We often get calls from customers shopping around for prices on clear bra installs. This is obviously a smart thing to do, and I would never discourage anyone from shopping around. I would like to share some cautionary tales of horror stories I have heard or seen first hand from customers that came to us later to fix an install. Just because it is the cheapest quote you get, does not mean it is a good deal. A HUGE number of clear bra installers go to a 2-4 day course to learn how to install these films and then go out into the world with not nearly enough experience, but just enough knowledge to be dangerous. I can't tell you how many times we have removed a film and found absolutely terrible cut marks into the paint ALL over the car. Most memorable was a Porsche GT3 RS without a single body panel uncut. (we aren't talking about a little scratch either, through the paint and primer around EVERY, yes, EVERY panel) Total Car Repaint.... The other problem with some of these bargain deals is that you don't necessarily know what kind of film you are getting. They may say they are using XPEL Ultimate or a 3M product, but it is pretty easy to put a different film in an XPEL or 3M box and pass it off as the real thing. It happens, more often than you would think. Many of these installers do not prep vehicles correctly either. Just because the paint surface looks clean, does not mean it is. You really need to clay bar and polish even new cars most of the time to ensure a perfectly smooth surface. Also, body lines and seams need to be cleaned thoroughly as well. Otherwise, when you are installing the film, dirt and debris can come out of those areas and get under the film--suddenly the clear bra isn't so clear. A final thing to know is that there are different companies that make software for the kits (bumpers especially) and some of them are absolutely terrible, it's usually the cheap ones. These kits usually lack coverage in highly susceptible areas and make the whole reason for installing a clear bra pretty pointless. Installers that know what they are doing know what kits are best, and the best ways to install them. If you do not like the kit an installer uses, most will not replace with a different kit, and the film companies typically do not warranty against a poor fitting kit. Clear bras, much like anything in the car industry is a "you get what you pay for" type of business and the issues that can come up from improper installs and inexperienced installers are usually not worth the risk.
So begins the depressing time of year when you put your car away for its winter hibernation....But do you put a car cover on it, or leave it open? While it seems like the obvious choice is to cover it, that is not necessarily the best choice in all situations. If you have a nice CLEAN and soft car cover, I would use it. There are a few things to do before you cover it. 1. CLEAN YOUR CAR. You wouldn't put away your summer clothes without washing them, why would you do anything less with your car. Cleaning it also ensures that you don't drag any dirt over the vehicle causing scratches. 2. MAKE SURE THE COVER IS CLEAN. If your cover was in a heap in the garage or attic for the last 8-10 months, its probably not clean. Do yourself and your car a favor and wash it. 3. GET HELP PUTTING THE COVER ON. The more you drag the cover around the car adjusting it and fitting it right, the more scratches. I get the same questions EVERY spring - How did these scratches get there, they weren't there when I put the cover on? The last thing I will say is, just because the car is covered with a nice soft cloth, doesn't mean it is a table. Every year I get calls about buffing cars with slight scratches where boxes were put on the car. It's a car, not a shelf. If your car is in a garage that doesn't see to much action in the winter, I would always suggest to leave it uncovered unless you have a very soft indoor cover and give it a quick spray wax or quick detailer wipe down once every week of two. Unfortunately most do not have a garage or a schedule that allows for that. So if you use a car cover, follow the steps above to help lessen any minor scratching and remember, spring is only a few months away!