No is the simple answer, a proper vinyl car warp won’t damage your vehicle, at least not when it’s installed properly. The vinyl wrap itself is designed to be safe for vehicle paint.
However, the more accurate answer is a bit more complicated than just no – a shoddy vinyl wrap job could result in real damage during vehicle disassembly or during eventual removal, but the risk is low when the wrap is installed by experienced professionals.
Why Is Vinyl Wrap Installation Risky?
Many people probably don’t realize how much dismantling needs to be performed when installing a vinyl wrap. Inexperienced installers could damage emblems, lights, doorhandles, chrome trims, mirrors, bumpers and other aesthetic features during removal. An installer might also lose screws and clips or fail to properly reassemble all the pieces once the vinyl wrap has been applied.
Relying on primer during installation will increase the likelihood for damage during wrap removal. When removing primer-secured vinyl wrap, it’s important to use a heat gun to soften the wrap and adhesive, then pull with firm, steady pressure – don’t yank it.
Once the vinyl is removed, you’ll likely need to use a relatively abrasive alcohol-based solution to remove the primer residue. 3M makes a remover specifically for sticky primer residue if you find yourself in that situation. This vinyl wrap and primer removal process can easily result in damage if it’s not approached with the utmost patience and caution.
Primer is generally used just on the edges of a vinyl wrap section to prevent the wrap from pulling up over time. A professional detailer should eliminate edge-tension and peeling risk by installing the wrap correctly, without needing to use any extra adhesive. If an installer is overly reliant on primers, it’s likely not a good sign for the wrap job’s longevity and quality.
Too Much Sun
Car, truck or SUV owners could also have trouble with their wraps if they don’t keep their exterior clean and the car is in the sun too much. Excessive sun exposure has the potential to bake the vinyl wrap material into your vehicle. Don’t leave your vinyl wrapped vehicle parked outside without shade all the time in Phoenix or Scottsdale.
Sun will also fade even the best wraps over time. The fading will be more noticeable with certain designs or colors, but you can slow the fading process by parking in a garage or at the very least under covered parking. If your vehicle is always parked somewhere with sun exposure you may even want to consider investing in a car cover.
Find a Detailer to Wrap Your Car Right
Try to find examples of a detailer’s vinyl wrap installation jobs before you hire them. Look for reviews and ask them about their experience working with vinyl car wraps.
A vinyl wrap installer who is forced to use a lot of patches may not be the best person for your job. Try to look at cuts to see if they’re straight (like inside doors). Check curved spots around the trunk, roof or along features with weird angles (like inside the fuel door), as those are likely places where a vinyl wrap installer may be forced to use a patch.
Also look closely for bubbles. The prominence of bubbles grows over time. A car wrap could initially look smooth and perfect then a year or two later you start seeing little bubbles on the hood or fender. If you have a chance to see a detailer’s wrap work up close, make sure you’re looking for uneven edges, bubbles, peeling or patches.
A common mistake DIYers make is the omission of the first and arguably most important vinyl wrap installation step – thoroughly cleaning the exterior to remove any dirt, grease, oils and dust that could prevent the vinyl’s adhesive from sticking.
Make sure to ask your detailer what steps they take to prepare the car before they begin vinyl application.
Get a Reliable Vinyl Wrap Job Without the Damage in Phoenix and Scottsdale
Can vinyl wrap installation potentially lead to damage? Possibly, if it’s not done correctly or the job is sloppy.
The wrap itself, if it’s properly cared for, is unlikely to cause damage. Vinyl wraps are essentially big stickers, and the adhesives on these wraps are formulated to prevent paint damage. The real risks for damage come from installers making mistakes during disassembly or being sloppy when putting your car’s exterior back together.
The other risk comes from primers that some vinyl installers might use as a crutch. A good installer likely won’t need to use any extra adhesives, which means there’s not going to be a risk of damage when it’s time to remove the wrap years down the road.
The other damage risks, like the vinyl wrap baking into your car’s exterior, are the owner’s responsibility. If you get your vinyl car wrap installed by an experienced Phoenix-area detailer and keep it properly maintained, your car wrap and the installation job won’t damage your vehicle’s exterior.
Call Bulldog Detail at 602.653.3935 to learn about vinyl wraps or to get your car wrapped by the pros.