How to: Vehicle Graphic Maintenance
You carefully designed and selected the perfect car decal and had it professionally applied. You’ve received compliments from current clients and additional calls from people who saw you around town. So how do you keep your graphic looking its best for years to come? Read on to find out the best tips and tricks for vehicle graphic maintenance.
- Use a hose at low pressure to rinse the graphic.
- Wash the graphic with mild car wash detergent and clean water. It’s recommended to wash the decal area first if you are hand-washing a vehicle to avoid dirt and debris in the bucket. Be sure to rinse completely.
- Let the vehicle air dry or use a clean microfiber cloth to remove moisture. Do not use a dirty terry cloth towel as it might cause scratches.
- If a difficult substance such as wax or tar is stuck to the graphic, spot clean it with Isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber rag. A citrus-based cleaner may also work but be certain to rinse the area immediately after cleaning.
- If fuel is splashed on the graphic, remove it immediately to prevent damage to the vinyl.
- For added protection you may apply a silicone or Teflon-based polish designed for vinyl vehicle graphics after cleaning.
- When using any cleaning or wax product, be sure to read the warning labels and use instructions before applying to the decal. Test the product on a small area before using it across the entire graphic.
- Avoid pressure washing. Besides the possibility of actually removing the decal, pressure washing can wear down the face film of the graphic, speeding up fading and cracking.
- Choose coin operated spray carwashes or hand washing over automated car washes. Automated washes use forceful jet sprays and powerful solvents, and there is often dirt in the brushes. All of these factors can contribute to decal decay.
- Do not use canuba-based waxes on vinyl decals.
Do not use an ice-scraper on a window with a decal, especially one with perforated window film. The sharp edge will cause tears and scratches.