Short Answer: Wraps and films are available through professional installation at dealerships, standalone shops and mechanics, and do-it-yourself kits. When professionally installed, clear paint protection film on most midsize cars will cost around $500 to $2,000 for the full car, depending on the company you choose and the size of your vehicle. At the other end of the spectrum, you can apply clear film yourself starting at around $15 for just the fenders or hood of your car, or pay $70 for enough clear film to wrap a full car. Below, we detail the clear paint protection options that are available, including DIY clear wraps, liquid spray protection, pre-cut wrap sections, and professional installation.
Why Use a Paint Protection Wrap?
Your car’s paint takes the brunt of your driving; it’s only a matter of time until your car’s paint succumbs to chipping, scratching, and fading. However, there are preventative steps you can take to help protect your car’s paint from damage. For example, there are black leather or vinyl bras that bend around the hood to stay in place, but these can increase your fuel consumption and wear away the paint underneath. An alternative (and generally better) option is a paint protection wrap or film. You can use a liquid spray or apply a clear wrap yourself, or you can take your car to a shop for professional installation.
Paint Protection Wrap and Film Costs
When choosing between DIY or professional installation, you will want to consider not just the initial price, but also the application process and how long you can expect the paint protection to last. Choosing a DIY method might be easier on your budget, but it also might mean shorter-lived results. It could demand repeated reapplications, simply because the material is typically only designed to last about a year or two. Professional installation will deliver long-lasting results, but with a hefty price tag.
Below, we detail the costs involved with each installation method for a clear paint protection wrap or film.
DIY Liquid Paint Protection
Kits are available starting at about $20 to $40 on Amazon.
One bottle will cover approximately half the hood, one fender, one mirror cap, and the front bumper of a medium- to large-sized vehicle. It is recommended that more than one coat be applied to each section, which may mean that you’ll need to purchase several bottles.
Paint protection spray is a liquid that is sprayed onto the car and dries as plastic. To apply, simply mask off the area to be treated, wax the area, then spray the paint protection liquid per the instructions on the bottle.
The spray typically takes about two to four hours to dry, and the film won’t fully cure until a few days have passed. Your car should not get wet for a few days while the film cures.
High-quality paint protection spray lasts about a year before it needs to be removed and a new film applied, which means it can become a yearly cost. Luckily, the removal process is easy: just peel off the old film. Then, simply follow the same application steps to apply a new layer of film.
DIY Bulk Clear Wrap
- Fenders or hood: About $15 to $20 on Amazon for one roll
- Fenders or hood plus doors: $30 to $40 (two six-by-48” rolls)
- Entire vehicle: $50 for a smaller vehicle (one 12-by-96” roll and one six-by-48” roll) or $70 for a larger vehicle (two 12-by-96” rolls)
- Pre-cut film: About $190 or more on Amazon
- XPEL Tracwrap: About $25 on Amazon
- This film provides coverage for lights, edges of car that are close to the ground, narrow strips on lower side panels, and thin strip on hood. It is intended only for specific uses (e.g. racing, towing, off-roading, track days, road trips, etc.).
Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may need additional rolls to cover the entire car. Keep in mind that the DIY method requires precise cutting for each car section; you’ll want to choose the smaller width to cover flat sections, and the larger wrap for bigger sections with curves and edges. If you make mistakes when cutting, you may need to purchase more rolls. You can purchase pre-cut films, but these are typically much more expensive, as noted above.
Many of the clear wraps come with a squeegee for fine-tuning smooth edges. To apply, clean and dry the surface to be treated, carefully apply the clear film, smooth out the surface, and trim off the excess. The film sets within 20 to 45 minutes of application, and it will not leave any residue when removed.
In addition to protecting against scratches and debris, paint protection films are generally resistant to weathering, including staining and discoloration. The film will also likely be resistant to shrinking and stretching. You can expect this type of film to last longer than a liquid spray — typically up to two years or even longer in some cases.
To get a representative sample of typical pricing for clear bra installation, we used Performance Window Tint’s price list.
- Two door handles: Approximately $30
- Both mirrors: Approximately $60
- First 12-inches of hood and front fenders: Approximately $180
- First 18-inches of hood and front fenders: Approximately $220 (this puts the average clear bra cost at $220)
- First 24-inches of hood and front fenders: Approximately $260
- Bumper packages (for small sedans): Prices start at approximately $350
- Headlights: $60 to $100 for a pair, for a standard-sized light up to a larger truck or SUV size.
- Entire vehicle: $500 to $2,000 depending on the size of the vehicle and the labor rates in your area
Just like with the DIY method, professional clear bra installation can include all or just a few parts of the car. The biggest factor in determining how much you’ll pay for professional installation will be the size of the section to be covered.
Many professionals will offer some sort of guarantee for their clear wraps and films, and most will be longer than the one or two years you can expect from spraying or wrapping the car yourself.
If you want to ensure the highest quality applications and products, you may want to consider a professionally installed XPEL paint protection kit. The material used by XPEL is a polyurethane film, and it is computer-cut to ensure an exact fit for your car’s specifications.
XPEL wraps typically cost between $500 and $2,000, depending on which installer you choose and how much of the car you want to be covered. Below is a sampling of professional clear bra service prices:
- 12″ hood and fender: $180.00
- 18″ hood and fender: $220.00
- 24″ hood and fender: $260.00
- Lower bumper: Starts at $350.00
- Above windshield: $100.00
- Mirror: $60.00 (pair)
- Headlight/fog light : $60.00 (pair)
- Large headlight: $100.00 (pair)
- Door handles: $30.00 (pair)
The application process for you as the consumer consists of choosing from various protection levels: XPEL Ultimate, XPEL Stealth, XPEL Xtreme, and XPEL Armor (for commercial use).
XPEL offers the aforementioned levels of protection through certified installers nationwide, making it easy to get paint protection installed before your paint has a chance to get damaged.
XPEL paint protection film is guaranteed to offer protection for 10 years. However, it is also easily removable and will not damage factory paint. It is tested against yellowing, blistering, and peeling.
With some research and a little practice, you can use a DIY paint protection kit to protect the fender or hood of your car for as little as $15. With the DIY method, you can work your way through each section and still use your car on a daily basis. The project may take time, but it won’t take your car out of commission. To ensure high-quality results, you can visit a professional and pay $500 or more for a wrap that will last several years.
A vinyl wrap is slightly different from a clear paint protection wrap, and it is more for looks than for protection. If you’re interested in vinyl wrapping, our article has more details about how much it costs to wrap a car.