Continuity can be monotonous many times. Your neighbor has the same car as you and, on top of that, it is the same color; you are circulating around the city, and you find many models painted in the same color as yours; You chose the wrong color or you had no other option when buying your car. If you want to stand out a bit from the crowd, give your vehicle a personal touch or simply change its color, covering it with vinyl can be an alternative .
A vinyl wrap is a great way to give your travel companion a fresher look without having to undergo a potentially expensive paint job. Although, like the latter, failure to apply the vinyl correctly could lead to poor results. Doing things well takes time, patience and skill . It can be done by a professional, or you can do it yourself if you meet the requirements.
Choose which vinyl to buy
There are two types of vinyl, calendered and cast . The former is somewhat thicker and stickier than cast. Its quality is one step below and it is more difficult to mold, more recommended for less demanding situations. In contrast, cast vinyl is more flexible and easier to handle on more delicate surfaces, such as the edges of body parts and its sharper curves.
As our mothers and grandmothers used to say, better than missing. Don’t buy just enough to cover the car. Buy a few meters more in case the flies that, like a mobile screen protector, don’t always fit well the first time. When you are going to unfold the vinyl, do it on a smooth and clean surface . A glass, aluminum or corrugated plastic. Any wooden surface is highly recommended to make our purchase useless.
The vinyl of a car can exceed 1,500 euros in a workshop
The price for the square meter of vinyl can be around 25-50 euros (depends on the quality). Keep in mind that if this is your first time, you don’t need to foolishly complicate your life. Try not to start with a chrome vinyl, because it is not only the most expensive, but also the most difficult to apply. If you like matte paint, you have to know that its lifespan is shorter and any scratches, bumps and mere dirt like bird feces will be much more difficult to hide.
What should I consider before installing vinyl in the car?
Sweep, scrub, mop and test the cotton so that the entire area around the vinyl is well cleaned. This material tends to attract dust . If some dirty particles stick to the vinyl, assume that they will also remain next to your car when applied. Needless to say, make sure you have enough room to comfortably unroll the vinyl cylinder and be able to handle it without colliding with anything.
If you have a cleaner to leave the body untouched, use it. If you don’t have it, it’s not a bad idea to buy it. Like our workplace, the car must be impeccable. To avoid the lint that most rags tend to release, polish the surface with a microfiber cloth and wait until it is completely dry. Dirt and moisture get along badly with vinyl adhesive, and so does waxing.
Measure the length of the surface you want to cover. To avoid having to go for a meter, pen and paper, you can do the following: place a strip of bodybuilder tape from end to end, both longitudinally and transversely. The cross on the chosen piece must protrude several centimeters (5 cm and up) on both sides. Take the vinyl roll and spread it out. Remove the tape from the body, align it with the vinyl and cut as straight as possible.
How to install vinyl on the car?
Remove the protective lining from the adhesive part and place the piece that you have cut, approximately, in the center of the area that you are wrapping. It is important to make sure that the surface is completely covered, without showing the edges . You will notice that it begins to stick, but do not worry, it will not do so permanently until the necessary heat is applied to seal it. Before this step, you can remove and apply the vinyl as you wish.
Two heads are better than one, and four hands better than two. If you don’t want continued frustration with how delicate it is to handle vinyl, having a friend at that time is much more practical, especially on those large surfaces such as the hood or roof. Each hold the ends of the vinyl segment and stretch, like a sheet. This will help remove most wrinkles from the middle area.
With the help of a spatula, which can be plastic (allow greater pressure to be exerted), felt (softer and better in the most irregular sections) or mixed, smooth the surface from the inside out to expel air bubbles. If you see that in the most curved areas the vinyl is ending your patience, don’t worry. Lift, reposition, and smooth as many times as necessary.
With patience, persistence and a little heat, he ends up going out. With a powerful hair dryer of those that burn your head if you do not press the cool button, you can spray a little of that air on the most bloody areas to make it more malleable. Don’t apply too much either, because it will end up sticking. Of course, having a heat gun is much more recommended if we want to gain in comfort, efficiency and effectiveness.
The remaining edges remain. Soften them with the heat gun and do the same process as before to remove wrinkles before setting them completely. When you have done this, cut the excess vinyl with a knife (a cutter) . Also do not get excited when cutting, leave between one and two centimeters. The vinyl wrap will shrink when we heat it up in the final process and the glue starts to work.
Now it’s time to secure the vinyl fixing with a heat gun. Once you see everything right and correct, heat the parts you’ve coated. You will not be able to go back and change it once you have done it because the adhesive is fully activated, so you must be sure that you like the finish. Although it depends on the selected vinyl, the normal thing is to heat it to a temperature between 90 and 120 degrees Celsius , and not approach it with the gun less than 15 cm.
And we come to the last step, celebrate it. It has been a tedious job completely focused on the details. Sit down, open yourself a cool beer and enjoy a job well done. If so, the wrapping will not harm the paint it protects and can last you up to a decade. To be able to enjoy it once the process is finished, in 24 hours you will have it ready and finished .
- Test the flexibility and ability of the vinyl to be stretched and heated before applying it to the car to get an idea of its limitations.
- Do not place the vinyl on rough, dirty or wet surfaces.
- Remove all those pieces that you don’t want to cover with vinyl, such as rear-view mirrors or car badges.
- Try not to stretch or touch the vinyl too much. An excessive handling of it is one of the most common causes of not being able to place it well.
- Apply a little heat to the most concave surfaces, such as bumpers or wheel arches.