Vehicle Rock Chip Protection Film: Myths and Truths
A car is a big financial investment that deserves to be protected, but it’s more than that. For many people, a vehicle is also a reflection of who they are, and the condition of that vehicle is an extension of self-image. Sadly, normal driving puts wear and tear on any vehicle over time, with a barrage of debris, dust, salt, sand, insects, bird droppings, ultraviolet light, atmospheric chemicals and weather. Paint damage is inevitable, whether it’s from a stray pebble, a door ding or just a general loss of luster under nature’s unrelenting assault. Think of rock chip protection film as a sort of force field around the paint that prevents this deterioration.
Paint protection film is made from military grade urethane backed with an adhesive that’s formulated to resist bubbling and optical degradation. This “second skin” protects the paint from dust, damaging chemicals and road debris, protecting your investment and maintaining that “new car look.”
But there are different types of films, adhesives and ways of applying them, which can be confusing when you’re trying to decide if this is a good option for your vehicle. In this article, we’ll explore myths and truths about professional grade films, as well as the pros and cons of do-it-yourself kits versus professional installation, so you can make an informed decision.
Truth: Thermoplastic Urethane Film was Developed for Military Use
Vehicle rock protection film is made from thermoplastic urethane, a material that was originally designed to protect helicopter rotor blades from debris and other flight hazards. The film then became available for commercial use by new vehicle manufacturers. Now the technology is widely available for repair and aftermarket applications, with templates available to fit virtually any vehicle. Like a coat of wax, the material is virtually invisible, but unlike waxing, protective film looks great on matte paint finishes, as well as gloss finishes. And it lasts many times longer than wax.
Truth: Rock Chip Protection Film can be Washed and Waxed
We wax our vehicles to protect the paint and maintain resale value, and waxing is effective, but it’s only a temporary measure. Thermoplastic urethane film is a longer term solution that can be installed on the hood, side mirrors, fenders and other panels, and it doesn’t require you to change your normal car care habits. You can still wash and wax your vehicle, just like you always have, to maintain a clean, polished appearance.
Myth: Protective Film is Expensive
Rock protection film costs considerably more than a tin of Turtle Wax, but it’s a small investment compared to the cost of a new paint job, and it lasts for years. Custom paint jobs are especially good candidates for protective film because they can be particularly expensive to redo if you have damage, but no auto paint job is cheap, so urethane film is a cost effective protectant for any vehicle.
Myth: Urethane Film Doesn’t Last Long
There’s a reason that many protection film installations have multi-year warranties: this stuff is tough. Not only does it last years, but it also protects the paint beneath from damaging ultraviolet radiation, retaining the paint color and finish for years. With proper, professional installation, these adhesive films will perform well for years.
Myth: The Film Can’t Be Removed
Some types of film and vehicle wraps can be difficult to remove without damaging the paint, so this is not a complete myth. At APR, we use professional grade film with a patented adhesive that leaves no residue when removed, even after months and years. With professional installation, you should have no damage to paint, should you decide to remove or redo your film at a later time.
Myth: You Can Do It Yourself
The quality of the film itself is important, but equally important is the quality of the installation, if you want your rock chip protection to last. Adhesive film leaves no room for error because you only get one chance to place it on the vehicle. Make a mistake, and you’ll have to buy a new piece of film. If you fail to completely remove all dust and contaminants from the vehicle’s surface before application, you’ll have to buy a new piece of film. Simply stated, this product is not easy to apply, and it’s a job best left to professionals.
Yes, there are cheap, do-it-yourself kits available for many vehicles, but clean, accurate application requires skill, practice and a clean work environment. APR technicians are experienced installers who use professional tools in a dust-free setting that assures your film installation will look great for years, with no bubbles or adhesion problems.
Truth: Urethane Wraps Keep Car and Truck Paint Looking New
Urethane film helps paint hold its color and shine by filtering UV radiation and shielding against dust, debris, insects, bird droppings, atmospheric contaminants and just about anything else that can degrade vehicle paint. It even protects against minor door dings and parking lot damage. If you really care about your vehicle’s paint, rock chip protection is a worthwhile investment.
Questions? Call our rock chip protection experts at (316) 262-8888 or visit the shop at 1100 South Washington in Wichita, KS.