Basically 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…
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
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!