How Long Does Paint Protection Film Last? What You Need to Know

Charlotte Paint Protection Film - Black Porsche

Projections show that the global paint protection film market will reach a size of $498 million by 2030.

Everyone wants to get the most out of their car, and it doesn’t take much for a vehicle’s appearance to diminish. Paint protection film is one of many solutions that people use to help keep their cars looking brand new.

So, what is paint protection film, and how long does it last?

What Is Paint Protection Film?

PPF (paint protection film) is a type of car wrap that’s designed to prevent damage to a vehicles paint. It’s super-thin, flexible, and completely transparent. It’s made, so that once it’s applied, it’s almost completely unnoticeable, except for the shine and protection.

PPF can be applied to various surfaces on a vehicle to prevent damage, acting as a second skin. It will protect from environmental hazards that could damage your car during day-to-day use. This includes loose gravel, highway salt, tree sap, sun damage, and hard water spots to name a few.

These things often cause small chips and scratches, so having a layer of PPF will help ensure the paint is protected. It can even reduce the risk of damage from things like door dings and other light impacts.

PPF is often confused with clear bras. While they’re similar, it’s worth noting that PPF can cover an entire vehicle, whereas a clear bra only covers the front end of a car.

What Are the Benefits of Paint Protection Film?


Among the advantages of paint protection film, the most prominent is that it protects your vehicles paint from things like chips and scratches. Small damage to the paintwork can be quite expensive to fix, so preventing such damage from happening in the first place can prove very beneficial.

Depending on how and where you drive your car, PPF can be even more vital. If you drive on a lot of roads that have a loose gravel surface, for example, your car is likely to get damaged more easily.

PPF can offer you peace of mind when driving. Preserving the appearance of your car also helps to keep the resale value higher.

PPF has self-healing properties as well. As such, small scuffs and scratches will repair themselves over time. Some paint protection films will self-heal very quickly. Others may require heat or other type of repair technique to remove surface scratches.

PPF Paint Protection Film Black Ford GT

How Long Does Paint Protection Film Last?

The lifespan of PPF can vary, but in most cases, it will generally last for around 7-10 years but depends on the quality of the film used on your vehicle and how well it was installed. On average, people keep a car for 8.4 years after purchase. This means that in most cases, people could install PPF when they buy a new car, and it will last for the entire time they have the vehicle.

With that in mind, it’s worth noting that how you use your vehicle will have a sizable impact on how long your PPF lasts. PPF on vehicles that are more commonly used in rough conditions and exposed to the elements, for example, won’t last as long as most others. A vehicle that’s rarely driven (such as a collector’s car) will usually only need a PPF replacement in the event of aggressive contact with the vehicle by an outside object, or worst case a collision.

The most common reason that a normal driver will need a PPF reinstallation is a traffic accident. This is generally covered by the insurance of the at-fault driver. It’s worth looking at your own insurance before investing in PPF to see what their terms are for aftermarket and protective parts.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Paint Protection Film

PPF is designed to be durable, but over time, especially in harsh environments, it will degrade. There are several things you can do to make your PPF last longer.

Consider a Ceramic Coating

Some PPFs have a ceramic coating built in. Naturally, these cost more, but they also offer more protection. Ceramic coatings are better at repelling water which can prevent water spots.

It also makes it easier to keep your vehicle clean as things like dirt and grease will wash off more easily. Many of the high-end films are hydrophobic, and the hydrophobic top coat will help make an easy go of cleaning. Keeping the film clean will make your PPF last longer.

Good Aftercare

Maintenance following your PPF installation is very important. How you take care of it will play a large part in determining how long it lasts.

It can be normal for some small bubbles to appear shortly after installation. Don’t try to smooth these out, as it could interfere with the curing process. While it can be tempting, they’ll go naturally on their own.

You should also avoid picking at the edges of the film. This can cause issues with the adhesive, causing the edge being picked at, to not lay back down properly.

Clean Your Vehicle Properly

Your PPF installer will give you guidelines on how to clean your vehicle once it’s been applied. While it may differ slightly from how you’ve washed cars in the past, you should always follow these instructions.

Don’t use a pressure washer on your car at close range. It can damage the PPF. You should wipe the surface of your vehicle with soft materials only and be cautious around the edges of the film for at least the first week.

For the average driver, cleaning your car once every 1-2 weeks is ideal (depending the degree of how dirty the vehicle gets). If there are any bug splats or bird droppings you should get rid of them immediately. Before using any waxes or glosses, you should check to make sure they’re compatible with your PPF.

Should You Invest in Paint Protection Film?

A car can last without paint protection film, but the paint job itself may not. PPF can offer excellent protection from scratches and chips that can happen every day. If you want your car to keep its original look for as long as possible, PPF is one of the best solutions. If you are a true car enthusiast you fully understand that once you get that first chip, you can never not see it again!

Atlantic Custom Wraps offers a range of wraps and coatings for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even marine vehicles. To find out more about what we offer, click here to contact us today.

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