Tips for Doing the Best Vehicle Wrap Job

Author // NPR Car Talk
Posted in // Bed liner spray, Spray bed liner, Truck bed liner spray gun

Cut tape

It is not a secret that Americans love their cars and trucks. In 2014, there were 252.6 million cars and light trucks in the United States. Ford pick up trucks are preferred by about 31% of construction companies who responded to a survey taken between December 16, 2014 and January 15, 2015. Many companies will wrap their vehicles for marketing purposes. Wrapping a vehicle may seem simple but there is a lot to it. From designing the right wrap to using the correct knife tape also called vinyl wrap tape and working at the right temperature, there are a lot of variables to consider.

How to Get the Best Vehicle Wrap Done:

  • Start with a great design. That sounds like a simple idea but you have to take a lot more into consideration than just how great the images and text look. Unlike a sign, you have all of the contours and other features of the vehicle to think about. Before you start to work on the design, you should get all of the specifications of the vehicles that will be wrapped. Not only will you need these to correctly design the wrap but once it is done, you will know how much knife tape you will need.
  • Clean and degrease the vehicle. You should wash it more than once. You would be surprised how much dirt gets left on a vehicle after one wash. You may want to wash at least three times to get every bit of dirt off of it. After that, you need to dry it and wait at least a full day. Then get a vehicle degreasing product or use isopropyl alcohol to get any grease off. You need to watch the wheel arches and other areas under the vehicle. The wrap will extend there.
  • High quality materials are your friends. If you use bargain basement wrapping materials such as vinyl and knife tape to get the best job for your clients. Using cheaper vinyl and vinyl cutting tape may save you some money in the short term but your end result will not look as good nor last as long as when you use the best quality materials. This will cost you your relationship with your client and that will be more costly in the long run. It will also cost you in referrals.
  • Take care with air bubbles. If you have an air bubble, you need to carefully peel the vinyl edge and try to flatten out the bubble. Stretch out the vinyl by hand and use a squeegee to flatten it back down. Complete the job with a heat gun. For shallow bodywork grooves, you should apply the vinyl then heat it and then cool it. You can use your finger to push any trapped air towards the edge. If you try to get rid of air bubbles by scratching them out, you will only succeed in damaging the wrap.
  • Be careful with how much you stretch the vinyl. For each section of vinyl, hand stretch it over section then soften with a heat gun. The most the vinyl should be stretched is 30%. You will weaken the adhesive, which will cause a lifting at the edges. For wing mirrors or curved panels, use some tape knife to trim two pieces of vinyl per curved areas. These areas need more vinyl.
  • The wrapped car needs to be kept in a carefully controlled climate. It will take at least 12 hours for the vinyl adhesive to bond. The best temperature to let this happen is 20 degrees celsius. If the vehicle is in a space with large temperature changes, the wrap will shrink or warp. This will destroy the installation.

Wrapping a vehicle is more complicated than using spray on bedliner. There are a lot more moving parts to contend with when you are wrapping the car or truck. Vehicle wrapping is also a delicate thing. Knife tape makes part of this a lot easier as it gives you more flexibility than when you use a vinyl cutting knife. While cut tape makes this easier, applying the vinyl takes a lot of finesse and patience.

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