Our car is one of the most valuable investments we’ll ever make, so it only makes sense that we want to preserve its value and keep it looking top-notch.

And when it comes to vinyl-wrapped cars, there are a few dos and don’ts that you’ll want to keep in mind if you want to keep it looking brand new.

This article discusses some of the crucial dos and don’ts when it comes to vinyl car wraps or window graphics and answers a few frequently asked questions about caring for your vinyl-wrapped car.

What is a vinyl car wrap?

A vinyl car wrap is a vinyl film that adheres to your vehicle’s body and acts as an extra layer of protection from the elements. 

It comes in a thin, flexible vinyl sheeting and can be applied to just about any vehicle, regardless of whether it has been painted.

The vinyl wrap is designed to protect the car’s paint job from scuffs, scratches, fading, and other external damage that can occur over time. 

It also serves as an extra layer of protection against corrosion caused by exposure to the elements, such as salt, rain, snow, and UV radiation.

Types of vinyl car wrap

1. Matte vinyl car wrap:

This vinyl is non-reflective and has a dull finish. It gives the vehicle an elegant and sophisticated look while also providing protection from scratches, abrasions, and UV radiation.

2. Gloss vinyl car wrap:

By far the most popular vinyl wrap, this vinyl has a smooth and glossy finish. It provides an eye-catching look that will make your car stand out from the crowd while also protecting it from scratches, abrasions, and UV radiation.

3. Chrome vinyl car wrap:

This vinyl is designed to give the vehicle a metallic sheen and provide a unique, eye-catching look. It is a bit more expensive than the other vinyl wraps and may not be as durable.

Vinyl Car Wrap Maintenance: Dos

Clean it with a soft cloth:

This is an important step when it comes to vinyl wrap maintenance. Use a soft cloth to gently remove any dirt or grime from the vinyl wrap, making sure to avoid any harsh scrubbing that may damage the vinyl.

Use a vinyl-specific cleaner:

Because vinyl is a very delicate material, it’s important to use vinyl-specific cleaners when cleaning your vinyl wrap. These cleaners are designed to be gentle on vinyl and can help keep it looking like new for years to come.

These cleaners are often gentle and pH-balanced, so you don’t have to worry about them damaging the vinyl or causing any discoloration.

Protect it from UV radiation:

UV radiation is one of the biggest enemies of vinyl wrap, as it can cause discoloration, fading, and even cracking over time. To protect your vinyl wrap from UV damage, we recommend using a vinyl-specific UV protector.

Use wax or sealant:

While vinyl wraps can protect your car from scratches and abrasions, they may not be enough to protect it from the elements. We recommend using a vinyl-specific wax or sealant to ensure your vinyl wrap is fully protected.

We recommend getting your vinyl wrap professionally waxed or sealed at least once per year. This will help keep it looking like new and will ensure that it is properly protected from the elements.

Wash it every two weeks:

Due to vinyl’s delicate nature, it needs to be washed regularly in order to keep it looking its best. We recommend washing your vinyl wrap at least once every two weeks with a vinyl-specific cleaner and soft cloth.

Vinyl Car Wrap Maintenance: Don’ts

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Don’t use harsh chemicals:

One of the most important rules when it comes to vinyl wrap maintenance is to avoid using harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals can damage the vinyl and cause discoloration, cracks, and other types of damage.

In fact, vinyl wraps should never be washed with traditional car wash soaps or detergents, as these can cause irreparable damage.

Don’t use household cleaners:

Many people believe that household cleaners are a safe and effective way to clean vinyl wraps, but this is not the case. Household cleaners like window cleaners and other multipurpose cleaners can cause discoloration, cracking, and other types of damage.

It is best to avoid using these products altogether when it comes to vinyl wrap maintenance. This also goes for ceramic coatings, as harsh chemicals can damage the ceramic coating.

Related: Is Ceramic Coating Worth It? Weighing the Pros and Cons 

Don’t use abrasive materials:

Another important rule when it comes to vinyl wrap maintenance is to avoid using any type of abrasive material on the vinyl. Abrasive materials will scratch and scuff the vinyl, making it look worn and damaged.

It is best to avoid using rough cloths, scouring pads, steel wool, and other harsh materials on vinyl wraps. These materials can easily cause irreparable damage.

Don’t use a pressure washer:

While pressure washers are great for cleaning cars, they should never be used on a vinyl wrap. Pressure washers can cause the vinyl to stretch or tear, leading to discoloration, cracking, and other damage.

If your vinyl wrap is in need of a deep clean, opt for a vinyl-specific cleaner and soft cloth instead. This will ensure that the vinyl is not damaged by any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.

Don’t forget the edges:

Finally, it’s important to remember the edges of vinyl wraps when it comes to maintenance. The edges of vinyl wraps are particularly vulnerable to dirt and debris, so make sure to give them an extra scrub with a vinyl-specific cleaner and soft cloth.

Don’t let it sit in the sun:

Vinyl wraps should also be kept away from direct sunlight as much as possible. Direct UV radiation can cause vinyl to fade and crack over time, so it is best to keep vinyl wraps out of direct sunlight when not in use.

Don’t leave it outside:

Finally, vinyl wraps should be kept inside when they are not in use. This will help keep them looking new and protect them from UV radiation and other types of damage.

If you don’t have a garage, invest in a vinyl-specific car cover to protect your vinyl wrap.

FAQs

Q: How often should vinyl wraps be waxed?

A: We recommend getting vinyl wraps professionally waxed or sealed at least once yearly. 

This will help keep it looking new and ensure that it is properly protected from the elements. Of course, if you’re washing it regularly, you may only need to wax it sometimes.

Q: Can car washes damage vinyl wraps?

A: Yes, vinyl wraps can easily be damaged by traditional car washes. Traditional car wash soaps and detergents can cause discoloration, cracking, and other types of damage. Ask your local vinyl wrap shop for the best vinyl car wash method.

Q: What is the best way to remove dirt and debris from vinyl wraps?

A: The best way to remove dirt and debris from vinyl wraps is with a vinyl-specific cleaner and soft cloth. 

 If the stain or dirt is particularly stubborn, you can use a vinyl eraser to gently scrub the dirt and debris away. Be sure to avoid using any type of abrasive material on vinyl wraps.

Q: Is ceramic coating safe for vinyl wraps?

A: Yes, ceramic coatings are generally safe for vinyl wraps; however, be aware that harsh chemicals can damage vinyl wraps, so ask a professional if you’re unsure. Also, be sure to use ceramic coatings specifically made for vinyl wraps.

How often should vinyl wraps be waxed?

We recommend getting vinyl wraps professionally waxed or sealed at least once yearly. 

This will help keep it looking new and ensure that it is properly protected from the elements. Of course, if you’re washing it regularly, you may only need to wax it sometimes.

Can car washes damage vinyl wraps?

Yes, vinyl wraps can easily be damaged by traditional car washes. Traditional car wash soaps and detergents can cause discoloration, cracking, and other types of damage. Ask your local vinyl wrap shop for the best vinyl car wash method.

What is the best way to remove dirt and debris from vinyl wraps?

 The best way to remove dirt and debris from vinyl wraps is with a vinyl-specific cleaner and soft cloth. 

 If the stain or dirt is particularly stubborn, you can use a vinyl eraser to gently scrub the dirt and debris away. Be sure to avoid using any type of abrasive material on vinyl wraps.

Is ceramic coating safe for vinyl wraps?

Yes, ceramic coatings are generally safe for vinyl wraps; however, be aware that harsh chemicals can damage vinyl wraps, so ask a professional if you’re unsure. Also, be sure to use ceramic coatings specifically made for vinyl wraps.

Conclusion

Caring for vinyl wraps is essential if you want to keep them looking new for years to come. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your vinyl wrap stays in great condition and continues to look its best.

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