Vehicle Graphics Maintenance Guide

Vehicle Graphics Maintenance Guide

Care for your vehicle graphics like you would any fine paint finish. Using high quality products designed specifically for car care and these cleaning and maintenance procedures will help keep your vehicle wraps looking their best.

  1. Wash regularly
  • Wash whenever the car appears dirty. Contaminants allowed to remain on the vehicle wrap may be more difficult to remove during cleaning.
  • Rinse off as much dirt and grit as possible with a spray of water.
  • See item 4, Difficult contaminants, for spot cleaning bird droppings, tar, etc.
  • Use a wet, non-abrasive detergent such as 3M™ Car Wash Soap 39000 or Meguiar's NXT Generation® Car Wash or Deep Crystal® Car Wash and a soft, clean cloth or sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water. To reduce water spotting, immediately use a silicone squeegee to remove water and finish with a clean microfiber cloth.
  1. Automated car washes
Brush-type car washes are not recommended as they can abrade the film and cause edges to lift or chip, as well as dulling the film's appearance. Brushless car washes are acceptable.
  1. Pressure washing
Although hand washing is the preferred cleaning method, pressure washing may be used under these conditions.

  • Ensure the water pressure is kept below 2000 psi (14 MPa).
  • Keep water temperature below 80°C (180°F).
  • Use a spray nozzle with a 40 degree wide angle spray pattern.
  • Keep the nozzle at least 1 foot (300 mm) away from and perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to the graphic.

Important Note!

Holding the nozzle of a pressure washer at an angle to the graphic may lift the edges of the film.

  1. Difficult contaminants
Soften difficult contaminants such as bug splatter, bird droppings, tree sap and similar contaminants by soaking them for several minutes with very hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and dry. If further cleaning is needed, test one of these products in an inconspicuous area to ensure no damage to the wrap film: Meguiar's Gold Class™ Bug and Tar Remover or 3M™ Citrus Base Cleaner. Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) (two parts IPA to 1 part water) or denatured alcohol may also help. Spot clean the contaminants. Do not use rough scrubbing or abrasive tools, which will scratch the film. Wash and rinse off all residue immediately.
  1. Fuel spills
Wipe off immediately to avoid degrading the vinyl and adhesive. Then wash, rinse and dry as in Item 1 as soon as possible.
  1. Store indoors or under cover whenever possible

Wrap films (just like paint) are degraded by prolonged exposure to sun and atmospheric pollutants, particularly on the horizontal surfaces such as hood, trunk lid and roof. Whenever possible, store in a garage or at least in a shaded area during the day. At night, protect the car from dew or rain, which may contain acidic pollutants (a common problem in many large metropolitan areas). When a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night. If your wrap film starts to discolor or turn brown (which is caused by acidic pollution), immediately have a professional remove the wrap film from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint.

  1. Film restoration
The following restoration recommendations will help keep your vehicle wraps looking their best.

  • Do not use any abrasive polishes or cutting compounds.
  • Do not use any polishing or wax products on matte or textured films.
  • Use if there is wax or wax residue on the surface, remove with an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Table 1 shows some available products to help restore your vehicle wrap. Before using, always test and approve in an inconspicuous area.

TABLE 1 – Restoration Alternatives

Film or Finish Type Product or Solution
Smooth Gloss Texture 3M™ Perfect-it™ Show Car Paste Wax 39526

Meguiar's Gold Class™ Carnuaba Plus Premium Liquid Wax

Matte or Satin Texture Isopropyl alcohol and water (ratio 2:1)
Matte White (1080-M10)

Carbon Fiber White (1080-CF10)

Based on type/degree of contamination, use one or more of these solutions, in the order shown, to remove any build-up:

  1. Hot, soapy water solution
  2. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and water (ratio 2:1)
  3. Simple Green® All-Purpose Cleaner
  4. Household chlorine bleach; followed by IPA/water (#2)
  5. Mineral spirits; followed by IPA/water (#2)
Carbon Fiber or Brushed Metal Texture

3M™ Tire Restorer or Meguiar's Natural Shine Protectant
Carbon Fiber Black (1080-CF12) Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer

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