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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting quotes for basic bra/hood paint protection film for upwards of $800 (Bay Area).

Invisiblemask sells the 3M Scotchgard Pro pre-cut kits for $250

NOTE: 2017 M3's aren't on InvisibleMask - Paint Protection For Your Car right now, I've been talking to Julie and she's looking into it. I got an email from her at first that it's the same as 2017, but just today she said there's some question about that. I'll update this thread when I find out more.

I watched a video of a self-install and it didn't look too bad www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjU3INHODBQ, so I'm considering taking a 1/2 day and doing it myself, but curious if anyone here has done it themselves, and if so:
  • What film product did you use
  • How long did it take
 

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Applying any brand of clear urethane paint protection is extremely difficult. I would not advise doing it unless you have done way more than a hood or roof before -- both pretty flat/simple areas compared to a front fascia.

If you are going to do it, my installer has done many brands for years and he finds SunTek to be the easiest to apply of the major ones. It is cheaper than XPEL (considered by many to be the best), and shinier than XPEL. 3M is a very, very good product and I also used to use it. Following 3M, I then moved to have XPEL put on my cars, but like my pro installer, no longer.

I had my installer put SunTek on my '17 WRX, and will have him again put SunTek on my Mazda 3 once it arrives.

Best of luck whichever way you choose to go.
 

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my impression of these invisible shields is the nightmare to remove them. Unless I am wrong about that but not from what Ive read. I considered one but with high mileage I tack on I know I would need to replace in a relatively short time and just too much to go through not to mention the money.

Its just a shame the more envoi friendly water based paints of today chip so easily and that we even have to consider that we need to do these things in the first place. One would think with the tech and chemicals available today we can make an envio friendly paint and clear coat that would withstand chipping much better than in the past but instead its the opposite way around. Its just too bad especially for those high milers that also drive on crowded highways where all kinds of crap is thrown up.

I mean forget about trying to pass a salter/sander truck even from two lanes over. The car looks like sandpaper after one pass. 10 or so years ago that wasn't the case.
 

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I considered one but with high mileage I tack on I know I would need to replace in a relatively short time and just too much to go through not to mention the money.
As I was reading your full post about invisible shields, after almost every sentence I wanted to shout, like many in British parliament do, "hear, hear." I do agree with so much of what you posted.

I have quoted the one sentence above that I respectfully disagree with. I have put them on even daily drivers and gone way over 100,000 miles with their still doing their job. Their job is, IMO, to protect the paint underneath from becoming sand-blasted, to keep 99% of the rocks and chips that hit them from going through them and chippingmthe paint underneath. True those impacts do more than occasionally leave a minor impact mark in the shield itself. But when I stand back five feet and look at my daily driver which has had one on from day one, its front end, the front side of the door mirrors, and the front of the hood looks 100% better (maybe 300% better) than a similar mileage car that does not have such a shield.

And again agreeing with you, they are expensive, but they do provide a staggering amount of protection to your paint. In heavy rain in an 80 MPH zone on an interstate, I was doing 68 MPH when a pickup pulled out right in front of me and at that moment a wood dining room chair fell off his truck and I hit it. No damage to any part of my car, though from less than 5' away, you could see very limited impact marks on the 3M shield.

And also agree that they are a pain to remove, but often before I sell my car, I do remove the one on the hood and the back of the door mirrors and buyers often note how great the paint looks --- and we are usually talking of my 10+ year old cars. Lastly, with the huge cost of today's headlight buckets, and I have the paint protection installed over them too, and since I started doing that over 20 years ago, I have never had to replace one, never even had headlight even cracked or chipped.

I will have SunTek installed on my upcoming Mazda 3 -- on the entire hood, the front section of the front fenders, the headlights, the front fascia, the front edge and top of the front air dam/splitter and on the front side of the door mirrors.

Expensive insurance, but worth it to me.
 

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road trip, I hear ya. What can I say, but again its just somewhat ridiculous that our twenty something thousand dollar products that we buy should not then withstand a majority of normal driving abuse. I mean its not even imo considered abuse but is simply part of normal driving. Its a car of course and is meant to be driven so I would think it should then stand up to what I consider a normal part of driving.

Fwiw ....besides paint chips I find that cars driven high mileage through pounding rains and weather also wears down the clearcoat. Ive always waxed my cars 3 to 4 times per year and after 6 to 7 yrs and 150,000 miles on my most heavily driven car you can see (even with the waxing) that the front of the mirrors , bumper, and front portion of the hood don't have the luster of the rest of the car. And along with the paint chip sandblasting the cars look wind worn. And that's with me taking good care via washes and waxing regularly. I cant imagine if I was not one to do that then how much worse would it look?

Iknow Im going on and on about this but its frustrating and it just doesn't seem right that our vehicles are not better in this sense. And its not just mazda. And is the main reason I usually buy light colors like silver and white. This stuff is so much less noticeable on lighter colors. I have the 2017 "blue reflex mica" which is a color I love and while its not a dark color its not really as light as I would have liked for what we are discussing. But I like the color so much and am hoping I don't regret it a few years from now. Ive got a couple chips already and I suppose one option (when things get ugly enough) is to have the areas painted and blended and then that buys a few more years of good looks..lol..but really why not?

The fact that manufacturers even sell these coverings in itself tells me they know car finishes are not what they use to be but I suppose they are tied due to environmental regulations. But I still cant get past the fact that modern tech has not come up with much more durable finishes. I mean of course we cant expect a 1/2 stone not to chip a finish, but tiny pebbles, sand, salt, even small sleet or hail, whatever should not make us cringe every time we hear the slightest noise ping off our cars. Its like when you get home you have to go and look for how many new spots are now on the car and pray you don't see any. This imo just shouldn't be the case. Sorry to vent but just something very frustratingly wrong with this imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Difficulty in properly installing paint protective film has to do with the number, angle, and complexity of curves, and how "forgiving" the brand of film is that you're using.

With that in mind, and looking at where I've got scratches and chips on my 2014 TDI, I bought the door kit and upgraded to the 3M brand of film. The doors don't have many angles and the ones that are there are pretty shallow, which should translate into minimal stretching. I've watched enough videos to be pretty confident that this should be pretty straightforward (famous last words I know).

The 2017 is the same as the 2016 in terms of doors (confirmed by Invisiblemask).

I'll let y'all know how it goes when I get around to. I'll see how it goes and if it goes well, maybe I'll buy and install the more complicated hood and bra kit.

In found Install Proz's how-to videos to be the most instructive, in particular the "Difficult Hood" video


As far as what should be, I totally agree that we shouldn't have to do this, but... well, here we are and I'd rather retain value and just deal with it if I can. I probably would have gotten a more exciting color than the silver as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here's what Julie over at Invisible Mask had to say about the 2017 Mazda 3 pre-cut paint protection kits, vs. 2016:

You can use the 2016 year link, MAZDA3 5DR TOURING, to review all of the kits that we offer except for the front bumper kit and the headlight kit as they are a different design for the 2017 year model. I've attached above the 2017 year kits that show the correct bumper kit, headlight kit and there is also a grille kit available for the 2017 year model. If you would like to order, I would need for you to order through me so I can make sure that you get the correct 2017 year kits. The grille kit would be between $40.00-$44.00 depending on which film that you choose for your kits. The price for the 2017 bumper kit and headlight kit would be the same price as the 2016 year model.
Attached are their 2017 precut kits, and a comparison of 3 different kinds of films they sell.
 

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