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Old 08-01-2013, 08:08 AM   #1
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3M Paint Defender

Wanted to try this stuff on the wife's new Lexus she got last night. Does anyone here have first hand experience with the stuff?

Just how long does it last before it must be peeled off and reapplied?

Or should I just get the traditional expensive 3M film applied to the front of the car?
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:50 AM   #2
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3M film is old tech... try Ventureshield (now owned by 3M).
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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I'm curious in the effectiveness of the 3M stuff too. I tried the ArmorAll stuff and it didn't work very well. I will try the 3M stuff in a week or two, when I have time to do it. I think $25 for a can, which can do a full front bumper or all the leaning edges, is worth a try. Do they have the traditional 3M film precut for our car?
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
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They haven't perfected the spray nozzle so you'll still end up with orange peel.
But once they figure out a way to shoot decently this could be a game-changer.
In the meantime I might be tempted to use it on high impact points like the front of side skirting that's full of rock chips, the lower lip of the front bumper, maybe the mirrors too.
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:09 PM   #5
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Concerning the permanent film application:

I can buy a precut 3M kit off ebay for $350 vs. paying a company in Houston $875 to apply something similar.

The front bumper on the 2013 ES350 is far more complex than my 97 boxster bumper. In your opinion (anyone who reads this) should I pay the extra money or get a buddy to help me install the $350 kit myself?

From what I read, applying this isn't rocket science, but the proper application is about 90% of the looks of the finished product. I'm handy and repair stuff and build stuff and I have a strong attention to detail, btw...
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour View Post
Concerning the permanent film application:

I can buy a precut 3M kit off ebay for $350 vs. paying a company in Houston $875 to apply something similar.

The front bumper on the 2013 ES350 is far more complex than my 97 boxster bumper. In your opinion (anyone who reads this) should I pay the extra money or get a buddy to help me install the $350 kit myself?

From what I read, applying this isn't rocket science, but the proper application is about 90% of the looks of the finished product. I'm handy and repair stuff and build stuff and I have a strong attention to detail, btw...
I just tried one of the pre-cut kits on my '13 Ford Fusion, and quickly came to the conclusion that this is a job for professionals. My attention to detail is obsessive, and I took my time. I'd never try it again.
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour View Post
Wanted to try this stuff on the wife's new Lexus she got last night. Does anyone here have first hand experience with the stuff?

Just how long does it last before it must be peeled off and reapplied?

Or should I just get the traditional expensive 3M film applied to the front of the car?
Randall I bought a new 2007 IS350 & tried to get a semi-permanant shield installed but could not find a alternative to the dealers $850 quote in time for a cross country drive. Soon found out Lexus new water based paint was not only beautiful but very soft & fragile. I have scratched it many times with my fingernails. I wish now I had paid to have some type of film installed. Hopefully the Lexus paint is more durable now, but I would get something to protect it. I hear good things about "Invis-a-shield.
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:39 PM   #8
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FWIW... I had the 3M permanent film installed on my new Audi TT the day after I picked it up some years back. Drove it for 3.5 years on California freeways. Hit a tumbleweed on the I-5 once and plowed over some slalom cones at the track, and was otherwide pelted by gravel and crap all the time. Lost one windshield in the process and the film even sustained a couple nicks from rocks, but the stuff really did its job protecting the paint. Worth every penny! You could hardly tell the car was filmed unless you studied it up close. i can post pics tomorrow if anyone is interested.

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Old 08-01-2013, 05:31 PM   #9
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There's this "self healing" film sold here in Texas I'm checking out...X-Pel.

Anyone know anything about it?
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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X-pel is becoming very popular. Particularly for windshields.

THe pre-cut clear bra kits are tough. I think it has a lot to do with after-market not really getting the fit to be precise. The factory kits are different story but so are their prices. I think its definitely a DIY if you can source the big sheets inexpensively and do some practicing with the cheaper stuff on a few beater cars, maybe some smaller items like a laptop, anything with a curve that is made of a plastic surface. They key to it seems to be getting all of the moisture out during squeegee and that the surface is well prep'd. if you get air pockets in there and the paint is not CLEAN the film will just magnify the mistakes.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:46 PM   #11
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I have a clear bra shop do all my cars. On my 2012 RX350 I think I spent around $600 for the front bumper, partial hood and fenders, headlights and fog lights, mirrors, a small area behind the front and rear wheel wells and the chrome trim on the front and back of the car (to prevent corrosion from mag chloride), and the area behind the door handles where your fingers scratch the paint over time, and probably some areas I'm not remembering. The front of the new Lexus models all have very complex compound curve shapes and are tricky to do. The guy I use cuts his own material from large sheets and it fits perfectly. I expect it's less costly than buying pre-cut stuff.
I highly recommend getting it done by a professional. Get a deal and spend the money to have it done right.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:18 AM   #12
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Throwing caution to the wind due to the $900+ price tag of installation, I bought every piece made for the car from Lamin-X last night for less than half the price for self-installation. They guarantee their precut pieces will be right. The Lexus forum boys with the same MY car said the precursor are spot-on. We shall see.

The install will probably make me cuss like a sailor and even order replacement pieces if I screw up, but I'll eventually get it right for less money than jobbing it out. I just can't justify the cost when I know I have what it takes to do it right and I have the time and patience to do it.

I will report back on my results, good or bad.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:29 AM   #13
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I covered the side mirrors, top of rear bumper, and a piece of the front bumper over the weekend.

Getting all the water bubbles out was impossible for me. However, half of them were gone this morning when I sent the wife off to work in the car. It will sit in 95 degree heat all day outside and I'm hoping I won't see many (if any) tonight when she gets home from work.

If we both like the looks of my work after the week is over, I'll do the front fenders and hood next weekend. If that looks good after it's cured, I'll attack the front bumper, which is the most difficult with a lot of bendy spots.

KCJ2050 - I can clearly see why you suggested paying more to get a professional to do it. Very frustrating work with the promise of delayed gratification if all the bubbles disappear and the work looks good.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:08 AM   #14
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Yeah, it's tough. If you're obsessive-compulsive, don't even try.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:46 PM   #15
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OK, quick update. I am now 70% through the installation of the lamin-x kit I bought for the wife's new Lexus. I got the back bumper, rear view mirrors, hood, headlamps, fog lights, fenders, and one easy piece of the bumper done. What I lack is the lower part of the front bumper and the little pieces that go behind the door handles (preventing paint scratches from fingernails).

I'm glad I did the rear bumper first. Most of it is hidden by the trunk lid and that's a good thing. I have air bubbles all along the edge of it despite my best attempt to eradicate them. Plus, the wife tried to shoehorn some folding tables into the back last week (which were never were gonna fit, but she was determined to try anyway instead of using a freakin' tape measure) and the film protected the paint on the bumper. Without it, she would have scraped the crap out of the rear bumper cover. That event alone paid for the entire kit vs. a respray of the back bumper cover.

First of all, this stuff is THICK (Lamin-X product), making it harder to work with than other thinner films sold out there, especially their headlight kit film (thickest material I've ever touched!). It also takes longer for trapped water bubbles and cloudiness in the film to disappear. I was told by Lamin-x that it might take 3 weeks in the sun to rid the piece of the few bubbles I was unable to get rid of during installation.

The way to get this stuff on the car right is to properly prep the car, work in a garage with good lighting, have a high temp hair dryer handy, and then get the car paint and the film very very wet with a solution of distilled water, a couple capfuls of rubbing alcohol, and a drop or two of baby shampoo. The YouTube vids helped me a lot, especially with heating up the material so it can be bent around corners.

Would I try doing this again, kjc2050? Maybe so, maybe not. Now I know what's involved and required for a good job and to do a full kit like I did, it takes a number of hours in a hot sweaty garage. When I get my next car and it has pristine paint on it, I'll probably buy the film kit and do it myself again, unless I'm so flush with cash that I could be making big money selling something on the weekend instead of doing it myself.
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Last edited by RandallNeighbour; 08-19-2013 at 12:50 PM.
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