6 Tips for Installing PPF

By Jim Black

Paint protection film, commonly referred to as PPF, is an excellent addition to your product portfolio, especially for those who already sell and install automotive window tint. The transition is easy as many of the same skills and techniques used to install window film can also be applied.

PPF is becoming increasingly popular amongst car enthusiasts who want to protect their investments. Designed for exterior application on automotive paint surfaces, PPF is a transparent film with a topcoat that is designed to be resistant to scratches, chemicals, stones, bugs, sand and salt, and discoloration. It is most often used on areas such a vehicle’s fender or bumper which tend to receive the brunt of a vehicle’s wear-and-tear.

PPF can protect a full range of vehicle surfaces including the hood, fender, bumper, wheel wells, door edges and handles, quarter panels, side mirrors and even a full vehicle wrap.

1 Recommended Tools

Having the correct tools on hand will ensure a smooth and efficient installation. I recommend the following tools when installing most PPF products: a turbo or smoothie squeegee, microfiber detailing cloth, detailer’s squeegee, a 1-liter spray bottle filled with 32 oz. of distilled water mixed with ½ oz. of baby shampoo, a second spray bottle with distilled water only, knife and replacement blades, clay bar, and a non-woven scrub pad.

It is also important for installers to select a quality PPF and be knowledgeable of the best installation techniques for that particular product. Always contact your film manufacturer if you have any questions or concerns about the installation process.

2 Clean Surface

Installers should first check the vehicle’s surface for scratches, dents, dust or dirt. The surface should be completely clean, since anything you put over it (including PPF) could be amplified, especially if the vehicle paint already has chips or dings. Installers should wipe the surface clean and fill in any divots before starting.

3 Dust-free Location

PPF needs to be installed in a temperature controlled, clean, roomy and dust-free environment. Many installers choose to put the car on a vehicle lift indoors in order to increase access to the front bumper, wheel walls, and other low spots.

4 Quality Factory Paint

Some vehicles should be turned away from a PPF installation under certain circumstances. If a car’s paint is not in good shape, i.e. dented or stripped, installers are recommended to not continue with the installation. Installers should make sure PPF is going on good-quality factory paint. It’s not advantageous to protect worn paint, and consumers will not get the most out of their PPF in this situation.

5 Smooth Application

Application is key when it comes to a good installation. Through the wet application, installers want to use the least amount of soap possible, so the adhesive can grab onto the factory paint. Throughout the application process, installers should be sure to not overstretch the material. PPF can be raised and repositioned if needed once the film is applied.

6 Dry Time

Once the application is finished, installers and car owners should let the PPF film dry for a short amount of time out of direct sunlight. Washing the vehicle right away can cause damage to the film and result in bumps and air holes.

A quality installation is key to the PPF performing. Vehicles are a large investment for consumers so PPF is a great tool.

I hope these tips have provided some beneficial information that you can use in future installations or have encouraged you to build PPF into your business.

Jim Black is the director of window film sales at Madico, Inc. He can be reached at jblack@madico.com.

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