How to Avoid Ruining Your Car’s Wrap: 8 Tips

Last updated on January 8th, 2024

Hello, and thank you for visiting my website. In my post, How to Avoid Ruining Your Car’s Wrap: 8 Tips, I will explain what it means to wrap your vehicle. I will discuss the steps involved in having work like this performed and why someone would go through a project like this. I will discuss the process for caring for the wrap once it has been installed on your vehicle. Subsequently, we will look at a handful of the top questions one might ask before & after installing a custom wrap on your car.

Wrapping a vehicle can be expensive and, in the past, was often reserved for businesses with fleet vehicles. Wrapping vehicles is not new to the industry but is newer to the consumer sector.

NASCAR wraps their cars for many reasons: it is cheaper than painting them and makes the vehicle lighter. I will discuss this more later.

Vehicle wrapping is adding a paint protection film (PPF) to portions or all of the exterior surfaces of a vehicle. You will often see PPF installed on the windows of vehicles as well.

How to Avoid Ruining Your Car's Wrap: 8 Tips

Recently, I received a quote from a national chain that does this type of work. I can tell you this…I am sticking with the hood bug deflector and the painted surfaces on my truck. Watching these installers wrap a vehicle is like watching an artist paint a portrait. Regardless, the manager quoted me $400.00 for the front lower 12″ of the hood and similar dimensions on the fenders.

Reasons for Wrapping Your Vehicle

There are many reasons to wrap a vehicle, but the most common one for many years was for advertising & branding. You can see the other reasons for wrapping a vehicle in the table below:

1. Advertising & Branding6. Protection for Your Paint
2. Cost-Effective Transformation7. Temporary Changes
3. Racing and Motorsports8. Preserve Originality
4. Color Change Without Limitations9. Easy Maintenance
5. Personalized Style and Appearance10. Residue-Free Removal
How to Avoid Ruining Your Car’s Wrap: 8 Tips
Don’t Ruin Your Car’s Wrap: 8 Things to Avoid

Affiliate Marketing Disclaimer: I am an affiliate marketer with links to online retailers on my website. When people read what I have written about a particular product, click on those links, and buy something from those links, I earn a small commission from the retailer at no extra cost to the buyer.

Earlier, I mentioned that I got a quote for a small amount of my vehicle to get wrapped to protect the lower portion of the hood and the fenders to prevent bug and rock damage to my paintwork. Adding PPF to vehicles is vital in protecting the paintwork on your vehicle and in the advertising world.

If a business wants a fleet of vehicles on the roads displaying company names, slogans, phone numbers, and websites, they want a good ROI, so the cost is more nominal. Wrapping cars is the easiest way to have the fleet look the same. In motorsport like NASCAR, it is less costly than repainting the racecar each time for accidents or sponsorship changes.

Protect Your Wrap & Keep It Looking Fresh for Years

I have discussed who wraps vehicles and for what reasons, so below is a list of questions and answers about wrapping a vehicle.

  1. After having a wrap installed on a vehicle, how long must I wait to wash it?
    • Avoid washing your vehicle for at least a week after installation.
    • Use a gentle car wash solution and a soft chenille or microfiber mitt.
    • Always use the two-bucket method explained in my prior post, The Lost Art: Car Detailing for Beginners.
  2. Can I use automatic car washes?
    • Hand washing or spot cleaning is ideal.
    • Avoid automatic car washes, which may cause the edges of the wrap to peel.
    • Avoid the high-pressure washes, too.
  3. How do I maintain color vibrancy?
    • Apply a UV-protective synthetic wax, sealant, or ceramic to shield from direct sunlight.
    • Avoid harsh chemicals and use only chemicals that are safe for wraps.
  4. What if the wrap gets damaged?
    • Professionals can sometimes heat out minor scratches.
    • Consult professionals for significant damage.
  5. How do I remove stubborn stains?
    • Use car wash soap, water, or a specialized vinyl Wrap Detailer to spot clean. Test new products in a small, inconspicuous area first.
    • Avoid chemical products that can loosen the adhesive backing, discolor the wrap, or damage it.
  6. Can I wax my vehicle wrap?
    • Yes, but use a wax specifically designed for wraps. (See answers # 3 & # 5)
    • Avoid waxing matte wraps, as they can alter the finish.
  7. What about pressure washing?
    • With low-pressure settings, around 1500 PSI, a wide fan spray pattern can be used from a distance of no less than a foot away.
    • Avoid high-pressure washing as it might damage the edges of the wrap.
  8. Can I park in the sun?
    • Avoid parking in direct sunlight for prolonged periods.
    • Parking under cover or in the shade is preferable.
    • Many hours of sun exposure could lead to color fading over time.

Products to Care for a Wrapped Vehicle

Below are steps, solutions, & products to maintain the vinyl wrap on your vehicle. Also, I have included some products that I prefer and use in my detailing business.

The Chemical Guys Wrap Detailer cleans and protects glossy vinyl wraps, shiny printed graphics, and transparent bra protection films on all vehicles. The synthetic detailer safely removes dirt, dust, road grime, and bird droppings without causing any scratches or swirls on the surface. This link is for Wrap Car Detailer Unique Quick Car Detailer & Protectant For Vinyl Wraps from the Chemical Guys.

I use a high-quality soft towel from the Chemical Guys called the Happy Ending edgeless microfiber towel. They are 16″ x 16″ edgeless towels in three, six, and twelve packs. They will help prevent scratching the finishes of your car regardless of paint or wrap. Here is the link for the three-pack of the Chemical Guys Happy Ending Edgeless Microfiber Towels.

Directions for Caring for Your Wrapped Vehicle

The directions are listed below if you use Wrap Detailer Spray & Happy Ending Towels to care for your wrapped vehicle.

  1. Evenly mist Wrap Detailer over any light dirt, dust, or fingerprints.
  2. Continuously mist the towel, not the surface, when using it in hot, direct sunlight.
  3. Gently wipe the dirt, dust, or fingerprints in one direction with your premium microfiber towel.
  4. Flip the towel to a clean, dry side, and buff any streaks away to perfection.

Next is a video from the Chemical Guys reiterating how to care for your vehicle wrap.

How To Care For Vinyl Wraps – 2016 BMW M4 – Chemical Guys Car Care

Wrapping Things Up…😉

See how I did that?

I hope you found my post, How to Avoid Ruining Your Car’s Wrap: 8 Tips, helpful and learned about caring for your wrapped vehicle. A wrapped vehicle requires special cleaning techniques and products to prevent damage from occurring.

The article discussed the most common questions people ask when determining if wrapping their vehicle is right for them. I determined that it was not something I would do to my vehicle, based mostly on the cost and the return on my investment. Wrapping a vehicle might make sense for someone with an older car that they want to preserve. If you decide to wrap your vehicle, keep in mind eight things to avoid as follows:

  • Avoid washing your vehicle for at least a week after installation.
  • Avoid automatic car washes, which may cause the edges of the wrap to peel.
  • Avoid high-pressure car washes.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and use only chemicals that are safe for wraps.
  • Avoid chemical products that can loosen the adhesive backing, discolor the wrap, or damage it.
  • Avoid waxing matte wraps, as they can alter the finish.
  • Avoid high-pressure washing as it might damage the edges of the wrap.
  • Avoid parking in direct sunlight for prolonged periods.

As I explained, wrapping a vehicle benefits the business fleet industry, advertising & branding, and the motorsports world. Always remember that when you have a wrapped vehicle, you must care for it in special ways and with special products.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my post about vehicle wraps. I would love to hear from you if you have any comments, questions, feedback, or suggestions. You can comment in the comment section below.

Kindest regards, Matt
Detail Your Rides

2 thoughts on “How to Avoid Ruining Your Car’s Wrap: 8 Tips”

  1. This was a very interesting and informative post about wrapping a car, a procedure I have never understood. As always, Matt, your description of the “why’s” and “how’s” is clear and precise. Thank you!

    • Hello, Sue. Thank you for visiting my site again, and I appreciate your comments.
      Yes, wrapping a vehicle is an interesting concept, although I would not get into it as a trade. It takes a lot of time, patience, and training. It is a true art form in the industry.
      I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.
      Regards, Matt


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