Often times, our customers wonder what all goes into paint protection film (PPF) installation. To some, it may come as a surprise that it is much more than applying clear film to the vehicle’s surface. So what all goes into PPF installation? The 7 steps below describe the many components of completing a standard paint protection film job. In each step, we will reference a previous PPF install that was done on a 2019 Corvette Zr1.
7 Step Paint Protection Film Process
Step 1: Client Consultation
At Elite Auto Spa, quality and customer satisfaction is our number one objective with any job that comes in our shop. That is why it is important that we meet with customers prior to their service appointment to determine the condition of the vehicle receiving treatment and build a specialized plan based upon customer needs. It is essential that we understand any special desires that may require vehicle disassembly or custom film work to take place.
Step 2: Vehicle Prep
Our next step in the PPF installation process is to prep the vehicle receiving treatment. We remove all badges on the areas receiving film so we prevent visible edges and create a seamless look. Next, regardless of the vehicle’s condition, we wash and decontaminate all exterior surfaces in preparation for paint correction. For the Corvette Zr1, badges on the hood and front bumper were removed prior to wash/decontamination.
Step 3: Paint Correction
The purpose of this next step is to ensure the paint is in the best possible condition prior to film application. Paint correction removes any defects in the surface paint and promotes proper bonding of the film to painted car panels. Since every car is in different condition, we go through a full vehicle inspection to determine areas needing single or two stage paint correction. A vehicle in good condition may only warrant a single step polish. A two-step process involves cutting and polishing to remove deeper defects in the surface paint. For the Corvette, we completed a single step polish to remove minor defects and adhesive marks left by badge removal.
Step 4: Vehicle Re-wash
That’s right, we are now four steps into the process and have not even started any film work. Before installing any PPF, it is essential to re-wash the vehicle to remove residual polishing oils and dust from paint correction.
“It is all in the prep work” -Andre
Step 5: Paint Protection Film
At last, we are FINALLY ready to install the paint protection film. Now we start by cutting out the film needed to cover the treatment areas. The first part of this step is largely determined by the customer’s wishes identified in Step 1. At Elite Auto Spa, we always encourage custom installs for the highest level of coverage, which although take much longer to complete, always end with the best results. This means bulk measuring and hand cutting film pieces to allow for tucking film edges on the body panels- thus eliminating noticeable film edge lines. The alternative is to use patterns from a software using a plotter. For the Corvette, we chose a hybrid method using Xpel Ultimate Plus PPF- bulking film pieces for areas such as the mirrors and plotting film using Xpel’s Design Access Program (DAP) for other areas. Xpel’s DAP is the leading film plotting software in the industry, known for offering the most precise vehicle panel patterns. At Elite Auto Spa, we spend extra time customizing software pieces to extend the edges, delete sensor holes, and delete badge cutouts, which allow us to tuck and hide all film edges once installed so that the film goes almost completely unseen.
down, completing any necessary tucking and trimming on customized pieces.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Once all film has been completed and cured, we reassemble any previously removed badges and parts.
Step 7: Final Inspection
Lastly, each vehicle goes through an extensive quality control step. We inspect all film edges to make sure no film has lifted or shifted during drying. Before the vehicle leaves our shop, it receives a mini complimentary detail, which includes interior vacuum and wipe down, cleaning of all windows inside and out, application of a spray sealant to the full exterior, and tire shine.