How to Repair Damaged Vinyl Wraps
Vinyl wraps can give you unparalleled performance and style but, like
everything else, they can be scarped, damaged and torn. If you've got an area on
your vehicle's wrap that has been ripped or torn and there is no significant
body damage that you can't just bondo up, you may want to patch the wrap until
it's time to rewrap your ride altogether. Now, if you're a vinyl wrap purist or
just a perfectionist in general, this quick and dirty vinyl wrap patch isn't for
you. But, if you're cost-conscious and want to extend the life of your wrap then
Quick and Dirty Vinyl Wrap Repair
If you've decided to go the patch and repair route you'll first want to
assess the damage and determine if it's even a possibility. The following three
questions will help you to determine if you can repair your wrap or if you need
to have it replaced altogether:
- How extensive is the damage?
- How large of an area do you need to patch?
- Is the damage in a central location?
If the damage to your vehicle is enough to necessitate body work or the
replacement of panels, doors or other components of your vehicle it's safe to
assume your vinyl wrap is going to need to replaced too.
The next question asks you how large of an area you will have to patch. In
our opinion, anything larger than one foot in length and four inches in height
will require a replacement. This doesn't mean you can't still follow the steps
below but it does mean it may be much more noticeable.
Finally, where is the damage? If the wrap you need to repair is located
somewhere highly visible like the center of your hood or door panel this
technique is not for you. If, however, the damaged vinyl is located near a
crease of corner or to the periphery then you're in luck.
Vinyl Wrap Repair Supplies
In order to fix your damaged vinyl you'll need the following recommended
supplies and tools:
- A sheet of the vinyl you originally used to wrap your vehicle
- An Olfa-style Exacto knife
- Heat gun
- Microfiber towel
- Sanding block
2500 grit sandpaper
- Spray bottle (optional)
- Seal-It Pen
Step 1: Clean and Prepare
Using a mix of water and dish soap or, better yet, Rapid Prep clean the area with a microfiber towel.
Be sure to remove any debris, wax, and grease from your car before doing any type of body work.
In fact, check our FAQ on how to
clean your ride for wraps.
Once the area is clean and dry, use wet 2500 grit sandpaper with a sanding block to remove the
shredded vinyl and level the gouge. Apply light pressure on the block and sand horizontally, making sure to keep the area and sandpaper wet.
Some gouges and deep scratches may need a lower grit sandpaper and may even need
to be filled with bondo so please be aware of this and prepare accordingly.
Clean the area again and dry with a microfiber towel.
If any of the vinyl surrounded the damage has lifted carefully trim it away.
Finally, use a Seal-It Pen to
seal the edges and prevent any moisture from getting under the fill.
Step 2: Cut & Apply the Vinyl Patch
Measure and cut the vinyl needed for the patch. Remove the backing from a
corner and squeegee the film on while slowly pulling the liner out. This ensures
that dirt and dust doesn't get under the film. Work your way up and down, making sure to remove any air bubbles.
Step 3: Apply Heat and Squeegee
Use the heat gun to make the vinyl easier to stretch being careful not to
over-stretch the film. Use a heat gun to help stretch the vinyl while applying
with squeegee around curves and into creases.
Patched gouge with vinyl wrap
Step 4: Cut Away Excess Vinyl
Cut away excess vinyl wrap with your razor blade.
Step 5: Seal Edges and Enjoy
Use a sealant like a Seal-It Pen or 3M™ 8914 sealing tape to ensure your
patch stays down and no dirt, dust or moisture gets under the film.
We think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how good your repair job will look
if you follow the instructions above. Give yourself between 45 minutes to 1 hour
to complete the job and, when you're done, we'd love to see the results so be
sure to send in your pics.