If you’ve ever attempted to add a vinyl decal or design to your car then you’ve probably pulled your hair out at some point when it came to trying to deal with crooked results and trapped air bubbles beneath the surface. However, these days, learning how to wrap a car is easier than ever. Because of new vinyl adhesive technology, even amateurs can get pro-looking results.
Learning how to wrap car can protect your car’s paint job for up to ten years and will give your car an instant makeover.
You’ll want to begin by cleaning your car using paint cleaner and alcohol to get rid of any contaminants.
Next, you’ll cut the panels to fit each section of your car and hold the sheets in place using magnets. Once it’s time to remove the paper backing and expose the adhesive, go slowly.
You will need to carefully smooth out each of the panels, stretching them slightly for a tight fit and to remove any air bubbles.
Next, you’ll trim off any longer pieces using a utility knife.
And that’s it.
Getting it Right the First Time
Wrapping a car is comparably as difficult as learning how to apply ceramic coating, however, you won’t have to deal with a lengthy curing process. instead, the results are instant. But getting pro-looking results are harder to achieve since wrapping involves a much lengthier process.
After a period of twenty-four hours, modern adhesive will reach its most sticky state. This will make it easier to reposition it. vinyl material is considered highly formable and features channels that will eliminate air bubbles since the channels allow the air to escape. When done professionally, a wrap job can easily last up to ten years. A type of vinyl known as Supercast can even stretch up to forty-five percent, which makes it easier to wrap it around the contours and edges of your vehicle.
Wrapping a car in vinyl initially began as a way to advertise on a vehicle, however, wrapping is now considered a trend and it involves using solid colors to replace an existing paint job. This type of job can take several hours, depending on the size of your vehicle. On average, you can expect it to take eight to ten hours. If you’re totally new to car wrapping it can take even longer. But again, since you can essentially go back and reposition the vinyl, you’ll end up with great results, so it’s time well spent.
If you’re determined to give your vehicle a makeover, via wrapping, then your first job is to buy the vinyl. This type of vinyl is often sold in large twenty-five feet long rolls that are sixty inches wide. A roll of this size is what you’ll need to wrap an entire vehicle. Unfortunately, the price is pretty high. Most vinyl rolls are sold for several thousands of dollars. However, if you’re not looking for any fancy graphics you can often find a plain roll going for much less. If you’re doing it yourself, then you’ll also save big on labor costs. If you go the pro route, keep in mind that they charge by the hour. Considering this job can take eight to ten hours, this service will hit your wallet hard. Prices will vary from shop to shop and can also depend on how difficult it will be to wrap your particular vehicle.
Prepping the Paint
Before you can wrap your vehicle, you’ll need to prep the paint job. Begin by wiping down your car using alcohol and paint cleaners. Next, you’ll need to focus on fixing any rust issues, dings, dents, and scratches. When you work with vinyl, it’s much different than painting a car. If you can feel any cosmetic issues on the car’s surface then it’s going to show up after you wrap it. Even something as small as a leaf or dead bug will show up.
Considering the cost, you may be wondering why some people pay to have this done. But wrapping your car can actually protect your existing pain job from fading, rocks, dings, and scratches. It’s more durable than a paint job and can keep your car looking new for a decade or more, if done correctly.
Next, you’ll need to remove any molding and mirrors. If you want to skip this step, just keep in mind that it can take forty-five minutes to work around the molding, while taking it off will take about ten minutes.
How to Begin
The pros can start this process in several different ways, which is usually dependent on the make and model of the vehicle. Most professionals can agree that the trickiest part is the bumpers, which is why many will begin here to get that tricky part of the job out o the way. Others will start with the roof and then move to the hood. You’ll need to look at your vehicle and determine where there’s breaks in the lines in order to avoid creating seams. A professional will use a sharp utility knife to slice through the vinyl and cut it into sections that are large enough to cover each individual panel. Next, you’ll use magnets or tape to hold the vinyl in place as you expose the adhesive by removing the backing paper.
A Solid Connection
After you’ve exposed the sticky side of the vinyl, you can place it onto the center of the panel. Some pros recommend starting on one side. You can use a squeegee or your hands to smooth out the vinyl sheet. Keep in mind that you can also stretch out the vinyl to reposition it or allow it to fit over curves. However, make sure you’re very careful when smoothing out the vinyl in order to avoid ridges, bubbles, or kinks. If your car’s hood is flat, then you’ll want to go from top to bottom. If the hood is bowed then you will need to use a squeegee with an arc shape, which will prevent bottle cap edges and small ripples or wrinkles.
Once you’ve worked with the vinyl on one panel you should have a better idea of how to stretch it out. Some pros will use a heat gun or a torch to further promote stretching, however, this can take a lot of practice since burning the vinyl is pretty easy to do. If you pre-stretch the vinyl prior to applying, this can help it to better fit the contours of the body neatly, and without wrinkles.
After the vinyl has adhered to the surface of your vehicle, it’s now time to trim the edges using a utility knife. I recommend using a smaller knife with breakaway blades. A pro will be able to trim the vinyl right on the paint without harming the paint job. However, as a beginner, you should cut the vinyl then reapply the edges.
Seams can be unavoidable at times, such as when you’re wrapping surfaces as such sharp hoods or when you’re wrapping a larger vehicle such as a truck. In this case, some pros will overlap the vinyl sheets and cut the seams using a utility knife. You can also use a knifeless tape that’s equipped with a filament thread that’s made out of Kevlar. Once the vinyl has adhered to the vehicle’s body over the Kevlar thread, it’s now sharp enough that you will be able to pull it though the vinyl for a precise cut. Pinstriping can also be used to hide seams. If done correctly, the seams will basically disappear.
Are OBD2 Scanners Any Good?
The best OBD2 scanners are versatile and feature an intuitive design that makes pulling up error codes a breeze. If you’re a beginner, then go with a model that features basic controls. Before you buy, make sure it’s compatible with your specific vehicle. The Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader is pretty versatile and works with a wide variety of both American and European makes and models.
Is Wrapping a Car Cheaper than A New Paint Job?
In many cases, a paint job is much cheaper than wrapping a car. However, a high-quality paint job that involves multiple coats can often cost as much as a car wrap.
Do Car Wraps Damage the Paint?
If done correctly, wrapping a car will not damage a paint job. Instead, it will protect the car’s surface and can preserve the existing paint job.
Now that you know how to wrap a car, you can protect your car’s paint job for years, or switch it up for an instant look that pops. If you use cast vinyl wrapping, you can remove it at some point, if you’re over the look or want to try out a different color or design. Wraps aren’t meant to be permanent.
The laminate and color coatings are designed to last for a decade, which means they will need to be removed at some point. this part of the job isn’t easy and involves using chemicals that will dissolve the adhesive. You can also apply heat to remove the panels, which will leave only a small amount of the adhesive behind. Both wrapping and unwrapping is a very time-consuming process and there’s plenty of room for error. So, if you want to save yourself from the headache and hassle that comes with taking on this job yourself, then leave it to the pros.