Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tint Film and Paint Protection Film Installed.

The Q50 got some protection done last weekend. I wanted two key things done: Window Tinting and Paint Protection Film.

I turned to the Tint Factory in Madison, WI. I have known the Owner/Master Installer, Kyle, for a number of years and his attention to detail, slow time taken, quality and technique, and perfection to each job made him my only choice and I highly recommend him as he has done all my cars in the past.

For the tint, I chose 3M Crystalline Automative Film at 40%. It has exceptional infrared reflection qualities, as Kyle showed me by placing various film strips in front of a heat lamps and the finish is fantastic.

I had it places on 7 window panes - rear window pane, two rear panes on each side, and front panes on each side. I did not have the sunroof or windshield done.

I think it adds a subtle class to the Malbec Black Q50, without making the windows look too dark and detracting from the overall color of the car.
Q50 Tinted
Here is another shot with the sunlight.

Q50 Tinted with 40%
Most "drive-through, fast-food" tint shops that simply slide a wet film to get you out the door in 2 hours or less only to have the tint peel over time or have nasty edges show. Kyle is a master at his trade, he removed all the window panes, except the rear one of course, tints them in a dust free moist environment and bakes the glass with film to ensure maximum long lasting adhesion before trimming excess and reinstalling them.

How good is his technique? On my other car, I have attached various cameras and track recording equipment using massive suction cups against the tint and even after a full track day of high G forces, the suction cups never broke loose, and neither did the tint peel off from the glass. It is also the only tint job that does not show against the rear defroster elements on rear, and no visible edges on any glass from where the tint film stops. Perfection!

Took him 30 mins to remove all panels and glasses using his special tool, not a single clip broken, not a screw missing, no rattles and everything assembled right.
Naked Doors
The naked inside of the Q50 gave me a chance to study the techniques that Infiniti used for such a superior finish. The speakers, harnesses, and sound shielding, all very interesting.
Naked Rear
Final fitment of the glasses back into the car.
Perfectionist at Work.
Next onto the Paint Protection film.

Based on experience of 3M vs Xpel: Xpel has not yellowed over the years in mu experience, the glue has been exceptional, it has better adhesive for those complex curves on the Q50 front bumper, it has a fantastic finish and can be waxed with the rest of the body work. Xpel has the self healing qualities as per their videos on youtube.

Overall when you consider the cost of fixing dents from rock chips or from salt in winter, which most Infiniti cars are susceptible to, especially the Q50 due to the aerodynamics. When you consider the insurance deductible needed, the 10 year warranty of the Xpel makes it a cheaper option that not having paint protection. We own our Q50, not lease, therefore it is ours to protect much like a new iPhone. This is must after having it on 1 car in the last 5 years and not the other I leant the lesson.

The installer is as important as the material. The technique, the stretching, the folding lip vs. cutting, the number of edges and relief cuts, the glue activation techniques, the preparation area, the dust and static charge in the air, the moisture content all contribute to the outcome and longevity of the film. Seeing Kyle perform his ritual was amazing, what was even more amazing was the finished product.

The icing on the cake was that Kyle has a film template cutting/plotting machine. He can download the latest laser measured templates, cut and re-cut them as needed. This cuts down time on waiting for templates to be shipped if a mistake is made.

On my way home from picking up the car, the final mile of highway before my exit, the road had been repaired and gravel laid down. What was my warning? A "Gravel on Road" sign with no place to select an alternate route.

Is this a before or after shot? Make it bigger, turn up the brightness and tell try to guess.

The answer is. This is a AFTER shot! In fact every picture above has the XPEL on it.

In the above picture, and what I had covered with XPEL:
  1. The entire front bumper using a laser measured template. Entire Bumper!
  2. 22" of the of the hood is covered.
  3. Both fenders are covered to match the hood up to the 22" mark.
  4. Both side view mirrors
  5. All 4 door handle cups
  6. Top face of the rear bumper.
I think this provides enough protection for commonly abused areas. Now for some shots. I have specifically focused the camera to accent the edges of the film t show coverage, which is very hard to detect unless you are looking for it.

Can you see it here? How about the edges? That fender below is covered.
Still cant see the film?
The most complex curves to apply film to. Kyle rated it a 6 out of 5 in difficulty. Do you see the film? No. Good!
Still can't see the film? How about the 2 rocks that hit the film and shattered?

Showing the edge of the hood. I chose not to get the entire hood covered.
Hood coverage
The front of the hood is wrapped and folded over to avoid showing a line.
No edge showing on hood

Here is the cut from the 2 bumper pieces.

One split in the template between bottom and upper bumper
Coverage on side view mirrors
3 piece template
All 4 cups are covered to catch the finger nail scratched. Have you owned another Infiniti? Then you know why this is important.

Cups covered.
Rear bumper covered on the top section that easily scratches when putting thing into trunk.
Bumper coverage
The artist hard at work.

I am very happy with the work done and the outcome on the Q50. The film has not detracted from the beautiful Malbec Black finish. The tint has really added a nice class to the overall look. I wish you luck in finding your installer and hopefully this blog entry has given you an idea of what is possible on the Q50 and what the final product ought to look like.