FAQ: Can I install 3M Paint Protection Film myself?

FAQ: Can I install 3M Paint Protection Film myself?

3M Paint Protection Film (PPF) is designed to be installed by a 3M certified professional installer.

A simple internet search will lead a motorist to any number of websites where a pre-cut paint protection film kit for a vehicle’s specific year, make, model, and trim level can be purchased. It leads the uninformed consumer to believe that PPF installation is within his/her untrained grasp.

The truth is that it takes a successful paint protection film installer years after initial training to master the craft. That’s because an installer must take a two-dimensional roll of thick urethane and stretch it into place on top of a car’s various three-dimensional compound curves (bumpers, mirrors, fenders, door cups, etc.) without scarring, creasing, or tearing. In fact, 3M estimates that it takes the successful completion of at least 50 cars before an installer becomes proficient. And proficient doesn’t necessarily mean expert.

More than just hands-on expertise is required for a successful paint protection film installation. Pattern software, cutting plotter, application solutions, and installation tools (squeegees, knives, blades) are just some of the trade items necessary. Industry software, in conjunction with the cutting plotter, is how a professional installer pre-cuts the film into the pattern created specifically for your car’s year, make, model, and trim level. Furthermore, the installation must be performed in brightly lit, clean, and relatively dust-free space often equipped with race ramps or hydraulic lifts. The initial investment in training and equipment far outweighs the price of an individual installation.

3M offers a comprehensive 10-year product warranty that is available only when a certified installer performs the installation. To locate the contact information of a certified installer near you, please visit our 3M Dealer Locator.

If you are interested in becoming a 3M certified installer, we offer 3M certified factory paint protection film training. The course is hands-on and designed to teach you the basics of PPF installation. You will leave with a Certificate of Completion. When you have mastered your installation techniques after some practice, you can take the next step to further your accreditation by successfully passing an installation test within twelve (12) months of your original training. Once you have passed the test, you will receive the title of 3M Paint Protection Film Preferred Installer. You can learn more about our training program here.

Return to FAQs and Myths