• New Product Review: 3M Paint Defender - Clear Spray-On Film

How do you protect your supercar’s paintwork from stone chips? Two possible answers: Either never, ever drive it, or pay thousands to have clear films mounted to protect the trouble spots: nose, hood, rockers and wheel wells. An exciting new product called 3M Paint Defender offers all the benefits of permanent shields in an easy-to-use, crystal-clear spray-on film.

3M invited some auto journalists up to their Minnesota headquarters last week to unveil their latest innovation: a spray-on Paint Defender film that’s perfect for DIY car guys.

Keeping a supercar showroom fresh is a constant struggle, and the exterior paintwork is the hardest piece of the puzzle, right behind the engine and electronics. Buyers will walk right past a supercar with purring mechanicals if it has bad paint. Any visible paint scars from stone chips can be a deal-breaker and can easily knock 15 percent off the car’s total value.

Bad on a $10,000 Toyota but utterly devastating on a $200,000 Carrera GT.

Making things worse, low-slung supercars pick up more road scars and any other type of vehicle.

Click past the jump for the full review and the tech that makes this product one-of-a-kind.


New Product Review: 3M Paint Defender - Clear Spray-On Film Products
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Fixing stone chips in exotic cars is just not a feasible or cost-effective DIY project. Even most body shops aren’t equipped to fix the complex alloy and carbon panels, let alone drape on the 30-plus coats of baked paint needed for a quality touch-up or re-spray.

Until recently, the only defenses against stone chips were professionally-applied clear films that we’ve come to see on many Porsches, including the rear wheel flare of the 911.

Even among the tech guys at leading OEM supplier, 3M, these films are notoriously tricky to apply. It’s a three-man job involving lots of pre-cleaning, soapy water sloshes as the film’s sticky back is peeled, and a troublesome dash to get the films aligned and fit correctly before they set permanently. If not impossible, it was extremely difficult for a DIY guy to do the job alone.

There must be a better way! With 3M’s clear, spray-on Paint Defender film, at last there is.

Paint Defender dries to a super-glossy and deep sheen that perfectly matches OEM clear coats. The only visible evidence that the car has been sprayed is the masked line. For a line-free application, simply plan ahead and do the whole panel, like the hood for example.

The Good

  • Stunning results, it dries a smooth glossy clear
  • The glossy finish is safe for all future cleanings and polishes

The Bad

  • Needs to be re-done every few years for the clearest and best results


New Product Review: 3M Paint Defender - Clear Spray-On Film Products
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3M Paint Defender is going to become a huge product for DIY guys and detailing professionals because it delivers results, is a fast job and costs pennies compared with professionally-applied, permanent guard films.

The Good

  • Easy to apply and relatively odorless (still use a mask and gloves)
  • Is easy to peel off – just make sure you get the kit’s pre-wax

The Bad

  • The best place to apply this product is inside a garage or shop to avoid any dust or bugs getting stuck while it dries.

Pricing, Compatibility and Availability

New Product Review: 3M Paint Defender - Clear Spray-On Film Products
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3M Paint Defender comes in individual cans that cost around $25 each. One can is estimated to cover half a hood. In addition to buying a few cans, DIY guys should be sure to get:

  • Application kit: includes pre-wax packet, a clear tarp to cover the rest of the car, and the exact type of 3M masking tape needed to have a perfectly smooth application line.
  • Spray-can trigger: highly recommended if you’re doing multiple areas. Finger fatigue is real.

The genius of 3M Paint Defender spray is that it’s totally compatible with all factory paint finishes. By drying crystal clear and extremely smoothly, the effect is high-gloss sheen, just like a new car’s clear coat.

Paint Defender is available now on Amazon and launches this weekend (May 3, 2013) at AutoZone before a global roll-out later this summer.

Target Buyer

New Product Review: 3M Paint Defender - Clear Spray-On Film Products
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The target consumer is a DIY mechanic with a garage and some experience masking areas for paint. Actually applying to product is a piece of cake: three deep, slow layers in a crosshatch pattern over one spray session. Focus on getting the right layered thickness in segments: do the left half of the hood first, for example.


New Product Review: 3M Paint Defender - Clear Spray-On Film Products
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All cars are susceptible to stone chips damaging their paintwork, even the latest Nissan and Infiniti models, like the 370Z Black Edition with self-healing paint.

3M Paint Defender is a slam-dunk solution to a universal supercar problem: stone chips. The lower, rarer and more expensive your car, the more you should look into 3M Paint Defender spray-on film.

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