROI.
Myth 3: Paint Protection Film Can Be Installed Anywhere on My Vehicle
Although technically possible, applying paint protection film in certain areas can reduce its effectiveness. This is mainly due to the adhesives that bond the film to the substrate (or material).
PPF adhesive – with the highest quality paint protection films are infused with nano-ceramic technology. This helps to fill more minor imperfections on clear coats of automotive paint.
In fact, luxury paint protection films like KAVACA Ceramic Coated PPF can fill tiny scratches in the clear coat. This makes your finished vehicle look clean and shiny.
However, the drawback – is the film does not bond to glass very well. However, it can be applied to carbon fiber finishes, on top of vinyl wraps, even used as a superior screen protector for your phone.
For other vehicle materials, we suggest adding a high-quality nano ceramic coating – made to coat materials like those.
Myth #4 – Paint Protection Film is Bulletproof
It’s often suggested that paint protection film is the ultimate protective solution for cars. And this myth is TRUE. However, like any other consumer product, some people tend to overhype its protective qualities.
Let’s bust this rumor – PPF is NOT bulletproof. It’s not fireproof either.
It is exceptionally strong and can deflect small rocks, gravel, and harder materials from penetrating the film. But, if the rock is sharp enough, big enough, and strikes the vehicle with enough force, it can cause damage to the painted surface.
Depending on the type of vehicle, many consumers will opt for a partial PPF installation – then installing ceramic car coating products – including caliper coatings, glass coatings, and coating for paintjobs on other sections of the vehicle.
This will provide long-term protection, and ensure that high-strike areas of your vehicle are protected from those hard items that strike the vehicle.
Myth #5 – PPF Will Always Peel Up on Edges
Here is another one that falls under the ‘sometimes’ category.
Paint protection film is a sacrificial layer – just much tougher than a coating or a vinyl car wrap. It has self-healing properties, and often comes with a 10-year warranty or more.
It’s also one of the hardest protective products to install. And like ceramic coatings, the prep work and training of the installation technician significantly impact the installation’s quality and produce that perfect finish.
At Ceramic Pro, we train every factory-approved and certified installer of KAVACA PPF.
It’s a three-day course where we teach them how to prep for PPF installation, precision hand cut with a specialized razor blade, use plotters to install pre-cut PPF, and install on multiple surfaces, materials, and different types of vehicles.
However, our installation classes go further than those important tips. We also teach them how to avoid potential hazards for installs, such as reducing the degree of dust contamination in their shops.
Our trainers also teach them how to remove light scratches with our paint correction system.
A small speck of dirt or speck of dust in the corners of PPF can cause the film to peel up. So, we want to avoid those pitfalls with each of our custom installations.
As such, when you have your vehicle protected with PPF from a Ceramic Pro shop, we feel comfortable in busting this myth.
Myth #6 – All PPF is 100% Transparent
Here is another common myth that is partially true.
The most popular style of paint protection film is considered a gloss finish, which is 100% transparent and enhances the depth of the surface it protects. However, this doesn’t mean it produces extra shine, making it an option for vehicles with matte finishes.
A ceramic coat paint protection film, such as KAVACA Ceramic Coated PPF produces superior gloss.
If you have a matte finish or want to transform your vehicle’s look and curb appeal by swapping it to a matte finish, we offer KAVACA Matte. This product adds a satin finish to any surface without changing the color.
Some manufacturers offer limited colored finishes of paint protection film, but the jury is still out about the quality and longevity of those colored films.
Myth #7 – Is Vinyl the same as Paint Protection Film?
No, vinyl and paint protection film is not the same. It’s also not the same type of material used in window tinting.
Vinyl is a thin material used daily for many applications, including vehicle wraps. Mainly it’s used for aesthetics – such as advertising or creating customized ‘artificial paint jobs.’
Common occurrences of vinyl is also used for creating additional graphics. It can bond to glass, paint, and even bare metal.
However, being that it’s extremely thin – it’s easy to scratch, and fade due to environmental exposure and other natural elements. The average life expectancy of a vinyl wrap is 4 to 5 years at most.
On the other hand, the paint protection film is specifically designed to protect painted surfaces from damage caused by rocks, gravel, salt, and other environmental elements. It’s a multiple-layer product that provides a secure bond to the substrate.
It also has a self-healing top coat that helps to reduce the appearance of scratches and swirls. And if minor scratches occur, applying heat can quickly heal the surface damage.
The funny thing is that the average price for a complete vehicle PPF or vinyl wrap is extremely close to being the same.
Myth #8 – Paint Protection Film is Difficult to Maintain
This myth is false. The paint protection film is straightforward to maintain. However, it’s critical that the consumer has realistic expectations about aftercare instructions.
To properly maintain your Paint Protection Film, you must keep it clean and free from contamination. We recommend washing your vehicle weekly – especially if you live in dusty climates or those with excessive pollen.
If you notice any kind of lighter substance like bird droppings, tree sap, bug splatters, or water spots on your vehicle’s PPF, clean it off as soon as possible using Americana Global Detail Spray or Rinseless Wash.
Catching these items and spot cleaning early will save you extra hours and more money for extensive detailing jobs.
How to Wash Paint Protection Film
Ceramic Pro Americas recommends washing your PPF-protected vehicle weekly or bi-weekly (if you have Ceramic Pro Coatings applied on top of your PPF). There are two methods for washing the vehicle that you can choose.
*NOTE – Do NOT wash your paint protection film when the surface is warm to the touch or in direct sunlight for best results. Make sure the surface is cool to the touch before washing.
Washing Process #1 – Rinseless Wash
A rinseless car wash is a highly concentrated formulation used to wash a vehicle without a hose. This washing method is best used on lightly soiled surfaces – with dust and light debris stuck to the surface.
Washing Process #2 – Two Bucket Soap and Water
This washing technique is known as the Two Bucket method. Ceramic Pro recommends using Americana Global Vinyl & PPF shampoo. This car soap can be used to wash and maintain Ceramic Coated vehicles as well.
Protect Your PPF by Applying Americana Global Detail Spray
Once the entire vehicle is cleaned and dry, use Americana Detail Spray as a final wipe-down. Follow the directions listed on the bottle. For a quick recap – this is the procedure for using this product on ALL vehicle surfaces (not recommended for glass).
1) Fold a plush microfiber towel in four sections.
2) Spray a fine mist of Americana Global Detail Spray on the vehicle surface – from a distance of at least 2 feet from the vehicle.
3) Wipe the product on the surface from top to bottom.
4) When you’ve completely wiped down the panel, flip the microfiber towel to a dry section and buff off the residue by repeating the wipe-down process.
Wrapping it Up
As its clear to see, some of the myths you hear or read about PPF are outdated – or mainly based on the installation, quality of the film, and aftercare process.