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      09-20-2012, 06:49 PM   #1
Rob///M5
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Southern California Clear Bra installer

Does anyone have experience with Auto Armour in San Diego? http://autoarmour.com/

Looks reputable and catalog of completed cars is impressive. I've heard good things about Premier just a little north of me as well.

Any info is appreciated
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      10-09-2012, 06:12 PM   #2
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Wondering if you got your car wrapped. Did you go with AA or Premier?
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      10-09-2012, 07:26 PM   #3
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Wondering if you got your car wrapped. Did you go with AA or Premier?
Planning to go with AA when my car arrives. Premier closed its doors in SoCal.
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      10-10-2012, 02:38 PM   #4
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I've heard good things about AA, but if it were me, I'd avoid a clear bra completely. I can go into more detail about my ideas on this if you'd like.
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      10-11-2012, 03:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by eclipsisNA View Post
I've heard good things about AA, but if it were me, I'd avoid a clear bra completely. I can go into more detail about my ideas on this if you'd like.
Enlighten me about your ideas of avoiding a clear bra. Your the first person I've ever heard say this.
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      10-11-2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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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.

Last edited by eclipsisNA; 10-11-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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      10-12-2012, 01:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipsisNA
Quote:
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!
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      10-12-2012, 09:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rob///M5 View Post
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!
Sealants and waxes don't protect against physical damage like rock chips. They might deter light swirling, but not by much. You and I are both lucky to be in SoCal, where, I know this is hard to believe, but our roads have far less rocks and other debris on them than a place like NYC. New York roads has sand, rocks, and salt all over them, primarily during the Winter months thanks to snow plows spreading them everywhere. Our roads in SoCal aren't perfect, but they're much more forgiving in terms of chipping. A family member had an E60 M5 w/ a clear bra that looked like it had gone through a sand blaster after only its first winter.

With that said, my favorite sealants are Chemical Guys JetSeal109 and Menzerna Powerlock. Both give fantastic long term protection against most of the elements outside of rock chips.

Something I wanted to throw into my previous post is this clear bra debate is, in my mind, similar to the case/protector for phones debate. With beautiful devices like the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3, do you want to hide their gorgeous appearances w/ a distracting and ugly case? A lot of people do apparently, but for me, I'd rather see my phone in its natural state than covered with plastic.

Last edited by eclipsisNA; 10-12-2012 at 09:58 AM.
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      10-12-2012, 12:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipsisNA View Post
Sealants and waxes don't protect against physical damage like rock chips. They might deter light swirling, but not by much. You and I are both lucky to be in SoCal, where, I know this is hard to believe, but our roads have far less rocks and other debris on them than a place like NYC. New York roads has sand, rocks, and salt all over them, primarily during the Winter months thanks to snow plows spreading them everywhere. Our roads in SoCal aren't perfect, but they're much more forgiving in terms of chipping. A family member had an E60 M5 w/ a clear bra that looked like it had gone through a sand blaster after only its first winter.

With that said, my favorite sealants are Chemical Guys JetSeal109 and Menzerna Powerlock. Both give fantastic long term protection against most of the elements outside of rock chips.

Something I wanted to throw into my previous post is this clear bra debate is, in my mind, similar to the case/protector for phones debate. With beautiful devices like the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3, do you want to hide their gorgeous appearances w/ a distracting and ugly case? A lot of people do apparently, but for me, I'd rather see my phone in its natural state than covered with plastic.
Dude,

I definitely see your points and you've made me think a bit about what you said. I agree with your phone case/protector analogy as well. I used to have a case for my iPhone, but it eventually broke and fell apart. I have spent $80 on 2 cases for my iPhone4S and since the second one broke, I have decided against buying another one, as it seems to be a waste of money. Instead now I just take better care of my iPhone, being especially careful to not let it drop to the ground. I think that I enjoy the iPhone more without the case now.

As for the clear bra debate, I both agree and somewhat disagree with your opinion. I used to have an E60 M5 that I let the front bumper get extremely rock chipped and had to respray it once. The respray cost me about $600 bucks, and the color Sapphire Black was easy to match with OEM. After I let the bumper get rock chipped up again I decided to get a clear bra in order to avoid having to keep respraying the bumper over and over again. I had a VentureShield ClearBra and I will say that there were a few negatives about it. For one, scratches. If you scratched the clear bra, you had to live with it unless you changed out the ClearBra. Two, rock chips. Although they didn't penetrate the ClearBra, they did make the bumper look a little beat up. Again, a change of ClearBra would be needed to make it look clean again.

Now that I have a brand new F10 M5, I'm trying to make the best decision that I can in which direction that I want to go. I forgot to mention that the reason why my front bumper kept getting so beat up is because I drive the heck out of my cars. We have amazing mountain roads here in SoCal and I go driving out there all the time. I remember at one point, in only 6 months time, I put over 20,000 miles on my E60 M5.

Here's what I think that I am going to do. I think that I am going to go ahead and ClearBra only my front bumper, my headlights, and my sideview mirrors. I think I will do this only to protect these areas from random mishaps due to normal everyday use. I am also thinking about putting a film on the front of the windshield to protect against marring and chipping as well. My E60's windshield was so badly chipped. BMW doesn't use very hard windshields anymore.

Now if I decide to go do a mountain canyon drive or do a run down the highway with a bunch of my friends, then I will apply this over the front bumper and perhaps the hoods and front fenders to give temporary protection to the ClearBra itself and other non-protected areas.

http://www.tracwrap.com/

I think that this combination will save me from having to replace the ClearBra more often than not because of my high speed and mountain driving habits.

These combined with the Opti-Coat 2.0 should be good protection I think. We'll have to see.
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      10-12-2012, 01:18 PM   #10
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I think I'm leaning towards the same approach Dave...wrap just the front bumper.

My e60 M5 had the entire car wrapped with clear bra (was like that when i bought it used) and I loved the simplicity of maintenance. I really didn't notice scratches or dings in it and thought the silverstone paint shined through beautifully. Maybe because the whole car was wrapped, I didn't know what I was missing?

Shelling out 2k for a partial protective wrap seems a little excessive to me.

Oh BTW - I live in SD too...you gotta let me in on the mountain roads you cruise. I'll be interested in getting out there once (IF???) my car arrives.

Last edited by Rob///M5; 10-12-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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      12-26-2012, 05:36 PM   #11
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I'm thinking about having xpel installed just on the front bumper. Does $500 sound about right to you guys? I've been having a hard time pulling the trigger because I recently had opti coat applied.
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      02-28-2013, 11:03 PM   #12
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I just pulled the trigger on having my dealer install a clear bra on my new M5. I had a white 550i with the M package, lower front end that seemed to get hit a lot by small rocks and no I don't tail gate. Typical in Arizona.. we go through a lot of windshields etc on our freeways. I used the BMW touch up kit but it never seemed to match perfectly no matter how much I shook the bottle. It drove me nuts having those imperfections thus my reason for opting for the clear bra this time. I'm praying I made the right decision and it does its job without taking away from the appearance. Do you need to do the paint protection first before the clear bra?
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      03-03-2013, 01:36 AM   #13
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If you haven't already done it, I would strongly suggest staying away from dealer clear bra installation.

Do your research and find the right installer who uses the best materials. XPEL Ultimate is what you want. Wrap the front bumper, headlights and rocker panels as a minimum. It will make a huge difference. Do not apply opticoat or similar paint sealant before wrap. You can do opticoat/Cquartz on top of the wrap...it won't last as long as on paint, but it still looks nice.
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      03-03-2013, 02:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipsisNA View Post
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.
This guy gets it. My previous m3 got side swiped and after the new side paint I could not tell it was ever damaged.
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      03-07-2013, 05:55 AM   #15
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Didn't see your post before I let the dealer have a try at it. OMG!! Need I say more.. They had it a week saying it was a difficult wrap. Dealer finally called me yesterday to go pick it up and it looks horrible. Seams everywhere... They didn't wrap completely around the wheel wells so I see lines and it coming up. They told me that's the product that BMW prefers and that it should look better after the sun drys it out more. $900 dollars for the front bumper, 24" of the hood, side quarter and mirrors. Need to find someone in AZ that knows what the heck their doing.
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      03-07-2013, 09:25 AM   #16
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Dealer installed wraps for paint protection are usually not preferred. Most car dealers will just farm out the work to whomever they could get real cheap so they could profit from the transaction. Paint Protection Wraps are quite tricky and even the best professionals sometimes have problems depending on the contours of the car and the type of wrap used. Even if you go to the best (expensive) installer and most recommended, it is best to ask in detail the work that has to done and any resulting seam -- you may or may not want. After the work is done, it is imperative that you check the install and note/complain or praise the quality. Personally, I went to probably the best wrap installer in my area yet still had minor complaints which the installer addressed and corrected by doing a rewrap to correct those complaints.
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