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Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar. You just bought a Tesla and you’re looking to protect that investment. You’ve searched the online forums or talked to Tesla owner club members, and you’re still on the fence about deciding between ceramic coatings for your Model 3 or PPF / clear bra as your protective solution.

But here is the common thread between the two choices – regardless of which you choose for your Model S or Tesla Model Y, every professional detailer will agree that paint correction before installing a ceramic coating or PPF is a logical choice.

So – let’s explore the reasons why you NEED to have your new or previously owned Tesla polished by a professional automotive detailer right before they install that ultra-protective PPF.

What is the Problem with Tesla Paint?

Enthusiasts know that Tesla has set the standard for electric cars in a sleek, powerful package. The problem is – like most automakers, their popularity has stimulated a demand that is quite difficult for them to keep up within manufacturing. While it’s assumed that the rapid production in Tesla Model S Plaid, Model 3, and other production lines is the reason why paint jobs are not the best – the truth is – they never were.

Tesla designed their vehicles for efficiency. And as many of you know, saving weight in areas can help to reduce the energy needed to propel and stop these EVs. One way they’ve saved weight is by applying less clear coats to their paint jobs. But further adding to the paint issues is an expedited new car delivery process – where the manufacturer simply doesn’t spend a lot of time in pre-correcting the factory paint before delivery.

This creates a rather interesting dilemma for Tesla owners, as the less clear coat, the fewer VOCs permitted in today’s clear coats (which results in a softer curing effect) can result in quicker wear and tear of the paint. The solution is to have an auto salon install a nano-ceramic coating, paint protection film, or a combination of both.

Why is it Smart to Install a PPF on a Tesla?

Most Tesla owners purchase these vehicles because they want a long-lasting, energy-efficient, and sustainable vehicle for years. The motors are great, as are the batteries, but if the paint won’t hold up for more than 5 years, you’ve got an issue. So, the solution is to install a self-healing paint protection film or clear bra – especially on those high-strike areas like the front end, front bumper, side mirrors, and the front window pillars.

You’ll want to protect your ride from elements and the hazards of the road, and the best time to begin protecting your investment is right away, potentially even before taking delivery of your new Tesla. One of the first things to begin protecting is the paint, which can be a bit of a sore spot-on for Tesla vehicles, and the best way to do that is with a paint protection film or PPF.

The Benefits of PPF on a Tesla

paint protection film is essentially a transparent polyurethane vinyl wrap, but much stronger, longer-lasting, and offers superior protective benefits. Some of the reasons why Tesla owners install PPF on their Model 3, Model Y, or Model S include:

  • Protects the paint from road debris.
  • Has self-healing properties.
  • Reduces chipping or scratching of paint caused by sticks, rocks, gravel, and other objects that strike the vehicle.
  • Blocks 99.9 percent of damaging UV rays.
  • Installed in pre-cut patterns or by hand.
  • Reduces marring and swirl marks.
  • Can be purchased as a high gloss or matte finish.
  • Ceramic coated PPF has great hydrophobic properties.
  • Keeps the paint free of toxins like bird droppings, tar, tree sap, pollen, and bug guts.
  • Most come with 10 year warranty.
  • Pairs great with quality window tint film – for protection for the entire car.
  • Installed as a full front end, rocker panels, or full car PPF – including the rear bumper.
  • Can provide added depth and shine of the paint (typically the higher end Ceramic Coated Paint Protection Films like KAVACA Ceramic PPF by Ceramic Pro).

Why Do You Need Paint Correction Before Installing PPF on a Tesla?

In a perfect world, you’d order your Tesla online, wait for delivery from the dealership, and drive it directly to your closest Ceramic Pro Auto Spa to have it protected with KAVACA PPF, Ceramic Pro 9H Coatings on the inside and out, and have your windows protected with KAVACA Ceramic IR Window Film.

Believe it or not – this is our most popular package with Tesla owners – so it’s not that far from reality.

However, as we mentioned before, the new vehicle paint from the factory is not in the best condition. There is typically orange peel, minor scratches, and uneven paint. Since a PPF and Ceramic Coating will amplify the condition of paint it protects, paint correction is not only suggested – it’s somewhat mandatory.

PPF and Coatings require a surgically clean and flat surface to bond correctly. This helps to ensure quality adhesion, but also longevity. The amount of correction required will vary based on multiple variables – ranging from the condition of the paint, the number of swirl marks or scratches, or any oxidation.

What is Involved in Paint Correction for a Tesla?

Detailing and polishing your Tesla is the first step towards applying a good paint protection film. Professional detailers will start by decontaminating the vehicle surface, through a three-step process of washing, iron removal, and a panel wipe spray.

They will typically use a dual-action polishing or buffing machine, with dedicated polishing or buffing pads and an automotive polishing compound to even out the paint and remove any dust, debris, grime, or anything else that could make the surface less than level.

The process of completing a paint correction on a Tesla varies based on the vehicle and its issues. Proper paint correction can take several hours for most cars – depending on the level of detail owners want to achieve. It can take one step, two, or sometimes three or more to achieve that perfect finish.

In the end, your Tesla should have a swirl-free, shiny, and almost mirrorlike finish. This will ensure the PPF will bond to the surface with ease, last longer, and maintain a perfect finish. This helps to ensure that paint protection film installation is seamless and bonds well to the painted surface.
How Long Does It Take to Apply PPF on a Tesla?

The answer to this question depends on the size of the vehicle and how much paint correction you need. If you are doing paint protection film on a used car with paint issues, it will take longer. However, most Ceramic Pro Auto Spas request the vehicle from the customer for a full week. This will help to ensure the quality of the installation is what you expect.

Doing a “frontal” package generally involves doing the hood and front fenders as well as front doors. This process is quicker and makes for a great first impression. Tesla Model X and Model Y models tend to take a bit longer due to having more surface area, while the Tesla Model 3 and Model S are smaller.

If you’re looking to have the entire vehicle protected, the installation time will increase exponentially.

Is PPF Better than Ceramic Coatings for a Tesla?

Both ceramic coating and PPF have their advantages. And whether you own a Tesla, BMW, or Corvette, there are several reasons investing in either is a smart financial decision.

PPF better protects against rock chips and deeper scratches the road and other cars throw at you, with a general lifespan of 10+ years.
Ceramic coating is made to protect the car from lighter scratches, whereas PPF is meant to protect your car from deeper cuts and chips. Ceramic coatings are designed to keep contaminants from sticking and make your Tesla easier to clean.

While ceramic coatings and PPF have their advantages against the harsh damages of the environment, PPF, and ceramic coatings, ceramic coating can be applied to the top of the PPF to create the ultimate protection package.

Tesla has especially soft paint, so doing a PPF first is a good idea. Also, ceramic coating and paint protection film can be combined – so you can have the best of both worlds. If you plan to use your Tesla on the highway and in traffic, PPF on the full hood or a front package is the better idea to provide actual protection for the paint in the car, versus looking simply looking sharp in someone’s rearview mirror.

The End Verdict – Is PPF on a Tesla a Smart Idea?

If you plan on keeping your Tesla for more than five years, or want to improve your trade-in value, then installing paint protection film on your Tesla is the best option to protect that investment. PPF installation will help improve the aesthetic appearance of your Tesla – but also protect it from road debris and other environmental factors.

If you have a new or previously owned Tesla, and you’d like to learn more about PPF – or receive a free estimate, click the button below.

Jason Shi

Author Jason Shi

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