How to apply vinyl car wrap?

Vinyl wrap is starting to get more and more popular due to various benefits and spectacular outcomes. It costs less than a paint job, and able to change the vehicle outlook in short period of time and adding an extra layer of protection to your original paint, the wrap can be removed and returned to the original condition anytime at your wish. Additionally, vinyl wrap can be applied onto most of the smooth surface such as car, cell phone, and laptop.

Often, this is the question asked by our customers, how do I apply vinyl wrap? When it comes to vinyl wrap installation, preparation and having the right tools are the keys. Without proper preparation, the wrap won’t be able to stick well to the surface and can fail prematurely. Vinyl wrap has adhesive backing; any rust, oil, dust/dirt or debris will ruin the installation. Make sure you clean the surface where the wrap will be applied on. Wash and dry the vehicle thoroughly, if any contaminants still present, wipe the application area with a solvent-based cleaner. To ensure all the oils or residues are completely removed, clean again with mixtured of isopropyl alcohol and water (2:1 ratio), wiping dry with lint free towel as you work. However, do not wax your vehicle before applying the wrap, wax will leave powder-like coating and inhibits the wrap to stick. If you’ve waxed your car recently, please allow couple days for the wax to cure before applying.

Choosing the right tool is another essential step, you will need a squeegee when applying the wrap, and we highly recommend getting a squeegee that has a felt edge to avoid any scratches during installation. Heat gun is another crucial tool, we recommend using a heat gun that has adjustable temperature, we do not suggest using torch in replaced of heat gun as torch can alter the appearance of the film and cannot be restored.  A utility knife is also needed to trim the excess vinyl after the wrap has applied onto the substrate.

Note: Before you apply the wrap, make sure the temperature is not too cold or too hot. The ideal temperature for application is above 60°F and below 90°F, we suggest you apply the wrap indoor to avoid dust and dirt sticking onto the adhesive during installation.

For most of the vinyl films we carry, they need dry application, never wet apply the vinyl films unless it’s specifically noted on the description. Before you apply the wrap, you need to plan ahead as to which piece you should work on first and what size each panel need; this is to make sure you’ve enough materials to finish your project. To ensure you’ve positioned the wrap at the right place, use masking tape or magnet holder to align the wrap to the surface you’d like to apply on and adjust accordingly.

Now, you can start applying the wrap to the area that you want to work on first. Apply the film to flat areas of the vehicle first, avoid areas at the underside of the vehicle, those are the areas that are difficult to clean thoroughly. Stretch large sections of the film, avoid stretching the film in smaller sections, it may cause visible stretch marks at the areas where you stretched. Always use even tension when stretching the film, avoid applying too much pressure in one particular area as it may deform the film. Use heat gun to soften the film when stretching around complex curves, avoid applying heat directly at the location where the film attaches to the substrate. Heat up the film to about 120-180°F for convex and concave areas. Firm, consistent pressure with squeegee must be applied over all parts of the films to bond the adhesive to the surface you applied; any missed area leaves wrinkles and bubbles in the applied film. These are areas where premature film failures may occur. Carefully trim the excess vinyl, being sure not to scratch the paint.

Note: Vinyl wrap does not stick well to plastic/rubber or silicone parts. Avoid applying vinyl wrap in those areas as they can fall off very soon.

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