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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone gone with the front end paint protection film that is sold as an Audi accessory? Looks like it's around $400. I'm wondering how well this works in terms of preventing paint chipping and also how it's going to look compared to the non-protected parts on a Mythos Black Q3? I don't have any front end protection on my Mini and after 10 years I had one or two dings that I treated with touch up paint. Of course you could tell if you looked at it closely... I've seen reviews on other forums that, as I recall, seemed to indicate that the film, if applied correctly was fairly seamless and invisible...but must admit it worries me to have something that might look aged over time..and would it mean that the paint ages at a different rate under the film Vs exposed so if you remove it you can see the difference? I take good care of my car and it is garaged, but weather is intense here.
 

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I have NOT tried the Audi OEM film, but rather have Expel Ultimate over the entire front end. I also have this film on my TT, and another type on my S5. I am a believer in the use of this kind of product after seeing it through several tough challenges, and will ALWAYS protect my Audis with it. You cannot tell the difference where the film is or not except if a seam is actually in the middle of a panel. There is a bikini cut (I have this on my S5 as full hood width film was not available in 2009) that is only about a third to half of the hood, but now I am even more convinced that full hood is the way to go. My installer (Extreme Colors in Greenville) is exceptionally skilled at freehand application - he put Expel on my S-line front bumper for which there were no templates and did a simply amazing job. I'd recommend this to anyone serious about protecting their car - I've seen what looked like sure damage from rocks and junk off a race track (the BMW Center here in Greenville) on an M4 hood just come showroom clean and perfect once the film was sacrificed - a full hood cost about $2-300, easily cheaper than painting (and/or blending) to match any new metallic these days !!
 

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I also have an XPel shield on my Q3 - not quite as extensive as Roger's, but covers the entire front bumper, up to about 1/3 of the lower hood where it meets the bumper and both mirror caps. It's been doing a fantastic job and the car still looks perfect after seeing Pennsylvania winter for its first 3 months. I had a similar product on my 2012 Volvo and it also looked absolutely perfect when its lease was up. The only downside to the shield was when a neighbor backed into that car and I had to have it repainted. Since the paint had to cure before the shield could be reinstalled, I had to take the car in on two separate occasions a month apart. But, still totally worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Roger. I just had my Mini hood repainted as I'm selling it and it had an issue and I can attest that it ran close to $700 so $200-300 is a bargain. Now I just have to decide what to do and who to have do it. Sounds like the OEM film FE treatment which as shown covers only various parts, could result in some visible lines. One can see the outline of where it's applied on the Audi USA website. I'd be concerned about that. My broker is in Portland so if no one locally does this I might have him get it done there. So you recommend entire front bumper and hood be done to avoid the lines?
 

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I can't say the line on my hood really bothers me as it's only visible within a few feet of the car and, even then, doesn't look odd. If anything, it conveys that I actually care about the front end of my car to those who see it. Haha. That said, if you intend to own this car for a really long time, the extra expense of going the full hood route is probably not that bad spread over all of the years.
 

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As Nick notes, I prolly went nuts, as I have the ENTIRE front of the car covered - including lights, fenders, fog lights, mirrors, A-pillars - the piece of the roof in front of the sunroof, the rockers (and bottom of doors), rear bumper top (loading area), and the pieces behind the rear doors where mudflaps could protect instead. Whew! But at $1200 for all, I feel good about it...
 

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you should get it as the others have said. the key is to get it installed right from the show room floor to your home. once you get a chip on it, there will be a slight bubble look at that area because of the paint chip before the install.


I didn't get the audi oem one but xpel. I get xpel at wholesale prices and even then its very expensive. I had it installed on my S3. it was a complete car install. your looking at about $5000.00 for the labor and parts. the whole car will be very complete and worth it.
there is no painted part on the car that isn't covered. even the headlights which much testing from other cars I have. it will keep the plastic headlights from dents but also hazing.


ill be doing it to the Q3 once it arrives.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks - I love the idea of protecting the entire car but not the price tag!

I've asked the broker to get this quoted to do the front end, including the full hood. I'm thinking this should run around $500 as the Audi site lists $370 to do the FE without only part of the hood. But the Audi site also says that this is for non-S-Line version and mine is S-Line. Oddly they don't even list an option for the S-Line....hum.... Doing FE and full hood will take care of the main risk areas at a reasonable price. It will either be done at the dealer or near the broker in Portland.
 

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I spent less than $2K for everything I noted including lights and mirrors ... $5K is nuts, even for the whole car !
 
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Discussion Starter #10
So I finally got a quote from my broker in Portland. This is to do the work at 503 Motoring in Portland. He is quoting $695 to do the FE and part of the hood and it's a whopping $1595 just to extend the hood portion to cover the entire hood. They state that it's very labor intensive. The broker regularly uses this vendor and states that this is the cost to get a high quality result. I'm left wondering why the Audi accessories page shows under $400 for the FE job. I'm also flabbergasted that it cost $900 more to complete the hood, which would seem to this uneducated guy to be a pretty flat surface with nothing to work around - Vs the complexities of the front end. So I'd be paying within $400 of what you paid for your entire Q3. Seems out of whack or prices are A LOT higher in Portland.... Ugh. I wanted to get the entire hood done but will have to settle for only the front portion at that price.
 

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Yikes....that's outrageous....and not even close to fair market value, IMO!

Thanks for doing the leg work on the this cableguy. I too was in a quandary over having the Audi dealer do the work or someone in Portland.

I will make a couple of calls to see if there isn't something just as good but less expensive in the Portland area.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks DampDuffer. I'll be interested to hear what you find out. my broker implied that this is the cost to get a "quality job". But frankly it seems way out of line - and Roger paid $1200 (Vs quote I got of $1595) - to get much more area covered.
 

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OK, just to make comparisons across America, here in the Portland, Oregon area, after speaking to four dealers, the price for a full hood covering in Xpel Ultimate film is $1500 to $1800.

Full hood means the bumper, the front fenders, the mirrors, all four door handles and their recesses, and the door edges of all four doors.

If you only want to go about 24 inches up on the hood and on the fenders with everything else covered as mentioned above, you can take approximately $1,000 off the price..... $500 to $800.

I was told by all four dealers the reason for the higher price to do the full hood and fenders was the "intensive" labor involved.

cableguy, the price at 503 was actually the best the prices I got. I didn't call them, but went by your quote. It could even be you are getting a slight reduction by going through your broker.
 

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OK, just to make comparisons across America, here in the Portland, Oregon area, after speaking to four dealers, the price for a full hood covering in Xpel Ultimate film is $1500 to $1800.

Full hood means the bumper, the front fenders, the mirrors, all four door handles and their recesses, and the door edges of all four doors.

If you only want to go about 24 inches up on the hood and on the fenders with everything else covered as mentioned above, you can take approximately $1,000 off the price..... $500 to $800.

I was told by all four dealers the reason for the higher price to do the full hood and fenders was the "intensive" labor involved.

cableguy, the price at 503 was actually the best the prices I got. I didn't call them, but went by your quote. It could even be you are getting a slight reduction by going through your broker.

We may be talking apples and oranges - my full hood is just a full hood - NOT all that that you define above. I have all that done too - and a bit more - the A-pillars, a piece across the roof ahead of the sunroof and the rockers and lower doors (all 4), the door edges (but not the handles or under them), all the front lights (head and fog), the parts behind the rear wheels wells on the rear bumper, and under the lift gate. All of this cost me right at $1900 - for Xpel Ulimate.

Just using a bikini cut for the hood would have saved me about $500 - I watched a lot of the install - including the hood and the full hood piece alone took about 45 minutes to put on compared to about 20 minutes for a bikini ...

My guy spent the most time (about 3 hours) on my front bumper as there was no template for a 2015 S-line.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the additional detail. This is starting to make more sense now. It appears the price is reasonable assuming that the work being included is apples to apples across the quotes given DD's description of what's included. Now the question is....since $695 is already more than I had wanted to pay...is it going to be worth it to me to spend another $900 for the added area protected between those two jobs? If I understand it correctly the $900 gets you the rest of the hood (from 24" up to the top) and the rest of the front fenders (I'm assuming that the lower price means they do the fenders to equal the end point on the hood at 24", is that correct?).


I wish I had a crystal ball that would tell me where all the rocks that will come flying at me over the next 7-10 years will land on the car... In the past I have had one van with a front plastic shield and otherwise I have always purchased a bottle of touch up paint and that was a pretty cheap fix. I used it on Mini and it helped to at least make the few rock chips less prominent. Looks like I have a decision to make on this one and I will at least do the $695 job.
 

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I can only say that I have a few dings up above the bikini line on my S5 and TT that I would've gladly paid the extra at the time (but couldn't cuz the wide film was not available) to avoid now.
 

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If I understand it correctly the $900 gets you the rest of the hood (from 24" up to the top) and the rest of the front fenders (I'm assuming that the lower price means they do the fenders to equal the end point on the hood at 24", is that correct?).
Yup, you got it! That's the way it was with the dealers I spoke with (two of which were mobile, btw), but you should check with 503 to ensure they also include all the areas mentioned.

Also, the Audi installed film does NOT include anything except the hood and bumper. I asked one Audi parts department about the statement the film option for the Q3 does not include the S-Line, and was told that was for the 2015 models...."that should not be a problem for the 2016 model."
 

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i can get xpel and im willing to hook you guys up if anyone wants it. you would get precut film and you can install it at home. save yourself a ton of money.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My general approach is to hire an expert to do something that requires specific tools, technique and talent/training to do well and where the difference between an excellent and a so-so job matters. I would think that that Xpel installation would fall into that category. Can a novice really have at it and expect to get a stellar result at the cost of materials + personal time invested?
 

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yeah. if your planning on doing a full car then no.
if your just doing partial hood to full hood all the way to fenders and mirrors then yeah.


the only issue with doing large sections is dealing with custom cuts and holding it while pressing it on like side doors. doing small areas are the easiest to do like front fenders and bumpers. the bumper is broken into small sections with a few inches of material at a time. since your not a professional youll just take more time. and its ok as it doesn't cure like instantly. the more soap you use the longer you have to move it around. plus keep in mind the weather you have.
now if you plan on doing custom cuts at home and the whole car, then no don't do it. professionals have expensive plotters that cut what ever areas they want and can bring up blueprint plans from xpel which they pay for per cut.


...but all you need is to get an xpel (a couple of bucks) squeegee and mix up some baby shampoo soap and water and a 70% isopropyl alcohol small amount of in a spray bottle and your good to go. if your really worried about it then make the soapy solution more soapy that will allow you to move it around more. that's all. they make this sound very hard but it really isn't. start with small sections and take a few days to get it in before moving on to another section. youll feel more comfortable each time. But remember that the more soap will mean it will take longer to cure. normal is about a day or two to cure but with different conditions such as weather or soapiness it can take longer than that.


my advice is to try something really small first like your headlights. i do recommend their headlight protection. the difference is how thick it is. the more thick the better protection.
doing your headlight early in the game will do two things. protect against chips and hazing from the sun. and i have tested the hazing part and it does work. i have a car parked outside in the socal sun 24/7 365 days a year. no more hazing after i installed it on a pair of new headlights because the old one was so bad it was just not allowing light to get out.
by doing this you can see if doing a larger part is something you can tackle. headlights should actually be harder of the others because of the thickness. also use a heat gun as it will let you bend and dry faster.


https://www.xpel.com/support/installation/installation_instructions.pdf
 
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