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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

The last bizarre markings we identified were a bit tricky to track down, but with help from the media manufacturer’s lab we finally got to the bottom of it. A customer had us do a full wrap on a new GMC Arcadia using one of the matte gray films (no print or laminate needed). A few months went by and he then sent us photos showing what looked like a severely expired wrap – but only in certain areas (those that faced up and toward the sun). Some areas of this vehicle looked brand new, while others looked eight years old. If that wasn’t weird enough, this dried out, burnt look also appeared to run down the vehicle, as if it had been caused by a liquid.

This was a real head-scratcher – while it was obvious that the sun played a factor (by the location on the roof and the edges or surfaces that faced up), liquid must also have played a factor because of the streaks where the problem seemed to “pour” down the vehicle.

In the end, we finally determined the cause: While the vehicle had been parked by the beach without moving for a few months, it had been coated with a bit of acid dew each morning. The droplets acted as miniature magnifying glasses, focusing the sun’s light to cause burning. Once there was enough of this dew, it would then run down the vehicle. The lab also stated that their material should not have been so negatively affected by these conditions so they warranted the job for us. In this case, it truly was a perfect storm of four factors at once: a bad roll of material, vehicle parked in the same spot for months, acid dew, and specific sun exposure.

Corrective action: We cannot warranty vinyl against harsh chemicals, so the only way we have found to help avoid these types of issues is to document them with good photos when they occur and visually educate our future customers as to what can happen if they do not follow the use-and-care guide we provide.

Upfront, clear, and consistent
The last tip to help avoid concerned calls post-wrap is to make sure all customers fully understand the expected life of a wrap. We take careful steps at bluemedia to ensure our clients know the details of the warranty, including the fact that different climates have different life expectancies and that perforated window vinyl and vinyl installed on surfaces that are +/- 10 percent of vertical may not last as long as the rest of the wrap. Be upfront, be clear, and be consistent. That is exactly what anyone making a purchase wants from a vendor.