If you want to change the look of a car with the minimum of fuss, vinyl car wrap is the way to go. Once the car is covered in new skin, that’s not the end of the story: there are some basic pieces of car wrap maintenance that will keep it looking good for longer.
Over the few years, vinyl car wrapping has moved on from being a niche product into something that is common practice. Whether or not you view vinyl wrap as a feasible alternative to permanent paintwork it is certainly a quick and cost-effective way to emblazon a vehicle with marketing material or change the look of tired paintwork.
There is not a great deal of difference between caring for a car with traditional paint and one that has been wrapped in vinyl. The first few days after your car is wrapped are critical, so your newly wrapped vehicle will need a little extra care and attention for its first few washes until you get used to caring for its new covering.
The first thing to remember is that vinyl wrap is softer than paintwork, so take care of it! Use vinyl wrap cleaning products suitable for use on car bodywork, and avoid anything abrasive. Going over the vehicle with a jet wash is a good starting point – just make sure it is not set to the highest pressure. Go over the entire vehicle to remove the worst of the soiling it has picked up. If there is stubborn, ingrained dirt then go over it several times in a circular motion with a soft sponge instead of scraping at it with something more solid.
Next, use a gentle pH neutral shampoo in warm water to cover the entire vehicle in suds. A microfibre washing mitt will make this process simple, or you can use a sponge. Just keep your eyes open for any pieces of grit, as if they are rubbed against the vinyl it can cause irreparable damage. Working from the roof down, carefully work on every panel in a methodical way. Once it is fully cleaned, use the jet wash to clear away any residue. A lower pressure is your friend here, as it leaves less water to dry off. Finally, go over the entire vehicle with a dedicated drying towel to remove any traces of water and reduce the risk of watermarks appearing on the finish. The way you go about this is up to you – some prefer to pat dry, others to drag and rub a folded towel over the bodywork.
There are many vinyl wrap care products on the market: here is what you should be looking out for.
You don’t need to apply wax to vinyl, but if you do so (for example if you have a partially-wrapped car) then check that the products you use do not contain petroleum distillates or solvents to avoid melting the plastic.
The use of clay should be avoided as it can cause scuffing which cannot be repaired without replacing the whole vinyl wrap. If contamination cannot be removed by your normal cleaning regime then a fine grade clay cloth may help, but add a generous amount of lubrication and increase the dilution car shampoo to reduce the risk.
If in doubt, speak to the experts here at Wrap UK for advice on how to protect and care for your newly vinyl-wrapped vehicle. We are always happy to help!CONTACT US