1. Brief history of PPF
Every once in a while a product comes along that seems to surprise everyone. It is the case of Paint Protection Film, whose origin is fascinating and whose evolution is impressive. Nowadays, it represents a viable force in the fight against vehicle damage.
Paint Protection Film (PPF) was first developed for the US military, in order to protect helicopter rotor blades and other sensitive parts which were often damaged by flying shrapnel and debris. Helicopter maintenance engineers dealt with constant sand abrasion on the blades of the aircraft – even on routine missions, different hazards were causing malfunctions and required important financial and time resources to be dealt with. By installing the PPF over the blades, the U.S. military was able to save large amounts of time and money: the film would suffer damage instead of the blade, and it could be replaced much more cheaply and easily than the rotor blades. The PPF proved to be extremely useful in harsh conditions and dust storms, too.
Realising the benefits PPF could provide to virtually any high performance vehicle, in the 1980s people started using it outside the military. The product was reformulated and introduced to the automotive market to protect vehicles from the wear and tear of the road. Race car drivers began adding PPF on their cars for preventing further damage of their paint and for protecting the finishes of the car. By the ‘90s, companies started offering partial installation to the average consumer, while the film was gaining popularity among owners of luxury cars.
While early versions of PPF were thick, blurry and tended to yellow with age, the PPF commercialized today does not suffer any such problems, by the contrary:
- it remains invisible indefinitely, being built on a new architecture that resists contaminants that would otherwise stain or turn conventional films yellow;
- is UV transparent, which ensures that there is no uneven fading of the paint;
- has a self-healing top coat, allowing fine scratches and swirl marks to literally “heal” when in contact warm water, sun/engine heat etc.;
- it carries a warranty against cracking, peeling, staining, and hazing – its pores are closed, which means the film is much more resistant to staining and discoloration from road grime and other contaminates.
2. Benefits of PPF
If you see the value in protecting your car as much as possible in order to get the best trade-in value later, PPF is perfect for you. Not only it maintains the factory finish of your vehicle, but it also preserves its resale value. Paint protection film provides:
- Protection: once the PPF is applied, it provides an outstanding protection against rock chips, bug acids, salt, fuel, oils, gravel, tree sap, bird droppings, acid spotting and other road hazards, ensuring exceptional stain resistance.
- Self-healing properties: our film carries Self-Healing Properties, which allow the material to return to its original state once heat has been applied. From this point of view, scuffs, scratches, stone chips, swirls and other minor damages that do not penetrate the film disappear when the self-healing layer of the PPF becomes warm enough – either this is due to hot water tapping, to sun warmth or to car engine high temperature liberated;
- Conformity to any curvature, being virtually invisible: it take experience and expertise to ensure a proper, flawless PPF installation. At Dragon AutoShield, we use one piece of film to cover each panel when possible. What is most important, for ensuring maximum protection, we wrap the edges out of sight. All the kits are designed to be as sympathetic as possible to the shape and design of the vehicles so any visible edges should not look out of place. Once fitted, the PPF is virtually invisible. The film we use retains the original finish of the panel, regardless of it being gloss or matte. We always go the extra mile to ensure that every car we install film on leaves not only well protected, but with an invisible install that will stand the test of time.
- Enrichment and enhancement: once installed, the film ensures the elimination of minor scuffing damage and improves shine; the shine provided to our customer’s vehicles rises to a higher degree than expected, ensuring total satisfaction.
- Easy replacement: because the PPF is entirely transparent and translucid, when needed (in case of light collisions, for example), it can be changed without hesitation. In this way, the customer gets rid of the worries regarding colour match and/or quality of painting.
- Convenience and amazing price/quality ratio: considering that the panels are customized and designed for fitting each particular part of the vehicle, each of them can be easily replaced within a short time, with affordable expenses and no extra worries regarding the colour match.
3. The installation process
If you ever asked yourself what are the actions carried out within the paint protection installation process, you can take a glimpse at what we usually do:
- A thorough inspection/an audit of the car is done after this is handed over to Dragon AutoShield team;
- The car is afterwards fully decontaminated and cleaned, ensuring thus the suitable climate for identifying the type of correction that the paint needs before installing the film.
- The paint correction process is carried out, when needed;
- Each of the panels on which the PPF will be installed are carefully analysed; customized designs and patterns will be created/digitised through using high-end technologies and know-how, ensuring that each of the cut panels perfectly fit to specific parts of the car. This ensures a higher quality of the installation process, providing us one of the strengths of the provided services: never, on any of the cars on which PPF is installed within Dragon AutoShield, will be used a cutter or other blades for adjusting the PPF to the size and form of the panel. This ensures that safety, care, respect and professionalism is shown to both our customers and their cars.
- Before the full installation begins, each of the designed panels is tested in terms of shape and dimensions; any additional adjustments are done electronically and, if needed, another design will be produced. All the puzzle pieces need to perfectly fit to each of the car panels.
- The paint protection film is afterwards installed on all the required panels. A high quality installation process will be guaranteed both by the experience that Dragon AutoShield installers have and by the environment carefully created for optimizing the conditions suitable to the installation process
- After the film has been installed, the process of Quality Control (QC) will take place. Its role is to detect possible errors and correct them before the car is issued to the final customer. To ensure that we meet the conditions of complete customer satisfaction, QC will be performed in 4 main stages as follows:
- General control of the installed panels, done after each distinct panel;
- General analysis of all installed panels using the Dragon AutoShield QC form – has the role of identifying any installation issues that were missed during the previous step and ensure their rectification;
- Detail analysis;
- The audit of the final product – before delivery.
Our representatives demonstrate high performance, detail-oriented strengths, versatility and preciseness.
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Maintaining the glossy appearance once your pride and joy had been covered by Dragon AutoShield’s installers has never been easier! Even if we provide After Care instructions along with your warranty documentation, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to PPF maintenance.
THINGS TO DO:
Some important tips:
- Clean and dust the film on a regular basis, paying special attention to the edges where dirt can build up.
- Use the highest quality bodywork cleaning soaps or shampoos you can find, preferably those with lubrication additives included. If possible, use a good quality cleaning mitt, too; quality in these areas pays off in the long run.
- Use only soft terry cloths microfiber towels made especially for auto detailing – mainly on the critical edges of the film
- Dry out the surface with a microfiber rather than expose it to powerful air blowers
- Though it’s best to have all-over car paint protection film, it isn’t always possible. So, wax any unprotected areas at least every three months for maximum gloss and protection. Is recommended to only use the best products you can find. When applying wax, spread it at a 90-degree angle across edges to prevent wax build-up.
- Be sure to remove any smashed bugs or tree sap or other materials as soon as possible, to prevent corrosive effects.
- A light spray on wax should be applied to the pain protection film at least once a month to keep the film conditioned and make cleaning the film easier.
THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T DO
Some of these are obvious, but we consider that are worth mentioning:
- Do NOT wipe or scrub the film in direct sunlight or when the film is hot;
- Do NOT use high-pressure water hoses – mainly in the areas where the film edges can lift;
- Do NOT use a lot of pressure on the film when cleaning, just enough to get the job done.
- Do NOT use a power buffer on your film coat – muscle power only.
- Do NOT use bleaches, other heavy cleaning chemicals or abrasive cleaners/chemicals/petroleum distilate or paint restoration products on the film
- Do NOT use dyed or colored car waxes on the film;
- Do NOT use anything abrasive, like: powder, clay-type cleaners and degreasers, or rough sponges and paper towels;
- Resist the urge to pick at the edges of the film, or to scratch off dirt from the edges with your fingernail.
Remember: Your new film takes 30 days to fully cure. You may see some hazing or condensation during this period.
We provide a 5 year warranty on all PPF that has been installed by our team members. The film used during the installation process is is warranted against lifting, cracking and yellowing. Dragon AutoShield will replace any area of film that is on inspection deemed to not meet this criteria during the course of its warranty (from date of purchase). More than that – if our film fails, we will not only replace it, but we will cover the cost to remove the old film and put the new one on.
The Paint Protection Film used during the installation process by Dragon AutoShield is warranted for ten (10) years against yellowing, staining, cracking, blistering and delaminating. This warranty does not extend coverage to damage caused by normal wear and tear (road debris impact, dents or chips) or to damage caused by accidents, abuse, intentional misuse, mishandling, collision, alteration, negligence, fire, theft, vandalism, riot, explosion, natural disaster. Also, the warranty does not cover damage caused by products or cleaners not recommended for use on PPF. As well as the warranty, we provide clients with thorough After Care advice and documentation to help them maintaining the glossy appearance of their pride and joy.
For further details, please contact us.