Tuesday, August 18, 2020

DIY Paint Protection Film - Rear Bumper and Rocker Panels

I have always used Xpel paint protection film (PPF) on my cars for the front bumper and partial hood. My GT-R has 3M stuff because 12 years ago, Xpel was not as common. The good side is that bugs in summer, rock chips all year round and salt chips in winter do not damage the front of the car, especially highway driving.

The Xpel PPF is also self healing, which has been good over the years. The one down side is that it increases the cost of repair. Having a bumper to bumper accident that requires work on the bumper adds an extra cost to the repair. The film need to be removed and new one reapplied and many times insurance will not cover the extra costs.

A buddy of mine owned the only Xpel certified shop in town and he recently sold it and moved, so I decided to try my DIY skills. The two areas of concern for me were the top of the rear bumper on which I saw a scuff mark from loading/removing my bike into the trunk and the rear rocker panels for which Tesla is offering a DIY kit on their accessory site. 

DIY Xpel PPF cut and applied to top of rear bumper

To do this, I bought some Xpel PPF that comes as a 6" x 84" roll from Amazon for $22. It also includes a nice squeegee. This was considerably cheaper that buying pre-cut film, because I could mess up and make another piece from the 84" roll easily.

Next I used a roll of paper from my kids crafts supplies to cut a template out for both the rear bumper top that was getting scuffed and the side rocker panel bottoms. All that was needed was a scissors, pencil, and masking tape.

Making a cutting template from craft paper and masking tape.

Once I was happy with the template, I cut the Xpel PPF to that template with a bit of over hand on the top so it has no lines showing.

Cleaned the surface with some rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth that left no lint behind.

Watched a few you YouTube videos about the making an applying solution - which for me was 1 capful of fragrant free natural dish soap and squirt bottle full of bottled water (not hard tap water). 

Sprayed the solution liberally, applied the PPF, used the squeegee to remove the solution from behind the film.

Let is dry for 24-48 hrs, not in the sunlight and it was a prefect fir, no bubbles, no liquid left behind and no lint. It looks so amazing that for $22, it is simply professional. lines are hard to tell.

Repeated the same on both sides of the rear rocker panel.

Spot the PPF!

On the rear rocker panels, the ppf ends right under the "m" in ".com". Xpel is good stuff.

The DIY project was a huge success enough to give me confidence to buy and do the entire front bumper and partial hood. I just ordered those and will post how it goes. Turn out that Xpel makes many pre-cut pieces and I recommend contacting Chad Baker to get you dealer prices.

I highly recommend that these areas be covered. It is an easy DIY project with some patience.