Pros and Cons of Clear Bra Paint Protection Film

clearbra__DrBeasleys_carpolish,carwax,cardetailingproducts,carcleaningproducts,carcareproducts,autodetailingsupplies,detailingkits,bestcarwax,carcleaner,carleathercare,odoreliminator,greenproductscarBasically speaking, an automotive clear bra is basically a plastic wrap for potentially damageable regions of your car – lower fascia, side mirrors, rocker panels, and basically any surface facing directly toward the front/bottom of the car. The main use for a clear bra is, of course, to protect these areas from road debris that might kick up on the road and would otherwise leave a nice scratch or chip in your paintwork. Now you don’t often see these treatments on “average” cars because it generally costs somewhere between $900-$2500 depending on how many panels you want done and your car… remember, these things are typically custom cut (or made from a schematic of the vehicle) and hand applied. That said, I don’t mean to say you can’t get one on just about any car you want. Just do a quick search and you should be able to find what you’re looking for in no time.

But what’s the clear bra all about? What are the positives and negatives? Lets take a look…

Pros:
In general, the idea behind a clear bra is great. It protects your paint for a long time and it’s hardly noticeable (for now). The major benefit here is that whether you’re driving a Carrera 4s or a Camry Limited, you can be confident in knowing you aren’t going to have to deal with an array of rock chips on your bumper when you get home from work. And if you live in the city, it gets even better. Annoying dings and scrapes from the jerks in your neighborhood trying to park all up in your grille? This clear polymer shield will make sure nobody scuffs your paint.

  • Longterm paint protection for troublesome areas
  • Prevents need to repaint bumper/fascia in a few years
  • Adds value in longrun, if properly maintained

Cons:
At first, all seems to be well with the clear bra treatment. Overtime, however, the story begins to take on a new face – and I do mean literally. Almost every single clear bra wrap I’ve seen has turned a yellowish opaque color after a few years (depending on quality, and therefor price). Now maybe this doesn’t concern you, but if you’re going to put something on your paint to protect it, it better not ruin it’s looks. Next, while this plastic shield protects your paint, the bra itself is taking a beating. UV rays, scrapes, chips, and more are all extremely common on clear bras. In fact, if you don’t protect the clear bra, the plastic can actually dry out and become cloudy. And when you go to wax your car, you will find that along the edges of the clear bra a white buildup occurs that can leave an unsightly glowing effect. Almost makes you wonder, too, about the adhesive used to apply the wrap to the paint – it can’t be that good for the porous finish.

  • Relatively expensive for only a little bit of coverage
  • Not as durable as you’d think – if things (sap, etc.) are left on the clear bra, they can eat through the plastic and harm the paint
  • Aesthetically unpleasing… almost gag-worthy

In my opinion, a good ole wax will do as long as you’re applying regularly. No need for adhesives, chemicals, and worse, a plastic mask to cover up your brilliant finish. Take it with a grain of salt, but just check out how these things are applied… pretty crazy.

More on clear bra’s later! Do you have a clear bra? We’d love to hear your input. Why do you like/dislike it? Has it paid for itself in anyway? Let us know in the comments!

  • Jeff Phillips

    There are solutions for most of the cons you mentioned for clear bras.

    The aesthetics largely depend on the brand of film used, the abilities of the installer, as well as the coverage you opt for. Some films definitely do have an unacceptable level of orange peel texture, but quite a few companies have released products that are much more optically clear, and much harder to see on the car. The second part of this equation is crucial. While many people claim they can install paint protection film, the amount of people that can actually do it well is a much lower number. COntact a film manufacturer to get their recommendation of the best certified installer in your area. The last factor that contributes to the appearance is the coverage. Even today’s precut kits offer wrapped edges to make the film much less visible. There are many options for precut kits, some which hide edges of smaller kits on body lines, and others that do not.

    The durability of the product firmly rests on the product you choose. While there are many products that look good when initially installed, there are large discrepencies when it comes to long term durability. You will want to find a film that offers a stain resistant clear coat. A quality clear coat should allow you to wipe away stains such as bird dropping and bug acids. This is commonly demonstrated by removing permanent marker on video. SOme of today’s products are actually self-healing, menaing that if you get scratches or swirl marks, they actually disappear without any need for buffing or maintenance. You will also want to keep in mind that the correct products must be used for the sirface of the film. WHile it looks like paint it is not. Natural products or purpose made products are best, as many cleaners and synthetic waxes contain petroleum distillates like naptha or kerosene that can dry out the film and cause yellowing or haziness. 90% of the kits that look discolored or cloudy are a vicitim of this. Check with the film manufacturer for the recommended care for their specific product.

  • Cruze away

    I have a chevy cruze thought the clear bra a good idea on a white car. Two months into it and by the handle the bra is browned and pulling off, I hope I am not imaging that it is taking on color and the edges I am always having to clean. I am thinking that waxing is a better idea I am calling the company to ask how to have it removed

  • Pingback: Top 10 Detailing Posts Of 2012

  • Rob

    Film on your car in 2013 should be a standard feature. I can find no “cons” at all, read following explaination for proof.
    Put a bra over the grill, 1/2 of the hood, above the windshield, back of the mirrors and behind each wheel on the rocker panel. This in 2005 by Toyota dealer on a new Avalon. RESULTS: the car looks as shinny and silver today (Feb 2013) as the day the film went on with one exception. The film behind two of the wheels became “unglued” on the front edge and slowly peeled off with no damage to tithe paint. I think that area is subjected to too much high speed water coming off the tires. My 2013 Avalon is having film applied as I write this. Use a tech with lots of experience, I suspect most dealerships do a fine job or send cars out to a detail shop they are confident in. Use best film available as there are still DIY kits where the film bubbles and turns purple in a year or two.

  • volvoguy

    My 2002 C70 Coupe, a nice car except for the clear bra. The original owner had it put on at the dealer. While I’m sure it helps prevent rock chips it looks terrible. Probably needs to be redone but more tempted to remove it, then polish and wax.

    • Eric

      Have 3m Clear Bra On my New at the time 2010 Dodge Challenger Red Hemi -Still looks great $560.00 total cost “Front bumper & rockers Lights /fog lights / over” Was done by a Pro- Still looks new 36k miles now all highway- miles best money I spent !!!!! I take my Car to Car Shows too

  • volvoguy

    trouble uploading – resolved. See, it really detracts from the car!

  • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

    Joe,

    Ours is the original post, this website you are referring to must have copied our post. If you look at the date on our blog post, you can see it’s been posted months before theirs.

    • Myname

      Lol! Owned the know-it-all.

  • BobbyDee

    I bought a new 2005 Expedition that already had the clear bra installed. It still looks great in 2014 and no chips at all on the hood. The paint is a dark blue so if there is yellowing, I probably can’t tell.