Getting a nice vinyl car wrap installed on your car, SUV or truck – or getting your business’s fleet vehicles wrapped with customized graphics, logos and branding – is an investment. As with most nice things, there is some measure of effort required to maintain vinyl car wraps in their optimal condition.
Vehicles Should Still Be Washed Regularly
Washing your car regularly is the best way to maintain the like-new appearance of your vinyl wrap, but there are some important things to note about washing. Some of these tips are universal, even for vehicles without vinyl wraps, but some risks are unique to vehicles with a wrap.
You can run your vehicle through out car washes using brushes but there’s a risk that this abrasive washing method will dull or scratch the vinyl layer or begin to lift the edges if done too frequently. This may just mean you’ll need to get the vinyl replaced every few years instead of every seven. Going through an automated car wash once shouldn’t destroy your vinyl wrap.
If you are going to use an automatic wash the touchless varieties are the safest.
Car owners with vinyl wraps should also be exceedingly cautious when using pressure washers. Any pressure washer with more than 2,000 psi risks damaging a warp or causing the edges to lift. Especially avoid spraying the nozzle at an angle really close to your graphics, as it may cause the edges of the film to lift.
If you are using a pressure washer keep the nozzle at least a foot away from your vehicle and keep the nozzle perpendicular to your vehicle’s exterior (pointing straight at it / 90-degree angle).
Can I Wax My Car Wrap to Make It Glossier?
You’ll find most companies that make vinyl wraps, like 3M, recommend against using car waxes on a vinyl car wrap. If your car is only partially wrapped or has vinyl decals applied, you can wax the unwrapped part of your vehicle to your heart’s content.
You should also avoid using abrasive compounds or polishes, especially if you have a textured or matte vinyl wrap on your vehicle.
Some detailing experts may recommend some types of spray waxes, especially for added protection from environmental pollutants, but make sure whatever spray wax you try isn’t formulated with petroleum distillates (which are found in most pate waxes). If you absolutely must use a wax on your vinyl wrap you should always test it on a small inconspicuous section to ensure you don’t damage the whole car wrap.
If you’re looking for a solution to make your vinyl wrap look glossier or stay clean longer your safest bet is to reach out to an auto detailer experienced in vinyl vehicle wraps. The team at RPM Automotive would be happy to answer your wrap protection questions – just give us a call at 602.776.8888.
Vinyl Wraps Can Be Stained
A wrap can be just as susceptible to staining from bird droppings, splattered bugs or tree sap as any unwrapped vehicle exterior, so you should always clean these potentially caustic pollutants off your wrap as soon as possible.
Soaking these stains with hot soapy water will make them easier to wipe off. Many wraps can also be spot cleaned with a solution of isopropyl rubbing alcohol and water. Some products, like citrus based bug and tar removers, may be safe to use on vinyl car wraps, just make sure to do your research first. When in doubt test it on an inconspicuous part of your vehicle.
You can also try using Magic Eraser products. Although they are generally used in kitchen and home cleaning, Magic Erasers are soft enough to be used on vinyl wraps as well.
When in Doubt, Trust the Phoenix and Scottsdale Detailing Experts
If you’re wondering what is and isn’t safe for your vehicle’s wrap, it may be in your best interest to contact an auto detailer. At RPM Automotive we install a lot of vinyl wraps and know all the ins and outs of upkeep and cleaning.
If you are looking for professional detailing or cleaning of your vehicle wrap or you want to learn more about getting textured, matte or custom decals installed on your vehicle in Phoenix or Scottsdale, we can help.
Call us at 602.776.8888 for more information.