So you’ve got your wrap designed, printed, and you’re excited to hit the road and make an impression. But before you do, have you considered how to keep your vehicle wrap in tip-top condition and prolong its life as much as possible?
Just like a good paint job, vehicle wraps need regular cleaning and maintenance work, and they should be kept away from abrasive or corrosive environmental pollutants, such as dirt and sand.
You should also be aware that any water that becomes trapped inside your vinyl wrap stands a chance of causing water damage and rust, so it is crucial to dry your car when you clean it and to make sure that your car wrap is installed correctly without air bubbles or pockets.
Here, we have collected a few points to consider when maintaining your vehicle wrap. Read on for our Top Tips on how to get the most out of your wrap!
Before you go to the car wash – stop and think. The bristles used to clean your car are the same ones that will scrape and damage your brand-new vinyl wrap.
Car washes with brushes can cause car wraps to peel and lift at the edges. If you are using a brushless drive-through car wash, your wrap may just about cope. But it’s not as safe as a hand wash, and it may still reduce the lifespan of your wrap.
So how to clean your car instead? Well, it’s time to get back to basics.
To keep your car wrap in top condition – and to keep dirt from corroding your brand-new wrap – you should be aiming to hand wash your wrap once a week. Or more, if your wrap is exposed to high levels of dirt or other pollutants.
To wash your wrapped car, gently spray it to remove any loose dirt. Then use a soft sponge and non-abrasive cleaning agent to wash the vehicle. Rinse afterwards.
Remove any excess water using a squeegee and dry with a clean microfibre cloth.
Pressure washing is not an ideal solution for vehicle wraps, and in an ideal world, wraps should always be hand cleaned for best results. But when rushed for time, pressure washing will just about work in a pinch.
To pressure wash your vehicle wrap, follow these guidelines to prevent damage:
- Keep your water temperature below 80°C
- Use a water pressure below 2000 psi (14MPa)
- Make sure the spray nozzle has a 40-degree wide-angle spray pattern
- Hold the nozzle straight on to prevent lifting, and keep it 1 foot from the graphic
Stains should be removed immediately to prevent them from soaking into the vinyl and becoming harder to remove. This may damage the wrap in the long term.
If the body of the car is warm, wait until it has cooled before cleaning.
To spot clean isolated stains, use isopropyl rubbing alcohol to gently wipe off any contaminants then rinse with cold water and dry with a microfibre cloth. This technique works for both mild and stubborn stains.
Do NOT use solvents, oil-based cleaners, household cleaners, orange oil, or engine degreaser on your vehicle wrap.
To keep your car wrap looking its best, the little things count. And yes, we’re talking about parking.
Pollutants from traffic, acid rain, and UV rays can degrade your wrap – particularly on flat areas such as the bonnet, the hood, and the boot.
To help to prevent this daily wear and tear, your car should be kept in a garage or under a canopy when not in use. If this is not an option, make sure you park your car in shaded areas that are sheltered from the elements. Try not to park under trees wherever possible – tree sap, pollen, and bird excrement are all notoriously difficult to get off vehicle wrapping without causing damage.
When maintaining your vehicle, you should also avoid using car wax.
While wax may prevent general wear and tear on an unwrapped vehicle, it causes vinyl wrapping to corrode, thus reducing the lifespan of your wrap. All your vehicle wrap needs is a gentle clean and a buff with a soft microfibre cloth.
Winter Wear And Tear
To avoid the inevitable wear and tear that winter brings to your nice new wrap, simply remember ‘Salt, Scrape, Scratch’.
SALT: Salt from gritted roads can cause the vinyl wrap to erode over time. Washing your vehicle once weekly is enough to prevent salt buildup, but you should wash high-contact areas (such as the base) more often to avoid damaged patches.
SCRAPE: Do NOT use anything that might scrape your car, such as snow scrapers or hard brushes. Use a soft towel to brush away any snow, or wash with warm (not hot!) water. If any debris sticks, wash it away with as much water as necessary and then rinse the area with a sponge and non-abrasive detergent.
SCRATCH: If you get a scratch or hole in your vinyl get it repaired immediately. This helps to prevent the tear from getting worse with time. You may decide to take your car in for a regular vinyl touchup, which is quicker and cheaper than fixing any large holes that may develop over time.
Got any questions that aren’t covered here? Talk to one of our representatives today and we would be happy to discuss any questions regarding the maintenance of your vehicle wrap!