How To Wash and Maintain A Wrapped Car

Investing in a vinyl wrap is a great way to protect your car and preserve your paint. It protects against scratches, severe weather, and even fading from the sun and excessive heat. Wrapping a supercar can elevate an already incredible paint job and increase the shine and water resistance to make it look even better.


Vinyl wraps are composed of heavy-duty vinyl and PVC over an adhesive backing for easy professional application. You can wrap most of your car, including the entire paint surface, the wheels, spoilers, and more.


That said, there are a few things to keep in mind regarding regular maintenance and washing needs. Your vinyl wrap acts as an exoskeleton and needs a little extra care and treatment. Here are a few pointers for keeping your wrap in excellent condition:


How to Wash a Wrapped Car

Don’t be lazy with car washing! Please take a look at our suggestions when it comes to getting your wrapped vehicle squeaky clean.


1. Always hand wash

Drive-thru car washes can be harsh on your car’s exterior. Of course, the purpose of a wrap is to provide paint protection and longevity. The better you can preserve the actual wrap itself, the longer it will last and continue to be effective.


Stick to hand washing with a soft sponge to ensure gentle cleaning. Spot cleaning with isopropyl alcohol or Simple Green can also help you maintain between washes; remember to be gentle when scrubbing your car’s surface.


2. Dry with a microfiber towel

Towel drying will give you the best post-wash shine, but it can also scratch and wear down your vinyl coating. If you don’t feel like air-drying (the safest option when detailing your car), microfiber towels are available at most auto parts stores, and they’re worth spending a few extra bucks. A clean microfiber cloth will do the best job at protecting your car from noticeable scratches. They also do a great job of soaking up moisture and water spots.


3. Clean difficult stains immediately

Things like bird droppings, tree sap, and insects can stain your car if you don’t remove them quickly. Try to remove those longer-lasting stains as soon as possible to avoid long-term discoloration and damage to your vinyl wrap. To remove the toughest stains, soak the area in soapy water and try to wipe it away gently. If that doesn’t work, feel free to use a diluted isopropyl alcohol mix and wash.


Wash off fuel spills as quickly as possible as soon as they happen. If you allow gasoline to dry on top of your car’s vinyl wrap, it can severely and rapidly degrade the vinyl and adhesive. If this happens, wash, rinse, and dry.


4. Avoid buffing

Though it may seem harmless, buffing a vinyl wrap can cause unsightly harm to your vehicle. The wrap is never really free of tiny debris pieces, and a buffer can pick up those stubborn contaminants and cut them into the surface. Unless you’re actively trying to buff out a scratch – since vinyl wraps protect against surface scratches better than your regular paint – stick to soft cloths for drying when necessary.

Regular Maintenance Suggestions

Now that you understand your washing requirements, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of regular maintenance. Remember that vinyl wrap application should reduce the need for expensive repairs, so a little extra care and maintenance might be necessary.


1. Keep your vehicle in covered storage

If possible, try to avoid too much outdoor and UV ray exposure. Parking your car in the sun, snow, rain, or wind for long periods can damage your vinyl coating and cause it to lift or peel. If you don’t have a protected garage, a covered parking space will mitigate the possible damage.


2. Avoid harmful products

Avoid certain car wash soap commonly used at car washes, detailers, and service centers.


Here are a few to look out for and avoid:

  • Oil-based cleaners
  • Solvents
  • Abrasive polishes or cutting compounds
  • Polishing or wax products on matte wraps
  • Kitchen and bathroom cleaners
  • Engine Degreaser


3. Make sure you’re getting high-quality wraps

Good maintenance practices are essential, but you should always start at the source. Make sure you’re getting high-quality vinyl wraps every time. Peeling, cracking, and lifting shouldn’t appear for quite some time if you’re following our suggestions, and you might want to find a new custom wrap shop if you notice quick deterioration.


Maintain Your Wrapped Car at Modern Image

Modern Image is the premier location for vinyl wrapping in San Diego. Whether you’re looking for color change wraps, protective coverage, or vehicle graphics, Modern Image does all types of car wraps. If you’re interested in getting more car protection with a vinyl wrap or ceramic coating, contact us to get your free quote.