Paint Protection

STEK Automotive Films

At Apex Customs we understand how important protecting the investment you’ve made into your car is. A vehicle is one of the most expensive purchases you will make, and we are here to help protect that investment!

As an authorized dealer of the best automotive vinyl products in the industry, we are proud to carry the STEK USA brand of paint protection clear bra films. These films are specially formulated to protect that expensive paint job on your vehicle from the rough elements that you will run into on the road. They have leveraged their technical capabilities and scientific knowledge to create a film that offers world class protection for your vehicle finish.

Our certified installation experts will install this cutting-edge paint protection clear bra film on your car, truck, van, or motorcycle. We will provide your vehicle the paint protection it needs for years to come. We are conveniently located near Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale, Gilbert, Chandler and surrounding areas in Arizona. To learn more about our approach to automotive customization, check out our about us page.


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STEK USA films offer:
  • Unrivaled scratch and stain resistance
  • Exceptional clarity
  • Superior resistance to yellowing
  • Self-healing technology makes most scratches disappear
  • Tough, durable and maintenance free


What is Paint Protection Film?

Paint Protection Film (PPF), also commonly referred to under the brand name Clear Bra, is applied to the painted surfaces of a vehicle to protect the paint from minor abrasions, stone chips, and bug splatters. Manufactured out of a thermoplastic urethane film, paint protection film has a variety of additional applications beyond cars, trucks, and SUVS such as motorcycles, electronics, cell phones, RVS, and airplanes.

Clear Bra is OEM approved by virtually every car manufacturer. Installed on different components of cars and trucks from the factory, paint protection film is typically installed by certified professionals due to the challenging nature of the installation. The primary function of Clear Bra is to protect a vehicle from the elements and potential damage from road debris such as rock chips, paint scuffs and scratches and even vandalism.

The most common installation of paint protection film is the front bumpers, hood, and side mirrors of cars, trucks, and SUV’s. If you’re looking for total paint protection, Clear Bra can be installed on the entire vehicle for maximum protection.


Modern Automotive Paint Protection Film

Modern automotive paint protection film has been specially formulated to be perfectly clear and highly conformable to the surface of the vehicle. Available in a variety of colors and thicknesses (measured in mils), there are a number or manufacturers of paint protection film with varying levels of quality and protection capabilities. We only work with the best paint protection film on the market, STEK USA.

While there are no certification or training requirements to purchase paint protection film, the installation can be quite complex and requires a bit of a steep learning curve. It takes over three years and thousands of installations for an installer to be considered an expert. Because the installations require a high level of expertise, it is recommended that paint protection film be installed at a certified installation shop to avoid potential damage to your vehicle and wasted product.

Installation Methods

The preferred method of professional paint protection film installation is through the use of commercial plotting equipment which precisely plots film for installation on the vehicle’s body. A plotter relies on specially developed software to design and cut bulk rolls of film to exact specifications of the car, truck, or SUV which allows for accurate installation that results in a factory appearance, so people are unable to tell that film has been applied to the vehicle.

A secondary installation method for paint protection film is to use a pre-cut kit where the film comes pre-cut to your vehicle’s specifications. One of the downsides of a pre-cut kit is any damage to the film during installation, or if the film comes improperly cut by the clear bra manufacturer, it requires that you order another entire kit. With plotting equipment, you can not only instantly cut out a new piece of film, but you can also customize the film patterns to account for any aftermarket modifications that were made to the vehicle.


Why Use Paint Protection Film?

Paint protection film, or “clear bra” as it is sometimes known, is one of the best ways to preserve the showroom quality finish on your vehicle. This virtually invisible film will keep your vehicle looking newer longer, without changing the design features or color. It will protect vulnerable areas such as front bumpers, hoods, side mirrors, door handle cavities, door edges, rocker panels, and rear fender panels. Preserving the finish of your vehicle with paint protection film (PPF) keeps your vehicle looking newer longer, and can enhance the resale value of your vehicle in the future.​

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Where can I put Clear Bra Film on my vehicle?

Clear Bra film can be professionally installed anywhere you want to protect your vehicle finish from scratches, chips, stains and other damaging elements. More than just a “clear bra”, the virtually invisible film will not alter the color or design elements of your vehicle. You can protect:

  • Rocker Panels
  • Hoods, Bumpers & Mirror Backs
  • Door Edges & Handle Cavities
  • Full Hoods, Trunks and Roofs
  • Full Front-Ends
  • Full Vehicles

Benefits of Clear Bra

Automotive Paint Protection


Paint Protection

The most obvious benefit of clear bra is the shield it affords your car’s paint from roadside debris. The transparent film works without altering the appearance of the original paint job. Common everyday hazards that would normally damage any unprotected vehicle will only mark the clear bra, leaving the car untouched. So you can breathe a little easier when that shopping cart comes flying at your car, or a distracted driver accidentally bumps your fender trying to parallel park.


Universally Applicable

Clear bra paint protection can be utilized on any car, truck or SUV and can be applied to the hood, bumper, fender, lights and mirrors, conforming to the shape of the area being covered. It can also be used effectively on boats, bicycles, motor homes and even outside furniture. In fact, paint protection film was first developed by the military to use on helicopters and armored vehicles to prevent damage from flying debris.


Low Maintenance

Paint protection film is maintained without much effort. Its water resistance ensures that it does not have to be removed, as some other paint protectors may have to be, before a car wash or during stormy weather. If you’re noticing dirt or bug buildup, it can also be cleaned with mild detergent and water.


Easily Removable

If your clear car bra sustains any damage, it can be removed without difficulty, leaving the paint underneath unscathed and saving your wallet from the high costs of paint touch-up or other body work. In the event you buy a new car, there’s no need to worry about spending the money to get fresh protection film installed. Your clear bra will conveniently move along with you to whichever vehicle you choose. Automotive Paint Protection


Clear Bra Q&A


Why do I need paint protection Film?

Paint protection film, or clear bra as it’s commonly referred to, is the best way to protect and preserve the factory showroom quality paint job on your vehicle. It is virtually invisible and provides a durable layer of urethane film to maintain your car, truck, or SUV’s paint job without changing the color or design of your OEM or aftermarket paint. The urethane film available in a variety of mil thicknesses will protect areas of your vehicle such as hoods, side mirrors, or front bumpers that are vulnerable to chips, dings, dents, and scratches from debris on the road. PFF is an investment that pays for itself by helping to maintain the residual value of our vehicle.


Can I install Clear Bra myself?

3M, Suntek, and Xpel all highly recommend that paint protection film be installed by a certified, trained installer. Professional installers have the experience and training to ensure the paint protection film is installed properly and is fit perfectly to your vehicle. The warranties offered by the protection film manufacturers are only valid if a certified installer installs the Clear Bra material.

With that said, it is possible to install Clear Bar paint protection film yourself. If you have any experience with installed window tint film or vinyl wrap, then you may just have the skills and experience required to complete a Clear Bra installation. There are some video’s available on youtube that will provide tips and walkthrough of protection film installation. We do highly recommend you pick up an installation tool kit to go along with your film purchase to reduce the potential for damage.

If you’re looking just to purchase the film, we can plot out some material for your application for the cost of material and a plotting fee. Just contact our sales staff at Apex Customs, and they’ll provide you a quote.


Is Clear Bra film removable?

Yes. Paint protection film is specifically formulated to be removed easily without damage to your car, truck, or SUV’s OEM paint. Clear Bra is removed by utilizing a heat gun or steamer and peeling the film off the surface of the vehicle at n 180-degree angle. STEK USA recommend that paint protection film be removed by a certified installer to ensure there is no damage to the paint.

Apex Customs Phoenix certified installers can remove your paint protection film safely without risk of damage to your factory paint and body work.


Should I apply a paint sealant such as opticoat or cQuartz over my paint before applying paint protection film?

Paint sealant’s such as Opti-Coat or cQuartz should not be applied to the surface of the vehicle of any part that you will be applying paint protection film to. Paint sealants create a low surface energy on the paint surface which causes paint protection film adhesion issues both during installation and throughout the life of the protection film. There is no benefit to applying a paint sealant before the protection film is applied because the film will provide far superior protection benefits from road debris and environmental variables than a product like Opti-Coat or cQuartz ever could.


How does paint protection film such as STEK USA heal itself?

STEK USA paint protection films use a special polymer in their clear coat which flows even after the product is cured. As a result, the clear coat will re-level the film covering dings, dents, and scratches in the film when the surface is disturbed. These products are a great investment because they will provide longer lasting protection keeping your car looking good as new for years after you’ve installed the Clear Bra film.

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For self-healing paint protection Film, how deep of a scratch will heal itself?

Self-healing film is designed to heal common swirl marks and surface scratches that occur during routine car washes and minor damage caused by road debris. If the dent, ding, or scratch penetrates through the films clear coat, it will not self-heal.


How long does it take for self-healing paint protection film to heal itself?

The time required to heal a scratch or ding requires on the severity of the damage as well as the ambient temperature of the environment the vehicle is in. Most minor scratches will heal in approx. one hour at room temperature. Healing time is typically quicker in warmer clients like we have here in Phoenix. You can also accelerate the healing process by pouring hot water over the damaged areas to heat the clear coat of the film so it will re-level itself.


How many times will the self-healing Clear Bra heal itself?

There is no limit to the number of times self-healing paint protection film can heal itself. Provided the clear coat is not penetrated all the way through, it will continue to heal itself for many years. At Apex Customs Phoenix, we highly recommend the self-healing professional clear bra films because the investment will last longer and keep your vehicle looking better for longer than any other paint protection technology on the market.


How does Clear Bra resist staining and yellowing?

Paint protection film clear coat offers a low surface energy making it difficult for any organic compound to stick to the film and cause staining. Environment contaminants such as exhaust smoke, pollution, and road oils which typically cause yellowing, can be removed by regular washing thanks to the low surface area and resistant technologies in the film.


How do I address stains that don’t come off my paint protection film during normal washing?

There are a variety of cleaning products available to remove stains on Clear Bra that do not come off with regular soap and water from a car wash. Before investing in a special cleaning product, Apex Customs recommends trying a little isopropyl rubbing alcohol on a microfiber rag. Typically rubbing alcohol will remove the stains but if there is a stain or debris that has been on the surface of the film for a long period, you can also try a tiny amount of lacquer thinner. Another effective product for cleaning paint protection film is Bug and Tar Remover which can typically be found at a local auto parts store.


Does paint protection film make the factory paint underneath the film fade differently?

Clear Bra film allows all UV to pass through the film which fades your paint underneath at the same rate as it would without the film. While paint protection film does protect your vehicle from chips, scratches, and dings, it does not protect the paint from the sun in the same ways Vinyl Wrap does.


Can I use a pressure washer on paint protection film? If so, how long should I wait after the installation before using a pressure washer?

Yes, you can use a pressure washer on Clear Bra film. It’s best to wait at least 48 hours after installation before using a pressure washer on paint protection film. If you do decide to use a pressure washer, you should avoid the edges of the protection film as the water pressure could cause the edges to lift and ruin the adhesive. We do not recommend using automatic car washes, especially the ones that utilize brushes to clean the car.


Can I use quick detailer products or detail sprays on paint protection film?

Most car wash, wax, and detail sprays are safe to use on Clear Bra film. We do recommend that you avoid any products that contain high amounts of petroleum distillates such as kerosene or naphtha. A high-quality detail spray is a great option for cleaning paint protection films.


What is the expected lifespan of paint protection films?

The premium versions of paint protection films offered by 3M, Suntek, and Xpel can last up to 10 years. They are warrantied against yellowing, delaminating, staining, cracking, bubbling, and peeling for this time period. Typically we advise that an average paint protection film will last between 4 to 7 years in the Phoenix Arizona climate.