How to Install Vinyl Car Wrap

by Admin on February 22, 2010

Installing vinyl car wrap can be a tricky proposition. This type of installation is normally performed by professional installers. However, that is not to say that it cannot be accomplished by a do it yourselfer. Wrapping an entire car should probably be reserved for the professionals; however, wrapping a hood or a quarter panel is something that is quite doable. If you are going to attempt your own installation there are some very important steps that need to be followed.

One of the most important steps in wrapping a car is the surface preparation. Start by hand washing the car with soap and water. Do not go to the car wash and power wash the vehicle. Car washes will still leave a film and small dirt particles. A good old-fashioned hand washing will eliminate this. Next, wipe down the vehicle with a solution of 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol. This will help strip away any wax residue and grease. There are also specialty products that can be purchased at automotive stores for this purpose such as Prep-Sol. Also, applying the wrap should be done indoors if possible. This will limit a wind gusts and dirt particles from inhibiting your installation. Finally, the ideal temperature to apply the wrap should be between 60 and 90°.

Next, you will need to trim your vinyl wrap to fit this section of car you were working on. You can do this with ordinary scissors. Measure the section of the car you are working with and transfer those measurements to the piece of vinyl. Trim the outline of that section to make the vinyl easier to work with. It is important to remember to trim the piece with some overhang remaining. This overhang will be trimmed later when working around the edges.

Now you are ready to place the vinyl on the car. Remove the backing carefully and do not allow the wrap to stick to itself. If you are doing a large section, like a hood, you may need someone to help you. Line the wrap up with where you want it to go. Start at a corner and began applying the wrap slowly. As you lay the wrap down you will use your hand to rub back and forth across the wrap to help eliminate air bubbles and wrinkles.

After you have applied the entire section, it is time for the final touches. Even with your best effort there will probably be some small air bubbles still trapped in the vinyl. These are eliminated by using a plastic squeegee. Start the middle of the vinyl with the squeegee and work out towards the edges. This will work any air bubbles out of the vinyl. If there happened to be any bubbles still remaining use the tip of a razor blade to carefully puncture the bubble. Use only the tiniest hole you can. Finally, simply squeegee the air towards the middle of the bubble where you created the whole.

The process is not all that difficult. However, it does take time and patience. It would be wise to start with an inconspicuous section for your first application. Remember not to apply to much pressure with the squeegee because it could tear the vinyl.

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