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After the Wrap Hits the Road

(April 2014) posted on Wed Apr 09, 2014

Corrective actions for your shop post vehicle wrap.

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By Jared Smith

Chalky or oxidized paint is another reason for lifting vinyl, and this is a much scarier problem for the shop because it typically cannot be repaired. Obviously, you should never install a wrap on a vehicle that has oxidized paint. It’s like trying to install a decal on a dusty chalkboard – it just doesn’t work. In my opinion, unless you had an upfront conversation and a warranty-waiver signed, you actually owe the client a new vehicle wrap. Here, you cannot re-wrap the vehicle unless it is repaired first. Tip: With tractor trailers, an acid wash can make the vehicle wrap-ready.

Corrective action: As professionals, we should never wrap a vehicle we cannot warranty. A simple inspection of the vehicle will show oxidized paint. Use a black T-shirt to wipe along a white vehicle to see if any “white” appears on the rag (this also holds true using a white T-shirt on a colored vehicle). Tip: Wrapping surfaces like rubber and textured plastic can have similar issues and should be avoided.

Occasionally, you’ll get a call from a client claiming that the vinyl is lifting, but upon inspection you’ll find that it’s actually the laminate that’s lifting. The most common reason for the laminate lifting is mismatched components, meaning this laminate was not designed to be used with the particular printed vinyl. Using a calendared laminate with a cast vinyl will also cause lifting laminate (among many other issues). Using a cast laminate from one manufacturer and a cast vinyl from another manufacturer might work, but then again it might fail miserably. Even laminates from the same manufacturer that were not designed to be used in combination can cause you problems and headaches.

Corrective action: Only use components that were purposely engineered to be used together. Read and follow product bulletins, and clearly label all rolls in your shop to avoid mistakes while loading printers and laminators.