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Vinyl wrap tips - How to clean my car before vinyl wrapping?

Jun 20, 2019

For many DIY installers and first-time wrappers, proper cleaning and preparation are the most overlooked steps of the process of vehicle wrapping. Most DIY wrappers buy a roll of film and think they can just unroll it, remove it from the liner and start wrapping. Let us be the first people to tell you: you cannot do this.

Without an adequately cleaned application area (a garage for example) and a thoroughly cleaned and prepared vehicle your chances of getting good results are very close to zero.
CARLIKE premium+ car wrapping vinyl
In today’s post we’ll go over the basics of cleaning and preparation as well as cover some of the tips that pro-installers use to get the best possible results.

The simplest and best thing you can do to prepare for vehicle wrap installation is to bring your car into a car wash. Don’t use anything fancy like protectants or waxes as they can interfere with the vinyl wrap’s ability to adhere. And why should you do it the day before? To give it the time it needs to dry, wait twenty-four hours from the time of washing until wrapping.
CARLIKE premium+ car wrapping vinyl
If your vehicle still has shiny wheels after a wash it means that silicon-based or oil-based protectants have been used on them. Why is this a problem? Simply because the wheels literally spray these substances onto the side panels of the vehicle making your job of cleaning and preparing the surface doubly hard.
CARLIKE premium+ car wrapping vinyl
You may not want to, but for the best results, go the extra mile and remove hardware where dirt and grease can hide. This means that you want to remove all nozzles, emblems, side moldings and reflectors as a lot of grime holes up in there.

You should use both a general cleaner and a degreaser or an all-in-one. There a number of these products on the market so be sure to do a little homework on which you need and which will work best for your application area. And, as always, be sure to use the proper safety gear like gloves and goggles to avoid potential damage to skin, eyes and mucous membranes.
CARLIKE premium+ car wrapping vinyl
Use a squeegee wrapped in a towel to get into the areas where your fingers can’t reach. Examples of these areas are the seams between panels, headlights, taillights, bezels, etc.

Use a clay or scratchless sponge (especially on older cars) to remove any remaining blemishes or imperfections. Doing so will give you the best possible results.
CARLIKE premium+ car wrapping vinyl
Your fingers can do the talking for you and will tell if your ride is wrap ready. Slide your index finger across the application surface and if it squeaks, you’re good to go. If it is greasy and slides then you need to re-clean.

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