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The Best Paint Protection Film 2020

Best Paint Protection Film

The best way to protect your paintwork from scratches, chips and sticky residue is to use a paint protection film. It’s a clear acrylic, urethane or polyurethane film that is applied to the most vulnerable areas of the car that are likely to become damaged.

The best paint protection film is the SunTek Ultra PPF, which is a self-healing 8 mil thick polyurethane that comes with a 10 year manufacturers warranty.

Areas of the car that are vulnerable to damage from daily driving include the front bumper, hood, side mirrors and fendes. However, there is nothing stopping you covering the whole car in a paint protection film.

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Paint Protection Film Comparison

Paint Protection FilmSize(s)Thickness
SunTek Ultra PPF60 x 60 and 24 x 108 Inches8 Mil
VViViD 3M Scotchgard6 x 60 and 6 x 120 Inches8 Mil
TRACK ARMOUR TA3X1003 x 100 and 12 x 300 Inches4 Mil
Install Proz Self-HealingTailored To Car8 Mil
XPEL R4003-P6 x 60 & 6 x 84 inches8 Mil
Llumar ClearMask24 x 96 Inches10 Mil
Trimbrite BodyGuard144 x 5.875 Inches4 Mil

Cars with deep bumpers or wide arches are more susceptible to damage from daily driving. Applying a paint protection film is the best way to prevent damage to new paintwork and it’s relatively affordable even when installed professionally.

It’s applied to the paintwork in a similar fashion as vinyl wrap and it must be properly prepared beforehand. Failing to remove all dirt prior to the installation can result in bubbles underneath the film, which will standout on the car.

Below is a list of the best paint protection films that acts as a protective shield to keep your paintwork looking factory fresh.

The Best Paint Protection Film


1. SunTek Ultra Self Healing PPF


The SunTek brand offer their premium paint protection films in bulk sizes that is more than enough to cover a whole car. The clever technology used in the top coat of this PPF is self-healing and it uses heat from the cars engine to heal.

The brand are so confident of this paint protection film that they offer a 10 year manufacturers warranty against bubbling, yellowing and cracking.

Other features of the SunTek Ultra PPF include:

  • Sizes range from 60 x 60, 60 x 72 and 24 x 108
  • Available in matte or gloss finishes
  • Extra endurance backed by a warranty
  • Patented HydroResist that increase stain resistance
  • Impossible to see once installed
  • Step by step instructions included

The brand state that their paint protection film requires minimal maintenance and can easily be cleaned without any special care. Although you pay a premium price tag for this PPF, it’s by far one of the best available and used by many professionals.

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2. VViViD 3M Scotchgard Paint Protection Film


The VViViD 3M Scotchgard is one of the most popular paint protection films that is constructed of a 8 mil polyurethane. Once installed, it’s virtually invisible and it will help assist to keep your paintwork looking newer for longer.

This paint protection film can be used upon multiple automotive components that includes painted surfaces, trim and headlights.

Other features of the VViViD 3M Scotchgard include:

  • Easily applied and removed
  • Backed by a reputable brand
  • 8 mil in thickness
  • Sizes range from 6 x 60 and 6 x 120 inches
  • Detailed instructions included
  • Suitable for multiple applications

The VViViD 3M Scotchgard is an excellent all-round paint protection film that combines maximum protection with value for money. The only drawback is that it doesn’t come as a complete kit, which means you will need a squeegee and scraper.

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3. Track Armour TA3X100 PPF


If you race your car on the track, you will know the damage caused from stones and other track debris. However, if you want a temporary solution that removes smoothly, the Track Armour TA3X100 PPF is the best option.

The TA3X100 is a clear adhesive film that Track Armour states can be installed to clean and dry surfaces in a matter of minutes.

Other features of the Track Armour TA3X100 include:

  • Temporary solution for paint protection
  • Easily removed in seconds
  • 4 mil thick film
  • Includes a felt tipped squeegee
  • 3 x 100, 6 x 100 and 12 x 300 inch sizes

Racing on the track make your car more prone to receiving damage from rocks, rubber and other debris on the track. Compared to using the standard blue tape, it allows for far better track photos and it’s much cheaper than repairing the paintwork. The Track Armour TA3X100 is the best paint protection film that is a temporary solution.

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4. Install Proz Self-Healing Paint Protection Film


Install Proz offer multiple variations of PPF but they also offer a computer cut service to tailor the film to your car. Included within the bundle is paint protection film to cover the hood, fenders, mirrors and the front bumper.

It’s a high quality paint protection film that ensures a perfect fit that’s not too difficult to install with limited trimming.

Other features of the Install Proz PPF include:

  • 8 mil in thickness
  • Computer cut to precision
  • Clear coated urethane film construction
  • Self healing from engine heat
  • Virtually undetectable once installed
  • Protects from chips, abrasion and weathering

The Install Proz paint protection film comes at a premium cost but it’s one of the best options. Not only is it specifically designed for your car but the installation will be far easier for the average DIY’er to install themselves.

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5. XPEL R4003-P Paint Protection Film


The XPEL paint protection film is favored by many professional installers and is able to protect your car from daily driving elements. It’s 8 mil thick and is constructed of an automotive grade urethane that is nearly invisible on a painted surface.

The brand state that their paint protection film protects against rocks, sand, gravel, road debris and much more.

Other features of the XPEL PPF include:

  • 8 mil in thickness
  • Easily wiped clean
  • Retains a high gloss finish
  • Suitable for multiple applications
  • Available in sizes from 6 x 60 and 6 x 84 inches

Once applied correctly, the XPEL paint protection film will be almost invisible and protect your paintwork for years to come. It can even be easily removed by using a hairdryer or heat gun in case the installation didn’t go to plan.

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6. Llumar ClearMask Paint Protection Film


The Llumar paint protection film is the thickest available at 10 mil, which is more than 20% thicker than most alternatives. It’s manufactured in the USA using an Eastman chemical that the brand state is the industry’s most optical clear PPF.

Llumar’s extra thick film has a 2 mil flexible clear coat that has been designed to provide maximum abrasion¬†resistance and durability.

Other features of the Llumar ClearMask include:

  • 24 x 96 inches in size
  • Non yellowing tri-laminate construction
  • Completely transparent
  • Detailed instructions included
  • Made in the USA

The Llumar ClearMask is a a premium option that acts as a durable barrier for the paintwork of your car. It’s also one of the thickest, which many claim helps prevent damage from heavy stone impacts that are very common whilst daily driving.

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7. Trimbrite BodyGuard Paint Protection Film


The Trimbrite Bodyguard is another American made paint protection film that is available in rolls of 144 x 5.875 inches. It’s designed to be applied to lower body panels, side mirrors, door edges and the hood to provide durable protection.

The film is completely clear and blends in with the vehicles paintwork color to make it virtually undetectable once installed correctly.

Other features of the Trimbrite Bodyguard include:

  • Resists scale and rust
  • Not effected by fuel spillage
  • Easy to apply with instructions
  • 4 mil in thickness
  • Completely transparent
  • Made in the USA

The Trimbrite Bodyguard is an affordable option that has a self-adhesive construction, which makes installation much easier. Unlike many of the alternatives that have been designed for multiple application, this PPF is only suitable for cars, trucks or SUV’s.

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Paint Protection Film Buying Guide

If you have recently purchased a new car or had your paintwork resprayed, you will want to prevent any future damage. One of the best methods of doing this is to use a paint protection film that can be applied yourself.

You could apply the best ceramic coating to your car but if rocks hit the paintwork, it will more than likely cause a chip. This is where the film is the better option as it acts as a protective shield against track or road debris.

To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding paint protection films.

best paint protection film for cars

What is PPF?

Paint protection film is often referred to as PPF and is a relatively new product within the automotive industry. However, it was originally used within the Vietnam War as the military wanted to extend the life of the rotor blades. The film was used to protect the blades from flying debris during landing and take-off.

It’s now mostly used within the automotive industry for protecting vulnerable areas of the car such as the hood, fenders and side mirrors.

How Long Does it Last?

High quality paint protection film can easily last between 5 to 10 years. Brands such as SunTek offer a 10 year manufacturers warranty for peace of mind.

However, if the surface wasn’t prepped beforehand or the installation wasn’t done correctly, the longevity of the film may reduce. Other factors include too much exposure to the sun as well as other environmental factors.

Pros and Cons

Paint protection film is highly recommended for owners of new or performance cars with expensive paint jobs. They provide the best possible protection from chips or scratches and can last up to 10 years in some cases. Many use an advanced technology that self-heals by using heat from the engine or sunlight.

However, it does have some drawbacks that put many car owners off using it. For example, some PPF’s can reduce the shine of the paintwork and doesn’t have any hydrophobic qualities. However, you can apply a carnauba car wax to solve these issues.

Many of the drawbacks come from using a poor quality paint protection film, which overtime may turn to a yellowish-glow. We highly advise sticking to the recommendations within this article or other films that the reputable brands offer.

Areas to Cover

Depending on your budget and the quality of the PPF, you may choose to install it on the entire car. However, the main places to apply a paint protection film are the bumpers, hood, fenders, side mirrors and the beginning of the roof.

These areas are more susceptible to paint damage and need protecting to prevent chipping, cracking or scratches from appearing.

Best PPF

Maintenance of the Film

Maintaining the paint protection film is very much the same as you would with normal paint. However, you should avoid using aggressive detailing products upon the surface and spraying a high powered pressure washer on the edges.

Potential Damage

There may be times where the paint protection film become damaged from excess exposure to stones, gravel and other debris. However, some premium options have a self-heal quality, which is activated upon heat from the engine or sun.

Alternatively, the PPF can be removed fairly easily using a heat gun and you can then apply a new section to the damaged area.

Installation Process

Whether you have a computer cut film tailored to your car or a roll of the film will determine the installation process. Using a template is easier because it doesn’t require any major trimming but you will want to ensure it’s the correct template beforehand.

Regardless of the type of film you use, the surface will need to be completely prepared beforehand. There cannot be any dirt left of the surface whatsoever because this could potentially cause bubbling once installed.

Once the surface is prepared, you will want to use a watery solution to slide the film into position. Once it’s in place, you can use the squeegee to smooth out any liquid or bubbles. In terms of the finish, you have the choice of either leaving it flush to the edge or wrapping it around the edge of the panel.

Removal Process

During the removal of a paintwork protection film, it’s vital that you take your time to avoid damage. Many people have their own methods of removal that involve a hairdryer, heat gun and even an automotive steam cleaner. The heat will allow you to soften the adhesive and reduce any traces that are left behind when removed.

The process of removing the film with a steamer include:

  • Gently heat up the film
  • Peel one corner with your finger nail
  • Pull the film towards you at a 45 degree angle
  • Remove any residue with an adhesive remover

The angle you pull the film from the paintwork is important as it helps prevent the adhesive coming off the film and staying on the paint.

After you have successfully removed the film, you may notice some swirl marks or light scratches. If this is the case, you can use a rubbing compound to remove the defects and return the paintwork back to a shiny finish.

Conclusion

Installing a paint protection film to your car is the best way to prevent sticky residue, chipping or cracking of your paintwork.

All of our recommendations are suited to a range of budgets and high reputable brands. If you want to provide the best possible protection to your paintwork, we advise that you avoid the cheap alternatives available and stick to a brand with a great reputation.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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