ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WRAPS
If you are looking to purchase a wrap or are simply curious – it is extremely important to read this page first!
What’s a wrap?
We talk and deal with wraps every day and we have been doing this for years, so we do sometimes forget that some people really have no idea what a wrap is or how it works. Basically, a wrap is a thin vinyl pvc film with an adhesive backer applied to the surface of a vehicle. These films come in different finishes which are a protective layer laminated to the base colour of the film. Some of these finishes also have textured patterns built into them as well. These films are not the same as older decal vinyls from yesteryear. They are designed to be stretched around compound curves with heat, and the adhesive cures over time and with additional heat. This makes it easier for installers as we can remove and re-position the film without damaging the adhesive. In addition to that, these new films have grids or patterns built into the adhesive to prevent air bubbles from forming. Older films needed to be applied wet with a soap solution in order to prevent bubbles from getting trapped – this technique is no longer needed and not intended for these films.
There is no reason why any vehicle wrap should last less than 3-5 years, depending on the type of film. Some premium vinyls are rated to last up to 10 years! How these vinyls actually stand the test of time depends a lot on you and how well your wrap is maintained. Please read the information below to make sure your warranty stays intact.
Before I get in to regular maintenance tips, be aware that there is no such thing as a perfect wrap. We are putting a huge sticker on your vehicle – this is not a paint job. It is not uncommon to find slight creases, small areas showing exposed paint, seams in the vinyl, or even some peeling. If you notice peeling please take a photo as soon as you notice it, or swing by the shop – if dealt with immediately this will be a quick relatively painless fix. UNTREATED PEELING WILL NOT BE WARRANTIED. More on peeling later.
Warranty for our wraps are only provided for areas that are ideal for wraps. Please keep this in mind! Our wraps include 1 year in-house material and labour warranty, and our manufacturers give additional warranty generally from 3 to 5 years depending on the film.
It is important for you to communicate to us your expectations. If you don’t know much about wraps please tell us so we can make sure to cover all options for you. The brand of film, the type of film, the requested color, the base color of your vehicle, size of your vehicle, complexity of the wrap, and what your intentions are with the vehicle (show vehicle or daily driver) all play a factor in cost.
Show vehicles are more costly because they generally have inside areas such as door jambs wrapped as well, and we do take more time to complete the wrap to ensure the finished product will lead to people questioning if the car was actually wrapped – that’s always the goal. Unless we are removing entire doors please understand that the inside areas of a vehicle will almost always have seams.
We do wrap older vehicles that have faded or chipped paint jobs – this is fine as long as there is NO rust, and that the paint we are covering is in relatively good condition. Damaged and low quality paint jobs can potentially be peeled off with the wrap at the end of its life, so you need to be aware of that risk. Vinyl does not stick to rust and we cannot warranty any areas with rust. Also note that wraps do not hide blemishes – matte wraps are effective due to the way they scatter the light, making scratches or pitted areas less noticeable but you will still see them in the wrap if you inspect it. Sanding down areas and removing blemishes are your responsibility.
We do NOT recommend chrome wraps.
The base color of your vehicle and how drastic you are going away from that color will also factor in the cost. White and red base colors take more time as we have to be extremely careful about our trimming to avoid paint from showing through. Hard to reach areas such as between the cab of a truck and the box will be left exposed unless you specifically ask for it, where we will actually have to remove the entire box to wrap those areas. This is not a common request and is an additional charge.
Some door handles, mirrors, and spoilers need to be removed to ensure a seamless wrap – this is not our area of expertise, so we hire professional auto body technicians to do this for us. Sometimes these come off easily, sometimes they don’t. If a seamless wrap has been requested we factor in the additional technician’s labor in the cost of the wrap. Unforeseen and difficult to remove items may require an additional charge. You will be notified beforehand of any problems or charges.
To touch a little more on seamless wraps – yes, seamless wraps are possible. However they are not realistic or possible on all vehicles. Areas such as bumpers that have harsh angles can often force the vinyl to be stretched beyond what it was intended – so while it will look good for the short term, vinyl stretched in this way will eventually fail – which is why we prefer to introduce seams in these areas. It is your responsibility as a customer to understand that if you ask for a seamless wrap on areas that we do not recommend, that you are voiding your warranty in those areas if peeling occurs. Our first priority is to ensure that the wrap will hold up over time, so we will incorporate a seam in trouble areas at all times unless specifically asked not to.
Brands we sell
The wraps we sell are from leading manufacturers with guaranteed results. By far our biggest seller is the 3M 1080 wrap vinyl series. 3M is a great brand that pioneered the way for wraps, and they continue to innovate. 3M for years has primarily been known for it’s clear paint protection films in this industry – we often get the question “How much to 3M my car?” which can lead to some amusing moments when we realize exactly what we’re being asked. If you do not specify the brand name when ordering you are allowing us to choose for you. There are hundreds of colors now available, however there are many redundant colors between the brands.
It’s important to mention that while 3M 1080 series of vinyls may be the most popular brand, we don’t consider it to be superior to Avery Supreme Wrapping Films. These brands are excellent as well and we are confident in their performance and durability. We have decided to sell these brands to offer our customers a wide range of available colors, finishes, and textured films.
Not every brand though is priced the same. Gloss, matte, and satin finishes are usually priced the same, however there are varying “tiers” of films in some of the brands. Textured (brushed metal, carbon fiber, leather, woodgrain, etc.) are more expensive films. Chrome is by far the most expensive.
HELP – my wrap is peeling!
DON’T PANIC! This happens, and there are a multitude of reasons why. Rusted, chalky or aged paint will not provide the optimum surface for the film to adhere to and will end up causing the film to peel and come off. Any rough or textured surface, such as plastic areas found on mirrors or interiors are not recommended for wraps and may peel. While we do our best to ensure that your wrap lasts as long as possible, we will also warn you of trouble areas before your vehicle is wrapped.
We might have installed defective vinyl. Our manufacturers do their best to ensure consistent quality in their films but it does happen that we’ll get a roll that isn’t up to their normal standards. The warranty provided by the manufacturer will cover this (given it falls within their standard warranty timeframe), but they require a sample to be sent to their labs for testing. We are given batch numbers with every roll we receive for the purpose of comparing our sample to the sample from the same batch they have archived. If they find that there was indeed a defect, the vinyl will be replaced. If the vinyl isn’t defective then other factors are at play.
We can only guarantee a wrap for a vehicle we have seen PRIOR to booking an appointment. This eliminates any surprises for us, and allows us to properly identify any problems that might arise.
Some newer vehicles also come with a low energy coating which drastically affects proper adhesion. This is extremely difficult to identify from photos or at a glance so any newer vehicles need an adhesion test to make sure a wrap is possible. Painted chrome bumpers also tend to have low energy surfaces which affect a wrap. Despite that, rest assured we will do our best to fix any defects that will cause your wrap to fail.
While we do pride ourselves in the quality of our work, mistakes happen and sometimes we screw up. We want you to be happy with your purchase and we will give you solutions to remedying the situation.
Hand wash your vehicle! We find it amazing how many times we tell our customers to not go through an automatic car wash, and then find out they were too lazy and did it anyway. If you didn’t have a problem that time, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have problems down the road. DO NOT TAKE YOUR CAR TO AN AUTOMATIC CAR WASH. If you do, you risk hot high water pressure getting in behind the vinyl – heat loosens the adhesive – brushes might pick up a corner you didn’t notice was peeling, or you used a spray that has wax in it (more on that later). These will all destroy your wrap. Hand washing is ideal, and if you are careful you can use a wand wash as long as you do not use high pressure on or around any corners or seams. More on this further below.
If you notice your wrap is failing in any particular area – it is important to bring it in to us as soon as possible. There are several steps we can do to repair the wrap without replacing the area. We do not warranty areas that have been left to peel for an extended period of time. It’s not hard to tell when a wrap that isn’t properly cared for – please don’t make us call you on it. Once again – UNTREATED PEELING WILL NOT BE WARRANTIED.
1. Wash your vehicle regularly
Dust and dirt particles can get in the exposed edges of a wrap. While a professional installer will do all he or she can do to prep the vehicle prior to installation, it is ultimately up to you the customer to properly care for your investment.
Contaminants allowed to remain on the vehicle wrap may be more difficult to remove during cleaning.
Use a non-abrasive detergent. Cleaners such as as 3M™ Car Wash Soap 39000, Meguiar’s NXTGeneration® Car Wash, or Deep Crystal® Car Wash work well.
When cleaning, make sure to use a soft, clean cloth or sponge.
Ensure to rinse thoroughly with clean water.
A wrap needs to be cleaned at least once every two weeks.
While waxes may be used, keep them away from any wrap that has a matte or textured finish! Understand how your wrap was installed – wax will collect on any visible or exposed edges (computer cut vinyl, seams, etc).
2. Avoid brush-type car washes
They can abrade the film and cause edges to lift or chip, as well as dulling the film’s appearance. Brushless car washes are acceptable.
3. Pressure washing
While hand washing is the preferred cleaning method, pressure washing may be used under these conditions:
Ensure the water pressure is kept below 2000 psi (14 MPa).
Keep water temperature below 80°C (180°F).
Use a spray nozzle with a 40 degree wide angle spray pattern.
Keep the nozzle at least 1 foot away from and perpendicular at 90 degrees) to the film.
Important Note! Holding the nozzle of a pressure washer at an angle to the graphic may lift the edges of the film.
4. Difficult contaminants
Soften difficult contaminants such as bug splatter, bird droppings, tree sap and similar contaminants by soaking them for several minutes with very hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) (two parts IPA to 1 part water) may also help if further cleaning is needed. Spot clean the contaminants. Do not use rough scrubbing or abrasive tools, which will scratch the film. Wash and rinse off all residue immediately.
5. Fuel spills
Wipe off immediately to avoid degrading the vinyl and adhesive. Then wash, rinse and dry as soon as possible.
6. Store indoors or under cover whenever possible
If you have the option to keep your vehicle indoors or under a cover, this will vastly prolong the life of your wrap. Wrap films are just like paint – they degrade by prolonged exposure to sun and other pollutants – especially on horizontal areas such as a hood, trunk lid, or roof. Whenever possible, store in a garage or at least in a shaded area during the day. At night, protect the car from dew or rain, which may contain acidic pollutants (more applicable in larger cities but still noteworthy). When a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night. If your wrap film starts to discolor or turn brown (which is caused by acidic pollution), immediately contact us to remove the wrap film from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint.
7. Film restoration
The following restoration recommendations will help keep your vehicle wraps looking their best.
Do not use any abrasive polishes or cutting compounds.
Do not use any polishing or wax products on matte or textured films.
If there is wax or wax residue on the surface, remove with an all-purpose cleaner.
Smooth Gloss Texture: 3M™ Perfect-it™ Show Car Paste Wax 39526, or Meguiar’s Gold Class™ Carnuaba Plus Premium Liquid Wax
Matte or Satin Texture: Isopropyl alcohol and water (ratio 2:1)
Matte white and Carbon Fiber White: Based on type/degree of contamination, use one or more of these solutions, in the order shown, to remove any build-up:
Hot, soapy water solution
Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and water (ratio 2:1)
Simple Green® All-Purpose Cleaner
Household chlorine bleach; followed by IPA/water (#2)
Mineral spirits; followed by IPA/water (#2)
Carbon Fiber or Brushed Metal Texture: 3M™ Tire Restorer or Meguiar’s Natural Shine Protectant
Carbon Fiber Black : Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer