How To Remove Paint Protection Film From Your Car: THE GUIDE


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two guys removing paint protection film from car

Paint protection films or clear bras are pretty hard to apply and require a lot of experience and knowledge. Removing PPF isn’t much different. However, by following a few simple steps, anyone can do it properly. 

Today, I’ll show you the ultimate guide on how to remove paint protection film from your car. In my opinion, this is the best and easiest way to remove PPF from cars.

To remove paint protection film from your car, start from the film’s edge, heat it with a heat gun or steam cleaner, and gently peel it off. Heat and peel in small sections to prevent large amounts of glue leftovers from sticking to the paint. 

The whole process may take some time, and rushing is the worst enemy. So, ensure you have plenty of time and patience, learn all the tips in this guide, and you’ll be ready for PPF removal.  

Gather Required Tools

Before attempting to remove, clear bras, PPF, transparent bras, or whatever you call paint protection films, you should ensure that you have all the tools required for properly executing this task. 

Tools required for PPF removal:

  • Heat gun or steamer
  • A few microfiber cloths
  • Tar and glue remover
  • Plastic razor scraper (better to avoid it, but it’s good to have it prepared)
  • Car wash kit

As you can see, you don’t actually need plenty of equipment. All of us car guys will have most of these already. 

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Guide For Removing PPF From Vehicles

If you ever removed some stickers or 3M tapes, the whole process will be more familiar to you. So, without further ado, let’s start with the steps. This method works for all brands of clear bras (3M, XPEL, Stek, etc.).

1. Start From The Edge

One of the most important things when it comes to paint protection film removal is to start from the edge. Find some spot where it’ll be easy to start peeling the film off the car. 

It will be impossible to strip the film from the middle. So, find some easy-to-reach edge, and proceed to step 2. 

2. Heat and Peel The PPF

Start heating the edge of the film by using a heat gun or a steam cleaner. I prefer steam cleaner because of its more even applications, but both of these will work. 

Slightly heat the film and try peeling it off. You should be able to peel off the film with your hands. If you can’t, use a plastic razor blade to begin, and then proceed with your hands. Peeling the film off with hands will prevent scratching the paint beneath. 

The important thing is to go in extremely small sections and lines. You shouldn’t heat and peel more than a few inches of film at a time. Furthermore, avoid applying too much heat to the film. That could cause damage to the paint. Apply just enough heat so that PPF peels easier, with as little adhesive residue as possible.

Here’s how I do it: I keep the steam cleaner in one hand, and with another hand, I peel off the film. So, try to do it simultaneously; that way, everything will be much easier. 

So, continue to gently “heat and peel” the film until you remove the whole clear bra from that car body part. Then, continue to other parts of the vehicle. 

Sometimes, you’ll also have to remove some emblems glued to the film. If that’s the case, remove them first, then proceed to the PPF removal. 

4. Remove PPF Glue Residue

After removing the paint protection film from the vehicle, some glue residues will always be on the paint. If you are careful enough when peeling the PPF, there won’t be too much adhesive residue. Anyway, it’s impossible to avoid it altogether. 

Use some high-quality tar and glue remover, such as this Goo Gone Pro-Power (check the price on Amazon now). Apply some product on a clean microfiber towel to the paint, and wipe the adhesive residue off after a few seconds. 

If it’s tough to remove glue residue, try heating it with a heat gun, apply tar and glue remover, and wipe the adhesive off with a microfiber towel. 

During this process, make sure to use the cleanest microfiber towels possible. Otherwise, you might scratch the paint.  

5. Wash The Car

After removing the whole PPF from your vehicle, you should thoroughly wash the car. That way, you’ll prepare the vehicle for paint correction or re-application of PPF films or other paint protection products. 

If you don’t know the proper steps for washing your vehicle (many people don’t actually), here’s my guide on washing your car the right way

Why Do People Remove Paint Protection Film From Cars?

You are probably interested in why people remove paint protection film from your car, and when you should attempt to remove it. I won’t go long here; I’ll just give you a few examples of when you should remove the PPF from your vehicle. 

Reasons to remove clear bra from your car:

  • PPF has significant damage (tearing apart, rock chips damage, deep scratches, etc.) and needs to be replaced
  • Yellowish color of the film or glue beneath because of the oxidation
  • You want to replace the PPF with a new one (it’s been on the paint for a long time, such as 8-10 years)
  • You want to try other forms of paint protection (waxes, sealants, ceramic coatings)
  • You’re selling the car and want it to look like-a-new
  • Cars’ paint beneath the PPF is damaged and needs to be fixed
  • You’re not happy with the PPF overall or with a specific PPF brand

As you can see, there are many reasons why people remove paint protection films from their vehicles. That’s why it’s crucial to use high-quality PPFs from trusted brands in the first place (when applying them to the car). High-quality PPFs tend to last longer, be more resistant to damage, and improve your car’s appearance. 

What To Do After Paint Protection Film Removal?

After removing the transparent bra from your car, you shouldn’t stop there. There are some additional steps that you should take to keep the vehicle protected further on.

1. Polish The Vehicle

If you had PPF applied to the whole car, polishing and compounding the vehicle may not be essential.

However, if you only had PPF partially installed, there will be a difference in the paint, especially on the edges of the film. The only way to remove them and make the whole car’s paint equal is by polishing your car. Check my guide on how to polish a car. 

Polishing will enhance the paint and prepare it for a new form of paint protection.

2. Apply New Paint Protection

After removing the paint protection film, the worst thing you can do is leave the car’s paint unprotected. The clear coat will become exposed to all the harmful external elements (UV rays, rock chips, bird poops, acidic rains, etc.). In my opinion, a car should always have some form of paint protection applied. 

Besides PPFs, there are other types of paint protection: waxes, sealants, and ceramic coatings. They are fantastic too, and cheaper to apply than clear bras, so make sure to think about them.

So, keep the car’s paint protected all the time, and it’ll last for years, probably longer than the engine. 

Final Words

As you can see above, paint protection film removal isn’t backbreaking and doesn’t require plenty of tools. You only need to be careful and patient when removing it. I hope that now you know the basics and that you’ll be able to remove it from your car successfully.

In the end, here’s an interesting video of removing PPF without using heat guns or steam cleaners. It’s great if you don’t have any of the tools needed in the guide above. I find it very interesting, hope you’ll too!

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