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The best time to install PPF is immediately after purchasing a new vehicle when the paint has the minimum damage - and don't ever, ever, ever let the dealer "wash" the exterior prior to delivery. Many use a touch carwash or improper hand wash methods that essentially rub sand and scratch your paint. You will pay hundreds of dollars to correct this. It's best to wash the car using the two bucket method - YouTube it:
. Did I mention to never ever let the dealer wash your car, ever?
Could you ask the dealer to leave the protective-cover sheets on the car when taking delivery, at least where you'd want PPF applied? Or remove, inspect, and reinstall? Then drive from your delivery to PPF shop, and let them work on a just-delivered vehicle?
 

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I personally never liked them and think they cost far too much for the money. They DO protect the car, but for the price you could really just have the front bumper and hood repainted in 5 years if it's that bad. If you live in an area with major road cinders perhaps it's a better value. I just don't think they look as good as paint does. When I've helped customers get it I've often been disappointed with the look afterwards, but thankfully the customers that get them always have been happy.
+1 And the rest of the car continues to wear as time and miles accumulate. $10k is a lot of money to protect the exterior for a while.
 

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Could you ask the dealer to leave the protective-cover sheets on the car when taking delivery, at least where you'd want PPF applied? Or remove, inspect, and reinstall? Then drive from your delivery to PPF shop, and let them work on a just-delivered vehicle?
If you ordered the car or found it the day it arrives. I've seen a Shelby Mustang delivered that way. We typically take those off pretty quick. With Volvo it's just on the hood and rear drivers side door partial and front drivers door handle pocket. Or if it's washed they might be able to save you a hood cover on another car if it comes in and you could use it to protect while driving it there.
 

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If you ordered the car or found it the day it arrives. I've seen a Shelby Mustang delivered that way. We typically take those off pretty quick. With Volvo it's just on the hood and rear drivers side door partial and front drivers door handle pocket. Or if it's washed they might be able to save you a hood cover on another car if it comes in and you could use it to protect while driving it there.
Per above, I can see a collector vehicle or a car like a Ferrari, Lambo, etc costing a small fortune. Where resale on these low mileage cars retain a high value.

On a Volvo, I regret not having my headlights done. They look like sh*t. Pockmarked. Lights super expensive to replace. Hood? Again worthwhile.

But a full hood and headlights going to cost prob $1500.

If you are a DIY'er (and can do this yourself), which I am not, then cost and benefit no longer becomes a factor. Since most of the pricing is in the labor to do paint correction and/or install film.
 
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If you are a DIY'er (and can do this yourself), which I am not, then cost and benefit no longer becomes a factor. Since most of the pricing is in the labor to do paint correction and/or install film.
Just a note in case some may be contemplating a DIY but want to have more information, I posted a thread with pictures specifically for the headlight and front end of the SPA xc90 here: DIY clear paint & headlight film

Since most of us won't be doing this on a routine basis, there is some learning curve associated with it. But it isn't impossible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Thanks all - so recommendation for new car initial prep and my plan seems to be:
1) no wash by dealer upon car's arrival, simply inspect carefully for any paint/body damage prior to accepting car
2) clay bar/paint correction by detailer
3) install PPF at front end, hood, headlights
4) UV reduction/clear window film at windshield, and sunroof as well (from other Swedespeed forums)

Any recommendations as to detailers/PPF installers in the Seattle area?
 

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3) install PPF at front end, hood, headlights
If possible, I recommend PPF on panels downstream or just behind the tires. Even with splash guards on our minivan, debris still gets thrown into the panels.

Otherwise your list should looks good. (The detailer will properly wash the car prior to clay bar and paint correction).
 
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Could you ask the dealer to leave the protective-cover sheets on the car when taking delivery, at least where you'd want PPF applied? Or remove, inspect, and reinstall? Then drive from your delivery to PPF shop, and let them work on a just-delivered vehicle?
It's definitely worth asking the dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Thanks all - so recommendation for new car initial prep and my plan seems to be:
1) no wash by dealer upon car's arrival, simply inspect carefully for any paint/body damage prior to accepting car
2) clay bar/paint correction by detailer
3) install PPF at front end, hood, headlights
4) UV reduction/clear window film at windshield, and sunroof as well (from other Swedespeed forums)

edit/add:
5) if also doing a ceramic coating on the rest of the car, any current product recommendations most in favor for longevity, and should that be applied to entire car, then PPF at front? Or as some seem to have said, putting the ceramic coating over the previously installed PPF?

Any recommendations as to detailers/PPF installers in the Seattle area?
 

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Always PPF first, and then full car Ceramic Coating. The PPF will not bond correctly if Ceramic coating is applied first. If anyone advises the opposite (especially a detailer), run away. Lol.
 

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3) Sealant to maintain the gloss and shine. (I use P&S Bead Maker)
I swear by P&S Bead maker for body, glass, and rims, basically anything exterior - this stuff is freakin' amazing & well-priced!
edit/add:
5) if also doing a ceramic coating on the rest of the car, any current product recommendations
One thing about ceramic coating. Different brands may last 6 months to a couple of years, but basically not too long. To reapply a new ceramic coat, whatever is left of the old ceramic coating has to be removed, which, together with any physical damage of the clear coat, requires paint correction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I swear by P&S Bead maker for body, glass, and rims, basically anything exterior - this stuff is freakin' amazing & well-priced!
One thing about ceramic coating. Different brands may last 6 months to a couple of years, but basically not too long. To reapply a new ceramic coat, whatever is left of the old ceramic coating has to be removed, which, together with any physical damage of the clear coat, requires paint correction.
Good to know re: longevity - or lack of - for ceramic coatings. For an always garaged, limited mileage (-5,000 miles per year), Denim Blue vehicle, better to just have annual/regular paint correction/polish/waxes?
 

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For a car being purchased (not leased unless you plan to buy it but why lease?):

These points might have been covered already but do the paint correction first when the car is brand new, and then PPF:
1. The front of the car, including bumper;
2. The full hood if feasible;
3. The front side fenders and extensions:
4. The rear view mirrors; and
5. The doors’ edges, including the trunk/rear hatch lid.

As far as ceramic coating, it is a nice to have (which I had done except for wheels). Otherwise, get those bird droppings, insect smashups, tree sap, and tar off quickly.

You might also “consider” window protection film for ultraviolet ray and heat rejection, particularly in the sun/heat intense climates with or without tinting subject to local law restrictions. Just price it all as a package and get it done and over with if you “want” to do it.

I negotiated pricing with the professional installer and kept the dealer out of the equation. At least my dealer was planning on a sizable markup (I.e., additional profit) at my expense. The dealer rolled it all in to the purchase price, but the prices were mine not theirs. I paid cash for add-ons and finance a portion of the vehicle purchase.

My entire cost for the paint correction, partial PPF (Xpel), ceramic coating, and 3M heat/UV rejection all together cost $3500, professionally done. For a car that I intended to keep for at least 7 years and maybe 10+, I think it was a good value even for a light-color vehicle.

YMMV.


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Interesting thread, makes me consider if I should PPF.

If you did a partial PPF, how does the non-PPF car surfaces ages over the years? By the time it is 5 years or nearing whatever life of the PPF, would one see a noticeable difference between the paint of the car under PPF vs exposed? This is assuming the non-PPF areas are relatively scratch free.
 

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Interesting thread, makes me consider if I should PPF.

If you did a partial PPF, how does the non-PPF car surfaces ages over the years? By the time it is 5 years or nearing whatever life of the PPF, would one see a noticeable difference between the paint of the car under PPF vs exposed? This is assuming the non-PPF areas are relatively scratch free.
The Xpel PPF is aging just fine - nothing notable such as discoloration or peeling. Xpel has a 10-year warranty.

The non-PPF is aging just fine, too, but I also have the ceramic coating which helps.

Other than a couple of side fender nicks from errant rocks (no PPF), my car still looks brand to new (to me). It has been garaged when not in use.


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If you did a partial PPF, how does the non-PPF car surfaces ages over the years?
I have direct experience with 4 vehicles (although my xc90 is only a MY2018) on this. The older 3M ScotchGard (circa early 2000's) used to have a datasheet that tests UV exposure. For the body panel PPF, they are specifically designed not to block any UV, so that over time, both covered and uncovered body panels will "age" the same way from UV.

I used various brands (including the old 3M ScotchGard, xpel, etc.), and they seem to agree with their claim.

The headlight film on the other hand, seem to have prevented the polycarbonate housing lens from hazing and yellowing, with edges that are not covered by the film showing some hazing. So, either the thicker films for headlight (20 to 40mil) has slightly different construction containing UV filter, or the fact that the outer surface of the polycarbonate lens is protected is what keeps the optical quality pristine.
 

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Interesting thread, makes me consider if I should PPF.

If you did a partial PPF, how does the non-PPF car surfaces ages over the years? By the time it is 5 years or nearing whatever life of the PPF, would one see a noticeable difference between the paint of the car under PPF vs exposed? This is assuming the non-PPF areas are relatively scratch free.
I have my entire Vehicle (except for the four doors) covered in XPEL PPF and the entire car ceramic coated. After 3+ years and 85k+ miles, I find no visual difference between the two surfaces. Both surfaces are as shiny, glossy & scratch-free, and clean off as easily as the other.

My advice for anyone who wants to PPF their car is, do not opt/do/cover a panel with partial PPF. Make sure any selected panel is fully covered with PPF and there are no visible edges to it. Visible edges will have dirt/dust stick to them over the years and you will have a noticeable visual difference between the filmed and non-filmed surface, and also peeling.

For ex, you might be given an option to have the hood (bonnet) partially or fully covered with PPF. Go for the fully covered with no cut/crease lines for a much cleaner look. The cut lines, if opting for a partial hood will make themselves very visible due to the dirt settling in along the cut line over the years, and the film might start peeling off due to dust ingress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Great comments from your experiences. Thank you all.

1) Any final recommendation/preference for PPF material at body panels & headlights- 3M, Xpel, or?
2) Any recommendation/preference for window protection film for ultraviolet ray and heat rejection? Want to do sunroof for sure - possibly also side windows, and has anyone done windshield?
 

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Great comments from your experiences. Thank you all.

1) Any final recommendation/preference for PPF material at body panels & headlights- 3M, Xpel, or?
2) Any recommendation/preference for window protection film for ultraviolet ray and heat rejection? Want to do sunroof for sure - possibly also side windows, and has anyone done windshield?
I am quite pleased with what I had professionally installed back in 2016.

1) Xpel for Headlights.
2) 3M Crystalline for all four side windows and rear for UV and heat rejection. See my signature below for some of the details.

I did not have the sunroof done , nor the windshield. MN law does not permit a windshield film - even clear. Of course, some do it anyway.

BTW: The installer also installed Xpel in the recess/cup behind the door handles. Protects from longer fingernails I suppose.

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1) Any final recommendation/preference for PPF material at body panels & headlights- 3M, Xpel, or?
2) Any recommendation/preference for window protection film for ultraviolet ray and heat rejection? Want to do sunroof for sure - possibly also side windows, and has anyone done windshield?
For headlights, I prefer 40mil than 20mil; brand choice among the well known ones may not matter.
For PPF, they have either matte or gloss. I've used both (in different vehicles). If you have full coverage, either one should be fine. Otherwise, matte will be visible if you have panels not fully covered.

For moonroof, I added a collapsible shade. There was no OE or aftermarket options available, so I bought an aftermarket that is larger than the moonroof opening and then resized the metal frame to fit. I also opted for collapsible window shade for the side windows. There was one aftermarket that was fitted specifically for SPA xc90 for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd windows plus the rear. I haven't seen it since.
 
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