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Keeping It Clean: Care and Maintenance Tips for Vehicle Wraps

Have you recently had a vehicle wrap installed on your vehicle? You may be asking yourself this question: How do I keep it clean? By following our proper care and maintenance tips for vehicle wraps, you can keep your vehicle (and your investment) looking its best for many years to come!

Similar to automotive paint, the vehicle wrap film will lose its luster if exposed to dirt, grime or other environmental contaminants for too long. Even UV light and excessive heat can lessen the lifespan and the look of your wrap. Washing your vehicle on a regular basis, and spot cleaning when dirty areas pop up, will help prolong the number of years you will get to enjoy your wrap.

Damage to Vehicle Wrap Caused By Prolonged Exposure to the Sun. 12-Point SignWorks - Franklin, TN

This shows the damage that occurs from prolonged exposure to the sun. This particular vehicle wrap was also on the vehicle for several more years than recommended.

Here are our tips for the proper care and maintenance for your vehicle wrap:

Hand Washing is Best

We know this may not always be possible, but using a little “elbow grease” is the best option for preserving your wrap. Plus, you will appreciate your vehicle even more when you are done.

  • Rinse your vehicle with clean water to wash away any loose dirt. A garden hose with a nozzle attached works perfectly.
  • Mix a solution of clean water and a mild detergent. The detergent you choose should be non-abrasive, have a pH balance between 3 and 11, and be free of solvents or alcohols. If you have any questions about the type of detergent to use, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced wrap installers. Test your solution in an inconspicuous spot on the vehicle wrap prior to washing the entire vehicle.
  • Gently wash your vehicle from the top down. You can use a soft sponge or cloth. By starting at the top, all of the dirty water will drip toward the ground. Avoid excessive scrubbing.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water using the garden hose with the nozzle attached.
  • Allow your vehicle to air dry if possible. If you are worried about water spotting, use a microfiber cloth to gently dry the wrap.  
  • Always inspect the vehicle after washing.
  • If you have a partial wrap installed on your vehicle and are interested in waxing, please give us a call to inquire about how to properly wax the painted surfaces.
Hand washing is best for vehicle wraps. 12-Point SignWorks - Franklin, TN

Hand washing is the best choice for cleaning your vehicle wrap. We suggest clean water and a non-abrasive, mild detergent with a pH balance between 3 and 11.

Automatic Car Washes

We only recommend touchless or brushless automatic car washes. Using a car wash with automated brushes is not recommended because they can scratch the surface, catch and lift edges and corners, and dull the finish of the wrap. TIP: If you do use an automatic car wash, be sure to skip the wax option to avoid harsh and damaging products. Allow the vehicle to dry naturally or gently use a microfiber cloth.

Power/Pressure Washing

If you don’t need it, don’t do it. Please use caution when cleaning with a pressure washer.

  • Repeated pressure washing can cause the edges of the wrap to lift and peel.
  • Over time, pressure washing can cause the wrap to dull, fade, crack and possibly even chip away from the vehicle.
  • If you need to use a pressure washer, use cold or tepid water, use a spray nozzle with a 40 degree wide spray spatter, hold the nozzle 12-15″ from the wrap, use the lowest water pressure possible (800-1200 psi is recommended), and keep the nozzle perpendicular to the wrap.

Environmental Factors

Be careful where you drive and park.

  • Try to park your car in the shade, in a garage or under cover whenever possible.
  • Try to avoid aggressive driving over gravel whenever possible to prevent stones and pebbles from kicking up and damaging the wrap.
  • Avoid parking around trees, shrubs and low-hanging branches, which can scratch and damage the wrap.
  • Birds, bugs and trees can and will leave their marks on your vehicle. If that happens, remove the contaminate as soon as you can to avoid staining and permanent damage. You can spot clean with a microfiber cloth and isopropyl alcohol. If that doesn’t work, give us a call for recommendations.

You will be able to enjoy your vehicle wrap much longer if you follow our care and maintenance recommendations. If you ever notice anything unusual or concerning, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts. We’re happy to help you and keep you looking good on the road!

Vehicle Wraps Designed, Printed and Installed at 12-Point SignWorks in Franklin, TN.

Vehicle wraps are a great investment! Proper care and maintenance is important to keep them looking great for many years.

Advertising wraps offer more bang for your buck than most forms of traditional advertising.  For more information about vehicle wraps (including estimated costs for design, printing and installation), read our blog article: Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Vehicle Wraps. And to learn more about our design process for vehicle wraps, read this article: A Guide to Understanding our Vehicle Wrap Design Process.

When you’re ready to move forward with your vehicle wrap, we can answer all your questions, as well as give you a tour of our shop. We’re open Monday thru Friday, 8-5. Consultations and estimates are always free! Give us a call at (615) 595-6564 or click on the button below.

Click here for a free consultation and estimate on your vehicle advertising!

In addition to vehicle wraps, we also specialize in environmental branding, custom signage, architectural displays, wall murals, and custom projects. We serve Middle Tennessee, including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, Hendersonville, and Smyrna. We can also ship custom signage and custom projects anywhere in the United States and Canada. We look forward to working with you!