Home » Watch Some Of The World’s Greatest Installers Of Tint And PPF Battle It Out At The XPEL Dealer Conference [Partner Post]

Watch Some Of The World’s Greatest Installers Of Tint And PPF Battle It Out At The XPEL Dealer Conference [Partner Post]

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I mentioned a couple of weeks back that The Autopian’s brand partner, XPEL, invited me to San Antonio for a dealer conference in a huge hotel convention center. As I said in that piece: It was far more fun than I’d have expected. Usually corporate conferences are dry, and involve acronym-heavy discussions about internal operations that the layperson could never understand. But this dealer conference was different; there were hundreds of XPEL dealers from around the world, and they were amped to be there. As a newly-minted California resident, I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur of vibes, so I can tell you: The vibes were good. But the highlight of the event was the PPF competition, which was no joke.

Two things were on the line for those involved in XPEL’s PPF competition at the dealer conference: pride and money — arguably the two biggest motivators that exist, if we’re honest. As a result, the competition was fierce. These installation specialists from around the globe were tasked with installing Paint Protection Film — a self-healing polyurethane that protects the paint from rocks and shopping carts and pork cutlet projectiles and whatever else — in the most perfect, precise manner. That means no bubbles; that means the film has to be extremely close to the outside of a given panel to the point where the customer can’t even see the edge of the film; that means the film has to perfectly wrapped around certain edges — it’s an insanely complex process involving use of multiple liquid/gel solutions and specialized tools and, well, I explained much of it when my YJ got the XPEL PPF treatment, so check that out.

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As impressive as watching my YJ get a custom PPF job was (custom because higher-volume cars can have their PPF printed out in the exact right shape — XPEL has a DAP program that lets you pick from hundreds of cars, and just print out the right cuts – while my YJ required hand-cutting of each PPF sheet), this competition took things to another level. Not surprising, because look at how much money was on the line!:

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Anyway, it all went down in a big, blocked-off room filled with Ford Edges:

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There was a table full of slip solution (baby soap and water), alcohol solution, and gel, plus there were squeegees and microfiber towels and everything else the competitors would need: Screen Shot 2024 05 08 At 8.53.11 Am

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Clearly, this was going to be the PPF-installation showdown of the century, and the crowd knew it:

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Installation experts from around the globe (mostly in the U.S., of course), sprayed their slip solution, precisely laid down their film, and began applying XPEL Paint Protection Film to a Ford Edge’s fenders, mirrors and doors.

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It was tense, the competitors were giving it everything they had, and when the announcer — Travis, the PPF installation king, whom I’ve introduced you all too before — said time was up, I could feel the nerves brewing.

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One of the judges was Tyler Robinson aka Tyler_XPEL, an XPEL brand ambassador and a true PPF artist. As he and a colleague began evaluating the PPF installs, I was amazed at what they found. For example, to me, this mirror looked totally fine, but to the judges, it had all sorts of issues; just check out these grading marks:

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Here’s another look at that mirror, along with the driver’s side fender:

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At one point, I saw the judges using a light, pointing it at just the right angle to notice a tiny bit of “choppiness” on the fender:

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The numbers marked down represent the number represent points lost (I think), and that was as a result of suboptimal PPF film spacing/alignment (i.e if a gap was bigger on one side than another, or if any gap was bigger than it needed to be), bubbling, or other imperfections (I have no idea what “choppiness” is, but maybe that meant too heavy use of the squeegee?).

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In any case, it was all a lot of fun, and it was cool to see how big this Paint Protection Film industry has gotten, and how passionate XPEL dealers are. Here’s a little video of the competition:

 

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To see more, click the video towards the top of the post.

Note about this article: This is a partner-post, meaning it’s one that involves us being paid to write about XPEL, a company that we chose to partner with due to their great reputation in the car-world. Lots of people I know use the stuff to protect their vehicles, and I’m so happy with my YJ’s PPF, I’m actually going to have my own car PPF’d — a car that I have yet to announce here on the site. It’s the newest car I’ve ever owned, it’s hyper-rare, and I need to make sure its paint is protected, because the color is one of the most valuable parts of the car. More on that thing soon!

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NojustNo
NojustNo
11 days ago

Man, how David has fallen. He used to proudly drive a Jeep with a rust hole on every panel through rugged desert. Now he’s putting paint protection film on his Jeep!

Church
Church
19 days ago

$10,000 is pretty good prize money. Am I in the wrong line of work? No, wait, I forgot. I’m just not that good at anything.

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
20 days ago

David bought ANOTHER car. This never fails to intrigue me.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
20 days ago

David has a new car! What!

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
19 days ago

Aztek?

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
19 days ago

I’m thinking it’s another i3.

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
20 days ago

Does doing this in a dark room with purple lights help with seeing all the flaws? The installers I use just have regular lights in their work areas.

Last edited 20 days ago by Fix It Again Tony
OldJackBurton
OldJackBurton
19 days ago

I was wondering the same thing. What’s the deal with the lights?

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
20 days ago

Hey DT! As someone who has had the product put on your vehicle, could you have seen the marked imperfections if they weren’t marked?

Black Peter
Black Peter
20 days ago

Have you pitched this concept to Ben Stiller or the Farrelly brothers?

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