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Re: Headlight Protective Film rundown (archive)

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Posted by Bill S on November 24, 2000 at 13:48:20:

In Reply to: Re: Headlight Protective Film rundown posted by ed on November 24, 2000 at 11:18:35:

I've been running 40mil for about 6 years, while I've had no breakage, the film does yellow and pockmark over time. This deteriation does effect the light. This film if applied correctly is nearly impossible to get off without damageing the lights.

I would like to offer the readers of this site some unbiased technical information about headlight protection film. You want to protect your headlights from two things. 1) breakage from rocks and other road hazardous 2)loss of headlight performance from sand dirt and rocks making nicks in the glass over time. We at Chase Technology have conducted impact tests on 20 mil and 40 mil thick films. The 20 mil thick film time and time agian failed to provided enough thickness to prevent light breakage from impacts. Therefore we only carry the 40 mil thick film. Both thicknesses will provide protection from loss of headlight performance from continued exposure to road debris because the film is elastic and returns to nominal postion after impacts. As far as pricing goes,the thinner film should be 1/2 the cost since it is 1/2 the material. If not, it is VERY over-priced. We at Chase Technology have also performed thermal analysis on differnet film thicknesses. DO NOT use the 60 and 80 mil thick films. They hold in too much heat and cause temperature buildup that will crack your headlights. True the 20 mil thick is very hard to detect. The 40 mil thick is somewhat easier to detect, but if you didn't know anything was on the light, it's not very detectable. The 60 and 80 mil thick film is very detectable and some customers may not like the way it changes the look of the headlights. Chase Technology uses a special 3M grade adhesive on our film that no other film uses. It costs about 3X as much, but is well worth it since it is an optical quality made for the exterior environments and is made to go on dry.
In summary, the films available are very close in quality. The adhesive is the main difference. Make sure you are aware of the thermal and impact resistence performance of each. No matter what film you choose, it's better than not having any at all.


I took a rock in a highbeam within a month of ownership of my 525i Touring, so I decided the protective films would be worth the money spent. In looking for films, I found a few different products, some of them here on the e34 forum - here is a bit of a summary if anyone is interested in covering up their eyes.

BAS sells pre-cut kits of 2 varieties - the older style, thicker 40mil stuff runs 39.95, new style, thinner stronger 23mil variety runs 49.95 (BAS prices from memory here).

While looking into other, less expensive options, someone posted here regarding uncut sheets of 40mil headlight protective film from This is the older style film that comes in 13.5x11" sheets for $15US. As it happened, the poster of that original message was so closely affiliated with the company that his email address was listed on the "Info" page for the company - not exactly an unsolicited opinion, and I got no others about the company or the specific product.

Griot's Garage, an otherwise heinously expensive establishment (, carries the 23mil newer variety of film in a 10x16" sheet for $22US. Pretty reasonable, especially considering the source. The Griots product also comes with a spray for your lights to help in positioning the chunks you cut, so you don't have to get it exactly right the first time.

I went with the Griot's product. There is a bit more company behind it than the Chase product, and I will now be on their mailing list so I will be able to see all the cool, overpriced products in the catalog for the next year or two. The entertainment will probably be worth the $7 differential. The thinner film will also not be as visible on the lamps.

Micah O'C

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