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Paint Defender

The Front Line of Protection

Story Larry Jewett / Images provided by 3M - August 01, 2013 10:00 AM

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The spray can offers some suggestions on areas of usage. To get the best experience, it is recommended that the application kit and spray trigger be used with this spray can.

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This is the type of thing that can be avoided through the use of Paint Defender. Do any touch up before applying Paint Defender because it will protect the bad spots as well as the good.

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In developing the film, 3M used a test called the “Gravelometer”. Abrasive material of different sizes was dumped into a hopper, which projects it on the product being tested. The rocks couldn’t penetrate the Paint Defender film to damage the surface.

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Simple instructions make the application process as easy as 1-2-3. Follow the directions and recommendations and maximum results will be achieved.

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The process starts with the plastic included in the application kit. 3M’s Jenn Cook prepares this vehicle by covering it completely.

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The hood area is going to get the Paint Defender application. Jenn cuts away the plastic from the area to be sprayed.

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The next step is to tape down the plastic so that there is no overspray. The tape is included in the application kit.

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A second run of the tape holds down the previous taping. This will be the back edge of the area to be sprayed.

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Even in a closed environment, it is a good idea to anchor the plastic to keep it from blowing up or moving. Someone opening the door at the wrong time or a gust of wind can adversely impact effectiveness.

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The exposed area is our target. The hood has been raised and propped up with a roll of towels underneath. It will give us a more horizontal surface. It isn’t necessary, but will allow for a more consistent distance from the sprayer to the surface.

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Once the area has been masked, it is time to do some waxing. A packet is included in the Paint Defender Spray Film package.

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Best results can come with the use of the optional Spray Trigger. It simply snaps onto the spray film can.

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Jenn demonstrates the recommended distance from the sprayer to the surface. If you get it closer, it will apply thicker and take longer to dry. If you are too far away, you run the risk of reducing the layer of protection.

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Nice even strokes in a side-to-side, then up-and-down motion will get the job done. You can see the white spray on the dark surface.

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 A coat of Paint Defender has been applied. The left half of the hood was done before starting on the right.

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The first row of tape was pulled away and you can see the edge of the Paint Defender if you look closely. Soon, you won’t be able to tell.

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This is an “after” shot with the Paint Defender applied. It really doesn’t look any different than our “before” shots.

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Depending upon the amount of Paint Defender used, smaller places like mirrors can be covered as well. Follow the steps for covering and masking.

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It passed the Gravelometer test earlier and the attempt to poke through the film with a car key indicates how tough it is once applied.

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Removal is simple and it should be taken off after about a year. Just find an edge and peel back. The challenge comes in finding an edge.

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You’re on your way to your favorite car show or cruise in. You have been waiting for this for a long time.

Along the way, a passing car throws up debris and the end result is chipped paint. It may be just a little bit, but that little bit is enough to deny you the near perfection you were shooting for.

Road debris is just one of the threats to a paint surface. The threats can come from any direction, even above. You could keep the car in a trailer to your destination, but that eliminates the open road feel that many want to get. You can also see what is available to help protect the car that means so much to you.

The idea of a film protectant on a surface is far from a new revelation, but have you ever seen a film that comes in a spray can? Meet Paint Defender.

Introduced just this year, 3M utilized several divisions within their corporate web to develop a product that will help alleviate the aggravation caused by errant debris. Paint Defender is applied through a spray can onto a clean surface. After drying, the end result is a layer of protective film that will last a year. It’s invisible, invincible and removable.

The company started using protective film on helicopter blades during the Vietnam Conflict. The technology has come a long way, but even a few years ago, only the most imaginative minds would have conceived a spray-on film. The downside to film application has always been the ability to remove air bubbles or proper placement. Those issues are no longer relevant and that bodes well for those who have made an investment in their cars.

“Over 90 percent of the vehicles on the road don’t have paint protection,” said Adam Wilt, Global Business Manager, 3M Auto Care. “Our goal was to create a solution that was smart, accessible and convenient. Now, consumers can take simple steps from their driveway to help keep vehicles looking newer for longer.”

The excitement built over a period of years. What started as a murky, brush-on product evolved into the simple spray technique used for the existing product.

The 3M Paint Defender comes to life through a simple three-step process with all material provided in the Paint Defender kit. You start by masking off the area that will not get the film. It is not recommended for use on glass like windshields and headlights (there’s no paint on these surfaces to defend). It is designed for the areas like the hood, bumper covers, mirrors and rear panels. Once the masking has been put into place, it’s time to put a coat of wax on the surface to protect. In addition to making the vehicle look better, it will be a big help when the time comes to remove the film in a year. The final step is to spray the film in even strokes across the area intended to be protected.

Using the spray trigger on the can allows for better application. It is important for the car that the application be made as evenly as possible. Our application was done in a side-to-side motion, followed by an up-and down motion. When doing a larger area, try to apply the Paint Defender in an area that doesn’t require that you move. Once you finish that area, find a different spot to stand while applying the coating over the rest of the surface.

Once the Paint Defender has been applied, the surface will have a look like you have just used oven cleaner on your car. Drying time depends on the thickness of the application. When dry, you will be unable to discern the protection is there because there are no visible lines.

The protection is immediate and lasts for up to a year. At that time, the film can simply be peeled off (aren’t you glad you waxed first) and thrown away. Repeat the process for another year of protection.

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