We're a locally-owned family business dedicated to making our clients look good and ensuring they get amazing value for their investment.

SInce 1995 we've been working hard to create quality custom signs, vinyl banners, graphics, decals, engraved, large format inkjet prints, dimensional logos and other signs in Seattle.

5 Simple Tips on How to Protect Your Vehicle Wrap

October 31, 2018

Vehicle wraps can transform an ordinary dull-looking car, truck, or van into a vivid rolling billboard. As time goes by, the vehicle will get naturally dirty, and some of that dirt will start to cover up and even dull the wrap.  

It’s quite sad to see so many company cars out on the road whose vehicle wraps look like they’ve seen better days. A dirty and non-maintained vehicle wrap can create a negative reflection of your brand. It says to people “we’re too busy to care about how the public perceives us.” 

Vehicle wrap maintenance doesn’t take up much time, and it doesn’t cost a lot of money either. It just needs to be performed on a regular basis so that your brand-new wrap will continue to look as vivid and stunning as the day you got it back from McNamara signs.

We’ve come up with five tips on how you can perform simple maintenance to ensure your wrap looks as good as the day you got it – even 2-3 years down the line.

Wash Regularly

“Wash regularly” doesn’t mean leave the vehicle out overnight when the weatherman forecasts a rainstorm. It means to either hand wash it or take it to a professional car wash on a weekly basis (ideally).

Before you hand over the keys to the attendant, inform them that you have a wrap and ask if the car wash machinery will damage the vinyl. If so, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a car wash that does everything by hand.

Avoid using high-pressure water as it may catch a small sliver of the vinyl and cause a huge hole to open up. It can also damage the face film, which gives the wrap its shine and luster. Without the film, the vinyl will crack in a very noticeable way.

Spot-Test the Car Wash Soap

Wrapped vehicles should only be washed using a mild detergent. If you are thinking about trying another car wash product, test it out on an inconspicuous area of the car first. 

There are some car wash products on the market that contain harsh abrasive chemicals that will destroy the vinyl. The very best kind of soap to wash a wrapped vehicle is one that is biodegradable.  They’re non-acidic which means they’re very safe for the vinyl and they’re also environmentally-friendly.

How to Wash a Wrapped Vehicle

Much like you would with any other car, start from the roof and work your way down. Be sure to wet the vehicle before applying the soapy water. This will help loosen up any caked-on road grime or dirt.  

A micro-fiber sponge will work just fine. If you can’t find a biodegradable car wash solution, you can always use dish soap in a pinch.  Just be sure to read the label and test it out on a side area before using it to wash the car.

Drying the car can be done with a microfiber cloth and the sun. When manually drying the vehicle be sure to go easy around the edges of the vinyl as you could scratch or lift them accidentally.  Once the majority of water is gone, leave the car in the sun to finish drying.

Keep it Protected

The Pacific Northwest summer and winter seasons can really take their toll on a car wrap. This is why many vehicle wrap owners store their cars overnight inside, or at the very least under an overhang.

The only downside to parking a vehicle in a garage at night is that nobody can see it and you won’t be advertising your business or services.  If you wash the car or truck on a weekly basis, then it should be fine to park overnight outside every now and then.

Things to Avoid 

There are a few things you’ll want to avoid doing to extend the life of your wrap as long as possible. 

Waxes – Don’t use any waxes or polishes because they are made out of an abrasive material that can scratch the thin protective layer on the top of the vinyl. When this layer gets damaged, the plastic can scratch, peel, and will look very dull.

Dirt – It’s ok if you forgo washing the vehicle now and then. What you don’t want to do is allow caked-on dirt and road grime to stay on the vinyl for an extended period.  The dirt and grim contain harmful petroleum chemicals (brake dust, oils, car fluids) that can deteriorate vinyl in a short period.

Peeling – If your wrap gets a hole puncture or it starts to peel, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call the shop that wrapped it, and they will have a solution for you. If the damage is too significant, you might have to re-wrap the car.  

Car Wraps in Seattle

At McNamara Signs, we have over 20 years of experience in helping Puget Sound businesses wrap their vehicles. Our in-house design experts can help you come up with the perfect idea for your wrap, and our in-house installation experts can make it come to life.

Give us a call at (206) 284-0809 or contact us via our website. At McNamara Signs, we have a long-standing tradition of performing high-quality work for our clients and will have your vehicle turning heads and driving new business in no time!

Back to blog

We're Here to Help You!

Give us a call or stop on by.

Call 206-284-0809
Mon - Fri: 9 A.M. - 5 P.M.
14058 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98125