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      10-12-2012, 02:02 AM   #7
Rob///M5's Avatar

Drives: 2013 M5 SSII
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: San Diego

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2013 BMW M5  [5.00]
Originally Posted by eclipsisNA
Originally Posted by RPiM5 View Post
Enlighten me about your ideas of avoiding a clear bra. Your the first person I've ever heard say this.
Keep in mind what I'm saying here is merely an opinion.

It boils down to appearance. If your front-end is going to get hit by rock chips, the rocks or other debris will damage either paint or the clear bra. It doesn't matter which material the rocks hit: they'll both look beaten up. Neither material stands up to wear from the elements. The key distinction here is that a clear bra alters the appearance of your paint: no clear bra that exists will look 100% like an OEM finish. In this respect, I'd rather have my paint fully exposed while taking on rock chips instead of a clear bra, that way I can enjoy the looks of my factory finish and not an altered version of it (with a clear bra over that finish).

Price is another consideration. A talented installer will charge several thousand dollars for an install covering your front-end (bumper, headlights, fenders, and hood). Why would people spend that much money if the outermost finish of the car (in this case the bra) is going to show wear over time? That money can be put towards a respray of chipped body panels years down the line. This might sound crazy, being most people think they want to forever preserve their factory finish, but if your car is resprayed by a talented body shop (they do exist albeit hard to find sometimes), it makes near-as-no difference if your front-end's paint is factory or aftermarket. A talented body shop can easily match factory color, metallic flake composition, and orange peel texture. Enjoy your bare OEM finish, and if the time comes to respray it back to OEM-like condition, then go for it and be happy. You do not have to report a purely cosmetic respray to your insurance company, so consideration of lost value for a possible future sale is irrelevant. A major crash is a different story.

Another oft-forgotten reason to avoid spending money on a clear bra is a simple tactic to avoid rock chips: don't tailgate. This might seem overly obvious to some of us, but I've worked on far too many cars with pitted windshields and chipped hoods to know that this idea bears repeating. These cars are clearly driven by someone who tailgates. If you drive too closely behind other cars or trucks, you are guaranteed to chip your front-end. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and while you won't 100% avoid chips and pitting, you will definitely see a massive reduction.

I had a full clear bra by Premier Mobile on the front-end of my last M3 just to get a hands-on experience with something that has received a lot of attention in the car care industry. When I took delivery of my current M3, I had no desire to get a clear bra. I polished, waxed, and sealed my front-end during delivery, and have enjoyed a perfect finish 1.5 years since then. A clear bra would have dulled (to whatever degree) a brilliant finish that I think should be fully exposed at all times.

If on the other hand you feel the desire to throw a clear bra on your car, go for it. It's purely personal preference in how you choose to maintain your car's appearance over its lifespan.
What sealant do you prefer? Do you find that some of the new nano sealants protect against chips as advertised? They're certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than a wrap!