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Will A Vehicle Wrap Damage My Paint?

Vehicle wrap material is specially formulated to go on to vehicle paint and remove cleanly. Even with our harsh Utah weather, a vehicle wrap should not result in damage as long as the paint is in good condition to start with. However, all adhesive backed vinyl materials are not the same.

Types of Vinyl

There are many good manufacturers of vehicle wrap material. Perhaps the most well known is 3M although brands like Avery, Arlon, and Orafol all produce premium products. The tricky thing is that each one of these brands makes hundreds of different types of vinyls. Some of these vinyls are meant for vehicle paint and are very expensive. Other types of vinyls are more suited to adhere to a painted wall and can (will) damage vehicle paint if it is substituted as vehicle wrap. Regardless of which brand your vehicle wrap provider is selling, some questions you can ask about the material to verify if it is actual vehicle wrap are- Is this a cast or calendared vinyl? (All vehicle wrap materials are cast. Exceptions do exist for materials that may go on flat trailers). Another question to ask is – what is the warranty for vertical and horizontal surfaces? (While these numbers may vary based on brand, most non-wrap vinyls do not have these types of warranty). Finally, you can ask to see a piece of the material as a sample. Most vehicle wrap materials have a pressure sensitive adhesive. This means that you can take off the backing and actually slide the material across a desk or other hard surface. Then, when you actually want it to adhere, you press down with a finger and the adhesive will activate. With regular sign vinyl, as soon as the adhesive touches a flat surface, it will want to adhere. While we would always love to have you get a vehicle wrap from Queen of Wraps, if you do choose to go somewhere else, make sure that what you are getting is the real deal. Otherwise you will certainly deal with issues like paint damage, uv scorching, or worst of all- a major bill when it comes time to remove. 

Car Paint

The condition of the vehicle paint is extremely important for the lifespan of a wrap. Think about it like this- a car wrap adheres to the vehicle paint. However, if the vehicle paint is not well adhered to the actual metal, when the paint lifts, the wrap will lift with it. This means that paint which is cracking, flaking, rusting, etc. is generally not a good candidate for a vehicle wrap. Minor paint issues are generally fine to wrap but if you are considering a wrap as an alternative to painting a 30 year old rust bucket, you will probably be disappointed. This also applies to box trucks and trailers. Often times, to save on cost, box trucks will come with a painted wooden rear door. This door paint will invariably start to crack and peel with our Utah freeze/thaw cycles. As a result, wrapping painted wooden doors on box trucks is generally not advisable. We will often refer the customer to get the door replaced with a metal rear door. This may be a little cost initially but it will make the box truck wrap last years longer.

What Can I Do To Protect My Paint?

Once you have a wrap installed, the best thing you can do is follow the manufacturer instructions. This includes doing things like keeping the wrap clean by using approved wrap care products, keeping the wrap garaged as much as possible, and most importantly- removing the vehicle wrap within the expected lifespan. Following these steps can help ensure that you have a fresh looking paint job years down the road when your car wrap is removed. 

Bryan Griffith
bgriffith@griffcographics.com

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