Paint protection film has been around for a while now. As it gained popularity in the auto world, car owners started hacking it in several ways.
For instance, besides being used on paint, PPF these days is also used to protect windshields. So, if you are wondering whether you can install PPF on your windshield, here is a green light.
Even though PPF can be used to protect the windshield, you need to find out how long it will last, whether it will be effective, and other pros or cons.
Learning all there is about using PPF on windshields will help you make an informed decision about adding this layer of protection to your vehicle’s windshield.
Table of Contents
- What is PPF?
- How Long Does PPF Last on Windshields?
- Does PPF Affect the Transparency of the Windshield?
- How Much Does It Cost to Put PPF on Your Windshield?
- Are Windshields More Vulnerable to Damage?
- Should I Have a Professional Install PPF on My Windshield?
- Does PPF on Windscreen Affect the Wipers?
- What Are Some Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use PPF on the Windscreen?
- What are Some of the Best PPF Windscreen Brands?
- Is It Worth Buying PPF for Your Windscreen?
- Should I Put PPF Only on the Windshield?
What is PPF?
Before we look into PPF and how it performs when used on windshields, it’s crucial to introduce what it is. We have already mentioned that PPF stands for paint protection film.
It’s an ultra-thin polyurethane polymer that when correctly applied can form a protective layer. PPF is transparent. Therefore it won’t affect your view through the windshield.
PPF made by a reputable brand will offer protection against scratches, UV damage, hard water deposits, stains, and any other unpleasant thing you wouldn’t want to touch your windshield.
As beneficial as PPF may seem, several complaints have been launched against this product, especially when used on windshields. These are some of the things we will clarify in this article.
How Long Does PPF Last on Windshields?
Depending on the environment PPF is exposed to, it can last for a couple of years, from three to five. Even though PPF creates a protective barrier on the windshield, it’s not damage-proof. The more debris and rocks thrown at it, the sooner it degrades.
Elements such as UV damage can also contribute to premature wear. If you want your PPF to last long, go for one with self-healing properties. This technology ensures the PPF’ stitches’ itself back together when scratched or dented.
Does PPF Affect the Transparency of the Windshield?
The windshield is one of the most important parts of a car, especially when it comes to visibility. Your windshield must be clean and transparent at all times. Before putting a film over the windshield, you may be concerned about visibility.
When you get a quality PPF and have it installed by an expert, it should be extremely transparent. It won’t even be noticeable.
How Much Does It Cost to Put PPF on Your Windshield?
The average cost of a quality PPF installed by an expert is $200 to $400. Depending on the brand and location, it can cost more or less.
This may seem like a lot of money for a protective film, but several benefits come with it. With a PPF on your windshield, you will never have to worry about scratches or stubborn stains.
Some may argue that the cost of PPF installation on a windshield is the same as that of buying a new windshield. Which is true, but isn’t it better to prolong the life of your windshield instead of always buying a new one when it gets chipped?
Anyway, the choice to PPF a windshield is often made out of preference. It’s up to you to decide between protection and replacement.
Are Windshields More Vulnerable to Damage?
Many car owners install PPF on their windshields because this part of the car is quite vulnerable to damage. If you are a big fan of off-roading, your tires can splash rocks and debris onto the screen. The same can also happen when driving behind a truck that keeps throwing debris on your windshield.
With a PPF installed, you would never have to worry about such. Your windshield is susceptible to damage, and you should take the necessary measures to protect it.
Should I Have a Professional Install PPF on My Windshield?
We are big advocates for DIY installations. But certain jobs are best left for professionals. This is a perfect example. Installing PPF on a windshield seems like an easy job.
There are even plenty of tutorials online that can guide you on how to do it. But PPF on windshields has a high failure rate.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you make a mistake. For instance, the PPF can start to peel on its own. Debris may be trapped in the corners and much more.
Having an expert install PPF on your windshield, you are assured of a proper installation. Professionals have no room for errors; if they make a mistake, they should be covered with a warranty.
Most DIY windscreen PPF kits don’t come with a warranty. But if it’s installed by an authorized dealer, you get a warranty which you can claim when the PPF fails.
Windscreen PPF is expensive. It’s not worth risking a DIY installation. If you have made up your mind that you want PPF on your windshield, find a reputable installer who offers a warranty and has plenty of positive reviews.
Does PPF on Windscreen Affect the Wipers?
There are many concerns one should have when installing PPF on a windshield. One of the critical concerns is regarding the functionality of the wipers. PPF can affect the operations of the wipers when installed incorrectly.
A poorly installed PPF can cause the wipers to judder on the windscreen. In the long run, this often causes the PPF to peel a few months after installation.
In case your wipers start misbehaving after the installation of PPF, take the car back to the installer. Otherwise, the PPF will peel off sooner than expected.
What Are Some Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use PPF on the Windscreen?
PPF was initially made for paint. It’s why there are several issues associated with putting PPF on your windshield. Some benefits come with installing PPF on the windshield and a bunch of cons, too.
As a car owner, you need to weigh the pros and cons. So, here are the main reasons PPF isn’t the best product to put on your windshield.
1. Cost – The cost is the first reason car owners avoid PPF on their windshield. Earlier, we mentioned that you could pay up to $500 for windscreen PPF.
This is a lot of money. It’s equivalent to the money you would have spent on a new windshield. Putting PPF on your windscreen may not be possible if you are on a budget.
2. The Installation is Complicated – Have you wondered why many people discourage the DIY installation of PPF on the windshield? It’s because the installation is pretty complicated.
If you do it wrongly, the wipers will judder, and the PPF can peel off prematurely. Because it’s hard to install, there is a high probability of many things going wrong. It’s why you should never get PPF for your windscreen without a warranty.
These two are the main reasons you should re-evaluate installing PPF on your windshield. Many car owners have enjoyed the protection of PPF on windshields. If you can afford it, you should go for it.
What are Some of the Best PPF Windscreen Brands?
A discussion about the best PPF brands for your windscreen would require a separate article. That’s because there are plenty of factors you should consider when you choose a paint protective film.
Nonetheless, certain brands have stood out as the leading manufacturers of PPFs for windscreens. Good examples include 3M, ClearPlex, and STEK.
When shopping for a windscreen PPF, you should read lots of customer reviews. That will help you gauge the effectiveness, longevity, and practicality of the windscreen PPF.
Some windscreen PPFs wear out faster if you regularly use wipers. Also, others don’t do well when exposed to UV for long. be very keen on the features of a windscreen PPF and ensure they meet your preferences.
Is It Worth Buying PPF for Your Windscreen?
There is no straightforward answer to this question, and here is why. PPF will protect your windshield from scratches and chipping.
This will significantly prolong the lifespan of your windshield. However, PPF for windscreens is expensive. The cost is nearly the same as that of a new windscreen.
If you often drive in rough terrains where rocks and debris are always getting to your windscreen, adding a layer of protection makes sense.
But for an average city car whose owners only concern is rain and dust, your car can survive without PPF. Only get PPF if it’s necessary.
Should I Put PPF Only on the Windshield?
If you are considering putting PPF over the windshield, you should also install it over the paint. Your car’s paint job is equally vulnerable to debris as is the windshield.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be fair to only protect the windshield and leave the paint job uncovered. The windshield isn’t the only part that should be protected. You should know that putting PPF over the entire car will be costly.