“If you post-heat with a heat gun around those areas, it basically helps the curing process and helps the vinyl become one with the vehicle. Especially here in California, we use a heat gun in those recessed areas.”
One final caution is offered by Kenny Miller, owner of Simi Valley, CA-based ThumbPrint, who advises wrapping in a controlled environment if at all possible. “We have an indoor environment where a semi-trailer or large motor home can fit,” he says.
“The controlled environment ensures you are installing the vinyl in optimal ambient temperature. You have consistent light, and you have enough room around the vehicle to step back and just confirm the graphics’ straightness.”
After the Installation
The vinyl has been installed, but the job’s not done. Ivers urges a post-installation check of the work by taking the vehicle outdoors into the sunlight.
“Raise the temperature of the vinyl to 200 degrees in the areas where it’s been stretched, to give it the best chance of long-term adhesion,” he suggests.
Goodwin, too, uses natural sunlight as a last check on the job’s quality. “After we finish the wrap, I check around the car, to make sure everything’s tucked in, and everything’s where it is supposed to be,” he says.
“We like to take it out and sit it in the sun, and check it after a few hours. The sun may bring up a bubble, or it may reveal a corner not tucked in. It’s just a precaution to make sure everything is in place.”
Advising vehicle owners on post-installation care is a final key step, Tour says. He and his installers urge owners to always hand wash the vehicle, rather than using a car wash. “If they choose to run it through a car wash, we prefer they do it in a touch-free wash, as opposed to exposing it to harsh bristles on the rollers you see in many car washes,” he says. “Vinyl can lift, peel, and fail.”
If you’re not happy with the wraps you’re performing, it could be a lack of professional training. Miller recommends professional training courses, which are offered by 3M and Avery. “Ours is a 3M-certified company,” he says.
“That really does help a newer installer know all the tricks and tips of doing it. Getting a certification, and not just one but several, shows you are a true professional and take the job seriously.”