TGS | The Graphics Shop - Part 6

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Taking care of a vehicle wrap - Chesapeake, VA

How to Take Care of Your Vehicle Wrap

Have you ever driven down the road and watched as a vehicle went by, totally wrapped in an advertisement? Chances are, it caught your eye, which means it worked.

The Outdoor Advertising Association of America maintains that consumers spend 80% of their day away from home, and 95% of them are impacted by media that targets vehicular drivers and passengers.

So if you’re a driver with a vehicle wrap, you know how important and influential you can be. But like any outdoor product, your wrap is subject to myriad uncontrollable elements, from wind and rain to tree sap.

Today, we’re taking a look at how you can keep your wrap looking brand new, and keep your audiences enthralled. Want to learn more? Read on!

Vehicle Wrap 101

Before we dig into how to care for your wrap, let’s briefly overview what it is for anyone unfamiliar with the concept.

Put simply, a vehicle wrap is a digitally printed vinyl sign that’s professionally affixed to your vehicle. While some are designed to cover your vehicle in its entirety, others only cover a portion, and some even cover windows. They’re made to last between 3-5 years.

So now that we know a little bit more about the design and purpose of these wraps, let’s learn how to properly care for them.

Squeaky Clean: Tips to Remember When Washing

While it’s important to keep your wrap clean to keep the colors bright and ensure its message is read loud and clear, traditional car washing methods can often be too abrasive for the vinyl. To this end, follow these tips when sudsing up:

1. Wash sooner, not later. Dirt and debris allowed to stay on your wrap for an extended period of time can be harder to remove. So as soon as your vehicle becomes visibly dirty, grab that bucket.

2. Start with water. Much of the grime can be removed with just a gentle spray of water. For more difficult to remove spots, try a liquid detergent marked as “non-abrasive.” Apply with a soft clean sponge and scrub gently.

3. Dry thoroughly. Because vinyl can easily show water spots, it’s important to get all water off as quickly as possible. Rinse your suds with clean water then go over your wrap with a silicon squeegee to press all the liquid out. When you’re done, finish drying with a dry cloth (microfiber works best).

While hand washing is the preferred way to clean your wrap, you can also take your vehicle through the car wash, or even have it power washed. Just be sure to opt for the more gentle, “touch-less” car wash as ones with brushes can leave your graphics dull or even scratched.

Guidelines for power washing include:

  • Keep water pressure below 2000 psi and temperature below 180 degrees.
  • Make sure the nozzle on your sprayer has a 40 degree, wide angle pattern to prevent the spray from concentrating too strongly in one spot.
  • Aim the nozzle at least one foot away from the graphic.

Stuck-On Messes: When Plain Soap and Water Won’t Do

Sometimes, you may have a contaminant on your vehicle wrap that’s a little more difficult to erase. These may include bird droppings, tree sap, and even splatter from bugs that didn’t survive your windshield.

When these get stuck on (and they inevitably will), try taking a damp sponge and coating them first in hot, soapy water, then drying.

If your mess is still there, no worry! There are many products on the market designed just for this purpose, or you can also try a little isopropyl alcohol (two parts alcohol to one part water).

With any product, be sure to test a little in an isolated spot to ensure against any adverse reaction.

In addition, if you encounter fuel and oil spills, wipe them off immediately then hand wash the spot as soon as possible, following the steps in the previous section.

Dynamic Design: Making an Impact and Impression

Vehicle wraps are just one of the ways you can successfully market your product and catch your audience’s eye.

We’re a full-service digital printing, graphics, and wide format technology solutions provider and we’re ready to help you and your business take that important next step.

If you’ve got a message, we’ll help you say it and spread it. Feel free to browse our blog for the latest industry trends and topics, then contact us or leave a comment below and let’s start talking!

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