You’ve invested a lot of money into a great looking vehicle. You probably also spend a lot of time making sure it looks new for as long as possible. The vehicle someone drives is a reflection on that person, and no one likes driving a car, truck or SUV around Scottsdale or the Greater Phoenix area that’s scratched and chipping.
There are a lot of aspects of city and highway driving that can result in chips and scratches. People can slam their door into yours in a crowded parking lot, pebbles and debris get thrown onto your car on the road and birds may use your vehicle’s hood as their own private bathroom.
No one wants to pay the surprisingly high autobody shop price to get little scratches or paint chips professionally touched up, so the ideal strategy is always prevention.
There are several potential solutions, but one option that’s very effective and won’t detract from your car’s aesthetic appearance is a clear bra.
What Is a Clear Bra and What Does It Do?
Sometimes referred to as an “invisible shield,” a clear bra finish is a translucent film that coats your vehicle’s exterior, providing an extra level of tough protection between your car’s paint and the many potential missiles and environmental irritants that seek to do it harm.
Clear bra coating is a thermoplastic urethane, a super strong polymer film that’s already applied to other products you use, such as your cell phone or on other electronics in your home. The chemical makeup of these films don’t just offer exceptional protection – the polymers actually have the ability to heal. More specifically, the polymers reshape to create a flat surface when heated.
Installing Clear Bra
The clear bra film comes in rolls of various sizes to cover different sizes of cars and different sections of the vehicle. Lengths are measured out and cut based on the application need. The film has a clear coat side and an adhesive side that can be peeled off. The fewer pieces of film the better.
The clear bra sheet isn’t just applied dry to the vehicle. Both the adhesive side of the film and the car’s surface must be sprayed down with a special formulation of gel, soap, isopropyl alcohol and water. The film is then applied to the car and stretched and fitted as necessary to ensure complete coverage. The edges are usually stretched under spots like wheel wells to ensure no paint is left exposed and minimize the risk of seams showing.
Bubbles, also known as “fingers” can appear when applying the plastic, especially near edges. These fingers can’t just be mashed down with a squeegee. It needs to be lifted and flattened out so there are no lines or seams in the coating.
There is an enormous amount of delicate detail work and stretching necessary to apply the film smoothly without bubbles and ensure it’s essentially invisible.
It should also be noted that removing a Clear Bra shouldn’t cause any damage if it was installed correctly, but you should contact a professional about removal.
The History of the Clear Bra
The development of the transparent urethane coating dates back to the Vietnam War. The military was spending a lot of money replacing components on helicopters due to the never ending beating they took not just from enemy fire, but also dirt and all types of debris. The chemical company 3M helped develop transparent urethane to ward off the unavoidable grime these vehicles were subjected to during non-stop use in active combat zones.
It didn’t take long for the coating to make it into commercial markets. One of the early adopters in the 1980s was NASCAR, where it was applied to cars to keep them looking good and ensure all those sponsorship decals never lost their luster.
It wasn’t until the 1990s when urethane film started being offered to everyday drivers by auto shops, car washers and professional detailers.
Get a Clear Bra for Your Car from Scottsdale’s Bulldog Detail
There’s a right way and a wrong way to apply a clear bra or invisible shield to protect your vehicle. If not done with the utmost care and attention to detail, there’s a potential for seems or lines to appear in the coating. This protection is hugely valuable if you want to keep your vehicle looking like new, but a shoddy application can severely detract from the benefits of having it done.
At Bulldog Detail, we’re all about performing detail-oriented detail work. We take all the time necessary to ensure your clear bra application is flawless and your car, truck or SUV enjoys maximum protection.
Learn more by calling us at 602.653.3935.