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Is Paint Protection Film Worth it?

Is Paint Protection Film Worth it?

paint protection film

You love your vehicle. The thought of the truck in front of you spitting out a highway rock gnarls your stomach.

You’ve probably heard about paint protection film (PPF). You’ve considered wrapping your car and protecting it from chips and scratches, but you’re not sure if it’s worth it.

You don’t want to get scammed with an unnecessary expense. And does PPF even work?

It can be tough to know who to trust. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and enthusiasts, professionals, and everyday drivers seem divided.

Luckily, Bemac Collision and Service are your local Ottawa experts when it comes to paint protection film and protecting your vehicle. 

In this article, we’ll discuss:

Let’s get into it!

What is Paint Protection Film?

Whether you have a vintage collector car, a luxury vehicle, or just bought a brand-new ride, the last thing you want to deal with is rock chips, scratches, or other types of damage from Ottawa roads that can affect the resale value of your vehicle.

PPF is a transparent film with self-healing properties that can go over any painted surface of your car’s exterior. It reduces the risk of damage to your car’s paint job, such as light scratches, rock chips, chemical stains, bug splatter, or hard water spots and swirl marks.

Car owners used to protect the front end of their vehicles with material such as leather—not the best look! Now, technology has advanced enough that a “clear bra” can be applied to the front end of the car, protecting the headlights, front bumper, side mirrors, fenders, and even the grille.

Is Paint Protection Film Worth the Cost?

As experts with over 60 years of autobody experience, we can confidently say:

Yes, paint protection film is absolutely worth it on many vehicles.

Let’s break it down.

If you have a new vehicle, a luxury car, a vintage collector car or even a newer used one in great condition, and you want your front end looking as great a year from now as it does today, protecting with PPF is essential.

It makes a huge difference. After a year, the parts of your vehicle protected by PFF won’t have a single rock chip. The other parts likely will.

Now on the other hand, if you’ve bought a used car and the front end is already chipped up from highway rocks, then PFF probably isn’t worth it. Protective wrap won’t enhance the way your car looks.

Another factor is the value of your car. If you have a high-end vehicle, it’s probably worth it to protect the entire thing. We’ve seen what happens when these cars aren’t protected. 

If you have a newer car but not as high-end, a front-end protective wrap that keeps the high-impact zones protected can also be a great alternative.

Save yourself the gut wrench of watching a highway rock hit your hood and knowing you aren’t protected. Keep the resale value. Get it wrapped.

PPF maintains the pristine appearance of your vehicle by preventing paint damage. This ensures that your car retains its glossy finish, enhancing its resale value. The film acts as a barrier against road debris, including gravel, pebbles, and insects, protecting against chips and scratches.

Also understand the long-term cost savings: While the initial expense of PPF installation is a factor, it will likely save you money down the road with expensive paint repairs.

Unlike traditional wax or sealants, PPF requires minimal maintenance. It can be washed and waxed along with the rest of the vehicle.

PPF is safe to apply to a new car and can be easily removed. It provides long-term, invisible protection and will keep your vehicle looking pristine for a long time.

How is PPF Applied to a Car?

Paint protection film can be applied to vehicles using three methods: gel application, soap application, and sealant application.


With gel application, a gel-based adhesive is evenly applied to the vehicle’s surface, creating a protective layer. This layer makes it easy to reposition the film and line it up perfectly, as once placed onto the gel, the film floats on the gel layer. 

Once in place, any air bubbles and imperfections are smoothed out and the gel is activated through heat, which bonds the film securely to the original paint. 


Soap application involves using a soapy solution as a temporary adhesive to position the PPF onto the vehicle’s surface. 

Once in place, excess water and soap are squeezed out from under the film using a squeegee, ensuring a smooth and secure fit. As the soap solution dries, the adhesive properties of the film activate, adhering it to the paint surface.


In sealant application, a liquid sealant acts as both a protective barrier between the paint and the PPF and an adhesive for the PPF. 

Once the sealant has been applied and allowed to cure, the PPF is carefully positioned on the surface. Any air bubbles or imperfections are smoothed out, and the sealant helps bond the film securely to the paint.

Each of these methods offers advantages and may be preferred based on the specific requirements of the vehicle and the preferences of the installer.

Where Can I Add PPF To My Car?

While an entire car can be wrapped in PFF, high-impact zones benefit more than others from its protection.

The front bumper and the hood are the two most vulnerable areas to damage from rocks. 

Applying PPF to the bumper prevents chips, scratches, and discoloration, keeping the bumper looking new for longer. PPF on the hood will preserve the paint finish and reducing the risk of rust formation.

Headlights are another high-impact zone that can be protected from rocks.

Fenders are often exposed to debris kicked up by the vehicle’s tires, especially on rough roads or during off-road driving. Protecting your fenders is a great idea.

Side mirrors are susceptible to damage from flying debris, as well as scratches from parking lot bumps and car wash brushes. PPF on your side mirrors will prevent damage and keep them looking clear and glossy.

Door edges are prone to chips and scratches from contact with other vehicles, walls, and objects. Applying PPF provides added protection against damage, preserving the paint and preventing rust.

The lower parts of the vehicle, such as the rockers or sills, are often exposed to gravel, mud, and other debris kicked up by the tires. PPF applied to these areas helps prevent chips, scratches, and abrasions, extending the life of the paint finish.

Applying PPF to the trunk or cargo area can help protect against damage from loading and unloading cargo.

How To Know a Good Install (Vs a Bad One)

When applying paint production film to a vehicle, the installer shouldn’t leave any visible seams or edges.

You’ll know they’ve done a great job if you can’t even tell the vehicle has been wrapped in PFF at all.

If seams aren’t tucked, when the car gets dirty, those seams become more and more visible — not a good look. Over time, the seams and corners will even start to keep dirt and be visibly stained.

Make sure you choose a professional PFF installer who won’t leave visible seams on a bad install.

Can Paint Protection Film Be Removed?

Yes, PPF can be removed from a vehicle’s surface through heating and peeling off the film.

How Long Does Paint Protection Film Last?

In many cases, paint protection film will last five to ten years if installed properly.

There are a variety of factors that determine how long the installation will last. If your car is stored in a garage, away from harmful UV rays, dust, and rain, the paint protection film will last longer than if the car is parked out on the street.

Most importantly, having a professional install PPF will give you the best results. Anything less might result in peeling, yellowing, or air bubbles.

How Much Does Paint Protection Film Cost?

As with anything vehicle-related, the costs can vary quite dramatically – from $300-2,500. If your car is exposed to the elements instead of tucked away inside a garage, the cost of paint protection film will be worth it compared to the cost of a car paint job if you go to trade in or sell your vehicle. If you’re looking to just get a basic level of protection against paint damage and aren’t worried as much about stain resistance and UV exposure, you can get away with a more cost-effective option.

There are several factors that play into the cost of paint protection films:

  1. If you decide to wrap the entire car or just apply a clear bra
  2. The level of experience of the detailer applying paint protection film
  3. The brand and quality of paint protection film

Whatever you decide, it’s best to get a quote from an experienced, reputable Ottawa dealer like BEMAC. Keeping new cars looking new isn’t always cheap, and spending more money on a PPF installation is typically a better choice than going for the lowest quote you can find.

Paint Protection Film vs. Vinyl Wrap vs. Ceramic Coating

Paint protection film, vinyl wrap and ceramic coatings are three of the most popular options for exterior car care. All will protect the paint, but no option will be a bulletproof way of keeping your car’s finish pristine, so it’s important to choose the right option for you. Learn more about paint protection film and ceramic coating here to help you decide.

Paint Protection Film

Paint protection films offer superior protection against potential hazards to vehicle surfaces, such as scratches, tree sap, or rock chips. It’s thicker than a ceramic coat and isn’t permanent, which means you can easily remove it if you need to.

PPF installations should be done by a professional, even if you see DIY kits out there. While it is removable, you can’t reapply the same film again once it’s been taken off. PPF also isn’t as hydrophobic as a ceramic coat.

Vinyl Wrap

Paint protection film is primarily used for protecting the vehicle’s paint finish against damage, while vinyl wrap is more commonly used for aesthetic customization and temporary colour changes. While both options offer some level of protection, PPF provides superior durability and impact resistance compared to vinyl wrap.

Ceramic Coating

Rather than applying a vinyl wrap to the car, this type of clear coat protection bonds with the paint itself. This means there’s no need to reapply like you would with a high quality wax or powder coating. The nano-coating makes your car look amazingly glossy, and it repels water like nothing else on the market. A quick rinse with a hose will give you a spotless, shiny finish.

The downside to this choice is the potential for scratches, flying debris, and other imperfections to damage cars. A ceramic coating is also quite time-consuming and difficult to apply, and it can be more expensive than getting paint protection film installed.

How to Maintain Paint Protection Film

Once you’ve taken the plunge on applying PPF, it’s important to keep your vehicle in mint condition by properly maintaining the PPF installation.

  1. Don’t wash your car after paint protection film installation
    • The film needs to settle and cure, and putting pressure on the coating could affect this.
  2. Don’t touch the film after installing PPF
    • It may take several days for the film to settle and cure. If you can avoid driving your car at all during this time, it will help keep any pressure off the PPF application.
  3. Clean your car yourself rather than use a commercial car wash
    • Hard as it might be to give up going to your local car wash, you’ll have to if you want to avoid PPF damage. Pressure washers, harsh soaps, and dirty brushes can damage the application or the top layer of the film.
  4. Use high-quality cleaning products
    • Low-quality products may contain harsh chemicals that will damage the car paint protection film. Make sure any microfiber cloths or mitts you buy are specifically designed for auto care.
  5. Avoid washing you car in direct sunlight
    • Direct sunlight combined with car wash soap might damage the coating. Try to wash in the shade or in a garage if you can.
  6. Keep rags, mitts, and buckets separate for wheels and body
    • Any debris that your tires collect should stay far away from the body of your vehicle. Keep the two areas separate when it comes to cleaning products.

What is a Trusted Paint Film Protection Brand?

At BEMAC, we use XPEL Paint Protection Film in glossy ULTIMATE PLUS™ or satin finish STEALTH™ options. 

One of the most advanced paint protection film products on the market, and available in three different thicknesses to suit your needs, it’s a high-performance acrylic adhesive that’s formulated to resist delamination.

Find out which PPF brand is better – 3M or Xpel?

Installing Paint Protection Film in Ottawa

With 6 locally-owned full-service auto body, collision repair, service facilities and detail shops, BEMAC has over 60 years of experience in keeping your car protected from headlights to tailpipe with the best paint protection film Ottawa has to offer.

Contact us to get a free quote today!