A short while ago, we were approached by a client in possession of a Tesla P85D. As is the case with many Tesla owners, our client cared greatly for his P85D and wished for the exterior of his vehicle to remain free of rock chips.
After a short consultation, we booked the Tesla in for Full Front Paint Protection Film. This service utilizes the advanced protective technology of Paint Protection Film, a clear wrap that adds a thick layer between a vehicle's paint and road debris. Cost is kept low by implementing the film solely on the panels that will see most abuse from this debris: the front bumper, hood, front fenders, side mirrors, A pillars, and the leading edge of the roof.
With the services agreed upon and the car left in our hands, it was time for us to get to work.
As with any exterior service we provide, we make sure that that paint is free of contamination and by giving the vehicle a thorough wash and clay bar.
After the car is free of contaminants, the next step of preparation for Paint Protection Film application is to relieve the paint of any defects. We quickly found that the bumper had a handful nibs and fisheyes. These defects occur in the painting process and are manufacture defects. The process to remove high spots from paint is to carefully wet sand the area with an array of sandpaper. Once the paint is wet sanded it must be compounded and polished to clear up any fine scratches left from the abrasive.
With the high spots sanded down, the next step in our process is an extensive polish to the areas that are receiving the Paint Protection Film. We first hit the areas with an array of Rupes polishers. The paint was in exceptional condition with few swirl marks, so Steven takes to it with a soft foam pad.
After the panels receive a once-over with the 5", we go back through and polished the panels with a Rupes Bigfoot Mini, again with a soft foam pad. The smaller pad and throw of the polisher allowed Steven to concentrate his efforts on the more diminutive areas within the panels.
Once Steven finished up with the Bigfoot Mini, the body panels looked good...but not perfect. The final step in the polishing process utilizes the Rupes Bigfoot Nano. This polisher has an even smaller backing plate with an even smaller throw just for the nooks and crannies that our larger polishers can't access.
Considerable improvement was made to the surface with our prep process. Nonetheless, there were blemishes that were not able to be removed. We try to impress on both our friends and clients (who are often one in the same) that the best time for installation of Paint Protection Film is when the car is brand new.
Paint Protection Film is designed to adhere to bare paint, and as a result any oils and polish residue can compromise film clarity and adhesion. To ensure we are working with completely bare paint, we wiped the vehicle down with Isopropyl Alcohol.
With the paint both perfected as much as possible and completely bare, it was time to lay some film. For the demonstration of our process, we will focus on the film application to the hood.
The process of Paint Protection Film installation begins with a generous application of various spray solutions. These solutions neutralize the film's incredible adhesive properties temporarily, allowing for our installer, Daniel, to adjust the film on whilst it is laid on the paint. This ensures both a smooth application and an optimal placement.
Once Daniel was content with the positioning of the film, he moved onto the the next step of the process: tacking the corners. This step is crucial in maintaining the ideal positioning of the film throughout the steps forthcoming. For this, Daniel utilizes a squeegee to vacate most of the spray solution, allowing the film to partially regain its adhesive properties. He then tacks the corner to another part of the body to hold tension.
With the film sufficiently tacked on all four corners, it was time to continue onto the next step: smoothing out the surface. Utilizing the squeegee once again, Daniel seated the film effortlessly to the paint, removing the majority of air bubbles and the spray solution in the process.
Once everything is evacuated between the film and the paint, it is time to trim the film. The ideal way to go about this step is to cut the film approximately one inch past the edge of the panel. This ensures that there is enough film to tuck the edges underneath the panel, giving the edges a perfect finish. Daniel makes short work of this step with the use of small, specialized scissors and a carbon blade.
The final step of the film application process is tucking the edges. First, the edges are heated up with a heat gun to decrease their elasticity and dry off any excess spray solution still on them. Once that is done, Daniel squeegees the edges down, sealing off the exterior of the panel 100%.
With the paint brought to its most ideal state and Paint Protection Film applied to the front end, this Tesla will be looking its best for years to come. We are proud of this Tesla, and we know the owner is as well! Another happy customer in the books!