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Protecting the paint on my new Forester

I live on an unpaved road and drive my car on gravel roads to go birdwatching. I notice the beautiful silver paint on my 2019 Forester is chipping off the right front fender probably from this gravel. Should I buy a car bra? What are some other ways to protect the paint on the vulnerable front corners? This is especially irksome because the car is marketed as an “adventure” automobile. I don’t even drive fast on the gravel roads and the damage is happening. THANKS!

Instead of car bra I’d try out the clear paint protection film.

And no paint can handle gravel hits.

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As a guy, I find it a little androgynous to be discussing brassieres for cars at all…it somewhat of a 80’s fad for Porsche and the like, and maybe men are just concerned about keeping up the macho chump factor, but they don’t sell these like they used to…the real reason is, I think, is too many owners let the dirt and wet muck sit with the bra on for too long, which probably led to some lawsuits and much acrimony. It’s kind of what happens when my wife lets me do her laundry and then tells me I ruined them by leaving them in the washer too long and then hanging them, so they stretched out.
The suggestion on clear tape on the hood is a pricey one, meant mostly for highway use.You may get better results looking on ebay for adhesive body color stickers…we have a venetian red 14 Forester, and the ones I got match the weird color and hide some paint blemishes near the headlight front area of fender. Ebay has stuff, but I’d stick with pro. installation.
Anyway, wouldn’t it be a great world if a woman could go ‘braless’ with her car without fear of consequences? Personally, and don’t get me wrong, I like brasssieres, but not on cars!

Me too. It’s usually referred to as a clear bra. Works really well.

But, before you have one put on, you should have the chips taken care of (professionally), because otherwise when you do get sick of the look, you’ll have to have the clear bra removed, then fill the chips, then put a new clear bra on.

Well, that’s for the birds!
Did this car replace another car that was driven on the same road? Did it chip, too?

Dirt roads are terrible for cars. If not flying stones and paint chips, there’s mud, dust, and regular washboard beatings.

I wouldn’t blame the car, but rather the road. No way would I drive a nice car on a dirt if I lived on one. I’d buy a pre-trashed car.

I’ve lived in my summer residence location for 32 years. When I first moved in I was on a dirt road. It was a pain. The county wouldn’t help us with much.

I got together with my rural neighbors and we decided to form a special-assessment district (our road). At that point our county road commission actually threw in some money because a paved road saved them summer maintenance dollars. We needed over 50% of residents to vote “Yes” on our project. Voila! The asphalt trucks came out and paved the road (and my long driveway!).

A while back we did a second special assessment and had it re-surfaced after age and wear and tear took its toll.

Now we drive nice clean cars and probably saved the money spent on paving by not having to re-furbish our cars.

You can do a couple little things, suggested by others here, but you can’t have a nice car and live in the gravel. It’s the road. Take care of the road problem and your car problem will take care of itself! Feel the magic!

Bras protect the front end of your car from damage caused by driving into airborne debris. For example, rocks kicked up by cars in front of you or passing in the opposite direction. You’re driving slow so less likely to get a lot of damage in this way. Mudflaps protect your car from itself, debris kicked up by your tires. Paint chips only on the right front fender (this would be as viewed from the driver’s seat, right?) from road debris based on your description so far is hard to understand how it’s happening. Passing cars would likely damage the left front fender more than the right. Are you following cars in front closely? Even then, you’d think the damage would be fairly evenly disbursed on the front of your car. Are you sure it’s damage from stones or could it be defective paint? Can you explain more about the location of the damage and type of damage? Even better, a picture? This info might help people to offer better advice on how to prevent or address it…

A friend just stopped by with his restored $100,000 plus 57 Chevy on the way to the Back to the 50’s. He has the clear 3M film on both the front and the fenders. Hard to tell it’s there and protects against rock pits. Some cars are more susceptible than others. I remember on my new 74 Olds, it wasn’t many miles and the flair on the quarter panel was sand blasted to bare metal. Even with mud guards it was still a problem. Then along came the clear film.

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One form of paint protection that doesn’t take much time, inexpensive, and pretty effective is to just apply wax to the car every 6 months. Then the wax will take the brunt of the bruising , not the paint. Wax won’t work as well a physical protection device like a car-bra, but it’s way better than nothing. Car-bras aren’t without their own problems as well, as they can trap dirt and moisture.

I’d be amazed if any wax would protect against chipping. You’re right, old style car bras should be avoided. The newer clear film doesn’t have their problems.

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You usually put these on when the car is new and the paint in showroom condition.His is already chipped.The problem with the clear film is that they look bad after a few years because the edge between the paint and clear film will accumulate dirt and get scuffed.You need to apply these on the entire panel or hood if you want the best protection.

There is not a single car that will withstand chipping from gravel. Clear bra is an option but how many places are your going to cover? Plus, as others have mentioned, this is the first job it needs to be done once the car is in your hands. If the paint is chipped, you need to get it fixed and then put the clear bra. So you are looking at the cost of paint correction+clear bra installation.

Subaru’s paint is not as great as some others. So if you want to use it on a gravel road, there is not much you can do. Let it chip as it wants to and after 5 or 6 years when there is too much chipping, just spend 1000+ to get it repainted. Probably, that will be cheaper in the long run. I don’t know how much it costs to repaint the car but my guess is anywhere from 1000-3000 depending on the quality of job.

Edit: Be very careful with the windshield. There is more than normal chances that it will crack. 2019 are prone to cracking.

True, but this link definitely suggests waxing will help protect against paint chip damage.

“Keep your paint chip-free. Road debris is a routine problem for many car owners. Even the smallest pebbles can cause an imperfection in the paintwork. Wax can help protect your car from this damage, which keeps the paintwork intact.”

Also, if you have paint chip damage, waxing will help prevent rust from starting there.

I’d like to see some proof how a microscopic layer of wax would help protect against stone chips.


Yeah. That sort of proof would have to come from somebody. And whoever supplies it has to earn a living, so any claim they make is subject to a conflict of interest. 100% certainty is hard to find. In my experience waxing does help somewhat against stone chip damage, and it definitely helps to minimize rust from starting at a chip point. Neither of my vehicles, 25+ and 45+ years old, always waxed twice per year, original paint jobs, has paint chipping as their number one appearance issue. Paint oxidation is probably the number one issue on the truck, and plastic-part sun damage on the Corolla.

As others have suggested the clear protective films work pretty well when applied over a properly prepared surface - they vary in quality, get a good one (maybe 3M?), and they do go bad and require replacement after some years. Bras can work but are risky due to paint rot and wear from trapped moisture and dirt (which there will be) - if you go this route remove, wash/dry the bra perhaps weekly (wash the car while you’re at it) - this should retard damage and, if the bra is causing trouble you’ll catch it before things are too far gone. If you have breakable fog lights, look into clear covers for them.

Also important is to check the underside, inside fenders, etc., for chipping and treat and re-coat exposed spots before they rust, especially where roads are salted in winter. On gravel roads this can be a never ending task. Liners and mud guards can be helpful.

Eh, that wax roundup doesn’t have much in the way of “enthusiast-level” sealants or waxes. No Pinnacle, No Blackfire (my personal go-to) , No Jescar Powerlock (goes great with layer of Collinite), no Poorboy’s or Dodo Juice. Anyway, even the best wax, expertly applied won’t do much against rocks. Keeping a good coat of wax or sealant does makes your car much easier to clean for routine washes though, and does protect against bird droppings and other contaminants.

3M or Xpel make good quality films for this purpose, the closest installer offers both but on their site promotes the Xpel.

It does depend on the quality of the installation as well but i’ve seen some that look about as bad as the old bra’s due to yellowing and dirt along the edge of the film.

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I’ve heard that if you don’t have the car repainted correctly (i.e., it doesn’t cure and the clear coat isn’t factory) PPF or vinyl wraps will just destroy the paint underneath or delaminate. Has anyone had any experience using PPF on repainted vehicles?

I dunno but the new finishes are really tough. You can sand and polish within a couple hours. Back in 1970 I used to have to display magnetic doors signs though when on the clock and it did make my Dodge paint blister a little. 3M though would be able to advise on their product though.