Vinyl Vehicle Wraps
"Let's wrap this one up!"
Vehicle wrapping has been around for a long time. Initially wraps were applied to commercial vehicles as this was easier than getting custom artwork sprayed on and it enabled fleet owners to have identical branding on each of the vehicles.
Vinyl wraps on cars are gaining popularity and we are seeing some very innovative and original designs.
Carbon fibre vinyl wraps can be quite effective when properly applied. Though they lack the deep gloss finish of real carbon fibre it is the easiest and cheapest way to get a carbon fibre look on your car.
The plus points of vinyl car wrapping is that it is really simple to apply and totally transforms the appearance of the car.
It can also be taken off easily should you wish to go back to the original paint. We have seen partially wrapped cars as well that look quite effective. This is where a wrap is applied to the roof or a few body panels of the car.
A complete colour change can be applied to a vehicle and there is the added advantage that the wrap acts to protect the paint work from stone chips and other damage. It is best applied when the car is new if you motivation is to protect the paint.
The downsides are the relatively short life spans. A vinyl wrap is unlikely to last for 10 years with many showing signs of wear at 5 years.
Printed vinyl wraps are a great way to transform your car. Any designs, photographs or lettering or images can be applied to your car in this way. You can work in Photoshop to get a high quality image that will look right. Check with the printers as to specifications for the image. Images are usually requested in ai format and all fonts will need to be converted to vector images or the font files supplied.
Vinyl wraps also give opportunities for special paint finishes that are just not practical to do in car paint. For example Matt look paint looks great but can be quite hard to keep clean. Matt finished vinyl still looks the same but is a lot easier to keep clean compared with paint. We have also seen some interesting mirrored and metallic finishes applied to cars through wrapping and the only limit is your imagination.
The cost of vinyl wraps tends to be a lot less than a complete respray and we would suggest you get the wrap applied professionally.
How to apply a vinyl wrap to your car
There is a definite technique to applying vehicle wraps and it does vary slightly depending on the materials used and the type of surface to cover.
1) Ensure that the surface is clean. Any wax residue or embedded grime will need to be removed. Try cleaning the car with a clay bar. Applying some polish to remove the wax and then washing it down with a good detergent.
2) Any paint imperfections and stone chips will need to be touched up, they will still show through the vinyl and can cause the vinyl to wear, tear or prematurely peel.
3) Vinyl is best applied from one end. So ensure that it is straight before you peel off any backing. Application of a mist of water, soapy water, IPA or similar will help the vinyl to move over the paint as it is smoothed and stretched into place.
4) A heat gun is also applied to help remove bubbles, and allow the vinyl to flex and bend over curved surfaces. All movements over the vinyl should be firm and in a sweeping motion to avoid bubble forming in the first place. If bubbles appear then unattach the vinyl to that area and try again. The use of a firm but not sharp plastic squeegee can help avoid bubbles.
5) Overhang will need to be cut off with a sharp tool, but be careful not to cut into the paint below. Areas around door handles will need special attention as these are subjected to a lot of wear.
Care of the vinyl after it is applied is much the same as caring for paint work. Use a car shampoo, apply wax polish (unless you have a Matt finish) and avoid the use of caustic cleaners such as tar remover.
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