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Vinyl wraps can transform the appearance of a commercial vehicle, adding stand-out branding, contact details and a professional look to your hard-working van – but the preparation work is key to ensuring the finished result is flawless, durable and attention-grabbing.

One of the easiest ways to speed up a commercial van wrap installation process is to begin with a thorough clean, so you can spot any rust, dents or scratches that may need to be repaired.

You can also contact the vinyl wrap experts here at WrapUK beforehand, so we can look at your van, advise on any necessary preparatory work, and schedule those repairs just before we fit your slick new wrap.

What Prep Work Is Required Before Fitting a Commercial Van Wrap?

Even the highest-quality vinyl wrap cannot adhere to a dirty, dusty or rusty panel and works best with a perfectly clean, smooth surface for long-lasting adhesion. It’s usually advisable to drop in before having a wrap fitted so we can have a careful look and let you know whether any issues might impact the outcome.

Technicians work through a detailed system of cleaning, which is more in-depth than the kind of cleaning you can achieve through a regular car wash:

    • First, the van must be washed methodically with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner, with plenty of time to dry thoroughly.
    • Dirt, oil and grime that have built up under the hood or within the tyre wells all need to be removed until the vehicle is squeaky clean.
    • Next, we detail the van with an alcohol solution to eliminate residual dust and use a clay bar resin compound to life contaminants such as tiny particles of sap or bitumen.

Of course, before any of this happens, it’s important to remove rust, repair dents and grooves and ensure each panel is smooth and level. That usually means using a filler to address minor deviations, although serious damage and large dents might indicate a more involved prep process.

Do I Need to Fix Bodywork Damage Before Installing a Commercial Van Wrap?

While you can clean and prep your vehicle, it’s often best to leave this work to the professionals because even a simple error, such as using wax after cleaning, can cause a problem. Slippery wax affects the adhesion between your vehicle and the vinyl, so will need to be removed.

The most common challenge is where the van has spots of rust or patches of paintwork that have begun to peel since these will prevent the commercial van wrap from sticking flush to the bodywork.

Vinyl is incredibly thin and supple, so it can’t disguise bodywork dents; if you’re after a professional finish, it’s important to repair these beforehand. The vinyl moulds itself to the vehicle underneath, so any deviations, such as a paint bubble, will remain visible.

Rubbing down rust to remove uneven surfaces and create a smooth panel is normally sufficient, although very badly rusted vehicles may not be suited to a wrap. The good news is that you won’t need to consider re-spraying the van because the vinyl will effectively cover every panel.

If you are in any doubt, or if you’re worried about whether your commercial van will look the part once your custom vinyl wrap has been applied, feel free to get in touch or drop in, and one of our vinyl wrapping technicians will be happy to take a look!

Why Is Prep So Important in a Commercial Van Wrap?

Vinyl wraps transform the external appearance of any vehicle and are commonly used for commercial vans and lorries as a type of mobile billboard, advertising medium and publicity exercise, meaning you bring your branding with you wherever you go.

Prep work is essential because carefully preparing the vehicle before fitting a commercial van wrap ensures the finished look is pristine, so it’s well worth taking as much time as required so you won’t be disappointed.

The right prep depends on the age and type of vehicle, but some small patches of rust are hardly uncommon on busy commercial vans, so removing this first will help get the look you are after.

Comprehensive cleaning and degreasing, removing damaged paintwork and rusty spots or scratches and adding the finishing touches enhance the vibrancy and professional appearance of the vinyl wrap, and make a huge difference to the visual impact.

Can My Vinyl Wrap Installer Take Care of the Prep Work?

Our full-service team specialises in commercial vinyl wraps, including fleets, lorries and individual vans. We’re always on hand to share our expertise and advice to help you get the most out of your wrapping experience.

If you need basic repair work carried out before your van is ready to wrap, we can handle this for you.

However, more in-depth repairs might need to be completed beforehand, particularly if you have large dents, grooves or rusty spots. In the worst cases, a panel might need replacement if it has deteriorated to the point where a vinyl wrap isn’t suitable, although that is rare.

The key is to remember that vinyl covers bodywork but can’t conceal physical grooves or scratches, so getting these sorted before your wrap is applied will elevate the aesthetic of the finished product.

What Happens if I Install a Commercial Van Wrap on a Damaged Vehicle?

Rust is one of the biggest culprits, and it means vinyl won’t stick properly. It’s also never wise to cover rust with a vinyl wrap because the installation process can trap moisture between the layers and cause the rust to worsen or spread.

The same applies to chipped or flaking paint – because the vinyl adheres to the damaged paintwork, it will mean the wrap starts to loosen and peel, or bubble as the surface underneath breaks down. All these issues mean your wrap will last less time than it should and affect the polished look you should expect to achieve.

Prep work, dent repairs, thorough cleaning and a professional once-over, ensure your wrap is in great condition for a new, fresh look and help guarantee your vinyl wrap looks perfect for the years to come.

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