I am posting because I had the exterior Xpel installed on Tuesday and I had the Radar Detector, Dash Cam and tinting done today. I wanted to share with you my experience and the research I did to save you some time aggravation and if you need more information, at least point you in the right direction…Sorry for the length but it to help you all out…
(I posted pictures in the gallery under my Ghibli, Blue Emozione)
As you all know I started the XPel thread when I first started thinking about this product. I researched all the major brands, 3M, ventureshield Avery and Xpel. I will not repeat my findings; there are enough thread comments and reviews out there on line. I do suggest you review the You Tube videos on the testing, installation and maintenance of whichever film you choose.
As you know I picked the Xpel Ultimate self-healing film and I used an Xpel authorized installer from the Xpel website (not a self-proclaimed expert). This stuff is too expensive and too important to rely on an installer’s self-puffery or false advertising representations.
I did my research regarding the product, its self-healing ability, 10 year warranty, and found the installer that answered every “how to properly install ”question I asked based on countless You tube video and web based install sites.
I used Clear Cut Vehicle Coatings in Red Bank, NJ. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-687-5415) I asked every question as to the product, the install technique and Ohan Najarian was responsive, accommodating to my schedule and he did the install perfectly. (In fact when I took the car to the installer of the Radar Detector and Dash-cam, a company that installs 3M product, they commented on how they were impressed with how well Ohan did the install.) I highly recommend Ohan, so if you are in the market for the product, at least call him for a quote. His price was on par with every other installer and he did an excellent job. (For an extra charge, pick-up and delivery is available) He is a perfectionist so it took him all day to do my car because if he wasn’t happy with the way a section laid out or looked, he re-did the whole section. He was great, I am Xteremely (pun intended) pleased with the Xpel installation and would use Ohan again in a heartbeat.
Now a couple things you should note on the Xpel and your installer in an effort to save you time and aggravation later on:
1) The car was initially washed dried and clayed. No other product was applied before the Xpel. There is no need to opti -coat under the expel because both products are paint protection products;
2) Make sure the installer is capable of, AND has, use of an on-site plotter/cutter in which to download the patterns for the car and cut the film on site. If a pattern must be redone, they can do it on site;
3) Make sure your installer uses the bumper pattern WITHOUT precut parking sensor holes. This is KEY because the installer will have to stretch and manipulate the film in different areas to wrap it correctly. Patterns WITH the holes already cut out may, once stretched become misaligned with the holes;
4) Make sure your installer wraps the edges on the hood and fenders (top of fenders where hood meets fender cannot be wrapped so that is cut to the edge) doors and wheel wells. This secures the film properly on sensitive areas prone to pealing or abuse after washing and waxing;
5) If you do the doors, which I did, they are custom as there is no pattern for the doors. Now, even my installer said most (99%) people DO NOT do the doors. I explained that as to the doors, I am concerned with keying, scrapes and other scratches that occur in public places where I cannot park so far away. (I explained in previous posts I have to park wherever I can when at a courthouse or client office and don’t have the luxury of taking up a space ˝ a mile away in a mall) It was well worth it to get the doors done for my use and expectations;
6) Do not worry if you see imperfections after the initial install. These ARE normal until the film cures (about 14 days in summer) Even the web reviews and You Tube videos refer to this. You will see small bubbles, streaks from the squeegee and what look like imperfections. Relax, they will go away once the film settles, dries underneath and the adhesive fully cures;
7) You cannot wash the car for 48 hours after install. Once on the car however, Xpel maintenance is EASY! You treat it as if there is nothing on it. You may wash and wax the car normally. However, because the Xpel is glossy and it’s a self-healing film, there is no need for buffing. In fact, if you do insist on a paste type wax and a buffing, make sure your detailer does NOT use high speed and/or high pressure because that may result in film burn. Xpel itself recommends a simple high quality spray wax with a micro fiber cloth as all you need for a mirror shine.
Next were the radar detector, Dash-cam and tint install. I did that at AutoImage in Freehold, NJ. Ask for Marc (732-683-1717 or go to AutoImage.com). They were very professional and did not try to oversell me on the tint. I elected to have the 3M Crystalline tint at 70%. This is the best tint bar none and let no one at a tint place tell you differently.
Again, research since April when I ordered the car led me to this choice for my desired purpose. The 3M Crystalline is specifically designed for superb heat dissipation and 99.99% UV protection of you and your leather. You ask at 70%, such a light amount why bother? Well our windows are already somewhat tinted from the factory and I did this not to darken the windows but rather to have the car kept cooler and to have UV protection against future leather damage. The 3M product will help you save your leather interior as it blocks 99.99% UV and keeps the interior cooler than other films.
This makes cooling the car more effective, ostensibly saving some fuel cost by making your AC condenser work easier to cool the car...it’s also recommended by the skin cancer experts for people with such concerns, issues or skin sensitivity. (WARNING: The laws in NJ on tinting are restrictive. Zero tints allowed on windshield OR front drivers and passenger roll down windows. Rear window and back seat windows allow any tint. Check your local laws before tinting).
As for the Radar and dash cam, the installer used the fuse box array to hard wire the detector and camera. They ran the wires through the plastic housing above the rear view mirror and as you can see in the pictures thus making the entire install look unobtrusive. The actual power regulator unit for the dash-cam (Power Magic Pro Plus Unit) is mounted under the dash behind the passenger black plastic panel next to the passenger’s calf (See picture with panel removed).
The installer was very positive about the entire process because, and you practical Ghibli owners will like this… the Chrysler Uconnect and similar access in the Maserati actually made installation of after-market stuff easier. Why? 1) Accessibility is easy and most importantly the rear view mirror parts are clips and snaps and; 2) familiarity with the electronics leads to predictability. The installers are used to seeing this set up and these electronics in American cars so there were no surprises. So as for you reviewers out there that criticized the Maserati use of Chrysler Parts Bin “Be Damned!”...this proves you are short sighted at the minimum….
Now all I have to do is address the stereo speakers….but there’s another thread on that…..
I am done with the add-ons (for now) and I am very pleased with the installation process. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you are in the area or you need similar installs, seriously consider these guys. I promise you I would not recommend people I do not trust with my own Ghibli…