Best Paint Protection Films for Your Car: Cover Vulnerable Areas on Your Vehicle
Prevent any future damage to your vehicle’s paintwork with these top car paint protection films
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PUBLISHED ON January 28, 2020
Picture getting a new paint finish, and a few weeks down the line it’s marred with scratches and chips from road debris or low-hanging branches. That can be annoying, right? You can avoid the stress of repairing or waxing over the scratches by wrapping your vehicle’s body with paint protection film. It lowers the risk of your car’s paint being scratched, which is oftentimes unavoidable. Here are some of the best protection films that you can use to preserve your vehicle’s new look.
- Best OverallXPEL Clear Universal Paint Protection Film KitSummarySummary
A roll of 2.75 by 60-inch polyurethane paint protection film with a clear coat finish for maximum shine and durability on your painted door jamb.ProsPros
Prevents chipping, scratches, and scuffing on a vehicle’s most trafficked areas. Impact-resistant. It’s virtually invisible once applied. Easily wipes clean. Easy to apply. Maintains its gloss finish for years.ConsCons
May not be enough to cover all four door sills on your vehicle. May not roll up well on oddly shaped door contours unless heated up.
- Best ValueInstall Proz Self-Healing Clear Paint Protection Film KitSummarySummary
A strip of ⅝ by 150 inches of urethane film that’s ideal for protecting door edges from scratches, chips, and scuffs.ProsPros
Durable and self-healing. Resistant to yellowing and staining. Protects against chips, scratches, abrasion, and weathering. Can be waxed over for extra protection.ConsCons
One roll isn’t enough to cover an entire car. You need additional tools to install the film. Only flexible when warm.
- Honorable MentionVViViD 3M Scotchgard Clear Paint Protection Vinyl FilmSummarySummary
A clear polyurethane film measuring 6 by 60 inches that seamlessly blends in with the vehicle’s body and provides plenty of film for your car body.ProsPros
It’s virtually invisible on the car. Its top coat finish adds a natural shine to your car. Can be easily removed without damaging the paint. It doesn’t cloud or yellow with time. Can also be used on motorcycles, ATVs, and bicycles.ConsCons
Very thin and wears out easily. May be hard to apply. It may get wrinkly or bound easily if you work with long pieces.
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- Before buying the film, remember to measure the length and width of the vehicle’s painted surface to determine how much protection film you need. You can store any extra film for future use; it doesn’t deteriorate easily.
- Be sure to give your car a good wash before applying the film. Dust, dirt, or grime can weaken the protection film. Also, use high-quality car wax or polish to add extra shine on your car before sealing it with the film. After applying it, run your hand over the film to check for any bumps or debris.
- Protection film can look ugly on your car if not installed correctly. It’s best that you use a sharp knife to neatly trim the edges and a squeegee to lay it out on the surface. If you would like to avoid leaving fingerprint marks on the film, try to wear gloves for a cleaner job.
Q: How long does paint protection film last?
A: Depending on the quality and how well you apply it, paint protection film can last 5-10 years. That lifespan can be significantly reduced with aggressive off-road riding or frequent exposure to inclement weather. You can hire a professional car detailer to install the film if you are worried about damaging it.
Q: Does paint protection film damage the finish on a car?
A: Not when you apply it properly as per the manufacturer’s directions. You typically need warm soapy water to apply the film, which isn’t corrosive to most car finishes. Also, do not exceed the recommended time to leave it on since it could potentially damage the paint when it starts to age. You can peel it off sooner if you notice any cracks on it.
Q: Will paint protection film dull my car’s paint?
A: Most protection films are designed to add an extra shine to your vehicle. However, the cheaper versions may start to dull or cloud, especially when exposed to severe weather conditions such as intense rain, sun rays, or snow. Consider changing the film if it does so.
Our top pick is the XPEL Clear Universal Paint Protection Film Kit. It’s a durable paint film that’s effective at protecting the parts of your vehicle that are frequently stepped on. It also adds a classy shine to the painted surface.
If you are looking for a more affordable option to cover smaller sections of your vehicle, consider the Install Proz Self-Healing Clear Paint Protection Film Kit.