Need a way to easily mark your county’s patrol cars? Do you want to show off your business every time you take the kids to soccer practice? You’re looking for a vinyl wrap. Vinyl wraps are affordable, 100% customizable, and can quickly put thousands of eyes on your vehicle.

If you’ve decided a vinyl wrap is right for you, what do you need to do to prep your vehicle? Do you just drive it in and let the wrap company take care of everything? Let’s learn how to prep a car for vinyl wrap including steps both you and the vehicle graphics company should take for the best results.

How to Repair a Vinyl Wrap

How to Prep a Car for Vinyl Wrap or Graphics

Don’t worry, you don’t need to scrape or detail or get your hands too dirty to prep your vehicle – you only need a quick inspection and a thorough cleaning. Think of putting a bumper sticker on your car. You want a clean surface, so the sticker sticks and stays stuck. Vinyl wraps are essentially large-scale stickers which need the cleanest possible surface to properly adhere. All you need to do is wash.

Have Your Vehicle Inspected

It’s not mandatory, but most wrap companies like to see the vehicle in-shop before they wrap it. During the inspection, a wrap technician will carefully look over the vehicle’s body to look for gouges, rust, or any other issues that could affect the finished product. If the technician gives you a thumbs up, you only need to wash your car before dropping it off for the wrap. If the technician finds potential issues, they will point them out and explain what you need to do before the company can wrap the vehicle.

How to Wash Your Car for a Vinyl Wrap

Wrap companies might charge extra if they’re required to clean dirt and other debris off your vehicle so it’s smart to get your exterior as clean as you can. Automatic car washes aren’t going to cut it this time.

  • Roll your car into your driveway or a car washing station the day before your wrap is scheduled and get to cleaning. Washing your vehicle the day before gives it plenty of time to dry out before the wrapping process begins.
  • Work methodically over your vehicle and give all parts, including those not being wrapped, a good scrub with a mild cleaning solution. The more dirt, grime, and crud you can rid your vehicle of, the better, and this includes under the hood and in your tire wells.
  • Use the squeaky finger test to determine cleanliness. If your finger squeaks when you run it across the vehicle, it’s clean and ready. No squeak means there’s still too much dirt and grime and you need to go over it again.
  • Do NOT apply any protectants like polish or wax. Protectants interfere with the ability of the wrap to adhere and would need to be removed before your wrap can be put on.
  • If you don’t have the time or mobility, take your vehicle into a detail shop and tell them you need it cleaned in preparation for a vinyl wrap – they’ll take care of the rest.

How a Vinyl Company Preps Your Car for a Wrap

If you’ve given your vehicle a thorough wash, you’ve done your job. The vinyl company will take care of the rest of the preparation.

Before a technician begins installed the wrap, they will detail the vehicle with alcohol to remove all traces of any leftover dirt or dust. Once the technician is done with their alcohol detail your vehicle is cleaner than when it came off the assembly line and ready for a vinyl wrap.

Talk to Wrap Company Before Dropping Off

To make certain you’re ready, call your wrap company a few days before drop off and ask about the best steps you can take to prep your car for the wrap. They can recommend what should you clean, how you should clean it, and any other tips for your unique wrap job. If you follow your wrap company’s direction, you won’t have to worry about any extra cleaning fees or longer wait times.

Clean Up and Get Ready for Your Wrap

Wraps make your vehicle stand out and are much more affordable than a custom paint job. If want your car to be seen, it’s time to schedule for a wrap installation. Most vehicle owners only need to give their vehicles a thorough exterior wash to prep and the wrap company will take care of the rest. With a clean exterior your vehicle can be wrapped and on the road showing off in as little as a few hours.