The Installation of Paint Protection Film

The following instructions detail the installation of pre-cut kits. However, installations utilizing bulk material can be performed much the same way. The primary difference arises from the need to trim the material with an Olfa knife once the clear bra has been applied.

3M Paint Protection

Application tools necessary:

•  Squeegee
•  (2) Heavy duty spray bottles
•  Baby shampoo (Do not substitute other soaps)
•  Isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70% solution)
•  Non Scratch Absorbent Cloths
•  Wax and Silicone remover
•  Chizler

General Application Instructions

IMPORTANT: Read instructions thoroughly before beginning application.

Installation should always be performed in a controlled environment with a temperature range of 60° to 90° F. Application should never be performed in windy conditions or in direct sunlight.

Prepare a slip solution in one of the spray bottles, filling it with water and adding 2 or 3 large drops of baby shampoo. When properly mixed, the solution should sheet off the hood but not produce many suds. Prepare the alcohol/water solution using 1 part alcohol to 2 parts water.

Contamination such as road tar, grease, oil, wax, dirt, and bug residue should be removed by cleaning the surface to be covered with the wax and silicone remover. Spray the surface thoroughly with the alcohol solution and wipe with the non-scratch absorbent cloth.

Verify size and placement of all parts before removing liner.

Clean hands thoroughly, even the smallest amount of dirt on your hands will transfer to the adhesive, causing an undesirable appearance. Also, always keep your fingers wet to prevent the adhesive from sticking to your fingers, and do not needlessly handle the adhesive side of the material. It will be necessary to handle the adhesive side of the material occasionally, but make any contact with the adhesive as brief as possible and with wet fingers. This is important, as fingerprints will show through the material.


Wet the area of the hood where the kit will be applied, and your fingers with the slip solution. With the material rolled up, pull a small amount of the film away from the liner on one end. With your hand, wipe a 2″ section at the edge of the hood allowing the kit to “tack” onto the edge, which will allow you to “roll” the film onto the hood. With the rest of the kit rolled up in one hand, use your other hand to hold the end of the material that you have pulled loose from the liner down on one end of the hood. Then, slowly begin to pull the liner towards the other end of the hood, causing the material to be slowly rolled out on to the hood. If the kit has a relief cut in it, be careful when rolling out the material on the hood so as not to stretch or tear the material in this area. You may have to use your fingers to free the material around the relief cut from the liner. Once past the relief cut you may proceed normally. A relief cut would be considered any narrow cut-out in the material which deviates from the normal hood line for the purpose of allowing the material to lay flat over heavily contoured surfaces.

Now that the material is laying out on the surface, it will be necessary to apply more of the slip solution between the hood and the material to allow the kit to be easily positioned on the hood. Lift the material from the hood one side at a time to spray the material and the hood with the slip solution. It may require a bit of gentle tugging to lift the material from the hood, but care must be taken not to excessively stretch the material.

Now that the material moves freely on the hood, you may easily position the kit into place. The kit should be positioned between 1/16″ and 1/8″ from the front edge of the hood and centered between the fenders. Also, be sure that the kit is level across the width of the hood. The kit may not line up with every edge of the hood; this is normal since stretching may be needed to relieve excess material caused from the curvature of the vehicle’s dimensions. As long as the kit is symmetrical from one side to the other, you can proceed to the next step, however, if it is not, you must re-align the kit, ensuring the whole kit is symmetrical at every edge.

Once you have the kit in place, spray a small amount of alcohol in the center of the hood between the hood and the kit. Make several small vertical strokes with the squeegee in the very center of the hood, starting gently and then increasing pressure with each stroke until you have an area 3-4″ wide from top to bottom that is free of the solution. The shield is now “anchored” to the paint in the center and will not move freely, which means you do not have to worry about the kit sliding out of place.

Now that the material is anchored in the center, lift one end of the material back to the point at which the material has adhered, and spray the adhesive side of the material and the hood with the slip solution. Place your hand on top of the kit stretch the kit into position making sure that the kit lines up along the grill and the edge of the hood. Take your alcohol/water solution and spray the edge of the kit forcing the solution between the kit and the hood and take your squeegee and “tack” the corner. The alcohol/water solution allows the adhesive to adhere to the paint rather quickly, holding the kit along the edge of the hood. (Please note that when using the alcohol/water solution, the material will dry very quickly, so it will be necessary to work quickly to achieve the desired appearance.)

From the center of the area that is now free of slip solution, make a horizontal pass with your squeegee to the edge of the hood. Then, starting back in the center, make short, upward, overlapping strokes from the middle to the top edge moving toward the first contoured are of the hood. Now, do the same with downward strokes from the middle to the bottom edge until you reach the contoured of the hood. Keep in mind that firm pressure is needed to avoid leaving water or air bubbles trapped underneath the material.

Squeegee the trailing edge of the kit down into the ridge on the hood until it is completely sealed. This can be the trickiest part of the installation so pay close attention to this step. Drag your fingertips downward through the contoured area using firm pressure and hold. Doing this will stretch the material down into this heavily contoured area and pull out the majority of the excess material along the front edge of the kit. It is important to not let the material pop back up in the area above your fingertips. For the most part, suction alone will be holding the material down at this point. If you do not hold firm, even pressure with your fingertips on the film, air will be allowed back in and the film will come back up. A small bubble under the film is allowable. If you encounter larger bubbles you may need to release the material, re-wet the area and retry this step. With the material now in this position, follow behind your fingertips with the squeegee to complete the step.

While stretching downward on the film around the grille, squeegee the film from the ridge to the headlamp using firm pressure.

If any area around the edges has lifted back up, you should wrap a paper towel around your squeegee and go over the edges again. This will absorb the moisture around the edges that interferes with adhesion.

Repeat steps 5-10 for the opposite side of the hood.


For the smaller fender pieces, you can use the alcohol/water solution alone to apply the part. It is usually best to start by lining up the upper edge of the piece with the edge of the fender, while also ensuring that the front edge is about 1/8 of an inch away from the edge as well.

Make a very gentle narrow pass with the squeegee along the upper edge of the piece. Do not press too hard on the squeegee when making the first pass or you will drag the material out of place with the squeegee. Then, as the material begins to adhere to the paint, you may use increasingly firmer strokes until all the alcohol/water solution is removed from beneath the upper edge of the material.

Once the material is anchored at the top, you should gently pull the bottom edge down with your fingers while making sure that the adhesive is thoroughly wet with the alcohol/water solution. Then, while pulling downward on the material, make a firm pass with the squeegee from the top edge all the way through the bottom.

Finish up by going over any remaining “fingers” in the material with the squeegee. For vehicles that have heavily contoured fenders, you may need to wrap the squeegee with a paper towel to push out any stubborn areas.


Using the alcohol and water solution, thoroughly wet the mirror and lay out the material on the surface. Ensure there is enough solution present so the kit moves freely on the surface. Align the kit so it is positioned evenly around the edge of the mirror and squeegee in place around the inside edge.

With wet fingers, stretch outward firmly until most of the excess wrinkles are pulled out from the top and bottom of the kit.

Using very firm pressure, squeegee from the inside edge of the mirror (where you started) to the outside edge of the mirror. Using enough pressure, the squeegee should “flex” (or bend) indicating a firm amount of pressure thatis required to lay the material down evenly.

Now squeegee the wrinkles that are left on the edges. Once again, you should notice a bend in the squeegee indicating the extreme pressure being applied to the film. Once you are down to the last few wrinkles you may then proceed to step 5.

Using a Chizler wrapped in a non-scratch absorbent cloth, continue to squeegee the remaining wrinkles using firm pressure.


Grille pieces are generally the easiest to apply due to their small size and relatively flat surfaces. For these pieces use only the alcohol/water solution for application. Depending on the type of grille pieces included in your kit, there will be slightly different techniques. The first and most simple type of grille piece is a small vertical section that would apply to either side of the grille opening. If your car’s grille is attached to your hood (when you raise the hood, the grille area raises with it) then these pieces will be placed by butting the grille piece directly against the previously installed hood piece. In ALL cases this piece should be installed with NO GAP between the grille piece and the hood piece. Simply align the top edge first (forcing it if necessary to follow the same line as the adjoining hood piece) and squeegee the top 1/4 inch.

Once the top is secure, pull down on the bottom and align the edge with the edge of the sheet metal. Squeegee the lower half to finish up.