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View Full Version : Pro/Con Clear Bra


ryanzak
12-26-2006, 04:39 PM
Just found my first tiny rock-chip on the hood... Sad sad sad... Was just looking into possibly adding a clear bra.. Looking at the one made with the 3M product. What are the drawbacks (if any) to adding this to a sparkling graphite metalic car. Should I just do the hood and mirrors... or the whole kit and caboodle.. Does it discolor at all after time.. do you have to replace them often..? If covering the lights, does this affect how the lights act/look?

thanks for your help!

MudPro
12-26-2006, 04:56 PM
I had the 3M product (ClearShield I believe it was called) on a Land Rover and was not happy with it.

1. The clear plastic film is dull and detracts from the appearance.

2. After about a 18 months, the edges began to peel and the installer had gone out of business and 3M did nothing about the problem.

3. Less than a year after it began to peel I decide to have it removed and it would have been cheaper to repaint a hood than what I spent to have it installed AND removed.

JMHO

chuck92103
12-26-2006, 05:00 PM
I had the 3M product (ClearShield I believe it was called) on a Land Rover and was not happy with it.

1. The clear plastic film is dull and detracts from the appearance.

2. After about a 18 months, the edges began to peel and the installer had gone out of business and 3M did nothing about the problem.

3. Less than a year after it began to peel I decide to have it removed and it would have been cheaper to repaint a hood than what I spent to have it installed AND removed.

JMHO

:stupid: Clear bras are a nice product. But the reality is if a rock its you car hard enough it will damage the film. You cannot repair the film, you have to replace it. On a front bumper that is several hundred dollars versus some touch paint.

They are not too noticable depending on paint color. However, if you drive it areas prone to rock chips, Murphy's law says you will stil get chips wherever the clear bra is not installed. i.e. Door pillars, roof line, high on the hood and windshield.

The best I have seen is where folks had the hole front of the car and hood covered but they paid $1500. The film requires maintenance as well as they due become dull and wax build occurs on the edges.

There was a frenzy created about the film a year or two back because the high end cars had it installed. The window tint companies convinced folks they needed it and essentially marked up $5 worth of film to several hundred. It is a good product, but really overpriced. I think the hype is dying down now. I rarely see a new car with it installed.

dUMpEdE39
12-26-2006, 09:16 PM
it turns yellow and dull, like others say, after a while...1 1/2 years. Im going to take mine off and leave it off.

laidback
12-26-2006, 10:06 PM
+1 on getting a clear bra...the positive out weighs the negative (saved my hood and bumper from rock chips a couple of times now) , the main thing is to have a pretty good installer like premier mobile grp...discoloration or turning yellow depends on how you take care and quality of the film used...

johnnygraphic
12-27-2006, 12:07 AM
I've seen quite a few clear bra's put on some extremely nice cars. These cars have been pampered and rarely driven. I saw them at an auto show and to be very honest, the clear bra stood out. When you look at the hood of a Ferrari or Lambo that has that beautiful shine from Italy, then about 2 feet from the leading edge, it goes dull and somewhat discolored, I would have to say that it was a mistake. Sure, it protects against rock chips, but, a hood with a few rock chips is better than a dull film covering 1/2 of the hood! You can also see the edges on it. I'll take my rock chips vs the entire front of the hood is covered in plastic.

You can buff out some imperfections, touch up the rock chips and get a lot of the hood to shine like never before or you can be stuck with a dull shine over 1/2 of the hood.

Johnny

Tampa335i
12-27-2006, 09:11 AM
I have had a clear bra on 3 vehicles with no issues. They have not yellowed nor have they had to be replaced due to rock chips. I have not had any issues with them being dull either. I had 3M on my Lightning for 4 years and it looked like the day it was installed and the front end had zero chips.

One key is to make sure the film you apply has a clear coat finish. This is just like the clear coat on your paint. It will allow you to take care of the film just as you do your paint. The clear coat will also keep the film from yellowing.

I would install in on all front facing surfaces at least. Bumper/grill, hood, lights, and mirrors. You can also do rocker panels if you wish. The film used for the lights is heavier than that used on the paint. The film does not affect the looks or functioning of the lights.

You should treat your film as you do your paint. Wax it regularly and the film will stay shiny too. If you get dry wax on the film edges after waxing just soak part of a micro fiber cloth with detail spray and wipe it along the edge. This will remove the wax build up.

If you decide to go with the film make sure you get a good installer. That will be the key. Make sure you see the work they do to make sure for yourself that you will be happy.


A few pics of mine: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=636204

johnnygraphic
12-27-2006, 11:35 PM
I have had a clear bra on 3 vehicles with no issues. They have not yellowed nor have they had to be replaced due to rock chips. I have not had any issues with them being dull either. I had 3M on my Lightning for 4 years and it looked like the day it was installed and the front end had zero chips.

One key is to make sure the film you apply has a clear coat finish. This is just like the clear coat on your paint. It will allow you to take care of the film just as you do your paint. The clear coat will also keep the film from yellowing.

I would install in on all front facing surfaces at least. Bumper/grill, hood, lights, and mirrors. You can also do rocker panels if you wish. The film used for the lights is heavier than that used on the paint. The film does not affect the looks or functioning of the lights.

You should treat your film as you do your paint. Wax it regularly and the film will stay shiny too. If you get dry wax on the film edges after waxing just soak part of a micro fiber cloth with detail spray and wipe it along the edge. This will remove the wax build up.

If you decide to go with the film make sure you get a good installer. That will be the key. Make sure you see the work they do to make sure for yourself that you will be happy.


A few pics of mine: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=636204

Just looked at your pics, I can see the lines from where you took the pics about 4-5 feet away.

I'd rather just go with the rock chips myself. Your mileage may vary.

Johnny

BahnBaum
12-28-2006, 04:39 AM
3 years of a quality 3M xpel install on a silver gray car and it's still perfect and very hard to see. No yellowing and not a single rock chip. There is some slight peeling on the underside of the bumper, but it's not visible. No doubt, I would do it over again.

I think a lot of it has to do with the color of the car and the quality of the installation.

Alex

picus
12-28-2006, 07:05 AM
The quality of a clear bra install has everything to do with how visible it is. Finding a good installer is like finding a good plumber - you need to ask around and do a lot of research. I am going to put one on my 335i this week, I will let you know how it goes.

Tampa335i
12-28-2006, 07:36 AM
It is not invisible. There is a film on the car and you will see it. The pictures of the front bumper show how little is visible in that area and the pictures of the hood show what you will actually see in the right light from the right angle. In other light from other angles it is very difficult to see.

With that said it is really up to the individual. I would prefer to see a line across my hood than chip marks in the paint. If you don't like the line on the hood don't install the hood piece.

Most people that have seen mine only notice the hood, if they notice at all, and don't even realize it is on the bumper too.

TOGWT
12-28-2006, 08:21 AM
The quality of a clear bra install has everything to do with how visible it is. Finding a good installer is like finding a good plumber - you need to ask around and do a lot of research. I am going to put one on my 335i this week, I will let you know how it goes. :thumbup:

Maintenance and Care- clean and maintain its surface with ( Z-8™ Grand Finale Spray Seal) or a plastic cleaner (Plexus® Plastic Cleaner, Protectant and Polish) start at the centre and work outwards, do not use a foam pad / rotary buffer / abrasive compound on the plastic surface or detailer’s clay as it will cause micro-fine surface scratches.

1.To remove minor scratches in the film (tape the edges of the auto mask when polishing the vehicles paint, use a high speed buffer (white foam pad only) and lightly glaze over the material. It is important not to apply a lot of pressure to the film as this may lead to burning of the surface. Use a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol to clean out the edge (See also 3M website- http://www.mmm.com)

2.To clean stains use a citrus based cleaner (P12S Total Auto Wash) polish the paint and the clear plastics separately, tape the edges with masking tape. It has a clear coat so it can be cared for like a clear coated paint; use Zaino or Klasse as they will dry ‘clear’. Use Z-14 Plastic Magic Cleaner & Polish™ or Plexus® Plastic Cleaner, Protectant and Polish for maintenance and to remove any finger marks / smudges (avoid the use of abrasives)

3. What can be done about wax build up along the seams and how can I avoid it?
Wax will leave a white line on the seam, it is recommended not to wax over the seams and wax the film and uncovered portions separately to keep from wax build-up. If you accidentally wax over the seam, just use a wet towel and rub it off. Another caution is to avoid buffing over the seams, which creates a noticeable wax line as well.

4.To remove ‘clouding’ from the paint under the clear bra; the suns heat or a hairdryer will remove it.

mtbscott
12-28-2006, 10:11 AM
I had ClearBra on my M3 and MINI, was a huge fan and cheeleader for it. Then I got my black Audi A3 last year. Since it was a lease I decided not to do anything and 11K miles later, it still looks great with only one tiny visible chip on the hood. I think luck is a big factor here as well as your driving habits. I had the MINI done the day after I got the car and the only chips I have missed it and that's with the "full" kit on the front of the car. When I got my Porsche two months ago, I thought about it and again decided on going naked. I consider the installations on my M3 and MINI to be good, but it is visible and I don't like the way it looks anymore. I'll take my chances and do touch ups from now on. As others have stated, it is an individual choice and I'm been on both sides of the fence now.

dUMpEdE39
12-29-2006, 11:46 PM
I just took the clear bra off of the hood, only that part so far. It took me about an hour to remove it and get all that sticky residue off and I must say it looks a lot better. Next will be the front bumper and the side mirrors.

Premier
01-02-2007, 12:12 PM
With paint protection film, you could choose to go with a partial kit or a full panel wrap (available by custom or precut - less noticeable done custom, but the installer(s) must be at teh top of their game to provide this type of installation). Most of the time, what makes the film visible is not only the seam, but also the installation. Here are some general rules to follow:

1. Silver vehicles - line shows up quite visibly due to light refraction on sunny days
2. Black - film shows up more when the vehicle gets very dirty
3. All other colors, the film will blend in nicely.

Oftentime, the installer is not aware of these effects. We always tell our customer the pros and cons of these two colors. For the most part, when a customer doens't want to see the line going across the center of the hood, we have sheets large enough to cover most panels.

Stretch marks, dimples, silvering, these are all adhesive distortions that are created when the film is overstretched in certain areas with parts of the film already tacked. Although no install would be "perfect", but there is a level of standard that to 99% of the population could accept as exceptional work. The most important is to find a quality installer, look at their work in person, and ask for references.

ryanzak
01-02-2007, 08:43 PM
I am still unsure.. noticed a Graphite 325 at the store and totally noticed it... I am going to do some local searching for a proper installer.

Thanks for all of your input!

picus
01-04-2007, 09:27 PM
I just got my clear bra put on; it's the lesser of two evils really. I detail cars all day long and see either clear bras or sandblasted front ends - for me I chose to live with a slight increase in orange peel so as not to deal with all the stone chips. It's a personal choice.

davejones11
01-18-2007, 11:52 AM
I live in southern California and my wife bought me a 2006 BMW 645I for Christmas. She had the dealership put on a Roadgard. It looks great can barley see it on the car. This is the first time i have heard anything about this so i did some research and found that 3m and everyone else out there doin this offers a 3-5 year warranty and Roadgard gives a lifetime warranty on the product and installation. Here is there website if anyone wants it http://www.roadgard.com

chuck92103
01-18-2007, 11:56 AM
I live in southern California and my wife bought me a 2006 BMW 645I for Christmas. She had the dealership put on a Roadgard. It looks great can barley see it on the car. This is the first time i have heard anything about this so i did some research and found that 3m and everyone else out there doin this offers a 3-5 year warranty and Roadgard gives a lifetime warranty on the product and installation. Here is there website if anyone wants it http://www.roadgard.com

645's were made for 2004/05

650's started in 06. :dunno:

rmorin49
01-28-2007, 12:21 PM
Can someone recommend a good clear bra installer near the PCD in SC? I would like to get one before my trip home after picking up my car. Thanks.

Premier
01-30-2007, 12:52 AM
Take a look at the following companies for dealers near you:
www.xpel.com
www.invisiblepatterns.com
www.stonegard.com

No affiliations with them, but be sure to ask for references and see hte work in person. And good catch with that chuck92103! :)