Self-Healing Protective Car Film? See for Yourself

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There’s a way to save your paint that isn’t a black vinyl car bra.

Check out this video from Engineering Explained’s Jason Fenske about a product called XPEL ULTIMATE. While it looks like a clear vinyl car bra, it appears to be so much more. The technical explanation is that it’s a 6.5-millimeter thick polyurethane film with a clear coat on top (0.5 of the 6.5 mm) that’s designed to absorb energy from small rock impacts and provide a self-healing effect. Self-healing, you ask? If you haven’t watched the video, he gets to the cringe-worthy part straight away.

2018 Chevrolet Corvette Carbon Edition

Jason takes a brass brush and drags it across the hood, leaving a bunch of fine scratches. Some demonstration clips later, he’s even harder on the film. Yes, it’s just a Subaru, but good gracious does it hurt to watch!

The cool part is the self-healing bit, which is triggered via a heat gun, hot water, or simply leaving it parked outside in the sun. The film rearranges itself (technically, that 0.5 mm top coat) and is good as new.

He also notes that there’s an important catch: This effect is preserved only if the clearcoat layer isn’t torn.

CHECK OUT: What the Forum Has to Say About this Protective Film

The manufacturer sells pre-cut kits for many popular models, including most modern Corvettes. When you start going back into the 1990’s, the offerings grow more limited. We punched in the numbers for a 2016 Stingray Coupe and found pre-cut kits for just about the entire car, ranging in price from less than $100 for door sills to $1,150 for a hood/fender/mirror kit. They recommend professional installation, and after watching the video, we agree. Compared to ordinary clear vinyl, which is a bit thinner and will tear or deform with an impact, XPEL’s Ultimate paint protective film seems to be worth a look.

Austin Lott is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and LS1Tech, among other auto sites.

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