Have you ever heard the term paint protection film (or PPF) as it relates to an automobile? Paint protection film, also referred to as clear bra or a “wrap”, is a thin layer of flexible material placed over a vehicle’s body panels to protect them from flying rocks or road debris. This type of protective film can even save your car’s paint from light hail damage or low-speed scrapes that would normally scratch and scar the finish. And while various forms of paint protection film have been around for more than two decades, the technology behind these films has evolved rapidly in recent years.

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My 2005 Ford GT held up well after 13 years without PPF, but a close inspection reveals many chips and scratches

Fourteen years ago I bought a new Ford GT, an exotic sports car with a big price tag. As the most expensive car I’d ever purchased I was eager to maintain its “like new” condition, though I also intended to drive it like a regular car. I knew about paint protection film back in 2005, but I had heard enough reports involving the film yellowing or bubbling, or leaving a nasty residue when it was removed, that I didn’t put it on my GT. Over the next 13 years I drove my Ford GT 31,000 miles, and while the paint continued to look good from 10 feet away, any careful inspection showed a rash of chips and scratches on the GT’s front end and lower side panels.

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My fully wrapped 2019 Ford GT helps me relax…a little…when driving it

Of course many high-end luxury and exotic car owners use a straightforward approach to keeping their vehicles in like new condition: they never drive them. That approach ensures minimal paint damage while also guaranteeing minimal enjoyment. I’m just crazy enough to want to drive my cars, even the rare and expensive ones.

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