Friday, September 11, 2020

DIY Xpel Ultimate PPF on Hood, Mirrors and Front Bumper

After doing the DIY Xpel PPF for the top of the rear bumper and rear rocker panels by cutting a standard Xpel roll myself, I decided to try the mirrors, hood and front bumper. Arguably a lot harder, and required lots of patience, learning on the fly and attention to details was key. But it is done and I am happy with the results, specially for a DIY project.

DIY Xpel on Hood - Bikini Cut

I bought my pre-cut kits at a discounted price, compared to OEM pricing listed on the Xpel website, by contacting Chad Baker. Paid via PayPal and got the Fedex shipments in 2 days. I took my time and did this over 2 days in the garage.

Here are some tips:

First watch lots of YoutTube videos on solutions and techniques. I bought the following at a local target:

Some essentials
These items included distilled water, baby wash from the travel section, 2 spray bottles and 70% rubbing alcohol. You will also need latex or vinyl gloves, a super sharp utility or craft knife, and a good work light and of course a PPF Squeegee Tool, which I had from purchasing film prior.

Start small then go big. I used this video to mix my solutions concentrations. I only used the slip and tack solutions. I did not need the gel.

Slip and Tack solutions ready


1. Car washed and dried. Microfiber cloth and detailer spray used to clean the car after drying

2. Work area cleaned so as to eliminate dirt and dust. It was pretty humid out and about 70 degrees so I kept the garage door closed, which is a good idea for dust elimination anyways.

3. Cleaned the area where the film was applied with the rubbing alcohol first to remove any wax or chemical from washes.

4. Used plenty of slip solution on the surface and back of the film before applying it to the car.

Surface prepped


Cut the various sections out from the roll around the shape to be able to deal with individual pieces. The kit included 2 options for mirrors and door handle covers too.

Sections cut out

I peeled the various pieces and applied them one at a time. Took extra care to not have the film stick to itself. Slip solution on the back as you peel the backing is a good trick to avoid that from happening.

The hood piece went on first and I was able to practice good movement and squeegee technique. Lined up the logo cut out and squeegeed out from the center to both sides. Took extra care to not to allow a section to become dry or get dirt underneath.

Working out from center logo to sides

Extra care to finish the edges then sprayed the tack solution on top and wipe to see the fitment and any pockets of fluid or air, squeegee again.

Once the hood bikini cut was done, worked on the fenders around each headlight.

Fenders after hood.

In the above picture the hood is already applied and is already so hard to tell. This stuff is amazing. Doing the fenders was easy after the hood to get a good lineup with the hood piece edge on the top to make it look like a continuous piece. One important thing to note is that none of these pre-cuts wrap around the edges or tuck in, so lining them up evenly first is important along the edge of the panels.

So difficult to make out the edges of the bikini cut, if you look carefully it is just along the text in the picture.

Hood piece completely dry

After this section came the side mirrors. For these, there is an option of 3 pieces or 2 pieces in the pre-cut kit, but the 2 piece requires stretching and tacking, so I used the 3 piece. I have both sides from the 2-piece kit kept as a spare for the future. If you look very carefully you can just make out the lines.

3 piece applied to mirrors

The front bumper, I tackled the next day and requires help from another person to hold while peeling and place. Also it requires keeping it wet while working on a section at a time. The senor and tow hook holes are cut out and it does not line up at first. Basically it requires the tow hook hole to be done first, using the tack solution to get the film to stick then stretching it on both sides to line up the various sensor holes. It took a good 2-3 hours and was definitely a 4/5 on difficultly as stated on the Xpel website. It is not perfectly professional, but I am happy with the results for a first time DIY project. It is amazing how many imperfections are already present in the Tesla paint job from the factory.

Front bumper completely covered

With the $ saved thanks to the purchase price and DIY work, I can definitely redo it next year with another piece depending on how dinged up this piece gets over time.

It takes 2-3 days to dry, using a hair drier does not help and should be avoided. Any tiny liquid and air bubbles left over will dissipate eventually, just have to wait and let it sit, preferably in the sun. It was raining here for the last 5 days so that has not been an option, but it did dry out a lot just sitting in the garage. 

If there are little pieces of lint or specks of dirt trapped those will be diminished after the fluid around them dries out then just by simply pressing around the imperfection.

Bring on the bugs, rock and other road debris. Ready for my up coming road trips.😎