The following FAQ will address many common questions consumers may have about Vinyl Wraps as well as give a brief overview of their history, origins and use today.
A Brief History of Vinyl Vehicle Wraps
According to industry lore, the history of vinyl wraps as a substitute for paint began in 1993 in Germany when vinyl manufacturer KPMF was asked to produce a film that could be used on a large scale basis in place of painting. Before this time all taxi companies were required by law to paint their fleets in a government mandated, drab beige color. KPMF was able to provide a low-cost alternative to painting which was desirable because it allowed taxi companies to update a fleet of vehicles and bring them into compliance with German law and helped to maintain their resale value. In the past, when German taxis were sold they were often heavily discounted or had to be completely repainted in order to win the sale. With the use of vinyl vehicle wraps there was no need to repaint them or discount them as the vinyl could be removed without damaging the paint underneath.
The wrapping of German taxis was just the beginning for the use of vinyl wraps where paint was historically used. As technology improved companies such as 3M and Oracal pioneered the use of air-channel technology which allow for bubble-free installation of wraps on curved surfaces. This, more than anything else, opened the flood gates for the use of vinyl wraps in an ever increasing number of interior and exterior automotive applications. As the technology further improved, the colors and finishes of vinyl wrap films expanded into high-gloss, matte, printable and even color-change vinyl wrap films.
Another modern technique used to create Vinyl Wraps and tints is the process of plasti-dipping. Plasti-dip is a flexible, rubberized and protective foam coating which was first created in 1972. Originally intended as a surface protect ant and to add a graspable surface to items in the house it soon began to used as a way to give vehicles the popular matte or satin look. The Plasti-Dip Smoke spray is most commonly used to tint headlights and may be semi-permanent according to user reports about eventual peeling of the product.
What are Vinyl Wraps?
Vinyl wraps are intended to either reduce the light output of a vehicle's headlamps or simply change their appearance in the case of headlight tint. Covers were originally devised for wartime use in coastal cities in the US and were made from steel, tin and aluminum with downward facing grates to limit light during blackouts and brownouts. In addition, to these types of covers thermoplastic, urethane films generally applied to the painted surfaces of a new or used car in order to protect the paint from stone chips, bug hits, minor abrasions and UV damage. It does not affect appearance or aerodynamics, being virtually invisible from just a few feet away and with minimal maintenance the film will last many years, keeping your paint protected while looking great. The film is also used on airplanes, RV's, cell phones, electronics, screens, motorcycles and in a growing number of applications.
What are the Benefits of Vinyl Wraps?
Wraps do not reduce the resale value of your car like a paint job does.
Vinyl car wraps protect your OEM paint and are 100% removable.
Warranties and/or lease agreements remain valid. Painting can void warranties, increase the cost of insurance, and is not even an option with a lease.
Cost for a vinyl vehicle wrap is considerably less than a comparable paint job. Vinyl car wraps wear as well as paint when properly maintained.
The vinyl can take a beating and protect the paint underneath.
Vinyl car wraps come in any color, even custom, and can have a matte, semi-gloss, gloss, brushed steel, carbon fiber, metallic flake, matte metallic, chrome and even leather-like finishes.
Expensive, color-matching paint fees are unnecessary for scratches or accident vehicles; just re-wrap the section that needs repair.
Affordably customize parts of your car. You do not have to wrap your entire car; just your hood, roof, mirrors, stripes, etc.
Matte-paint jobs can be brittle and chip easily while vinyls are more durable and harder to scratch.
In the event that repairs are needed, the part that was damaged can be easily replaced, providing a perfect match.
Hides dings or scratches and refreshes the look of your vehicle.
Can vinyl wraps be removed?
Yes, vinyl wraps can be removed without causing damage. In fact, this is one of their major advantages over painting or Plasti-dip.
Can I pressure wash my vehicle after the vinyl is installed?
We highly recommend that you do not pressure wash your vehicle after installation of the vinyl. Some pressure washers can potentially lift up the vinyl because of improper use of the water pressure. The wrap is an investment and should be protected.
Do I have to wash my vehicle before installation?
Yes. All vehicles have to be free of dust, mud, pollen, and other agents that may interfere with adhesion or cause bubbling to occur after installation.
What is the difference between an uncut vinyl wraps film and a pre-cut kit?
Uncut film is available in a variety of widths and lengths and, depending on the manufacturer, can range from 3 mil in thickness to up to 15 mil. Professional or DIY installers can use uncut film to wrap and protect headlights for which pre-cut kits are not available.
Can the Vinyl Wraps film be installed on plastic or ABS plastics?
Yes. Vinyl Wraps are made made from premium vinyl films and can be applied to plastic or polycarbonates.
Can Vinyl Wraps kits or film be removed and reapplied?
At the time of writing, Rtint Midnight Static Cling Vinyl Wraps can be removed and reapplied as many times as desired. All other wraps may be removed without causing damage to your vehicle but cannot be reapplied.