applying a 3m paint protection film

Applying a 3M paint protection film is the best way to protect your car’s paintwork from weathering or other damage. It is a clear protection film that is transparent when properly installed. However, like other installation processes, you will require multiple tools and equipment.

However, learning the installation process can be rewarding. Follow these steps to understand the 3M paint protection film’s installation process.

Tools required for installation

You will require some tools for 3M PPF installation

Disposable syringes

Microfiber mitt or cloth

Cleaner clay

3M PPF installation gel or solutions


Cutting knife/ 30-degree blade

Solutions to be made prior to starting the installation process

Slip solution: water plus mild dishwashing soap or shampoo. 3M paint protection film gel is a high-viscosity gel that is an alternative to a slip solution.

Tack Solution: Water plus isopropyl alcohol

Hybrid solution: Baby shampoo plus isopropyl alcohol and water.

The process of 3M PPF installation

The 3M PPF installation process can be completed by following these steps:

Step1: Cleaning the vehicle surface

Proper cleaning and preparation of surfaces is a significant part of vehicle enhancement. Working on the cleaning surface, free of grime and dust. Ensure the removal of the ceramic coating or PPF if it is applied. Talk to the expert automotive detailer to remove previously applied protection solutions. If you want to clean the car surface by yourself, you can use an adhesive remover. You can also use a non-ammonia foaming cleaner. You can also use a 3M clay bar for removing contaminants. Wipe down the whole vehicle with a microfiber mitt or cotton cloth. After cleaning your vehicle, inspect it again.  

Pro-tip: Always clean the vehicle surface in the garage or closed area to avoid contaminants from the environment.

Step 2: Preparing cleaning solutions
Preparing cleaning solutions

After vehicle surface cleaning, make two separate solutions in bottles. Make a solution with a few drops of pH-neutral cleaner or baby shampoo with water and the other with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol with water.

Pro-Tip: Most soaps, shampoos, and cleaners act as alternatives.

Step 3: Remove the protective backing liner

Remove the protective liner from the 3M paint protection film. Soak the PPF with a soapy water solution and align the film to the area you want to apply the tint. 3M requires a recommended temperature for application ranging from 60 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature below 60 degrees or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit makes it difficult to cure. Lower temperatures won’t let the adhesive stick properly to the glass. Higher temperature also slows down the curing process.

Step 4: Align 3M paint protection film

Align the film to the desired area, and spray the alcohol solution under the PPF. It will stick but not cure immediately. You can adjust the location accordingly, but we don’t suggest removing it.

Step 5: Final finishes

Removing air bubbles is the final step in applying a 3M clear film. Pull out the air bubbles from the middle by using a squeegee tool. Give this step more time by removing air bubbles. Cut the excessive film and tuck the edges properly.

Step 6: Curing

Give your car a minimum of 24 hours to let the PPF coating for curing. Curing time can exceed from 24 hours to 4 weeks completely, depending on the weather conditions. Warmer temperature speeds up the curing process.

Step 7: Preventive measures

Take preventive measures to preserve your 3M paint protection film by:

  • Avoid parking your vehicle in closed spaces or that have other vehicles because the risk of having door dings increases.
  • Use car covers to protect your vehicle for protecting it against sunlight.

Expert recommendation for 3M PPF installation
Expert recommendation for 3M PPF installation

Here are some of the expert recommendations for applying a 3M paint protection film

  • Wait for at least 72 hours before the car wash after the 3M PPF application.
  • Use hand wash or touchless car wash
  • After the car wash, inspect your vehicle carefully; if you observe a lifting edge, replace or remove the damaged PPF. Loose or uncured PPF could tear away from the vehicle during the wash.
  • If you are using a pressure washer, follow the strict guidelines. However, aggressive pressure washers can cause damage to paint protection film because pressure weakens the adhesive from the film. Taking the vehicle without inspection can cause films to curl or lift.

Related Article: Is Paint Protection Film Worth It?

Trust Auto Boss for perfect installation

Although installing 3M PPF seems easy, it can be a complicated process that ends up in a mess, or you may need a complete removal. If the right amount of solution is not applied or you are unable to align the film correctly, you may have selected a low-grade PPF; any problem can lead to premature failure. If you don’t have patience or you feel it is difficult to apply it yourself, it is better to leave the process to the experts. The Auto Boss Vaughan team has significant tools and experience and understands every requirement that is necessary for a successful installation.

Treat your car right by partnering with Auto Boss in the installation of 3M Paint Protection Film. Expect prompt and friendly advice and installation services. Get the ultimate convenience in keeping your vehicle looking new and protected.


Applying a 3M Paint protection film by yourself can become complicated if you don’t install it correctly or you aren’t given enough time for curing. Before installing 3M PPF, experts prepare your vehicle by washing, cleaning, and drying it thoroughly. Professional installers use software to assist the installation process by creating a computer-generated template of the vehicle’s make to ensure PPF fits accurately. Then it is cut into proper size for installation, and the necessary finishing touch is. However, if you are applying a 3M clear coat by yourself, read the instructions provided in the manufacturer’s manuals. Don’t forget to get help from someone who can assist you if some mistake happens during the process. Professional PPF installation ensures the finest finishes without imperfections.

Applying a 3M paint protection film provides your vehicle paint protection against chips, scratches, and damages occurring during routine driving.  


Can you apply paint protection film by yourself?

Yes! You can install PPF coating by yourself. 3M paint protection film is the highest quality film that shields against dirt, debris, and scratches.

How does 3M paint protection film last?

Pressure washing causes the newly installed 3m paint protection film to peel off from the edges.

How do you install paint protection film?

Remove the PPF liner film side, spray the adhesive side with installation gel, and then apply the protective paint film.