Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: 3M Paint Defender (Spray-on Clear Bra)

This was my experience with 3M's paint defender spray on clear bra system.

3M states it takes 2-4 hours to dry and 1-4 days curing time for it to be water repellent, I believe mine will be done at the minimum if not before as this was done at 90 degrees and the car is parked outside in the sun.

So for this I did a control the driver's side rocker panel was sprayed with the spray film and the passengers side was cleaned and clayed at the same time but left exposed to the elements.

Beginning out here's the kit, I just ordered the spray-can only

It included the spray-can and 1oz of wax to assist in removal.

For the following areas here's the recommendation of cans needed

Leading Edges - 1 can
Full Hood - 2 cans
Front Bumper - 1 can
Mirrors - 1/4 can
Rear Bumper - 1 can
Trunk Lid - 1 can
Rocker Panels - 1 can

You can pick up a kit which includes a microfiber towel and plastic sheeting for $12 but I decided just to go to Home Depot and pick up the sheeting on my own, it was located in the paint section.

Here's what I picked up and it worked quite well.

Much cheaper than the kit.

In total here are all the items I personally used to accomplish this.

A list:

1 bottle with ONR mixed in clay lube/QD solution
2 Microfiber Towels (One for washing, one for buffing the wax)
Foam Applicator for wax
Plastic Sheeting
Painter's Tape for the sheeting
Spray Film

For prep I used ONR and cleaned both panels followed by using ONR as a clay lube.

A bit of dirt on the clay, but not too bad overall, the car was washed a week prior.


The wax was extremely easy to apply, but 3M gives you WAY too much, I barely used a 1/4 of the pack and also directs you to not let it dry to a haze, only to apply then buff off. Unfortunately it's not resealable so it was thrown away after use. That was how much product I used and was probably overkill as well.

Now time to tape up the vehicle and sheet it up.

Especially make sure you tape up the creases, near the door, etc…

Here it is sprayed on

30 Minutes After Application

I will update it as it dries after a few hours, and in a couple days once it's cured. That area on the bottom right, is part of an Xpel clear bra and I will be using that to compare the 3M Spray film too as well.

Application was super easy, prep was as easy as it can get, wash, wax, prep, spray. Already though I can see a few high spots but I expect them to level out as it dries. It also is very thin, nowhere close to a plastic clear bra, so for front bumpers it won't handle up to the repeated rock chips, but for lesser traffic areas like mirrors, the roof (specifically front half), rear fenders It's definitely an option, and I think better than taping it up for the drag strip.

A couple updates roughly 20 hours after.

It is still appearing a bit cloudy and you can see high spots. Unfortunately in the instructions it doesn't state what you can do with high spots, only that you have roughly 10 minutes to fill in low spots.

Here are a couple pictures

Driver's Side (With spray-on clear-bra)

Passenger's Side (Without)

You can see there's quite a bit of rough texturing to it even almost 24 hours after, 3M does state 1-4 days so I'll continue.

48 hours after

Still extremely hazy and the high spots didn't level themselves out leading to a glaring problem since there's no instruction on how to level it. I felt if I tried to wipe it down with a microfiber it would not only leave a hole but probably destroy a towel as well. But it still had 2 days for 3M's cure time, so we shall see.

Here's a quick picture during removal (very difficult and takes quite a bit of time)

You can see how unclean it comes off and the difference in reflection of the dried product and paint.

 After 2 hours today of scraping tiny pieces like this off

Plastic Razor worked slightly, but I ended up going with APC and water to break it down. I had heard pressure washer would cause it to fall right off at a high enough pressure but I don't have one. So I chose this route after dry wasn't giving me quick enough results (it would have taken me all night).

And I was able to return it to this

It left quite a few scratches that I'll be compounding out tomorrow.

But other than that Happy 4th everyone! Thanks to everyone that has served or chooses to serve.

Feel free to ask any questions on this product.

Thanks for reading!

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