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I was at the local auto detail shop this weekend and they were advertising a single piece Clearplex (made by 3M) windshield film. They are asking $299 and up for custom fit/installation. Same kind of film I have seen for years for headlights. The big selling points are (depending on the kind of film you get) SPF protection for the car interior (although in Seattle we don't worry about too much sun very often) and heat reflection (which might be nice for a black interior).

Anyone tried windshield film on their car? Given that I drive a good 65 miles a day for work, my windshields in previous CR-Vs have take a beating over time. Invariably once or twice in each CR-Vs lifetime I would pick up a chip and get it repaired, but it probably was more the little 'micro' chips that I noticed over time that I think this film system would potentially take care of. Bottom line though is with a big enough rock coming fast enough, film or no film the windshield may crack.
 

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3M Clearplex

Yes I had the 3M Clearplex on my 08 Honda Accord. And it did save my windshield from stone dings but going into the second year it started to look very ugly so I removed it. I am quite sure they recommend that you should re-apply it every year so check that out and save your $$.
 

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Nucman – I have seen a few cars with this outside film applied to the outside of the windshield. The people who I know which have installed this product, installed it due to their environment. They live in very rural places with lots of gravel roads and get lots of windshield rock chips. Not that this product can eliminate ALL rock chips, but it can reduce them drastically. The complaint that I have heard with this product is that when you do get a rock chip that goes through this product (which does happen), then this product must be removed (fix rock chip) and then the product must be reapplied. That is a lot of time and expense. Others have shown me wear on the plastic just after a year or so, most likely due to acid rain, street salt, or other chemicals.

In looking at the 3m advertising for this product, you sort of have to take it step by step.

1) Significantly reducing the occurrence of rock chips, pitting and bull’seyes
ANS) Yes, it does. But when you get a bigger rock that impacts through this plastic, then you must remove, fix rock chip and then reapply a new 3m coating. That is a lot of work.

2) ClearPlex features UV stabilizers which reduce the amount of heat in your vehicle and helps prolong the life of your interior.
ANS) The normal windshield is two pieces of glass with a tough plastic laminate between them. The plastic keeps the windshield from coming apart in the event of an accident. The UV (Ultraviolet) or SPF (Solar protection factor) problems for the dash and interior has been pretty much eliminated these days. How often have you seen anyone’s dash crack? Unlike in years past when it was common on virtually every car, it is pretty much unheard of these days. .

ALL window films block greater than 96% of UV radiation. Now, you have to ask yourself, how many people do you know that obtained cancer through the windshield of their car?

Let’s talk about UV for a moment. Ultraviolet radiation is invisible electromagnetic radiation between visible violet light and X-rays. It is a component (less that 5%) of the sun’s radiation and can also be produced artificially in arc lamps.

Most UV radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer. The radiation that passes through the ozone layer is largely absorbed by ordinary window glass or impurities in the air (water, dust, smoke or is screened by clothing. Keep in mind that a small amount of sunlight is necessary for good health. Vitamin D is produced by the action of ultraviolet radiation on ergosterol, a substance present in the human skin and in some lower organisms and treatment of the prevention of rickets often includes exposure of the body to natural or artificial UV. The UV radiation also kills germs and is widely used to sterilize rooms, exposed body tissues, blood plasma, and vaccines. So don’t put UV in the category of the plague. Also, keep in mind, your windshield is comprised of two sheets of glass laminated together. Very little UV gets through the normal windshield and even less gets through the extra tinted top part of your windshield.
3) The windshield is responsible for about 20% of a vehicle’s structural integrity. An intact windshield can prevent a vehicle from roof from collapsing in an overturn, and it can help to keep passengers inside the car. ClearPlex® film can help to preserve a windshield in an accident, thereby protecting the vehicle occupants and the vehicle itself. (Taken from the 3m website).
ANS) I find this more BS then true. Talk to a glass shop and ask them how much it takes to break a windshield. Glass has virtually no give and will crack or break with the slightest amount of uneven pressure. The sandwich style construction with plastic laminate is what is responsible for keeping you inside the car, not a thin layer of plastic. I find this more a scare tactic for sales. Are we to believe that this 3m plastic bag attached to the outside of your windshield is going to help in the structure of your vehicle during an overturn? LOL.

To summarize, I just don’t see a need for an exterior windshield film. If you are concerned about UV, which I don’t believe to be a warranted fear, then get inside window film. It will cost a forth or less then the $299 price. I have yet to find anyone really happy about this product after a period of time on their car. (Just my opinion).
 

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I have $0 deductible on glass, so I'm not spending a nickle on wind-shield-shield. We did tint the windshield, front doors, and sunroof with 70% tint. Not dark but makes a huge difference in the car.
 

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As RyansQuick6 mentioned, insurance is also a consideration. Most all insurance companies will repair a rock chipped windshield FREE. This is much cheaper than replacing the entire windshield. Check your insurance policy to see how much it will pay for windshields and/or specific rock chip repairs. Probably still comes out cheaper than $299 that likely only lasts a few years.
 
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