It’s no surprise, your vehicles all need some kind of maintenance. You’ve got to schedule in oil changes, tire rotations—and when you start collecting grime that needs to get washed away, you’re technically maintaining that lovely paint job.
When you’ve got a vinyl wrap, you get the same sort of thing going on: an easy maintenance task that you can schedule into your routine, if you know what to do. Follow these tips and you’ll keep that wrap looking great for the duration!
It’s no surprise, your wrap’s going to get dirty. After all, you’re exposing it to the elements when you’re showing it off! And remember that dirt, grime, and even road salts can be corrosive or abrasive to your wrap, and you’ve got to have a washing schedule to avoid doing damage to it.
Hand-washing is the best option. Make sure you’re using a nice, soft, non-abrasive cloth. Rinse the car down and let it air-dry. You can use a car wash if you want to, but it can get a little tricky. The big thing to remember about car washes is that the touch-free washes that use pressurized water or heat dryers aren’t good for your wrap—they might lead to peeling or warping. Be especially careful not to spray on the seams of the wrap (because it may lift up) and remember that intense pressure might lead to fraying.
Quick Tip: If you find that the vinyl does begin to lift in some areas, you can fix that yourself using a tape primer or another adhesive-promoting solution, and then pressing the vinyl back in place. Make sure that the solution is safe for your car’s paint before you slather it on!
When you’re choosing a detergent, chemicals are a big no-no. Harsher chemicals might affect the colors and adhesive effects of the wrap. So use soft, alcohol-free detergents and rinse as immediately as you can to preserve the pristine condition.
Brake pads are an example of a part in your car that you need to replace with use. And just like a well-used brake pad, vinyl graphics also have a limited lifespan. Most vinyl graphics aren’t going to crack, peel, discolor, or fade for five years after installation. Of course, that lifespan depends on factors like the type of vinyl and other materials that you’re using, and how well you care for it. But in general, you can plan to have five years’ worth of bright colors and intense detail.
If you’ve got any graphics on your windows, they’re most likely made from perforated window vinyl. And because you’re perforated, they’ll need special attention. It’s best not to open or roll down those windows with the wrapping on them, or you risk lifting the vinyl off the window. If the glass has any heating or defrosting elements inside, don’t activate those or you might warp the vinyl. And finally, windshield wipers on those windows might cause warping, lifting, or fraying—don’t use them. In that case, it’s really best to only wrap windows that you don’t use to drive with, such as corner windows and backseat windows.