Your vehicle is an investment but so is the color change wrap or vehicle graphics that you’ve just had applied to its exterior. Here are a few recommendations for keeping your car wraps looking new and helping them last a long time.
1. Hand wash regularly. By that we mean wash your vehicle every time it looks dirty. Hand washing is recommended. Commercial car washes tend to use high pressure sprayers, brushes, or heavy cloths as well as detergents and waxes that contain petroleum distillates, all of which should be avoided for vehicle graphics longevity. For best results, park the car in a shaded area or in a garage.
a. Start by giving your vehicle a gentle, all-over shower with clean water. This will loosen and remove most of the grit and grime.
b. Use a soft cloth or sponge (and switch frequently for clean ones) in a mix of water and gentle detergent. Detergent should be free of abrasive ingredients, solvents, and alcohols. Preferably, use a body wash or baby shampoo, which are somewhat milder than laundry detergent, or buy a detergent made especially for car wraps or vehicle graphics.
c. Spot clean only the really tough particulates with products such as Meguiar’s Gold Class™ Bug and Tar Remover or 3M™ Citrus Base Cleaner if soaking in hot soapy water doesn’t loosen the gunk. You could also try a 50/50 solution of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and water. For matte vinyl car wraps, Simple Green, white vinegar, or 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water solution should suffice for extra grungy spots.
d. Rinse then wipe dry with clean microfiber cloths to prevent spotting.
2. Protect the car every time you wash it but not with just any treatment. Choose an “after care” treatment that is free of petroleum distillates (most common at your local car wash). If you live at high altitudes, UV rays are less filtered and can cause damage to the graphics. If you live or work in a highly congested urban area, smog and pollution can damage the graphics, too. Wax can provide a modicum of protection from these elements but you may want to skip the wax if your color change wrap is a matte vinyl. Here are suggested dry clean/wax products for either gloss or matte vinyl wraps:
a. Gloss Vinyl
i. Turtle Wax Ice
ii. Aquanil Waterless Wash (Croftgate USA)
iii. Croftgate USA Wrap Care After Care JP
iv. Whoosh Tint & Vinyl Cleaner
v. Four Star Ultimate Spray Wax Plus
b. Matte Vinyl
i. Aquanil Waterless Wash (Croftgate USA)
ii. Croftgate USA Wrap Care After Care JP-M
3. Park your wrapped vehicle in the garage. If there is no garage, consider a weather-proof car covering.