All Possible Problems With Car Wraps And How To Prevent Them

Car wrapping can offer many benefits for your vehicle. Yet, you wouldn’t believe the problems that could happen with car wraps. But don’t worry! As long as you are aware of these problems, you will be on the safe side. And being aware of them is exactly what this post is about!

These are the most common problems of car wrapping:

  • Using the wrong vinyl
  • Ineffective pre-installation cleaning
  • Lack of post-heating
  • Not using enough vinyl
  • Having deep paint scratches
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Rusty surfaces

Knowing all the possible problems is paramount for properly doing the car wrapping. Moreover, knowing how to prevent them from happening will be a great asset. Let’s take a closer look at each one of these problems!

Using The Wrong Vinyl

Vinyl wraps are not a universal product. There are many brands, models, and designs that vary in their quality and use. Using the wrong vinyl for a job can create a lot of problems, as the lifespan will be affected.

With low-quality vinyl, for example, the wrap could start peeling off or creating unwanted bubbles. The wrong vinyl would also have inconveniences to attach properly to the surface of the car. 

Even if you have the most pristine conditions for car wrapping, the wrong vinyl will not lead to a proper application process. Moreover, it could wind up damaging the surface of the car.

It is crucial to look for a high-quality vinyl that perfectly fits the needs of the wrapping you are about to do. There are several leading brands you can choose from to have the best car wrap possible.

Having the correct product will prevent any of the problems a low-quality vinyl could cause. Whenever you can, shoot for quality vinyl.

Ineffective Pre-Installation Cleaning

Before wrapping a car, the surface needs to be prepped and cleaned. All the contaminants such as dirt, dust, oil, grime, and bugs need to be eliminated from the exterior. Car wrapping requires the cleanest and smoothest surface possible.

When there are contaminants on the surface, the vinyl panels cannot adhere correctly. Furthermore, if the panels were able to attach, the contaminants would be visible through the vinyl. 

Any irregularity on the surface would most likely affect the looks of the design. If contaminants are trapped under the wrapping, the lifespan of the panels would also be affected and reduced.

As an added problem, the contaminants could move under the wraps and scratch the surface of the car. This would create unwanted marks, swirls, and damages to the paintwork. 

The best way to prevent this from happening is by washing your car thoroughly. If you have professionals in charge of the wrapping, they will take care of this part too.

If, in contrast, you are DIY wrapping, you might want to check my helpful article about the best tips to wash your car at home. 

Lack Of Post-Heating

Heating the vinyl is one of the standard procedures of the wrapping process. The post-heating helps the vinyl keep its form and remain in place. Vinyl has a sort of “muscular memory” that makes it return to its original shape.

If this process occurs, it could completely alter the measurements. Moreover, it could damage the design of the panels placed on the car. The edges could start peeling, and the compacted areas could develop bubbles.

Regardless of the professionalism of the application process, if the post-heating is neglected, the vinyl wraps will be damaged. 

The best way to prevent these damages from happening is by post-heating. This process will ensure the panels staying in place without recessing, peeling, and bubbling. Once heated, the vinyl forgets any previous form it had.

It is essential not to overheat the surface because you could damage the vinyl and the design on it. You can help yourself with an infrared thermometer and a regulated heat gun. Heating is necessary; overheating is harmful.

Not Using Enough Vinyl

The amount of vinyl used is as influential as any other aspect of a successful wrapping. Ordering too much vinyl could result in a waste of money, as you would not use the remaining wraps in the near future.

Not ordering enough would also represent an inconvenience for the process. When there is not enough, appliers might start overstretching the vinyl to cover all the surface. However, this overstretching is not as much of a solution as it is a problem.

When the vinyl is overstretched, it starts whitening and losing its original vitality and shine. Yes, the vinyl has elastic properties, but that doesn’t mean you can stretch it too much without suffering the consequences.

The whitened surface is one of the most common traits of a wrapping job with too little vinyl. This can be seen in the curves of the car.

The best way to prevent this problem is to measure the car. When professionals do this job, they tend to have all the measurements at hand so as to order and use the correct amount of vinyl. 

If you are wrapping at home, make sure you have a measuring tape with you. That way, you won’t be in need of overstretching your panels to cover the car. 

Although you might want to measure the car yourself to make sure, there are some standard measurements for this. You can check this post from Carlawrap to have more info about it. 

Having Deep Paint Scratches

As previously said, the surface of the car needs to be as smooth as possible for the car wrapping to be effective. Any imperfection on the exterior can lessen the quality of the wrap, decrease its lifespan, and affect the overall looks of the car.

Moreover, scratches will make it more difficult for the vinyl panels to attach to the surface. This will affect the quality of the wrapping and, at the same time, make you lose money on materials. 

If you manage to wrap a scratched surface, you could take the worst part when removing the wraps. Wraps don’t damage the paintwork when the process is done properly. However, when there are scratches, there is another story.

Removing vinyl panels from scratched surfaces can result in damages to the paintwork. When the vinyl detaches from the scratches, it can take some of the paint with it.

In order to have all the benefits of car wrap and to protect your paintwork, you will need to correct all the imperfections, scratches, and chips on the exterior of your car.

Fixing the surface of your car will prevent any of the above-mentioned problems from happening. 

Shorter Lifespan

In some cases, the duration of the vinyl wraps could be a problem. For some car owners, the fact that this is a non-permanent style change is a plus. For others, not so much. 

In contrast to alternatives like paint jobs, vinyl wraps have a considerably shorter lifespan and different maintenance requirements. Vinyl wraps can last up to seven years with proper care, while paint jobs can last for as much as you take care of them.

There are many differences between car wrap and car paint. For that, I decided to write this comparative article between both options. Be sure to check it to know all the insights!

Some harsh conditions could also affect the duration and shorten even more the lifespan of vinyl wraps. Things like the sun and the rain could cause the wraps to last less.

The best way to take full advantage of car wraps is to properly care for them. That way, you will have all the benefits it can offer for a longer time. This will allow you to make the best out of your investment. 

In this fantastic piece, I break down all the aspects that affect car wrap duration and how to increase lifespan. Don’t miss it!

Rusty Surfaces

Rusty surfaces are one of the worst nightmares a car owner can have. Rust can compromise the integrity of your car and spread at a staggering pace. Even if it starts on a small part of the car, you should take care of it immediately.

For car wrapping, rust can pose many a problem. To begin with, the vinyl panels will not stick properly to rusty surfaces. The glue of the vinyl cannot stick to damaged areas, and that includes rust.

If you manage to put the wraps, then you will be causing more damage to your car. The rust trapped under the wrap will benefit from these new conditions to spread even faster. By the time you remove the wraps, the rust will have already eaten most of the exterior of the car.

Preventing rust is crucial not only for car wrapping but for your car in general. The best way to keep these problems from happening is to have the rust fixed before starting the wrapping process.

Due to the importance of this topic, I wrote this full article about wrapping rusty cars and its problems. If you are interested in it, you will want to give it a look. 

Will Car Wrapping Damage The Car Paint?

Car wrapping does not damage the paint nor the surface of the car when applied correctly. Moreover, the vinyl wraps can offer a protective layer to the paintwork, thus preventing contaminants and scratching objects from reaching it. 

One of the main worries of car owners is damaging the paint. If you are as dedicated as I am with the care of your car, you know how painful it is to find new scratches, chips, dents, or any other imperfection.

The good thing is that car wraps are in no way harmful to the paint. Of course, there are many things to consider to protect your car, but the vinyl wraps don’t cause damages to the paintwork. 

It is best to have car wraps removed by a professional. Check out this article that I wrote to find out how much it costs to have car wrap removed by a pro!

Contaminants trapped between the wrap and the car could cause damages to the paint. However, this should never happen because an extensive cleaning should be done before wrapping. There should be no contaminants on the car for the wrapping process. 

Another harmful thing could be rust trapped under the wraps. Once again, rust should never be allowed to be there in the first place. Wrapping over rusty surfaces will only result in a sloppy job and damages to the paintwork.

The same happens with dents, chips, and scratches. When these imperfections on the surface are wrapped, they can cause damages to the paintwork once the panels are removed. Since the panels enter the scratches, they can take the paint off when removing them.

As you can see, these problems are not directly related to car wraps, but to neglectful applying processes. Car wraps on their own do not damage the surface.

Furthermore, car wraps offer a protective layer that keeps all contaminants away, providing some degree of protection against rust, scratches, and swirls.  

Tips For A Problem-Free Car Wrapping

These are some tips for a problem-free car wrap:

  • Prep the surface of the car
  • Use high-quality materials
  • Measure the car before cutting the vinyl
  • Use an infrared thermometer

Prep The Surface Of The Car

The importance of the prepping process cannot be stressed enough. Prepping the surface of the car is the foundation of a perfect car wrap. 

This process includes eliminating dents, chips, rust, and scratches. Moreover, it also includes removing all contaminants and oils from the surface. Car wax and any other products on the exterior also need to be removed.

Only after having the most pristine conditions can the wraps begin to be put in place. 

Use High-Quality Materials

Using high-quality materials will set the difference between a mediocre and a professional job. On rare occasions are cheaper things better than quality products.

If you go for low-quality materials to save some bucks, you will lose the money invested in less time than you think. There are several famous brands such as 3M you can buy from to have all the benefits of a professional wrap.

Instead of lasting the average five years, your wrapping could die in less than a couple of years with low-quality products.

The same could happen with your blades, heat guns, and squeegees. Make sure to have the proper equipment before taking on this task. Interested in knowing all the necessary equipment for car wrapping? Check my thorough article about it!

Measure The Car Before Cutting The Vinyl

When you are about to put a vinyl panel in place, you will want to measure the surface before making the cut. That will help you use the necessary vinyl. Furthermore, you will not waste any material nor fall short.

You can use a measuring tape to help you with this part. I would also advise you to leave a couple of extra inches just in case.

Use An Infrared Thermometer

The best way to control the temperature while wrapping is using an infrared thermometer. This device will help you measure the temperature and make sure you are not overheating the vinyl. If the heat is too high, you could damage the panel.

Moreover, if the temperature is too high, you could damage the surface of your car. This is something you will want to avoid at all costs. 

Protecting your car and your vinyl will be essential for not having any inconveniences with your wrapping. 

Key takeaways

Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge