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      11-22-2023, 11:15 AM   #1
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Angry How to actually choose a PPF installer?

My G80 is should be arriving in late January, and I'd like to get PPF on either the front or the entire vehicle. I've been attempting to research PPF installers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and I'm coming to the conclusion that it's pretty much impossible for a consumer like me to evaluate installers.

Every installer has a web site full of pictures of exotic cars. They may have even worked on some of them. Similarly, every installer has a super high Google rating and tons of positive reviews. Some of them may even be real.

Then there's the fact that it's almost impossible to actually get a price out of most of these shops. Some of them insist on an in-person meeting before they'll provide a quote; others insist on physically inspecting the vehicle, which is obviously impossible.

It's an M3 for crying out loud, not some super-exotic that they've never seen before.

I've never done PPF before, so I don't have an experience or existing relationships to lean on, nor do I know anyone locally who has ever put PPF on a vehicle.

So how in the world am I actually supposed to go about this? I'm rapidly reaching the point of deciding that using any of the local shops is simply too high a risk of over-paying, ending up with a poor installation, or actually having my car damaged.
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      11-22-2023, 11:47 AM   #2
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I visited several different shops with my Z4 before making a selection. I watched them working on the cars, made it a point to see how clean the shops were as you don’t want to put on PPF if there’s a lot of dust and dirt present.

Online reviews will help a little, but sometimes I worry whether some of them are posted by the shops themselves to boost their ratings.

When possible, I spoke to the owners of cars that were being worked on in the shops.

Also, do not be afraid to negotiate a price you are quoted once you have a clue as to what the market rates are in your geographic area.

Another approach would be to visit the dealerships of luxury cars in your area, pretend to be interested in making a purchase and while speaking to the salesman ask him who they recommend for PPF and ceramic.
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      11-22-2023, 12:51 PM   #3
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If you’re doing front only I would not overthink it. The ocd only comes into play when you do the entire car and have to deal with trim, badges, handles, etc. I will say going through Xpel was nice because it came with a warranty from corporate. So if you have issues down the road, it should be easy enough to get the work fixed (whether it’s same or perhaps even a different installer from their network).
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      11-22-2023, 01:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 3002 tii View Post
If you’re doing front only I would not overthink it. The ocd only comes into play when you do the entire car and have to deal with trim, badges, handles, etc. I will say going through Xpel was nice because it came with a warranty from corporate. So if you have issues down the road, it should be easy enough to get the work fixed (whether it’s same or perhaps even a different installer from their network).
By "going through Xpel," do you mean that you used an installer that you found on their web site, or something else?
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      11-22-2023, 02:35 PM   #5
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I found who I wanted by attending cars and coffee events in area. You'll start hearing the same name when asking people with great looking cars where they got their work done.
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      11-22-2023, 02:50 PM   #6
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I found who I wanted by attending cars and coffee events in area. You'll start hearing the same name when asking people with great looking cars where they go their work done.
This plus ask people in the forums. You'll generally hear maybe a couple different places people mention consistently.
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      11-22-2023, 03:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ipilcher View Post
By "going through Xpel," do you mean that you used an installer that you found on their web site, or something else?
I would take this with a grain of salt. Not saying it's bad advice but "approved installers" doesn't really mean much. Are they checking up on the installer quarterly, bi-annually, yearly? Any review of their ongoing work with reports? Obviously I get it that's not practical, but also why you shouldn't jump right in just because they are on that list. The cars'n'coffee idea is actually really good. Word always spreads where most people go and then couple it with the rest of the advice.
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      11-23-2023, 09:09 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by alex2364 View Post
This plus ask people in the forums. You'll generally hear maybe a couple different places people mention consistently.
Heh. The only DFW shop that people seem to agree on is Speed Shield, who only do bulk installations (where they cut the film on the car). I'm sure they're great, but that's just too much risk for me.

It would honestly be a lot easier if we didn't have so many installers here. There are probably 20 within 10 miles of my house, which makes it kind impossible for any sort of consensus to emerge.
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      11-23-2023, 09:12 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by 00SH4WN View Post
I found who I wanted by attending cars and coffee events in area. You'll start hearing the same name when asking people with great looking cars where they go their work done.
If only I had the time! Unfortunately, I'm still at the stage of life where weekends are pretty much 100% consumed by child related activities.
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      11-23-2023, 09:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipilcher View Post
Heh. The only DFW shop that people seem to agree on is Speed Shield, who only do bulk installations (where they cut the film on the car). I'm sure they're great, but that's just too much risk for me.

It would honestly be a lot easier if we didn't have so many installers here. There are probably 20 within 10 miles of my house, which makes it kind impossible for any sort of consensus to emerge.
You should pay this shop a visit.
For highly competent and professional shops, cutting on the car is not a big deal. It allows them to truly have the PPF invisible on the car.
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      11-23-2023, 05:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipilcher View Post
By "going through Xpel," do you mean that you used an installer that you found on their web site, or something else?
Correct authorized installers in their network
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      12-03-2023, 08:18 PM   #12
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I used a local shop that I had used before for tinting and has lots of experience and great local reviews.
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      12-03-2023, 10:03 PM   #13
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I spoke with a few owners who had cars done at the place I had in mind.
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      12-11-2023, 03:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipilcher View Post
My G80 is should be arriving in late January, and I'd like to get PPF on either the front or the entire vehicle. I've been attempting to research PPF installers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and I'm coming to the conclusion that it's pretty much impossible for a consumer like me to evaluate installers.

Every installer has a web site full of pictures of exotic cars. They may have even worked on some of them. Similarly, every installer has a super high Google rating and tons of positive reviews. Some of them may even be real.

Then there's the fact that it's almost impossible to actually get a price out of most of these shops. Some of them insist on an in-person meeting before they'll provide a quote; others insist on physically inspecting the vehicle, which is obviously impossible.

It's an M3 for crying out loud, not some super-exotic that they've never seen before.

I've never done PPF before, so I don't have an experience or existing relationships to lean on, nor do I know anyone locally who has ever put PPF on a vehicle.

So how in the world am I actually supposed to go about this? I'm rapidly reaching the point of deciding that using any of the local shops is simply too high a risk of over-paying, ending up with a poor installation, or actually having my car damaged.
As weird as this sounds...look for reviews where they messed something up and see what they did to rectify the situation. To me the most important part is what their integrity would be after something goes wrong. Will you be left pounding sand, or will they fix their issue?

All PPF are roughly the same at this point. Unless you have them side by side it's gonna be hard to tell. Some have longer warranties like 12 year instead of 10 years, and some now have built in ceramic coating and some don't. Some are thicker like 10mils instead of 8mils. There really isn't a "bad" PPF film as long as it's well known brand like Xpel, Llumar, 3M, Suntek, Stek, etc. What matters more is what your installer is more comfortable with. Some people are hardcore XPEL fanboiz or STEK fanboiz but it really doesn't matter too much.

However 3M has this one advantage:

Quote:
Your Scotchgard™ Paint Protection Film and
the underlying paint is covered up to $3,500 if:
• The paint is chipped or pitted by road debris
• The paint is scratched by car washes,
brush or tree limbs, etc.
• The paint is stained by road salt, bird
droppings, tree sap or bugs
https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/...-rev-02-19.pdf

And no, I would not be paying more for one brand over another unless there is something physically different like a built-in ceramic coat or a thicker ppf like 10mils over 8mils.

Never get a partial coverage like a half hood or half fender. It leaves a line where dust/dirt WILL collect no matter how careful you are.

I made an entire thread about this in the past. In the end, I stated I would go with 3M due to the service agreement.

https://f80.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1616332
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