All of your Clear Bra questions, answered.
Clear Bra is a clear, thermoplastic urethane film that is applied to a vehicle’s painted surfaces to protect against damage by rocks, bugs and other road debris that could damage the paint. Most frequently Clear Bra is applied to a vehicle’s forward and downward facing surfaces – front bumper, headlights, hood, fenders and mirrors. Other vulnerable surfaces frequently covered include rockers, A-pillars, rooflines, lower doors, door sills, rear bumper tops, door edges and door cups. In fact, the entire car can be covered for maximum protection.
It’s nearly invisible! The mirror smooth finish of our Clear Bra ensures that no unwanted texture, commonly referred to as “orange-peel,” is added to the appearance of your car. This leaves the protected surfaces indistinguishable from the factory paint. Installation by our factory certified technicians ensures exact alignment around surface features such as air inlets, parking sensors, headlamp washers and other design elements. The film along the perimeter of each panel is wrapped around the edges for a truly invisible barrier against the hazards awaiting you on the road.
Yes. Our Clear Bra film can be applied over a vinyl wraps or graphics. However, if there are any hard edges that film must cross (as in the case of stripes) it could result in some air being trapped along that edge. Seaming the film along the edge may resolve this.
First, to protect your vehicle’s paint from scratches, dings, chips, etc. caused by road debris, sand, gravel, etc. and also “scuffs” and abrasions caused by light impacts. It will not stop damage from debris or impacts that pierce the film.
While it’s great for aesthetic reasons, it is also an investment in maintaining your vehicle’s value. The underlying paint will look as good as new if and when the film is removed. We removed film on a Ferrari that had been installed nearly 10 years prior – the underlying OEM paint looked absolutely new. This result enhanced the vehicle’s residual value.
There are no disadvantages to having a Clear Bra. However, just as with the painted surfaces, maintaining the film’s clarity and appearance requires regular washing; neglect can lead to dull or discolored film not covered by manufacturer’s warranty.
Also, non-OEM vehicle paint improperly applied may compromise film installation and/ or potential removal. We can discuss this with you if you have further questions.
For all our services (Clear Bra; window tinting; vinyl wraps; coatings; detailing; commercial & residential window films) we select the products we believe are the finest available and will consistently meet our customers’ needs and expectations. We continue to test and evaluate products and will select only those that meet our standards and have “stood the test of time”.
Over the years, we tested and/or used a wide variety of films. Since 2012 we have used XPEL Ultimate and Stealth paint protection films exclusively. XPEL Ultimate is a patent pending high performance “self-adhesive, clear-coated, aliphatic polyurethane film” (phew, that’s a lot of words!). The films’ properties enable large, single piece installations (e.g. vehicle hoods) thus minimizing “seams”.
Ultimate and Stealth are designed to protect automotive paint and other surfaces from stone chips, abrasions and swirl marks and light scratches that can occur with daily driving and ordinary washing and drying. Contaminants like bug splatter, bird droppings, sap and road tar wipe off the film’s super-slick surface with a cloth. Scuffs and light scratches in the surface of the film disappear within minutes in the heat of the sun or the warmth of your garage—leaving your car pristine and the protective film like new.
The films’ clear coat employs special elastomeric polymers that prevent discoloring due to contamination and ultra-violet radiation and enable heat (from sun light, engine, heat guns, etc.) to “heal” surface scratches; this eliminates the need for frequent polishing to maintain a just installed-appearance.
Even the films’ adhesive is superior. The enhanced workability of the adhesive allows the film to be contoured around the most complex surfaces without distortion—which means you show off a perfect finish, not seams, wrinkles, and ripples.
XPEL Technologies Corp. warrants XPEL Ultimate and Stealth films to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for ten (10) years from the date of purchase. Covered defects include: yellowing, staining, cracking, blistering and delaminating. If it fails, we’ll replace it—labor included.
The warranty does not cover film damage caused by erroneous application, accidents or collisions, intentional misuse or ordinary wear, nor damage, dents or chips to the protected surface or film caused by impact of rocks or any other debris. XPEL will replace any film that does not meet this warranty. The replacement of damaged film is the exclusive remedy; liability does not extend to any other damages, incidental, consequential or otherwise. The XPEL warranty is not transferrable to another owner if the vehicle is sold.
We recommend that any vehicle with repainted surfaces to be professionally painted and fully cured before installing film to the surface. It is often good to ask your body shop about how long they recommend for the paint to fully cure. If you have touched up on chips and scratches then it is recommended to allow the touch up to fully cure a few hours before installation of film otherwise the touch up paint can peel off during the installation. XPEL Protection Film – ULTIMATE is designed to be used on any fully cured OEM paint surface. Surfaces that have been repainted are only suitable for installation of the film if the surface was repainted according to recommendations as set by the OEM.
Yes. Though we can install the film over paint that has been touched-up, the best possible appearance will be obtained if the touched up area has been color-sanded smooth and buffed after the paint application. Lesser quality paint work can result in less than perfect Clear Bra appearance.
“Coatings” such as waxes, sealants and protectants are designed to reduce the surface energy of the paint, making them easier to clean etc. If these coatings are to be used, we recommend applying them AFTER installation of your Clear Bra.
However, if your vehicle already has such a coating, this will reduce the Clear Bra’s ability to adhere to the paint and could cause long term adhesion issues. We recommend removing these products before Clear Bra installation and we will do that while prepping your vehicle for the Clear Bra. If this removal increases the prep time, we may charge for the extra time required.
Generally, Manufacturers do not install Clear Bras. But some install film at the factory on certain smaller surfaces like the “dog legs” (in front of the rear wheel) and rear splash guards (behind the rear wheel). Unfortunately these are often done quickly and without care as to how they fit or look and the film is of lesser quality than XPEL.
Some dealerships offer Clear Bra options. Since Clear Bra installation is a meticulous procedure requiring an experienced technician, most dealerships subcontract Clear Bra installations to a specialty shop like Accutint Bellevue thus assuring the highest quality installation and products. Also, dealership “markups” often result in a much higher customer cost.
XPEL Ultimate and Stealth require no special maintenance. As with your paint, it should be washed as necessary to keep it clean. We recommend hand washing rather than automated car washes to assure better cleaning, dirt and stain removal and avoidance of issues associated with automated car wash machines.
To keep your film looking great, follow a few simple guidelines:
- Wait 48 hours after installation to wash your car.
- Remove insect or other stains as soon as possible with bug and tar remover.
- Stubborn stains can be removed with 99% isopropyl alcohol or lacquer thinner. Take care to keep these chemicals off the vehicle’s paint.
- To preserve a high gloss, you can seal the film with XPEL Flawless Finish Paint Protection Film Sealant at least once every 3 months.
- Light scratches in the film will self-heal in 20-30 minutes at room temperature. In colder conditions, or to accelerate the process, pour warm water (120°F) over the affected area.
You may use any standard car wash soap, rinse free car wash or detail spray to clean the film, provided that the product does not contain more than 5% naphtha or kerosene.
XPEL Film Cleaner is generally designed to remove dirt, grime and oils that, over time, can lead to the film yellowing – losing its clarity. To remove stains from other substances such as insects, bird droppings or other compounds, use isopropyl alcohol, acetone or lacquer thinner with a soft microfiber cloth.
Yes. But wait 48 hours after installation to allow the film to dry completely. However, we recommend hand washing rather than automated car washes to assure better cleaning, dirt and stain removal and avoidance of issues associated with automated car wash machines.
Yes, pressure washers can be used on XPEL paint protection films provided the film has completely dried after installation (typically 48 hours). Avoid pointing the high-pressure water directly at the film’s exposed edges.
Yes, it can be waxed, and we recommend it. If you wax the film, do not use wax containing colored dyes or wax containing Naphtha or Kerosene in concentrations over 5%. We recommend Synthetic waxes designed for urethane films. Also, abrasive polishes and/or rubbing compounds should be avoided.
Wax is not permanent. Depending on many variables (sun exposure; stains; vehicle storage; airborne contaminants; environment; use of mechanical car washes; etc.) it can last from many weeks to many months. If you want near-permanent protection for your paint (from stains, dirt, UV, scratches, swirls, abrasions, environmental damage, etc.), or if you just don’t like waxing your car, we recommend installing one of our “Ceramic Coatings” over your car’s Clear Bra and painted surfaces.
It depends on the coating. Some may deepen the finish while others may add unwanted gloss. We test the coating on a swatch of unused film or in an inconspicuous area before coating a protected car.
Yes, you can install a vinyl on top of the film. We recommend waiting 48 hours after installation before doing so. You may also remove the stripe without damaging the film, if removed properly.
It is highly unlikely for paint protection film to harm OEM paint. Paint systems used on modern assembly lines today produce a minimum bonding strength of 16 MPa and maximum of 25 MPa between the panel and the paint depending on color, iridescence and the system used. XPEL film’s bond to the painted surface at normal state (immediately following installation) is .0753 MPa. Even after years of heat and sun, the bond between the film and the paint increases to only 0.17 MPa. What that means is in the absolute worst case scenario, the bond of factory paint to the panel is over 94 times stronger than the bond of our film to the paint. In the best case, the paint is 332 times stronger.
That being said, it is still recommended to have a professional remove the film in accordance with our published guidelines.
The self-healing clear coat of our XPEL Ultimate and Stealth films employ special elastomeric polymers that prevent discoloring due to contamination and ultra-violet radiation and enable heat (from sun light, engine, heat guns, etc.) to repair or “heal” itself from swirl marks, scuffs, light scratches from car washes, etc. If the scratch penetrates all the way through the film’s clear coat, the films will not self-heal. The only resolution is film replacement.
This is a very common occurrence with all brands of Paint Protection Film. It’s caused by the difference in “refractive index” between the layer of film and the paint on the car. It is most noticeable on compound-curved surfaces because the film must be stretched over these areas to allow installation without wrinkles. Stretched film becomes slightly thinner in those areas. This causes the phenomenon seen through polarized glasses.
It can also occur on flat surfaces when the installer uses a drying solution (as opposed to a slip solution) such as alcohol and water to get the needed bond to the paint. This is due to the difference in viscosity of the fluids and their effect on the adhesive’s properties.
Polarized glasses have this effect on a number of different multi-layer surfaces (not just paint protection film) made of glass or plastic.