What is the best stone chip film for my car?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
After nearly 13 years in the business I have seen so much that I know what to look for in good products. KW PaintShield only uses genuine films and then only the best of the best like Suntek Ultra and Llumar brands which are manufacturered by Eastman company with many decades of experience and knowledge behind it.
While I have installed 3M and 3M pro film, and the 3M pro is very pliable for installation, I have found it is more prone to stretch and wrinkle marks. If a film doesn’t hold up well to the necessary installation techniques required, the finished result won’t function and look good. The 3M films are also well known for their orange peel texture in the film where other films are more optically clear.
While consumers can often be swayed by well known branding and popularity, it is not always indicative of quality. I’ve learned this within my own personal shopping habits and motivations.
Over the years I have found Suntek and Llumar films install much better which means the film looks better on the vehicle (transparently speaking) and will perform very well for years down the road. These are important factors when choosing the right film for your vehicle. Combine this with superior wear and tear capabilities and self-healing clear coat, the Suntek and Llumar film with over four decades in the marketplace, may not be as well known as 3M but it is far better film.
Some background on Suntek and Llumar films:
- Suntek and LLumar window film is manufactured by Eastman company, a global specialty chemicals company founded by George Eastman of Eastman Kodak in 1920. The brand was established in the United States in 1977 and expanded into the global marketplace in 2001. Their product portfolio includes a complete line of automotive window tint; paint protection film, commercial and residential architectural window films, safety/security, anti-graffiti, and decorative films.
- Eastman films have been in the auto industry for decades and have leading quality films include window tint and paint protection film.
- Suntek Ultra and Llumar is self-healing film for minor swirls and scratches. It’s by far one of the most optically clear films on the market that I have worked with. Where other films can suffer from stretch marks during installation, Both Suntek and Llumar film are highly flexible and does not exhibit these appearance problems.
- 3M Scotchguard and Pro both have an orange peel pattern in the film (like the texture of an orange skin), this shows on your vehicle under certain lighting conditions and does not look as nice as Suntek and Llumar films do.
- Suntek Ultra and Llumar film = no orange peel pattern = looks far better on your vehicle, more optically clear.
- What is Paint Protection Film? Also referred to as PPF, clear shield, clear bra and chip guard, it’s a high impact resistant, clear automotive film designed specifically to apply to your vehicles vulnerable forward facing painted surfaces. Combining excellent elastic properties and optical clarity with a high shear and tack adhesive.
- Can PPF be washed and waxed? Yes, you may wash and wax your car as if it were not present. In fact, we suggest you do wax the PPF protective layer just the same as the rest of the car, to ensure against uneven fading of your car’s paint.
- If I sell my car, can PPF be removed? Yes. But why would you. The next owner will probably see value in it and leaving it on can help increase the resale value possibily. The PPF uses a patented acrylic adhesive which can be safely removed from factory paint without residue, leaving your car looking as great as the day you bought it! Please note PPF cannot be removed from repainted vehicles (repaints are less durable/bonded than factory paint). The manufacturer film warranty does not apply.
- Why is it needed now? My Dad’s car didn’t need it. Paints are different now than 30 years ago, and they are applied differently. Many of the environmentally unfriendly ingredients, such as lead, have been removed. Unfortunately, these ingredients are also what made paint more durable. Also, paints are applied much thinner now than in years past, being applied by computers. While this allows for greater initial quality, the thinner paint is far less durable
- Chrome-plated metal parts have disappeared. Where bright trim is used, it is virtually always electro-plated plastic, which is vulnerable to stone chip damage.
Headlights, formerly made of heavy, durable glass, are almost universally made of lightweight, super-clear plastic. While they are highly impact resistant, they are vulnerable to rock dings, scratches, and bug acids from everyday driving.
- Is there any special care required for PPF? No! The only thing you need to do is wash and wax the car normally. There’s no trick to keeping anything looking great and in good condition other than maintaining it. I highly recommend waxes without kerosene in them be used on the PPF film. Clear or white waxes only as coloured or dyed waxes (red, yellow, blue etc) may stain the film and we dont want that!
- Why do I need this? With the gleaming finish of the paint intact, your automobile will retain more value at trade-in time! Additionally, you’ll enjoy the beauty of the original finish while being able to drive and enjoy the car, without fear of stone chips (or dirt and de-icing road salt) year round, year after year. Don’t let the slow degradation of your auto’s appearance diminish your pride of ownership!
- Do you use pre-cut patterns? KW PaintShield uses precision computer cut kits provided by the manufacturers for each and every vehicle make/model. Custom installations from bulk film rolls are often done for full panel coverage or situations where better coverage and fit is desired than what a kit offers. The end result is the same though. The Paint Protection Film (PPF) will fit like a skin, look virtually invisible on the vehicle and do its job in protecting from stone chips.
- How do your costs compare to competitors? If you compare similar areas covered and amount of coverage, plus the fact that our prices are for the product installed, we feel we’re very competitive. KW PaintShield offers quality product, installation at fair prices. The investment of having your $30,000, $60,000 or $100,000+ vehicle protected with PPF is a small one over the lifetime you’ll own it. It’s also a cost effective investment when you consider the cost for autobody work, paint resprays and a better resale value.
- Will it diminish or alter the appearance of my car? The paint protection film (PPF) will protect your car for many years and remain virtually invisible. In fact, from 5 feet away, most people will never even know there is anything on the car! And, yet, you’ll have the finest paint protection film available in place. Films are manufacturer warrantied against bubbling, peeling, lifting or cracking from UV exposure.
- Can chip guard film (PPF/paint protection film) be used to protect headlights? Yes! Due to the extreme optical clarity of PPF, it will not diminish light transmission from your headlights, while providing 100% protection. It will help prevent that cloudy/hazy look that can develop over time. We often install headlight protection for vehicle owners. Ask for it to be included in your vehicle protection package!
- How long should I wait after painting the car before having PPF installed? The guy at the body shop said I need to wait a month. Is this true? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for this one. The guy at the body shop is trying to cover himself by insisting on a month to allow the paint to cure. However, we frequently install PPF over repairs that are only one or two days out of the paint shop, with no ill effects. PPF is ‘gas permeable’, meaning that the paint can continue to out-gas and cure without any adverse effects. All this being said though, because we have no control over how the prep work is done, how well the paint is applied, if and/or how long the paint is baked, etc., we cannot be liable for paint that lifts or might otherwise be damaged during the course of installation or removal.
And finally… a note of caution when deciding on film protection. Don’t fall victim to the old “scare the customer and provide a solution” sales tactic. Some dealers and suppliers have done this I am told by customers. Basically manipulating new car buyers into their own offering at higher profits for them, the dealer. Some examples I’ve heard from customers over the years are that only one brand of film is the best, or you won’t have warranty if the dealer doesn’t install, or it will void your warranty. All NOT true. And I’ve heard these false sales tactics for paint protection film but also window tint and rust proofing. The oldest sales pitch in the book… scare and provide solution. Buyer beware as they say.
Have another question not answered aboved? Feel free to email me and ask: info (at) kwpaintshield.ca