These days, the best way to get a car back to looking its best isn’t to take it in for repainting. It’s to have a high-quality vinyl car wrap applied by a professional. When drivers get their cars back from the shop, they’ll look fresh, clean, and sleek. As with conventional paint jobs, though, they won’t stay that way without some effort. Although automotive wraps are easier to maintain than paint, it still takes some work to keep that cherished car looking brand-new. Drivers can find seven tips for getting started below.
1. Get a High-Quality Wrap
The first step towards keeping an automotive wrap looking its best occurs before drivers even head to the shop. To make the most of their investments, drivers should choose a reputable customization shop that applies only high-quality vinyl wraps. Drivers in Denver can visit sterlingcustoms.com to learn about vinyl wraps or request a consultation with a specialist.
Most drivers request quotes from multiple customization shops before deciding where to bring their cars. They shouldn’t make their decisions based exclusively on cost, though. Instead, treat the wrap like an investment and spend the extra money on good workmanship and high-quality products that will last for longer.
2. Wash the Car Regularly
Experts recommend washing wrapped vehicles at least once every two weeks. However, drivers that live in highly polluted areas or on dirt roads may need to wash their vehicles more frequently.
When washing a vinyl-wrapped car, it’s best to use specialized solutions, so don’t hesitate to ask a technician for recommendations. It’s also important to keep vehicles clean between washes by rinsing off things like spilled fuel, bug splatter, and dirt using hot, soapy water.
Always avoid using abrasive scrubbing tools during both spot cleaning and more comprehensive washes. These tools can cause the wrap to start fading prematurely.
3. Avoid Waxes and Finishes
Drivers who want to keep their vinyl-wrapped vehicles looking their best should avoid wax and polishing products, at least on matte and textured wraps. These products might be great for keeping the paint looking bright and new, but they can degrade the vinyl. If someone accidentally applies wax either at a car wash or by hand, remove it right away using an all-purpose cleaner.
Although waxes and polishes should never be applied to textured or matte finished car wraps, it’s OK to apply specialized waxes to smooth gloss textures. Just make sure the product is designed specifically for use on vinyl wraps and follow all the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Keep the Car Under Cover
Many drivers assume that because their wraps feature UV coatings, it doesn’t matter if they leave them out in the sun. In fact, even treated wraps need to be covered whenever possible. Store the car in a shaded area or, ideally, in a garage when it’s not in use.
Sun damage isn’t the only issue that can be minimized by keeping a wrapped car under a carport or cover. Vinyl wraps can also start to fade when they come into excessive contact with environmental pollutants, not just on the road, but also while the car is at rest in the driveway. If there’s no garage on the property, use a cloth car cover to protect the vehicle.
5. Avoid Using Snow Scrapers
Snow scrapers and hard brushes can scratch vinyl wraps, so it’s best to reserve their use for windshields and windows. If drivers need to remove snow from their vehicles before hitting the road, they can use either cloth or soft brushes to get the job done. It’s easiest to do this by wearing waterproof gloves and using an absorbent towel to rub off the snow.
Some drivers also like to run lukewarm water over their automotive wraps to melt the snow and rinse off any debris. Make sure not to use hot water, though, regardless of how cold it is outside.
In the winter, it’s also important not to rub areas with extensive debris stuck in the snow or to the wrap, even with a soft cloth. The debris itself can wind up causing scratches and holes.
6. Clean Off Salt Regularly
In snowy areas, municipal officials usually salt the roads to keep them from icing over. While that’s good news for drivers because it supports enhanced safety, it can cause problems for the vehicles themselves. Salt corrodes metal, gets embedded in unprotected paint, and can even dehydrate vinyl wraps if it’s left on them for too long.
The good news is, washing a vinyl-wrapped car once a week is usually enough to prevent salt from building up on the vinyl wrap. Some drivers also like to rinse the base of their wraps after each drive on a salt-treated road or wipe them down with a wet cloth.
7. Schedule Repairs As Needed
If there’s anything wrong with the car wrap, it’s important to head back to the shop for repairs right away. Graphics that discolor or turn brown should be removed from the vehicle immediately, as they can stain the paint beneath. Holes and tears will develop into more costly damage if left unaddressed, too.
New damage is always more fixable than a wrap that has been left to deteriorate for weeks or months. The sooner drivers get minor tears or holes fixed, the less expensive the repairs will be. Minor repairs will also take less time to complete.
Make That Wrap Last
Smart drivers want to get their money’s worth when it comes to vehicle customization and maintenance. Hiring a specialist to apply a high-quality vinyl wrap is a great way to keep any vehicle looking its best, so don’t cut corners on the initial installation.
Vinyl car wraps require less maintenance than paint, but that doesn’t mean drivers can just ignore them completely. Wash the wrap periodically and check it for signs of UV damage, scratches, holes, and tears. As long as drivers follow the advice above, they’ll be able to keep their automotive wraps looking like new for years to come.