Did you know that vehicle sales were up 3.4% in 2021 compared to 2020? These numbers are still almost 2 million off from pre-pandemic sales, but the results are promising.
You can easily spot new vehicles on the road with their new paint jobs and glossy finishes. What if we told you that a clear bra PPF could make your car's paint look and stay brand new?
Clear bra PPF is durable, cost-friendly, and versatile for the ultimate vehicle paint protection. If you wonder which brand you should choose from, we have a guide for you!
In our article, we will look at XPEL, 3M, LLumar, and SunTek, breaking down which option is best for your vehicle, so keep reading for more information!
- What Is Clear Bra PPF?
- XPEL vs 3M vs LLumar vs SunTek
- The Best Paint Protection Film
- The Secret Behind Ceramic Coating
- Will You Need Ceramic Coating With SunTek?
- Are All Clear Bra PPFs Self-Healing?
- Can You Install PPF Over Paint Damages?
- Do All PPFs Have Similar Installation Guidelines?
- How Much Does Clear Bra Installation Cost?
- Scheduling a Clear Bra Installation
A clear bra, otherwise known as a paint protection film, is a thin membrane layer that adheres to your car's exterior paint. It offers protection against weather, debris, and UV rays.
The benefit of a clear bra installation for your vehicle is that it doesn't harm the metal or paint and can protect your vehicle from damage. The membrane film can cover your entire vehicle or high-risk parts such as:
- Front bumper
- Side mirrors
- Front hood
- Rocker panels
- Door edges
A car paint protection film is highly customizable, offering the ultimate protection against harsh elements. Here are some other benefits of using a clear bra PPF:
- Protects against gravel, rock chips, or tree branches
- Protects against chemical damages (e.g., salt-brine mixtures, bird droppings)
- Protects against door dings and scratches
- Minimizes UV damages
Clear bras also have self-healing properties. When a rock hits the polyurethane film, it creates a minor imperfection, which helps avoid paint chips. When exposed to heat, the film remolds itself to the car, avoiding noticeable damage to the autos bra.
When deciding on the ultimate clear bra, these are the top four competitors. Remember that they all hold similar benefits in repelling road debris and protecting your vehicle's paint.
XPEL paint protection film is one of the most used products. XPEL Ultimate is a pioneer PPF with self-healing polyurethane material. This has boosted their reputation, and many companies have followed suit.
This company only supplies PPFs, making them highly reputable for your next PPF.
3M Scotchgard is another of the most popular films on the market and is arguably the initial developer of the concept of paint protection film.
While XPEL revolutionized PPF, 3M started it. 3M started in 1902 and expanded throughout history until it partnered with the U.S. military to protect helicopters and other equipment during the Vietnam war.
LLumar Platinum and SunTek Ultra are arguably the same. Two companies sell them, but the materials and composition are identical.
Some argue that LLumar and SunTek have better-finished products and aesthetics than XPEL and 3M. Still, it is primarily a personal debate, and all clear bras have a transparent finish that enhances your vehicle's paint job.
Unfortunately, although 3M Scotchgard paint protection film is widely known as one of the best, it doesn't have hydrophobic properties. XPEL also does not include superhydrophobic materials.
If this is a sticking point for you, you are better off choosing SunTek or LLumar. Yet, 3M and XPEL cannot be left off the table since they are two powerhouses in the car paint protection film industry.
If you want a reliable reputation and experience in the field, these two companies outmatch SunTek and LLumar. Another benefit of XPEL is that it doesn't yellow and is discoloration stain resistant, and it can last up to ten years. Some car bras will yellow with time, but XPEL has fine-tuned their self-healing PPFs, and you should notice excellent results for years to come.
XPEL also has better software and installation processes, making it ideal for many clear bra installers. Your preferred company will likely have the most experience working with XPEL, which should ultimately factor into your decision.
PRO TIP: Paint protection film can help increase your car's resale value.
Say you want the benefit of reliable companies like XPEL and 3M, but the hydrophobic materials are a sticking point. Let us introduce you to ceramic coatings.
Many car owners opt for a ceramic coating over their clear bra film. Why?
It is hydrophobic and gives you that glossy finish noticeable with SunTek PPFs. Here are some other benefits of using ceramic coating:
- Prevents scratches
- Protects original manufacture paint
- Offers UV protection
- Creates a glossy finish
- Prevents environmental contaminants
- More durable than wax or sealants
Most clear bra film experts often recommend a ceramic coating for added protection, and it only needs a one-time installation.
Now you may wonder if you would need ceramic coating with SunTek clear bra films? The answer depends. Ceramic coating is not solely used for hydrophobic properties, although that is one of the primary benefits.
Ceramic coatings don't last forever, but they often last longer than paint protection films. It can also extend the life of your clear bra and add better paint protection in the long run.
They are equally as versatile as PPFs, and you can apply ceramic coatings on:
You can add ceramic coating on interior parts of your car too. Areas like the dashboard and seats are prone to UV damage, and a nano ceramic coat helps prevent future damage.
Most clear bras are made of polyurethane materials. Polyurethane is a self-healing property with high-elastic materials. In most cases, it can recover from minor dents or damages on the surface.
It won't heal properly in areas with poor adhesive components or installation. Self-healing PPFs are not a complete solution for a damage-free vehicle.
Heavy debris from storms or even a car accident can still cause damage to your paint and vehicle. XPEL was one of the first developers of self-healing polyurethane for vehicles, making it an excellent option if you want a reputable player in this industry.
Remember that 3M and SunTek also have self-healing properties, but they were grandfathered into this new technology.
None of the clear bra films are miracle workers. They won't repair damages that happened to your vehicle before installation. Many companies will recommend a new paint job, paint correction, or repair work before adding a polyurethane membrane.
Placing a PPF over previous damages could cause swirling and imperfections. It also might not adhere properly and place added risk for future paint damages. The best solution is to pick your PPF when you first purchase your new car and have it installed immediately.
In one word: no. Not all have similar installation guidelines. As mentioned earlier, XPEL has a software system that designs and cuts materials, making it easier for professionals to install.
Other PPFs and brands may require customized installation. Ultimately, the company you choose is one of the biggest determinants of the brand of PPF. If a company only carries XPEL and 3M, they are highly experienced in cutting, designing, and installing these materials.
You wouldn't want them to try and install a brand they are unfamiliar with. Since XPEL and 3M dominate a large portion of the industry, you shouldn't find too much of a problem finding a company specializing in them. Ask your company about their expertise with SunTek beforehand if you are set on that option.
Other clear bra FAQ that you should ask about are:
- Protective capabilities
All PPFs require maintenance and don't last forever. Your qualified company can help you with how to clean your PPF and when it may need to be replaced.
Clear bra installation costs will vary on where you live, how much coverage you want, and labor fees. Full vehicle wraps will cost more but offer better protection in the long run.
How much money are you looking at?
Full vehicle wraps cost around $5,500 on average. Partial vehicle wraps can cost below $2,000. Lastly, if you only want your fender and part of your hood covered, a clear bra film costs under $400.
A clear bra PPF is an excellent choice for protecting your vehicle's paint and avoiding corrosive damages. It can save you hefty costs acquired for paint jobs and exterior work.
XPEL and 3M are two leading brands in the clear bra industry. LLumar and SunTek are similar and have the added benefit of hydrophobic properties. No matter which brand you choose, you need a qualified and reputable company on your side that can install it correctly.
At Pro-Tech Auto Shield, we have you covered. Contact us today to get a quote!