How do you take care of a vehicle wrap or decals & graphics?
Follow the simple steps below in order to extend your graphics life span
THE CORRECT WAY
The following practices will help maintain the life and quality of the vinyl film:
Wash applied vinyl graphics with a blend of clean water and a mild care wash or detergent (i.e. Dawn®, Joy® or Ivory®).
Test any cleaning solution on a small section of the vinyl graphic before using.
Always read the warning labels on car care products for proper safety instructions.
Once you’ve washed the vehicle with a soapy water blend, rinse with clean water.
Either let the vehicle air dry or dry off with a microfiber cloth.
THE WRONG WAY
Indications of vinyl failure can include loss of gloss level, fading, em-brittling, cracking,
chipping or peeling around graphic edges. The following practices will result in deterioration of the vinyl film:
Do not allow fuels to stay in contact with the vinyl for extended periods of time. Clean all spills as soon as possible
Do not use automated car washes, truck washes using caustic cleaners or pressure washers to clean your vehicle
Do not apply carnauba-based wax over vinyl graphics
Do not apply any type of wax or polish to matte or carbon fiber-finished vinyls
Do not use mechanical brush washing
Use of an automated car wash will void the warranty
PROPER CARE OF PERFORATED WINDOW GRAPHICS (VEHICLE)
It is relatively inexpensive to replace window graphics. Never compromise safety. Always ensure maximum visibility.
Avoid using the rear windshield wiper and only use when absolutely necessary, as it will scratch the laminate over time and reduce visibility. It is best to clean any grime and sediment from your rear window with a wet squeegee to avoid scratching
Avoid using your rear defroster, use only when absolutely necessary as it can potentially reduce the lifespan of the see through perforated window film
Avoid frequent rolling of windows with graphics in order to avoid scratching
Do not use an ice scraper on any window that is covered with vinyl specially perforated
window film as it could scratch and damage the graphics
Keep in mind that these are simple guidelines for extending the life of your window graphics. In matters of safety, common sense should always prevail to ensure maximum visibility at all times
CONCERNS ABOUT PRESSURE WASHING VINYL VEHICLE GRAPHICS
Pressure washing should only be used when no other cleaning methods are available.
Keep the following in mind while performing this type of cleaning.
Repeated pressure washing can cause the vinyl graphics to lift around the edges and peel away from the vehicle, especially if the spray is at a sharp angle to the vinyl edge.
Over time, pressure washing can degrade the face film, causing the graphic to lose its luster, fade, crack and even chip away from the substrate.
TO PROLONG THE LIFE OF THE APPLIED VEHICLE GRAPHIC WHEN CHOOSING TO PRESSURE WASH
Water temperature: 19°C- 25°C (67°F-77°F)
Spray nozzle opening: 40° wide pattern.
Spray angle: 45°
Angle of graphic: 90° (vertical)
Distance from graphic: 18″
Water pressure: ≤ 800 PSI
Length of time: 30 seconds
Aim the spray pattern at a slight angle to the edge of the vinyl graphic.
HOW TO REMOVE DIFFICULT POLLUTANTS OR DEBRIS FROM VEHICLE GRAPHICS
Spot clean the area with Isopropyl Alcohol and a microfiber rag.
Moisten a rag with a citrus-based cleaner and naphtha. Wipe down the problem areas.
Immediately after using the citrus cleaner and naphtha, rinse the area with water and soap.
Although a vehicle wrap is a great way to protect the paint job on your car, truck, SUV, or company car, wraps aren’t meant to be installed on your vehicle and then forgotten. Just as you care for the rest of your vehicle and any fine paint finish, your vehicle graphics require regular cleaning and maintenance. To help extend the life and good looks of your vehicle wrap, wash your wrap regularly and keep your vehicle away from possible pollutants whenever possible. This will help preserve the wrap and keep any vibrant colors from fading prematurely. My Houston Pro uses high quality 3M graphics for our vehicle wraps and recommends using products designed specifically for car care to help keep your 3M vehicle graphics looking their best.
How Often Should You Clean Your Vehicle Wrap?
As with any vehicle, it’s best to wash your wrapped car whenever it appears dirty, as any contaminants which are allowed to remain on the graphic will probably be more difficult to remove the longer they sit. For especially difficult items such as bird droppings, bug splatter, tree sap, and road tar, try soaking them for several minutes with very hot, soapy water. The application of some denatured alcohol may also help loosen and remove these stubborn contaminants. If they remain, special cleaning solutions may need to be applied prior to a full car wash. Do not use rough scrubbing action or abrasive tools, as this will damage the film. When finished removing any contaminants, be sure to immediately wash and rinse off any product residue.
Hand washing your vehicle is the preferred method of cleaning a car wrap. If using this method, first rinse off as much dirt and grit as possible with a spray of water before using a soft, clean cloth or sponge and a wet, non-abrasive detergent to wash the vehicle. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with clean water and reduce water spotting by using a silicone squeegee to remove excess water immediately. Finish with a clean microfiber cloth.
Wrapped vehicles can be run through a car wash, with a touchless system being the best choice. Use of brush car washes may cause damage to your vehicle graphic, including dulling, scratching, and lifting the edges of the film.
It is also possible to pressure wash a vehicle with a graphic wrap. According to 3M’s vehicle care guidelines, pressure washing may be used under these conditions:
Ensure the water pressure is kept below 1000 psi (14 MPa).
Keep water temperature below 180 °F (80 °C).
Use a spray nozzle with a 40-degree wide angle spray pattern.
Keep the nozzle at least 1 foot (300 mm) away from and perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to the graphic.
It is important to note that holding the nozzle of a pressure washer at an angle to graphic may lift the edges of the film.
Some other care tips to keep in mind when cleaning a vehicle with a car wrap include:
Wipe off any fuel spills immediately to avoid degrading the vinyl and adhesive.
Do no use any abrasive polishes or cutting compounds (3M does not recommend using wax or other similar coatings on vehicle graphics).
If there is wax or wax residue on the surface, remove with an all-purpose cleaner.
When using a cleaning solution, do not allow it to stand and soak; immediately rinse with clear water.
Store your wrapped vehicle indoors, in a shaded area, or under a cover whenever possible to preserve and protect the graphics. If storage in a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night to protect against dew or rain which may contain acidic pollutants.
Make a visual inspection once a month and make sure there is no lifting or dusting gathering any of the vinyl
How to Install Your Decals
Follow the 8 Easy Steps Below
Care: Like all car and truck window decals, wash your clear decal regularly to maintain appearance and longevity. These decals are safe for most car washes. However, do not apply high pressure water for long periods of time to avoid having the decal start peeling. To remove the decal, simply peel back a corner using a razor blade and then pull the remaining decal away from the window. You can also use the razor blade to remove any remaining adhesive residue. Be careful not to scratch the installation surface if sharp objects are used during removal.
DIY Install Tips
NOTE: Care and Patience Are Required
Car or truck rear window graphics are a perfect solution for business owners who use their vehicles for both business and personal use. They strike the right balance between satisfying a tight budget, attracting new leads and customers and feeling comfortable with custom graphics when using your vehicle for personal use. These types of vehicle graphics are most visible by others while the vehicle is parked, waiting at an intersection, or followed in city or heavier traffic situations.
With the right tools, care, and patience - it is possible for you to install your own customer rear window graphics. Following is a step by step guide to help you get it right the first time.
Your Step by Step Guide
1. Gather Tools
To properly apply your rear window graphics flawlessly you will need the following tools.
Soap and water
Soft, clean, lint free cloth
New sharp razor
2. Prepare the Window Surface
Clean the entire window using soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Be sure the window is free from soap residue.
Warning: Do not use any chemical-based window cleaners, as they leave residue on the window that may damage the adhive.
3. Position Your Graphics
BEFORE removing backing paper:
Measure along the top of your window to find the center point. Mark with grease pencil. Measure the length of your graphic to find the center point of your graphic and gently mark with grease pencil. Position the graphic on the window by aligning the two center marks.
Use masking tape along the top edge to temporarily hold the graphic in its desired position by aligning your marks.
3. Apply Vinyl Graphics
Once you select the desired placement lift bottom edge of graphic and carefully peel back the backing material on half of the graphic. Carefully lower graphic back on to the window Gently smooth the film against the window using a felt-wrapped squeegee. Work from the center of the graphic to the outside edges. If air bubbles form, lift the material gently, and reapply while smoothing the area with the bubbles. Once the first half is neatly squeegeed, remove the backing paper from the remaining half and again use the squeegee to smooth the vinyl starting at the applied center area and working from the middle to the outside edges
If your window curves from left to right, start from the middle and work your way to each side.
Be careful not to stretch the vinyl material. Stretching the material may cause it to curl or lift off the window after it is installed.
4. Trim Edges
The vinyl graphics should always be sized larger than your actual window so that you can trim for nice neat edges. Carefully trim your rear window graphic with a razor blade to remove excess material around the edge of the window. Work carefully. A smooth trimmed edge will give your graphics a crisp professional look.
5. Apply Heat to Secure the Edges
Using your heat gun, heat the vinyl all along the trimmed edges. The heat helps secure the edges to avoid curling or peeling of the graphic as it is exposed to out door temperature changes and other environmental conditions. This also protects the edges of your graphic when you wash your vehicle.
State and local laws may prohibit the use of window film on your vehicle. Check your local and state regulations to verify that the use of this product is approved.
While this material is perforated for outward visibility it is designed for a perpendicular view. Therefore, this product is to be applied ONLY to the OUTSIDE of the rear window, not to any other window of the vehicle, as it may obstruct visibility and create a safety hazard. Changing the viewing angle (ie applying to side windows or steeply angled windows) dramatically reduces a driver's visibility and is a driving hazard.
Install this product only in strict accordance with the provided instructions. Installing this product may reduce or impair visibility.