Should You Get PPF for Your Tesla Model 3?

The Tesla Model 3 comes in a standard solid black exterior. But, the EV company understands that consumers like having options. That is why for an extra $1,000, you can choose between blue, white, silver, or the ever-popular red for the Model 3’s exterior paint color.

Anyone who’s purchased a Tesla understands the need to keep it looking clean and pristine, at least until the new car smell wears off. To keep the vehicle from losing its sparkling appearance, you can equip exterior paint coatings that protect the finish from unwanted chips and scratches. 

PPF and ceramic coating are the two options available for the Tesla Model 3. Both protections are expensive and most likely won’t increase the value of the car over time, leaving consumers to wonder if paint protection is really necessary?

What exactly is PPF?

PPF is a paint protection film manufactured by 3M or XPEL. It is a transparent coating that needs to be form-fitted to the vehicle’s exterior surface. Tesla refers to its application as a “no-brainer” because of the lifetime protection it provides against scratches and acts of vandalism.

Applying PPF to the vehicle’s exterior is a tedious and costly process that can run upwards of $10,000. Some drivers choose to wrap the entire car while others only have the PPF applied to high-use areas, such as the hood, mirrors, fenders, and bumpers as these parts of the vehicle are more susceptible to damage and abrasion.

A ceramic coating consists of a liquid polymer that covers the exterior paint surface. It chemically bonds to the original factory paint creating a hydrophobic surface that repels water. Car washing is made simpler, and stains come off with minimal wiping. This added layer of protection is harder than the standard paint that is used on Tesla vehicles. The high-gloss shiny finish needs to be reapplied every two to five years and is considerably cheaper than PPF.

The Teslarati Team reported that 46.8 percent of vehicle owners don’t use any type of paint protection. For those who did purchase the extra protection, 29.8 percent went with PPF while 17.7 percent of their customers selected the ceramic coating.

The benefits of adding PPF to the Tesla Model 3

Vehicles undoubtedly lose their shine due to normal wear and tear. Having an exterior coating applied at the time of purchase can help to keep that fresh paintwork appeal over time.

Commonly referred to as a “clear bra,” PPF works as a protective layer that helps to prevent fading and oxidization from the sun’s harmful rays. Tesla uses a thermoplastic urethane film that is perfect for vehicle exteriors because it is invisible and doesn’t distract from the car’s overall aesthetic. 

This high-tech material most likely appeals to Elon Musk because of its Sci-Fi like properties. PPF is self-healing, meaning that it is capable of resisting high impact and corrosion, healing itself before the damage reaches the vehicle. The film protects vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 against acid rain, mineral deposits, bug residue, and chips from flying rocks. These hazards are absorbed into the film’s top layer of elastomeric polymers allowing it to change back to its natural shape.

A good reason to leave the PPF off your electric vehicle


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A popular YouTube creator, nukem384, decided that getting a ceramic coating or PPF for his new Tesla Model 3 wasn’t worth the added expense.

He felt that since cars are depreciable assets, the protective coating won’t increase the value of his vehicle when he tries to sell it several years down the line. Another deciding factor for this YouTuber was the fact that PPF won’t protect the vehicle from every rock that happens to hit the car. 

The ceramic coating didn’t appeal to him either, as he thought that the benefits of easier car washing just wasn’t worth the extra money. He explained that he likes to drive his cars and not have them sit in his garage looking pretty. He didn’t mind his Tesla Model 3 getting a little beaten up over time.

Nukem384 noted that if he did choose a protective coating, he would go with the PPF since it is more functional and offers better protection.