Car wrap hood installation

How do I clean and maintain my car wrap?

  • We recommend you wash the graphic whenever the car appears dirty. Any contaminants that are left on the graphic may be more difficult to remove during cleaning.

    First, rinse off as much dirt and grit as possible with a spray of water. Then clean the wrap using a wet, non-abrasive detergent such as 3M™ Car Wash Soap and a soft cloth or sponge.

    Now rinse the wrap thoroughly with clean water. To reduce water spotting, immediately use a silicone squeegee to remove water and finish with a clean microfibre cloth. We strongly recommend you do not use wax or other similar coatings on vehicle graphics.

    How do I look after the film? Is anything special needed?

    Care for your vehicle graphics like you would any fine paint finish. Using high quality 3M products designed specifically for car care and these cleaning and maintenance procedures will help keep your 3M vehicle graphics looking their best.

    How long should I wait after getting the wrap before washing it?

    You should not wash your car for the first week following application to ensure the graphic film reaches maximum adherence. You may need to wait even longer if the weather is very cold.

    Can I use automated car washes to clean my car wrap?

    Vinyl wraps can be run through car washes, however touchless car washes are the best for graphic care. Brush car washes may cause dulling or scratching and can cause lifting around the edges of the graphics.

    Can I use a pressure washer to clean my car wrap?

    Although hand washing is the preferred cleaning method, pressure washing may be used under the following conditions:

    • Make sure 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 at 90 degrees to the graphic
    • Don’t hold the pressure washer at an angle to the wrap as it may lift the edges of the film

    How can I remove difficult contaminants from my car wrap?

    Soften difficult contaminants such as bug splatter, bird droppings and tree sap by soaking them for several minutes with very hot, soapy water. Then rinse the wrap thoroughly and dry. We recommend you spot clean any contaminants. Do not use rough scrubbing or abrasive tools, as this will scratch the film. Wash and rinse off all residue immediately.

    How can I maintain my car wrap?

    Vinyl graphics are degraded by prolonged exposure to sun and atmospheric pollutants. 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.

    When a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night. If your graphics start to discolor or turn brown, immediately remove the graphics from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint.

    To help keep your vehicle wraps looking their best, we recommend you do not use any abrasive polishes, cutting compounds or wax products on matte or textured films. If there is wax or wax residue on the surface, remove with an all-purpose cleaner. Before using any product it’s best to check it by testing it in an inconspicuous area.

    For further information on caring for your car wrap, read our full pdf guide (PDF, 123 KB).

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Bring your vision to life.

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Find experienced car wrap installers.

Wrapping a vehicle is a delicate and intricate process.

3M Endorsed Installers are a global network of specialists. They have the skills and knowledge to apply 3M car personalization products to your requirements.

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