Vehicle Wrap Maintenance

Car Wash Customers should be instructed to wash their vehicle using non-abrasive cleaner without strong solvents. Plenty of water should be used, washing the vehicle from top down to wash any debris off the vehicle. Try to avoid brushes – whether in an automatic car wash or brushing by hand – as they can dull the finish of the laminate and can cause scratching. Brushes can also lift loose edges. Use a soft sponge or rag instead of a brush, and avoid excessive scrubbing. Take extra care on matte or textured finishes. Rinse off any residue thoroughly with clean water. Allow the vehicle to air dry or use a microfiber cloth to dry. Power Washing While the finish to the graphics does dull a little over the years, pressure washing can be used, when hand washing isn’t an option. There are a few tips that you should keep in mind when pressure washing your vehicle. Avoid excessive pressure that can cause damage to the graphics. Excessive pressure on damaged graphics can allow water to get underneath the graphic causing lifting and curling. Do not direct the spray at a sharp angle to the graphics. Avoid spraying directly on wrap seams. Water pressure – maximum 800psi to 200psi. Water temperature – maximum 72 to 180 degrees. Spray nozzle spray pattern of 40 degrees. Minimum distance of nozzle to the graphic – 12 to 18 inches. Spray angle – 45 degrees, sweeping spray Never use a Turbo pressure nozzle. Waxing or Polishing We advise the use of Silicone or Teflon based waxes. Avoiding Carnauba based waxes. Carnauba based waxes are popular on vehicles without graphics because they can be buffed to a high shine. This buffing process needs to be rigorous though and can cause damage to graphics. Waxes are also heat sensitive and can melt in the sun. The greasy results attract dirt and can cause black streaks. Heat also releases the stain in the wax, which can stain the graphics. The Teflon or Silicone based polish used should be specifically designed for use on vehicle wraps. EGI primarily uses Avery brand wrap materials. Avery recommends “CrystalTek Wrap Polish, which does not contain any wax. The polish is designed to protect new wraps against harsh elements and pollution. CrystalTek states the polish will not chip or turn yellow and is safe for use on many different finishes. Gunk Even if you are diligent about washing your vehicle regularly, gunk is bound to end up on your vehicle at some point. It’s important to remove the offending residue as soon as possible to avoid staining and other damage to your vehicle. Whatever type of cleaner you use, be sure to test it in an inconspicuous place first. For a gas spill be sure to wash off the residue as soon as possible with soapy water. An isopropyl alcohol wipe down followed by a cleaning with citrus based cleaner will help remove oil, tar or asphalt that may build up on the graphics. Citrus based cleaners are also effective in removing waxy marks on the graphics. Check the manufacturer bulletin for the specific media you are using for additional chemical recommendations for cleaning. Follow any chemical cleanings with a regular washing with water and a mild cleanser. Rinse with clean water and dry with a lint-free or microfiber cloth. Initial Maintenance In addition to regular washings by the customers, it’s also recommended that the customer simply keeps an eye on their wrap, especially the first few days and weeks. Wrap maintenance starts with proper installation, but due to weather conditions or wrap installation obstacles on the vehicle there may be some bubbles or lifting that occurs within the first week or so. This is the best time to catch these small problems before they become big issues. If you do experience any of these issues, please bring the vehicle by for a quick go-over.

Source - Charity Jackson article from SDG (Feb. 2012) http://sdgmag.com/article/wraps/wraps-maintenance