Paint Protection Film Installation: Does It Result in a Perfect Bubble-Free Finish?


This is an extremely popular question. We completely understand it. You want to protect your vehicle but you also want it to look as perfect as possible.

The honest answer is, NO. PPF is not a 100% flawless process. No matter who you choose, all installs will include some very minor, visible flaws in the process.

What are the most common short term flaws seen immediately after Car PPF is installed?

PPF installation is extremely difficult, time consuming, very intricate, and costly to install. Air bubbleslift lineswater under the film, and lifting edges are the most common occurrences with every install.
Lift lines are where a section has been laid then has to be lifted to remove an air bubble or speck of dirt.
Water under the film will evaporate over several days (or weeks, depending on weather) once the film is exposed to heat and sunlight.

A good installer will make sure that any remaining water between the film and body of the vehicle is free of any air. Water left between the PPF and body will cure out with time, but any remaining air bubbles will leave imperfections that are avoidable if taken care of before delivering the car back to you.

Edge lifting occurs when the film has not completely cured and bonded to the paint. This is especially common on the edges of the film due to tension in the film pulling it away. Lifting can typically be trimmed or heated and re-layed after a return visit to the install shop. As a client, you can anticipate these things on a fresh PPF installation.
As a client, you should expect these things to happen right after a PPF installation.

What causes PPF Installation to not look perfect?

Most reputable PPF shops will obviously strive for perfection. However, unless PPF is installed in a completely enclosed room with a “nasa like” air filter to eliminate dust, there will always be some degree of contamination. 

Pre-existing paint flaws such as rock chips, trash in the clear coat, scratches, swirls, and poorly aligned body panels are honestly much more noticeable and can even feel magnified after PPF is applied. Sometimes, something that looks like speck of dust or debris under the film, is actually nibs in the painted clear coat. Its doesn’t matter the manufacturer, every vehicle has some existing flaws, even from the factory. While PPF protects the vehicle, it also tends to magnify these existing flaws.

What can be done to ensure the best possible PPF install?

Quality Film, Experienced Technician, and Working in a Clean Environment are the three most important factors that can improve the quality of a Paint Protection Film install.

An ideal PPF installation working area will be a clean, well lit environment with some sort of temperature control and filtration system.

We’ve already established that it’s impossible to achieve perfect Paint Protection Film installation, but installing PPF in your garage, a non-enclosed shop, and especially at a dealership, are some of the worst places to apply film.

Working in a clean environment is the most underrated factors when installing PPF.

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