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PSA - Suntek Ultra PPF + Ceramic = no self healing

voip-ninja

Give me some sugar baby
Mar 15, 2012
4,505
5,584
Colorado
Just a small PSA to the Model 3 community.

I had Suntek Ultra PPF installed on my Model 3 (24" hood, matching fenders, front bumper, lights, etc) and one of the things that they advertised was that the film has self healing characteristics so that small scratches or impact marks on the film will heal themselves.

I then did paint correction on the non PPF parts of the car (a timing issue prevented my doing the paint correction before PPF) and applied two coats of Kamikaze Miyami ceramic coating.

The car looks great and I don't regret doing ceramic, other than what I've since found out.

My car got hit by a small rock (very common on Colorado roads) when we took a trip to the mountains a few weeks ago. The impact actually cracked the ceramic coating and put a small hole in the film. It's not clear without removing the film if the paint was affected.

Self healing properties of film will not work if the car is ceramic coated. The ceramic is basically pottery glaze and if something hits it hard enough it will fracture and since it's pretty hard it will prevent the PPF from "healing" itself.

So now to get this fixed (will probably wait till the end of peak rock season) I am going to have to have the shop pull off the damaged PPF, buff out the ceramic boundary, and re-apply PPF, that's probably going to run at least $200. Then I'm going to have to get more Miyami coating and re-coat that panel (probably about $40-$50). Plus of course the time and labor involved.

If you are in a part of the country where you get a lot of rock strikes on the front of your car you just might want to skip the ceramic coating and use a traditional sealant instead.
 
Maybe applies more to scratches/tears rather than holes, but maybe when the weather warms up the PPF may look a little better? It's plastic, after all, and the "self healing" will depend on whether the margins can line up and whether there's warm enough temps to make the sides re-seal. But yeah, I can totally see how ceramic could make the underlying PPF brittle, and possibly rip chunks of it away if a big enough impact shatters the ceramic shell.

And look on the bright side, at least your protective coatings are doing their jobs!
 

voip-ninja

Give me some sugar baby
Mar 15, 2012
4,505
5,584
Colorado
Maybe applies more to scratches/tears rather than holes, but maybe when the weather warms up the PPF may look a little better? It's plastic, after all, and the "self healing" will depend on whether the margins can line up and whether there's warm enough temps to make the sides re-seal. But yeah, I can totally see how ceramic could make the underlying PPF brittle, and possibly rip chunks of it away if a big enough impact shatters the ceramic shell.

And look on the bright side, at least your protective coatings are doing their jobs!

It was recommended to me by the install shop to take a hair dryer or heat gun on low heat carefully to the area and see if anything could be done with it so I should have mentioned that while I am skeptical I will give that a try before I resign myself to having it redone.

I'll also update the thread with pics of the damage when I get the car cleaned, right now it's covered in 2 weeks of winter road slush and temps are too low to wash it.
 
It was recommended to me by the install shop to take a hair dryer or heat gun on low heat carefully to the area and see if anything could be done with it so I should have mentioned that while I am skeptical I will give that a try before I resign myself to having it redone.

I'll also update the thread with pics of the damage when I get the car cleaned, right now it's covered in 2 weeks of winter road slush and temps are too low to wash it.

Don't be skeptical of applying heat. That's what the PPF needs to self-heal. It's not going to just "heal", it essentially melts back together. Park it in the sun, or use a hair dryer or low heat gun. Look it up, there are plenty of videos on YouTube.

Also, ceramic coating doesn't make a pottery glaze like layer. It's not a hard layer that will crack. Essentially what it's doing is bonding with the paint or PPF and creating a layer that is extremely slick and will make it much more difficult for dirt to stick.. It's never going to protect from impacts, no matter what those manufactures say, but it will make it easier to clean and will enhance gloss.

If the tear is small enough, I bet heat heals it right away.
 
Don't be skeptical of applying heat. That's what the PPF needs to self-heal. It's not going to just "heal", it essentially melts back together. Park it in the sun, or use a hair dryer or low heat gun. Look it up, there are plenty of videos on YouTube.

Also, ceramic coating doesn't make a pottery glaze like layer. It's not a hard layer that will crack. Essentially what it's doing is bonding with the paint or PPF and creating a layer that is extremely slick and will make it much more difficult for dirt to stick.. It's never going to protect from impacts, no matter what those manufactures say, but it will make it easier to clean and will enhance gloss.

If the tear is small enough, I bet heat heals it right away.
I believe only the outer layer of PPF is self healing.
 
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Gavyne

Member
Jul 27, 2018
667
1,859
SoCal
Contrary to believes, PPF does not self heal if punctured. I think they even have these in fine prints somewhere. PPF is designed to "self heal" from scratches and scrapes that do not go all the way through the film. So if a rock hits your car at the right speed and the right angle, it may puncture the PPF with or without the ceramic coating. Once it goes through, it's not going to self heal.

I've pulled a rock the size of my thumb out of the front bumper. It was stuck on there, in the PPF and made an ugly mark. Since the rock did not penetrate through the film, the film self healed fine after I poured warm water over it and wiped it off. There's another spot on my bumper where a small rock did penetrate the film, and that mark stays there. Even though it's a much smaller, tiny hole, it wouldn't self heal because it penetrated through the film.

And yes I have the front bumper wrapped with Suntek Ultra, with Modesta ceramic coating on top.

So just saying, ceramic coating is not at fault here. PPF does not self heal if something penetrates through the film. You will find in all demonstrations from PPF vendors that they only demonstrate self heal properties from scratches and impact marks. None of them actually demonstrated PPF healing from a puncture that goes all the way through.
 
Coincidentally I got a direct stone hit on the front hood yesterday at highway speeds. It bounced and hit the passenger windshield (luckily non-visible area) and left some stone residue embedded in the windshield. Looks like the PPF got a tiny tear on impact. Will take some pics and watch for any 'healing'.

XPEL PPF + ceramic coating
 
I have a small area where my PPF has been torn due to a rock being flung at my driver side A pillar. I was able to reheat the torn portion and it seems to have bonded back to the pillar, but the ppf will not self heal around the edges where it was ripped. My understanding is if it tears/rips it won’t heal, but scratches to the surface will heal from heat. In the winter a hair dryer, heat gun or warm/hot water should do the trick. While annoying it is torn (albeit a small piece) and happened within a week of bringing the car home, I have to remind myself that 1) the rock was flung from a car going ~120mph, so it had some force to it and 2) if I hadn’t had my a pillar protected the damage surely would have been much, much worse.

I have no idea how the science of ceramic coatings and PPF healing work, and hopefully someone with more knowledge can enlighten me, but I have read numerous places that they do in fact work together; though some ceramic coatings work better than others when being applied to PPF. I have Crystal Serum Ultra on my car and can’t say it isn’t working as intended, but I suppose that’s the point. :D
 
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EVS Motors

Active Member
Global Vendor
Sep 3, 2013
2,117
500
Houston
There seems to be some misconception regarding the self-healing feature in PPF. As some members have pointed out above, any cuts, tears, rips, punctures, and even some scuffs will not heal out. The self-healing feature is mainly for light scratches and swirl marks on the film that you typically get from improper washing/wiping. These aren't scratches you normally feel when you run your fingers over. If you can feel it, good chance is it won't come out.

In your case, whether you had ceramic coating or not, your PPF would not heal based of the description of the damage you received on your PPF. If the damage didn't cut all the way through the PPF, there's a good chance your paint is saved. You may have a small dent from the impact if it's hard enough though.
 

R1Fast

P3D Blue/White
Sep 11, 2018
464
320
Seattle
Contrary to believes, PPF does not self heal if punctured. I think they even have these in fine prints somewhere.

That about sums it up. Even Xpel says in their FAQ that it will protect light scratches and scuffing. Punctures are a no-go. They also say emphasize that ceramic does not affect the self-healing properties of the film and is perfectly fine for use. I've been using Ultimate Plus with CQuartz for 1+ month and have had no issues with self healing.

Tip: Dont use a heat gun. Too much heat will bubble the clear coat of the film. Use hot water (not boiling) to rinse after a wash - it will do wonders for blemishes and scratches in the self-healing category.
 
What happened if the scratch is light and only scratched the ceramic coating? Normally if you don't have ceramic coating, the PPF could self heal with hot water, but if only the ceramic coating is scratched... self healing of the PPF won't do anything right?

It’s funny you ask this, I went to my detailer to buy more Opti Coat product from him yesterday and because of this thread I asked the very same question, among a few others. He said he wasn’t sure of the science with PPF self healing and ceramic coating, other than it works, but the layer of ceramic coating is thin, like 1.5 microns thin. I would assume in most cases if the coating gets scratched, the ppf will also be scratched in which case it’ll self heal. In the case where a scratch is less than 1.5 microns in depth, the ppf will not heal since it wasn’t damaged.
 

Jean-Claude

Member
Local Vendor - Southeast
Feb 3, 2015
274
75
Atlanta, GA.
Modern paint protection film is made up of a number of layers. Suntek Ultra's paint protection film has an upper membrane which the "self-healing" takes place in. Think of the membrane as memory foam found on a bed or pillow. That membrane, if penetrated, can not "seal-heal" any more than memory foam missing a piece of the material will not return to its previous state.

This is why "self-healing" paint protection film is not unlimited in how it works. It is still a wear and tear layer that will show impact marks. The "self-healing" ability is limited to typical light marring and light scratches. Deep gouges will not recall back to its original form. Any paint protection film installer that isn't an snake-oil salesman knows this and should readily share this information with their clients.

5 years ago I demonstrated how self-healing PPF works in this video:

and not long after I demonstrated how self-healing PPF can still work with Modesta paint coatings which are renowned for being some of, if not the thickest, coatings:
 
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voip-ninja

Give me some sugar baby
Mar 15, 2012
4,505
5,584
Colorado
Modern paint protection film is made up of a number of layers. Suntek Ultra's paint protection film has an upper membrane which the "self-healing" takes place in. Think of the membrane as memory foam found on a bed or pillow. That membrane, if penetrated, can not "seal-heal" any more than memory foam missing a piece of the material will not return to its previous state.

This is why "self-healing" paint protection film is not unlimited in how it works. It is still a wear and tear layer that will show impact marks. The "self-healing" ability is limited to typical light marring and light scratches. Deep gouges will not recall back to its original form. Any paint protection film installer that isn't an snake-oil salesman knows this and should readily share this information with their clients.

5 years ago I demonstrated how self-healing PPF works in this video:

and not long after I demonstrated how self-healing PPF can still work with Modesta paint coatings which are renowned for being some of, if not the thickest, coatings:

Thanks for the info. I'm pretty sure the film is penetrated and I won't know if the clear coat was penetrated until the film is taken off. When I applied the heat gun I could see the outer edges shrink a bit which matches up with what you demonstrated in the video.

I don't even know what happened to it, I assume a rock strike but don't recall feeling something hitting the car hard enough to cause it. Maybe something else happened.

First pic shows the general area, 2nd picture shows the "before" and 2nd "after" heat was applied. Sorry for picture quality, didn't have time or inclination to go get a real camera to take the photo.

IMG_2451.jpg
IMG_2450.jpg
IMG_2454.jpg
 

Atari2600

Active Member
Oct 4, 2017
1,087
1,003
Cincinnati
That looks weird. My last car had Xpel and Opticoat Pro where I encountered a rock storm when a truck hit a bump and dropped many gravel and rocks, had about 5 dents worked out and my windshield busted and did not have any visible damage when it was repaired. The coating and film looked flaweless. Of the 65,000 miles on my previous car I never had any spots like that.
I have Xpel and Ceramic Pro on my Model 3 and have taken some really small rock hits that did not cause any damage.

Perhaps Xpel is a better product?
 
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voip-ninja

Give me some sugar baby
Mar 15, 2012
4,505
5,584
Colorado
That looks weird. My last car had Xpel and Opticoat Pro where I encountered a rock storm when a truck hit a bump and dropped many gravel and rocks, had about 5 dents worked out and my windshield busted and did not have any visible damage when it was repaired. The coating and film looked flaweless. Of the 65,000 miles on my previous car I never had any spots like that.
I have Xpel and Ceramic Pro on my Model 3 and have taken some really small rock hits that did not cause any damage.

Perhaps Xpel is a better product?

Possibly, I can tell you I'm not happy about having to spend $200+ to replace 3 month old film on my car.
 
Thanks for the info. I'm pretty sure the film is penetrated and I won't know if the clear coat was penetrated until the film is taken off. When I applied the heat gun I could see the outer edges shrink a bit which matches up with what you demonstrated in the video.

I don't even know what happened to it, I assume a rock strike but don't recall feeling something hitting the car hard enough to cause it. Maybe something else happened.

First pic shows the general area, 2nd picture shows the "before" and 2nd "after" heat was applied. Sorry for picture quality, didn't have time or inclination to go get a real camera to take the photo.

Looks like it tore / separated. I doubt that will heal. I'd just leave it for now, or have the film replaced if it bothers you. I'd personally probably wait for more substantial damage. But then my car got a chip the second day I had it before I could even apply PPF. So I have PPF over a rock chip now. It happens!

Possibly, I can tell you I'm not happy about having to spend $200+ to replace 3 month old film on my car.
Don't sweat it then. Just leave it alone, the film is there to protect your paint and it may have done it's job just fine.
 

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