We may be biased, but when it comes to protecting your vehicle, the windshield should be one of the first things that comes to mind. Unlike many of the vehicle protection products out there, windshield protection preserves an important structural component of your vehicle, and not just the appearance.
If you’ve never heard of windshield protection film before, it’s pretty simple - it’s basically like a phone screen protector built specifically for your windshield. Most reputable films on the market will offer impact protection (to save your windshield from chipping or cracking) plus a protective topcoat to make the film more durable and prevent scratching from the wiper blades.
When it comes to windshield protection film technology, there are generally two routes you can choose from: scratch-resistant (aka nanoceramic) or self-healing.
The latest generation of ExoShield (ExoShield GT3) is one example of a scratch resistant, nanoceramic windshield protection film. ExoShield GT3 is made up of several layers (described in more detail in this post) that gives it a combination of impact resistance and high durability. The result is six times the impact resistance of a typical unprotected windshield. This solution is the longest lasting and requires the least amount of maintenance, while still providing that glass-like look and feel you want.
On the other hand, self-healing films share many of the same characteristics of a paint protection film (or PPF), which we’ll cover next. While self-healing films do provide an extra layer of protection, many of the films on the market won’t offer you the same level of impact resistance that a PET-based nanoceramic film will. Self-healing's claim to fame is that when micro-scratches start to marr the surface of the film, you can apply heat to “heal” it back to its original state. As it is a softer material, self-healing film is at the mercy of your wipers and the debris they can push into your windshield, so we recommend you keep your car squeaky clean, and apply the recommended coatings and surface treatments very regularly if you’re considering this route.
If you want more information on the different tech out there and some advice on how to choose the right windshield protection product for your lifestyle and your car, check out this post.
When it comes to windshield protection film, ExoShield is the highest clarity, most durable option on the market.
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Unless you never drive your car, it’s pretty much impossible to keep the finish of your factory paint looking perfect. Rock chips, bird droppings, scratches, and scuffs are all an unfortunate eventuality of vehicle ownership - unless you have paint protection film.
Paint protection film is like applying a clear bra to your entire vehicle, except the PPF is nearly undetectable once applied and offers protective benefits that have only been made better with each technology improvement in the space. PPF is polyurethane-based, making it impact-resistant to everything except major dents and door dings. Like we mentioned earlier, PPF also has a natural self-healing ability, which means that applying some heat (e.g. by leaving your car out in the sun) can help the film to “heal” itself back to the ‘fresh’ installation. The top layer of PPF is also slightly hydrophobic, which is a fancy way of saying that wiping contaminants off of its surface is a breeze.
Before your PPF installation, paint protection film installers will perform a paint correction service, so that when the PPF is applied, the best possible finish on your factory paint is preserved. Custom installations are also offered in pre-cut, computer-designed, vehicle-specific kits that ensure perfect coverage and fitment. This also allows for different packages and protection levels, from a bra-like install, to a whole front end, half the car, or even a full-coverage application that includes the headlights and taillights.
If you're curious about the history of paint protection film and where it comes from, here's a brief timeline. But beyond the introduction of self-healing capabilities in 2011, newer advancements in PPF include the option for different specific types to complement different paint finishes. For example: Xpel’s Stealth PPF is made to have a more stain finish than the traditional gloss to better preserve and let a matte paint finish show through. You can even get tinted PPF, so if you’re looking for extra protection for your headlights or taillights, it’ll give you that cool smoked look as well!
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for purely protective coverage for your vehicle, combining paint protection film with windshield protection film will keep you covered when it counts.
While there are lots of great brands on the market, some of the most popular brands trusted by our network of installers include: Xpel, SunTek and Llumar.
When it comes to your windows, you may be looking for something more than protection. Whether you want that blacked out look, or are just interested in the heat rejection properties, window tint may be something you want to consider. While it doesn’t offer the impact resistance that something like a windshield protection film will give you (in fact - we always recommend complementing your window tint with an exterior windshield protection film), the largest benefit to window tint is what it doesn’t let in.
A good window tint will significantly reduce the amount of glare, UV rays, and IR radiation from the sun, which will ultimately protect you and your passengers from sun damage, as well as cut down on fading the more susceptible parts of your car’s interior. The reduction in heat to keep you from cranking up the A/C knob is also a nice bonus depending on the climate you live in.
Chances are, the last time you thought about window tint, there were probably only a few options in dye-based or metallized versions. Now, in 2022 new technologies, like nanoceramics, have made their way onto the tint scene and are the new premium solution and have some fantastic benefits. Here’s what you can expect to choose from when looking for a window tint for your vehicle:
Dyed Tint uses a dye layer between the adhesive and top layers to reduce glare, reflections, and interior fading. It’s the most cost-effective option, with the trade-off being less heat reduction and the eventual fading of the dye layer over time from UV exposure, as well as a chance of delamination.
Metallized Tint has metallic particles embedded within the layers of the tint, which makes it more durable and fade-resistant, while increasing its heat reduction properties. The metallic material does have a drawback in that it can interfere with signals making their way to the electronics in your car, which can make using your phone or radio frustrating at times.
Hybrid Tint is a marriage of metallized and dyed tints, which results in the benefits of both with none of the cons. The layer of dye and metallic particles work together to create a tint with great heat reduction, even at lighter shades, that doesn’t interfere with electronic signals. As it’s a hybrid, it’s actually cheaper than its metallized-only counterpart.
Carbon Tint features hundreds of microlayers of polymer and carbon, resulting in a tint that does a fantastic job of blocking radiation from reaching you and your interior, while also keeping everything inside nice and cool. Carbon tints don’t fade, are very durable, and won’t interfere with any signals, but being a premium product comes with a premium price tag compared to previous options.
Ceramic Tint is the pinnacle of window tint technology right now. The layer of non-metallic, non-conductive ceramic nanoparticles in the tint results in the highest reflection, clarity, heat reduction, and shatter resistance of any tint, while leaving electronic signals unobstructed. It’s the best option of all, while also being the most expensive.
The brand and specific product for window tint that you choose will depend a little bit on what you're looking for since there are so many types out there to choose from.
That being said, some of the brands loved by our network include: Xpel, Llumar, and SunTek.
When you think of vinyl wrapping a car, you probably think of crazy colors on stand-out rides to make them even more eye catching. But there is a convenient protection factor to wrapping your car as well. Besides being an obvious change of appearance, wraps can act as an extra layer of safety from dust, debris, scratches, and scuffs to your factory paint. In the event that an exterior panel is scratched or scuffed, you can always opt to have the vinyl removed and then freshly reapplied, which is usually significantly more cost effective than going to a body shop to have your paint repaired.
With a proper, professional installation, vinyl wrap can be removed at any time, leaving your vehicle's perfect factory paint finish untouched, which adds a nice big bump to the resale value. There’s no limit to the designs and textures you can wrap your car with options like matte and gloss finishes, chrome, colour-shifting, or even something completely custom printed for you. That can all be done for a fraction of the price of a comparable professional paint job, so you could technically change up the look of your ride every year if you wanted to, without the worry of changing the factory finish or the hit to your wallet.
Why stop at the outside of the car? Interior components can be vinyl wrapped as well, changing up the look of your cockpit and protecting them from wear and tear and fading.
If you’re looking to switch things up in the looks department, while adding some basic protection to your investment, vinyl wrapping is a no-brainer.
There are so many awesome brands out there making vinyl, that it's hard to choose just a few! While this is by no means a comprehensive list, the top brands in terms of popularity and reputation in the industry that we see are still 3M, Avery Dennison, and Hexis.
Ceramic coating or nanoceramic coating (the terms are used pretty interchangeably) is the latest advancement in automotive protection, inside and out.
Through the use of super-tiny ceramic particles suspended within it, the coating cures to a flawless, glass-like finish with roughly three times the hardness of a traditional clear coat. The result is paint protection that enhances the depth and shine of the existing paint, defends against imperfections and contaminants, and provides extreme hydrophobic properties for super easy cleaning. For the life of the coating, you won’t need to wax your car.
Like PPF, your installer will likely include a paint correction service to make sure you walk away with the best possible finish. Depending on the formulation of the ceramic coating, almost the whole car can be ceramic coated. Ceramic coating can be applied to painted surfaces, plastics, and even leather, making it possible to protect wheels, seats, interior trim, and more. There are even formulations for glass for extra defence against scratches and rain.
On that note: there’s no doubt you’ve probably heard the term “nanoceramic technology” thrown around in a lot of places, but do you really know what it is? If you’d like to learn more, we’ve got a super informative post about what nanoceramic technology is all about for you right here!
Similar to Vinyl, there are many coatings brands that will give you the results you're looking for. When in doubt, ask your local installer what they offer and why to get a better idea of which products are right for you!
In the meantime, a few of the brands that our partners know and love (plus are compatible for use with ExoShield) include Xpel, System X, and Revivify.
This may be a lot of information and you may feel like you need to go out and book everything on this list. Don't worry - the good news is that you can mix and match based on your current priorities.
Are you primarily concerned with protecting your vehicle from everyday damage? Opt for a windshield protection and full PPF combo to give you the best full-vehicle protection. Looking to change up your ride? Check out the vinyl and tint options in your area.
Luckily, most reputable shops in your area probably offer many of the services we’ve mentioned here, and the staff there are almost always willing to talk to you about what you're specific needs are. They'll be able to give you the best advice based on your concerns, budget, and state of your vehicle.
If you’re interested in protecting your vehicle with a combination of windshield protection and any of the services listed here, make sure to check out our awesome map here to find the closest location to start your journey to full-on car protection!
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