How Much Does a Clear Bra Cost for a Car?

Written by: Staff

Vehicles, as you probably already know, are prone to damage, most often due to the road or hazardous weather, even when you’re not driving.

While you can wait and pay for the repairs in the future as they arise, some car owners opt to install a “clear bra,” either via a professional on their own to protect this debris from damaging the parts of their car.

3M, being the very first manufacturer for the clear bra, initially developed the product to help guard military helicopter blades against oncoming debris, but since the product has been refined over time, it’s now used as the go-to material for OEM and aftermarket paint protection.

Today, there are several manufacturers, aside from 3M, including Suntek and Xpel.

Clear Bra Cost for a Car
Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Tolga Cetin Photography

The average car clear bra cost

The costs of a clear bra for your car will greatly depend on the vehicle parts you want protected, the car you want wrapped, the professional (if you choose one) you hire, the branded clear bra they use and where you live.  As some car owners opt to cover certain parts, the costs will vary.

From what we researched, there are several packages a professional can offer, and car owners can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to more than $2,000+ for a complete package, which would be designed to protect most of the car’s painted surfaces.  As all installation packages will vary with its inclusions, so will the price.

Clear bra pricing per part
Hood and Fender$150-$300, depending on the size
Lower Bumperstarts at $300+
Above Windshield$100-$200
Mirror Protection$50-$100 for both
Headlights$50-$100 for both
Door Handles$30-$60 for all

NOTE:  These are professional prices you should budget for.  Again, as mentioned, do keep in mind that some professionals will combine a majority of these parts and include a packaged discount.  Be sure to ask for any discounts, if available.

A member on this forum thread said he was quoted $1,400 to $1,775 for a full package, and the price would depend on what he wanted covered, while another said he paid less than $1,000 to cover the front part of the hood, front bumper, mirrors, A-pillars, and the rear bumper scuff area.

On this auto detailing subreddit, a member received a $1,300 quote to cover the full hood, bumper, front fender and the mirrors for his Audi A3. mentions the average job can cost $900 to $2,500, depending on the number of panels you want.  As this film is typically custom cut and applied by hand, this is the reason for a higher cost.

What exactly is a clear bra?

The term “clear bra” simply refers to the common name for paint protection film or otherwise known as PPF.  This material is a durable, clear urethane film which will help preserve your vehicle’s finish and protect the surface from any oncoming debris and/or weather elements.  This nearly invisible film will be applied to any high-impact paint surface, including the mirrors, bumper, grills, rocker panels, headlight covers, car doors, luggage areas, A-pillars, fender or the hood, for example.

Take a look at the video below to see how the clear bra is applied to most vehicles:

How it’s installed

The preferred method used by most professionals is by what’s known as commercial plotting equipment.  Using this equipment, it is able to precisely plot the film for the installation according to the vehicle’s body.  This plotter will rely on specially designed softer to design and cut the bulk of the film to the exact specifications, allowing for a precise cut.

The second method is via a pre-cut kit, which is already cut according to the vehicle’s make and model.  This film simply comes out of the box and is applied to the appropriate panels.

The pros of a clear bra

In general, it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do — protect your paint, all while being invisible to passersby.  This tends to be the biggest advantage as to why people choose a clear bra for their car.

If you live in a troublesome area, it will also protect your paint in the long term, even if your car sees no oncoming damage.

It prevents the need to repaint any panels in the future in case of any damage.  Plus, it’s universal, meaning your installer won’t turn you away.

As long as the clear bra was installed correctly, your car will hold its value and sell for more than the competing car on the market.

It’s also low in maintenance and only needs to be cleaned with a mild water and detergent when dirt buildup is noticeable.

The cons of a clear bra

Almost all brands of clear bras, unfortunately, will start to turn yellow after a few years.  While this bra is designed to protect your paint, and it will, you have to keep in mind this protection is taking a beating from the debris and the sun.  In some cases, many of the name branded clear bras will only offer a five to seven-year warranty at a maximum.  If you’re concerned about this, talk with both the detailer and research the manufacturer online to see what other car owners experienced with theirs.

For most, the full application, as you can see, can be a bit much for a lot of budgets.  Is it worth spending $2,000 in protection for a car only worth $15,000?  That’s up for you to decide.  For some, a simple car bra on will suffice.

In some cases, it won’t protect as much as you think as some things, such as tree sap, can eat away at the plastic, doing damage after all.

Facts you should know

On average, even the best paint protective film will last about 10 years.  As mentioned, most of your name branded clear bras will include a warranty which will protect you in case of yellowing, cracking, bubbling and/or peeling.

Most detail sprays, pressure washers, waxes and car washes are safe for the film, but detailers will recommend you avoid using any materials with a high concentration of petroleum distillates.  A pressure washer is okay, but it is best to avoid the edges to prevent them from peeling.

In the future, this clear coating can be removed by using a heat gun or steamer.  It’s recommended you use a professional to help avoid damaging the paint.

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