Cleaning has always been the most vital part for pre-install, or even the whole installation of car wrapping, especially when you do a color change project or wrapping with a particular thick film (for example, chrome or multi-layer calendar film).
It has become such a common sense for wrappers that consequences would come along if the vehicle is not cleaned thoroughly, which will then lead to a higher cost re-do that no one would be happy about.
Sometimes even though you have paid enough attention and done every step you know to clean a vehicle from top to bottom, there would still be things that are missed out, and you have to fix them during the installation, just because the prep was not done well.
So today we will be introducing a little trick to you so that you can ensure the surface of a vehicle is ready for the installation, which is handy and easy to do.
But first, at all, you still have to clean everything up. Installers must go over every inch of a vehicle that is to be wrapped, to make sure all the wax, oil, dirt and any contaminants have been removed, as well as checking if there are any rust spots, for the vinyl film does not stick well such thing.
Mainly, it is essential for wrappers to pay special attention to troublesome areas which usually contain most dirt and oils — for instance, the inside of wheel wells, bumpers, hoods, rocker panels, and its edges.
And when you think everything is fine and ready, do a final wipe-down on the areas which will be wrapped with isopropyl alcohol just before the installation.
So now, you have done every part of the standard cleaning method, how can you tell if the surface is ready to be wrapped? This is when you should try out the trick we are going to show you. Here we have a straightforward and solid surface prep check to make sure the success of your pre-install.
Simpler than you think, to do anything at all, you can take out a piece of scrap clear liner – it can even be the top sheet of a color change film. And you can run your hand over the surface with the liner. In this way, you might be surprised to see apparent footage:
That little dots are appearing on the surface as you move around the liner there. If you did not use a clear liner, it is unlikely that you would see or feel those at all.
However, if you are wrapping with a chrome film or thick multi-layer calendar film, those little specks would probably poke through. And you would end up re-doing your project at a high cost.
But with a clear liner, anything on the surface would stand out as you move it around the surface. As you see those little dots, it means you will need to clean the surface up one more time.
Thus, go over the surface again and do the cleaning. It would cost time apparently, but only around three to four minutes – if you did not do it and install right away, as soon as things come up and you have to re-do a section, for instance, a chrome one, it will cost you way more, which can be 200-300 dollars.
After you clean it up again, dry out the surface with a towel, and run over with a clear liner on it back with your palms, to ensure that the surface is now free of any tiny contaminants that can stand on the way while installing. You would probably find a different feeling with your hands there.
The clear liner runs super smoothly on the surface, and everything underneath is crystal clear. That is when you know the prep has been well done. With this trick, it is an overall pay-off, as it would save you the time of re-doing because of problems from pre-install, and much more, saving your money so that you will not cost extra film to make up what you have not done enough.
If you have never tried it, give it a shot next time. Spending a few more minutes doing this checking will give you no harm after all.