Paint Protection Films (3M-Xpel-Suntek) or Ceramic

  1. lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    #1 May 22, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    I have a Black Sahara and the wrangler paint seems so be very soft and scratches so easily, especially black which shows everything. When I replaced my stock hood with a Rubicon hood I decided to do some sort of paint protection, and since I had to wait 30 days after painting the hood to allow for off gassing from the new paint I then spent 30 days researching my options prior to deciding the best paint protection for me, here are my conclusions.

    Ceramic Coatings: this is applied in liquid form and hardens to a 9H hardness, while it is almost like teflon where nothing sticks to it Ceramic is definitely more resistant to scratches than your unprotected paint. However for a off-road vehicle it is not going to provide much protection for contact by brush, branches, rocks or even mud, it is still scratchable. The advantage of Ceramic coating is it makes your finish look like glass and will require less washing. Additionally the fine scratches you get from washing or toweling off you will not get so your paint will look showroom condition hopefully for several years. While ceramic has marketing that suggest 2-5 years or more protection the truth seems more like 1-2 years realistically. Cost for Ceramic ranges from $500-$1200. Ceramic coating is actually easy to apply yourself and you can buy a quality coating for around $100, however the major cost and skill set with having this done professionally is the coating is only as good as the prep work and paint condition, that is where most of the cost is, your paint needs to be perfect before applied otherwise results will be subjective. I have Teflon on my Tesla and it is a great choice for street only vehicles, and it will make you car look amazing when done right. In my opinion though it is too costly for too little protection for an off road vehicle. ( I have Ceramic on my Tesla however it is garaged and only driven about 5K miles on pavement only. I am 2 year in and it still seems to be working however not like year 1 but still very good.

    I should note that I had Paint Protection Film (PPF) installed full hood, all 4 doors, 4-fenders, all 4 fender flairs (I have painted flairs), and hood cowls. I did not do the grill (maybe later) or the tail gate. So I did most of the jeep.

    Pain protection films: This is what I decided to have installed, so then I had to decide which film as there are several on the market. Understand that these films are extremely tough but best of all self healing if you do get scratches, like scratches from brush/branches or someone leaning on your rig then with a a little heat from the sun, warm water or heat gun those scratches will completely disappear it is truly AMAZING.
    watch this video for a detailed explanation of the self healing process...



    Compare the films:

    3M: this is a well known brand that we all know and frankly the leader in this space, IMO they have the best film with the best warranty (10 years including materials and labor as well if you paint get damaged from rocks up to $3500 to repaint). This is what I decided to go with. In the Seattle market 3M is the most popular product base on number of shops that install films. But frankly it is the warranty and dealer network that sold me. Also 3M has the best clarity whereas some films will show some orange peel effect, the 3M film had virtually no orange peel, you have to look really close to tell there is a film over your paint even then it is hard to tell.

    Xpel: another popular quality film with a 10 year warranty, I found in my market several shops have dropped Xpel recently and moved to 3M. Do not get me wrong Xpel is a good product however I found looking at the films side by side that Xpel has a bit of orange peel look (ever so slight but on a Black vehicle like mine that was a non starter whereas other colors I would not had a issue). Their warranty does labor to re install if you have a warranty claim however now paint guaranty like 3M. Like the 3M though Xpel is also self healing and heat will remove all scratches. Look I am being picky it is a great product also.

    Suntek: They are the leading window tint supplier, their film is similar to 3M, maybe even a fraction clearer, however it falls in 3rd place for shops that install it (very few, even most of the Tint shops that install these films who use Suntek for window tint most do not use it for paint protection film). I ruled Sunteck out even though it was the lowest quote at $1200, simply due to the lack of dealer network and questionable warranty support.

    Cost: this was allover the board, I had My full hood, cowls, 4 doors, 4 fenders and all 4 fender flairs covered I received quotes from $1200-$4500 (it is important to note these films are popular with high end cars so some shops take advantage of those with money to burn resulting is obscene quotes). While you can buy the films pre-cut online and install your self it is a skilled installation, I would not attempt it myself. In fact some panels on my Wrangler had to be done twice by the pros (The Rubicon hood they said is one of the hardest hoods to install PPF). I chose a Tint shop that has been around for 15 years with multiple location (not fly by night) I paid $1600 which I thought was very fair. I had a couple wrinkles with 3 panels and when I pointed it out they gladly replace them and now the paint looks like a showroom vehicle all the time.

    Here is a link to a company that sells the pre-cut film https://www.invisiblemask.com/imask/index.php?route=product/category&path=37717

    As you can see I had it all installed for less than I can buy the pre cut material for.

    The conclusion, I could not be happier, the film not only protects the paint but it also enhances it, it is very shiny like multiple clear coat were added (it really POP's. No more scratches from washing or the trails, most rocks will not hurt the film and in the rare instant I get a tear my paint will be protected and I can replace the film at that location and if the paint is damaged by a rock 3M will pay to paint that areas then install new PPF. With a 10 year warranty and protection my paint underneath will be preserved to like new condition so also preserving resale value. Now when I go off road I do not worry about scratching or paint wear and when I get back I simply hose off then wipe down that would damage any unprotected paint.

    With paint protection you can also add wax, sealer or even ceramic coat, this weekend I am doing the ceramic coating myself, the only reason I would do that myself is with the new film there is no prep work required for paint correction, so for an additional $100 I will have the protection of both.

    Here is a picture to show how glossy and clear the reflections is with the 3M film (my stock unprotected paint was no where near as reflective/shiny)

    3M%201_zpsbm5zxbfz.jpg

    BLK%204_zps2czesj4f.jpg


    htJeep%20Columbia%201_zpsjypvdqew.jpg
     
  2. BoundlessBasu

    BoundlessBasu Member

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    #2 May 22, 2019
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    I've been planning on getting a '19 Black JLUR soon so I've been lurking these forums. I absolutely love your jeep (more pics!) and was immediately interested in 3M Protection when I saw one of your posts a few days ago, so this is awesome there is a thread for it.

    As this would be one of the first things I plan to do to protect the new paint, would all decals have to be decided before I apply the film?
    Edit: Any drilling or attaching mounting brackets, etc. would not interfere with the film either?

    I love Black Jeeps and intend to black out as much as I can. Did you plastidip the jeep badges, and how about the roof panels?

    Once again, awesome to have this thread now. I'll look into getting some quotes around the GTA already :P
     
  3. Jimbo344

    Jimbo344 Well-Known Member

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  4. ResponsibleAdult

    ResponsibleAdult Well-Known Member

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    Hey Boundless. PM me if you find a good dealer/price quote.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    #5 May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    Make this the 1st thing you do after driving it away from the dealer, the black paint is so delicate, however when clean and coated it is georgous I get so many compliments.

    You want all your stickers preferrably on top of the film the Rubicon can stay underneath however with that said the film will make your stickers shiny, I put mine Flat black stickers on top to contrast the black on black

    Yes I did plastidip my badges
     
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  6. XPEL

    XPEL Active Member
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    Hello all,

    Just to clear up a couple things. XPEL Paint Protection Film (ULTIMATE PLUS and STEALTH) are both warrantied for 10 Years against yellowing, staining, delaminating, peeling, lifting, and more. This covers parts and labor. In fact, XPEL was the first company to have a 10 Year warrantied film all the way back in 2011 when we also released the world's first self-healing film - XPEL ULTIMATE.

    To find a quality installer you can trust, go to XPEL.com/Locator.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    #7 May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019

    The Xpel Dealer I talked to said no labor was covered under warranty (that was a big deal to me that also led me to 3M)? Like I mentioned Xpel was on my radar however 3M has the best warranty that includes labor cost and side by side 3m has a smoother finish (less orange peel than Xpel, Suntek was very close to 3M as well). Two 3M dealers had samples side by side of 3M and Xpel and the Suntek dealer had the Suntek vs Xpel so I cold see side by side (again they are very close with a slight edge to 3M and Sunteck in clarity and smoothness). there are also several videos about that as well. In the Seattle market though there are far more 3M installers than Xpel and Suntek combined. Because I had a Black Wrangler I wanted the smoothest and clearest results, other colors would not have mattered so much to me and had expel been available and more cost effective I would have certainly considered that.

    These are little things all three 3M, Xpel and Suntek all seem to be very close. The Installer was also a big part of my decision, in fact my installer who has numerous locations had recently dropped Xpel for 3M. I will also say it seems Xpel has more of the patterns digitized for the wrangler than 3M whereas some of mine (two I believe (rear fenders) had to be custom cut versus plotter cut.

    this was another factor especially for a Wrangler



     
  8. XPEL

    XPEL Active Member
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    Yes, we absolutely cover replacement labor costs on the warrantied items. The installer you were talking to may not be up to date on our policies. That said, we've had this same warranty since 2011. As far as the smoother finish, our ULTIMATE PLUS film which came out in April of 2018, has a much smoother and cleaner look than our ULTIMATE film. I completely understand you wanting to go with a film with as little texture as possible since your Wrangler is black.

    The installer plays a HUGE part in this decision so going with an installer you trust is very important. You're absolutely right when it comes to patterns, our DAP (Design Access Program - template software) is by far the most robust and most accurate pattern database on the planet.

    The video you shared from Connected Circuit was supposed to be done by a non bias third party (the youtuber themselves). However, they went to a 3M certified installer and asked them to do the demonstrations. This is why their feedback seems a little one sided. We sent Connected Circuit the material in hopes of a completely fair comparison.

    Regardless of what film you picked, we're happy that your paint is protected and are here to help answer any questions or give any feedback we can.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    #9 May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    Needless to say especially on a new Wrangler that will be used off road paint Protection 3M or Xpel is a must at least for me it is a priority and worth every penny. The PPF really makes the Paint POP.

    I will say your industry is a little shady (meaning the installers), like I mentioned I received quotes from $1200 to $4500 for the exact same coverage, that is a HUGE variable. It is too bad there is no set price ranges, while I understand that paint correction is subjective I had less than 1000 miles on my wrangler (the paint was in perfect condition) so there was little to no paint correction needed and still a huge cost difference between installers.
     
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  10. XPEL

    XPEL Active Member
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    lightsout,

    We agree. As we can't make a price point mandatory, we do try to get everyone to be in the same ballpark at least. This is still hard to maintain. You going with an installer with great reviews and reputation is the right way to go.

    $1600 for all of the coverage you got seems like a really good deal and we hope the install came out great.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    #11 May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019


    I do think it is good that Xpel is represented here on the forum as PPF is relatively unknown to most. I also have Expel on my Tesla (1/2 hood only) and my Class A motorhome has the entire front done in a film (do not know what brand) however Class A's Take a huge beating with the big flat front ends and the PPF is invaluable, the bugs clean off very easy...

    The Rubicon hood took 2 tries as I was told it is one of the more difficult hoods to cover
     
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  12. OP
    OP
    lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    Xpel

    I do have a question for you, do you sell your ceramic coating that is used over the PPF seperately? I was quoted $1200 to have it done which we both know is rediculas especially since no prep is needed on fresh PPF install
     
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  13. Midding

    Midding Active Member

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    I agree with the shady installers; Xpel, if you can recommend an installer around the 60035 zip code, I’ll go for an estimate next week.
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    I found getting quotes outside the higher end suburbs like yours I had better more reasonable quotes.
     
  15. XPEL

    XPEL Active Member
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    Thank you for the kind words. We are here to help as much as we can. So do we sell our FUSION PLUS Ceramic Coating separately? Yes. But we do only sell it to professional installers as it's easy to mess up a ceramic coating installation and you'll have to know what to do should an error occur. You're absolutely right in that a full PPF car does not need paint correction. It does however, still need to be cleaning thoroughly and depending on the size of the vehicle, we generally say that for a full layer of XPEL Ceramic Coating over a full PPF'd car ranges between $900 - $1400. This will vary based on labor rates and vehicle size of course.

    Happy to help. So the closest and most reliable installer to that zip code would be

    Protek
    1902 Techny CT
    Northbrook IL 60062
    773 501 5852
     
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