The best thing you can do is watch the video. Before you peel off the backing sheet, get a feel for each of the pieces, in terms of positioning. Work slowly and methodically, the main thing to avoid is moving too fast with the squeegee and causing a crease in the wrap. We've added a few more hints below the video. There's a couple of installation techniques, our most recent video (method 2) seems to be a little easier for most people:
Here's our original installation video if you want to watch both methods:
Hints for each of the pieces:
Before you start
- Cool the car to 68f/19c, and ensure the vinyl is also at room temperature. This will help the vinyl be less floppy and generally easier to handle.
- Clean the center console. If you are using one of the textured finished (carbon fiber, brushed, matrix etc) then the odd speck of dust won’t hurt, but it will be more visible on the smooth finishes
- Apply from the passenger seat, so you’re not fighting with the steering wheel.
- Your. Time. There is a knack to installing these, and it’s easy to become frustrated. With the car cool, some time, and nobody looking over your shoulder, you’ll do a great job!
- We think this is the easiest piece, despite it being the most complicated shape. The transfer tape allows you to hold the vinyl without touching it, and the actual panel is flat, and doesn’t move, unlike the others. We suggest starting with this piece.
- Gently lay the wrap over the panel. You'll be able to lift and replace several times until you're happy
- Align using the cupholders for reference. Be sure to look directly down over the cupholders to ensure it's placed correctly
- check all the edges before using the squeegee to apply pressure. You can get away with a small misalignment at the arm-rest end, as you can tuck the excess under the aluminum trim, but the other end is a lot tighter
- Once you're happy, squeegee away, starting at the center and working out. Do not remove the film maintaining the shape of the cupholder cutout until you've also applied pressure to that area
- When you're ready to remove the film, do so carefully, since the wrap is quite narrow at the edges, so is easily stretched
- Just roll the edges of the cupholder over with your thumb, and then at each end
As you'll discover, this is the most annoying panel as it'll keep flipping back when you apply pressure. We've revised our recommendation for how to apply this piece.
- With the panel in place, take note of the gap at the top (between it and the phone cover panel). The gap will be your reference point to get the vinyl level/square.
- Take note of the orientation. The concave end is at the top, and the convex end at the bottom.
- Holding the very edges of the vinyl, lay down on the panel, covering the gap, with a bit extra to allow it to fold over the edge (we'll cover this in a bit), to make sure it's straight.
- Check the edges. This piece has the tightest tolerances as the panel is hinged, so the sides need to be perfect. If it's slightly skewed, you'll see small gaps on both sides. Continue to lift and drop until it's perfect along the edges.
- Once you're happy, start squeegeeing. Work down, from the center out. It's OK to pull on the film a bit if you need to encourage it to get nice and flush with the edge. If it really needs encouraging, you can use a hairdryer to apply some heat, but that will release the film and make it quite stretchy, so use with caution.
- Once the panel is covered and smooth, roll the top edge over, which should now cover the entire edge.
- Now close the panel and apply a little pressure to the top, which will flip the back edge up enough to roll the film over the back edge
Top Panel (the phone cover)
This panel is fairly easy, aside from the fact you're working with the screen obscuring your view, so you'll need get your head behind the screen to get a full view.
- Close the panel. As with the middle panel, use the gap as a point of reference to get the vinyl square and level
- Place the vinyl on the panel, and check the side for alignment. As this is also a hinged panel, there's not really any tolerance on each side, so if there's a gap, the vinyl is skewed. keep lifting and dropping until you find the perfect position - this might take a lot of attempts, and that's ok :-)
- Once you're happy, squeegee from the center out, the look around the screen to finish off the top of the panel
- Remove the trim (slide it left) and take it to a table.
- The vinyl tucks over to where the charging pins are, so that's the best place to start. Tuck the vinyl piece into the long edge, which will help ensure everything is square
- Apply pressure, then roll the vinyl over to the front side (the part you see when it's installed in the car) and work the vinyl with your thumb, until the entire front surface is covered.
- Reinstall in your Model 3.
Q. I screwed up one of the pieces. What can I do?
A. The vinyl is really forgiving, and if there's a crease or stretch, applying some warm air (from a hair drying, or even leaving your car in the sun) can often restore its original shape and allow you a do-over. But, if all hope is lost, you can take advantage of our 'no tears' guarantee, and we'll send your first replacement piece completely free. If you need more than one piece, then there's a flat charge of $10 for each additional piece (but no, we can't send you 3 different replacement pieces to make a cheap full set ;-))
Q. Which is easier to install?
A. The heavier textured finishes (carbon fiber, matrix black) are easier, as they're slightly thicker, and more tolerant of the odd speck of dust that might get caught under the film. The Brushed finishes are the next, since they still have a texture and are slightly heavier. The smooth finished do take a bit longer to install, and the surface must be completely clean.
Q. How are these made?
A. Each piece is cut in-house using commercial vinyl cutters, following a custom design created in a vector graphics package. We only use 3M 1080 vinyl due to it's long-life and ease of application.
Q. I'd like another color/finish
Q. Does it completely cover all the piano black plastic?
A. If fitted perfectly, yes. In reality, a completely perfect application can be challenging, but all the lines and curves are smoothly cut, and even if there's a little bit of the piano black showing through, the sharp edges will ensure it's not noticeable.
Q. Can this be removed?
A. Yes, easily. The longer the vinyl is there, the stronger the bond becomes, but it can always be removed without causing any damage to the original piano black finish. Just lift an edge, and start to carefully pull it away at a sharp angle.
Q. I'm not sure I can do this :-/
A. If you're hesitant, check your local vinyl and window tint shops. This is no more 15 minutes work for an experienced pro, so if you're already there to get your windows tinted, or a clear-bra, the cost should be minimal.
Q. What's your favorite?
A. We love the brushed finished. The Brushed Titanium is the closest match to the metal dash trim in the Model 3, but the brush steel has a really nice hue to it, so it's tough to chose between them. The Brushed Black is a very slick look, subtle, not flashy, but classy. The Carbon Fiber is the easiest to fit, and more typical of what you'd find inside a car, so we love that one too, but as always it's a personal thing.