Your vehicle is one of the biggest investments you will make and it is up to you to protect and maintain it! Now as a responsible driver and owner of a vehicle you have already done the right thing and read our blog that shows you all the benefits of a good paint protection film (PPF) and clear-bra right? So now that you have gotten a clearbra application on your vehicle from a professional PPF technician it is up to you to take proper care of it to ensure it retains all of its protective attributes for your car!
In general you would protect your paint protection film the same way you would protect your car paint, we won’t go into extreme depth on how to wash your car, you can read more of that on our car wash blog, this blog will go over what you should be doing in order to prolong the lifetime of your paint protection film!
Washing A Vehicle With A Paint Protection Film/Clear Bra
Installing PPF for your vehicle is not an excuse to ever not clean it, indeed that is the opposite of what you should be doing, a regularly washed car not only helps with keeping your paint nice and lively it will also do the same for your clear bra.
Do not wash your vehicle in sunlight or while the vehicle is still hot. Your car is best washed out of direct sunlight while the paint is nice and cool (like Morgan Freeman) If you wash your vehicle outside in the blazing sun, water can quickly evaporate, thus causing water spots on your vehicle and reducing the lifetime and effectiveness of car wash soap and wax.
When applying soap to your vehicle and paint protection film make sure to use a premium wash mitt and use a dedicated car wash product instead of household items, yes using a car wash soap by a company such as Chemical Guys or Adam’s Polishes is a lot better for your PPF and paint than the ordinary dish soap your mom uses, don’t believe EVERYTHING on the internet guys.
Now unlike rinsing the car, which you should do from top to bottom, when applying chemicals you always want to start the deep cleaning process from the bottom of the car, the wheels. Use a dedicated bucket with wheel cleaning utensils, equipment, and chemicals, the wheels are the most used and abused part of the vehicle so it makes sense to start with them first.
This may be obvious but always rinse your vehicle thoroughly first to avoid debris getting stuck in your wash mitt. Once the vehicle has been washed it is still possible there is dirt that is still stuck on your wash mitt, you would want now rinse the mitt as to remove all contaminants so that you do not place them back on your vehicle or worse, cause swirl marks and scratches on the paint and PPF of the vehicle! (Although our XPEL Tech PPF is self-healing, leaving no scratches 😉
The best way to clean your vehicle is using the two wash bucket system, where one of your buckets has car wash soap and the other is just filled with water. A good tip to remember is to make sure you rinse your mitt before going to another section, although it seems like we are being “extra” or doing too much for a simple car wash, just remember that you can never be too careful, especially when you want a nice clean car without any scratches or swirls.
You can dry out your vehicle in many different ways although we would recommend an air blower or waffle weave towel but would never allow a car in our shop to air dry, which is once again, how you get water spots on your vehicle. You do not want to wipe your vehicle while it is dry though, always wipe it when it is wet.
All of this advice is useless and a waste of time if you are going to take your car to an automatic car wash though, A paint protection film does an amazing job at protecting your car but you must take care of it as well to perform at its optimal capacity. When you take a car to an automatic car wash you can inflict swirl marks and deep scratches into your car, they could also malfunction and cover your car with a higher concentration of their chemicals, slowly causing irreversible damage! Another good practice is you might want to keep a quick detailer in your car and blot rather than wipe to minimize swirls and scratches in your finish.
Now that was a lot of the basics of car washing that a lot of you already knew, below we are going to list off a bunch of do’s and don’ts when it comes to proper upkeep and maintenance of a paint protection film or clear bra, post-application!
The DO’S Of Paint Protection Film
Allow The Paint Protection Film To Cure
A professional installation whether of Calgary PPF or ceramic coating takes time to get done right and also requires a curing process after installation for a few hours where the vehicle stays indoors in the professional applicators. During this process, the PPF is able to properly settle and bond on top of the vehicle’s surface truly becoming part of the car! After the few hours of curing your paint protection film may be hazy or foggy in a few spots with a few “ water bubbles “ but that is completely normal and nothing to worry about, they should all disappear and leave behind a clear, smooth film that now protects your vehicle!
Wait 7 Days To Wash The Vehicle After PPF Installation
We know, we know you got a brand new layer of paint protection film on your vehicle and you’re excited to wash your car and show it off, but you have to properly allow the car to settle into the new shape it has now taken! The previous process we had just told you about, the curing process, is for the film to bond with your vehicle but you must now allow it to go through the “settling stage” where it must settle into the different curves and bumps on your vehicle to remain intact on your car and so the film edges have had an adequate amount of time to dry! The moisture is still evaporating between your PPF and paint, allow it to “ settle “ for 2-3 weeks and all blemishes and water spots will be no more!
Paint Protection Film + Ceramic Pro = Best Friends
Yes it’s possible to apply ceramic coatings on your paint protection film, not only is it possible, we highly recommend you do so! The number one thing you can do to enhance the longevity of your clear bra uses a ceramic coating! If the surface is not coated you can use a quality car sealant for good protection as well, just be careful as to not use wax as it leaves a white paste like substance over the edges of the paint protection film!
Check out this video to see how PPF and Ceramic pro get along,
Paint Protection Film And Things Not To Do
Spray The Edges Of The Paint Protection Film
Proper maintenance of the Calgary PPF is a definite must, as mentioned numerous times above, that includes regular washes. Now some of you may go for the power washing approach to clean your vehicle which has its pros and cons of course, but nonetheless, you must be careful when using a pressurized gun that sprays water at your vehicle.
The edges of the film are a key component to keeping the Calgary clear bra in place as they contain the strip of glue. Check the PSI of the pressure washer and gauge the distance you should be from the PPF to avoid spraying underneath the film! The rule is generally 8 to 12 inches away from the paint protection film with a pressure washer but you should also be able to judge yourself as to not cause any damage.
Leave Contaminants On Your Paint Protection Film
A paint protection film is amazing at protecting your vehicle from all matters of objects but you must keep in mind that it is not indestructible. You must remove bird droppings and bug splatter from your vehicle as soon as possible, the longer you wait the more time those contaminants will have to corrode away at your paint and clear bra.
The acids from the droppings will chip away at the self-healing layer of your PPF, add the heat from the sun and the car itself, the process can speed up to three to four-fold! In this case, rinse the film and remove the contaminants with a clay bar or a microfiber cloth depending on how stuck on the substance is!
Never Use Brushes On Your Clear Bra
Brushes cause swirls and scratches on your cars, you already knew that cause we mention it a little too many times, but hey, you can never be too safe. Not only are they damaging to your paint they also dull the surface of your paint protection film and eat away at the self-healing layer!
Now that you are fully eThe Do’s & Don’t’s Of Maintainting Your PPFducated on how to maintain your paint protection film, you will have no problems with your film and the condition of it. PPF / Clear bras can be your best friend when it comes to protecting and maintaining your investment so make sure you take good care of it!
If you are in Calgary, AB, Canada or nearby us and you are looking for long-term paint protection film options please contact us today. Choose DripAutoPro’s and let us help you protect your investment.