How To Look After Your Vehicle’s Vinyl Wrap
How Long Does It Last?
A maximum of 6 years on a vertical surface and about half that on horizontal surfaces. Why such a short lifespan?
Australian conditions are brutal on vinyl wraps. It’s that simple. A combination of heat and strong sunlight are torture for any vinyl wrapping.
3M and Avery are the premium brands, with Avery being the best. Even with a UV resistant clear coat , Australian conditions hammer these products.
These suppliers have cleaners and sealers, but they aren’t really necessary.
How Do I Remove It?
The best way is to get a professional to remove it. You run the risk of damaging your paintwork if you’re not careful.
And if you leave the vinyl wrap on for more than the recommended maximum time period (see above), you run the risk of it “keying into” the paintwork. In this case, your vehicle’s paintwork will almost certainly be damaged.
How Do I Clean It?
Wash as normal. But… and there are a few watchouts here.
Hand wash. Do not use a pressure washer (Gerni, Karcher and so on). Why not?
Well, vinyl wrapping is basically a sticker. It has an adhesive backing. Like any sticker, if you get in between the paint and the vinyl with a high pressure cleaner then you’re likely to damage the wrapping.
Don’t use caustic cleaners – some of the favoured truck washes for example. They will eventually break down the adhesives.
Don’t use abrasive cleaners. You might be surprised to learn that cleaners like CT-18 and CT-20 contain abrasives. This is one reason why they are so effective at removing grit and grime.
Fuel spills. Any petroleum-based product will eat the adhesive. So if you have a fuel spill, clean it away immediately.
Can I Wax A Vinyl Wrap?
Yes you can. Just like your paintwork, the wax will give your wrap a protective coating.
For any cleaning, use commonsense and you’ll be okay. Obviously a vinyl wrap won’t be as tough as the original paint. So don’t use abrasive cleaners, buffing wheels, high pressure cleaners and so on.
A hand wash with a soft cloth is the best option… as it is for your paintwork.
Any Other Tips?
Keep it clean. As with your vehicle’s paint, keeping it clean is the best way to look after your vinyl wrapping. Why?
The oils and pollutants we pick up every day are mildly caustic. They will eventually start eating into your paintwork and wrapping over time.
Thanks to Kyle and Mark for their contributions to this article.
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