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  • Cleaning and preparing for a vehicle wrap, what do you do?

  • Dan Evans

    October 1, 2021 at 9:11 am

    Morning everyone

    I know this has been covered many times but thought I would ask what you’re all currently using to clean the vehicle before wrapping.

    I seem to spend a long time cleaning especially around the sills bottoms of the doors, the corner of the bumper behind the rear wheel, the front door section behind the front wheel etc All the build up of traffic film, tar, bugs etc and although my cleaner works, surely there must be something better? I still tend to use IPA for the final prep, i’m talking more about the pre clean.

    How long does it take you to clean a vehicle ready for wrapping excluding the roof, i.e. a ford transit custom?

    Does anyone use a clay bar?

    I always ask for the vehicle to be clean before hand but lets face it, they’re not to our standard.

    I had to strip some graphics off yesterday on a Ford Custom and apply the new graphics. I originally fitted the graphics so I know I used Image perfect IP5700, my god that stuff is horrible to take off. I flood coated the recess panel and pretty much the whole recess had glue residue left behind. I also had to remove some printed graphics from the rear quarter and not one inch of glue. I’m now thinking, I’ll print everything from now on.

    I can’t remember what glue remover I used but either way. I won’t be buying it again.

  • Pane Talev

    October 1, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Green, to clean before applying vinyl.

    Blue, to remove glue.

  • Simon Worrall

    October 2, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Cleaning. This is a large proportion of the job, if you are doing it right. And probably the most important aspect when wrapping vehicles. An average van takes about 3-4 hours to clean properly.
    I do it in three stages as follows:

    1. Water/detergent/hose pipe. For everything water-based. Mud, bird droppings, dust, all that. I use a large pump up garden sprayer

    2. Prepsol (I think its called wax and grease remover in the UK). For everything oil based. Tar, glue residue, wax, grease, etc. I just pour it over the cloth, and use plenty.

    3. Isopropyl alcohol. For everything else, a final clean just before applying the vinyl. I use a spray bottle for this.

    I buy the cloths as “bags of rags” from the salvation army shop, old cotton sheets are the best. I cut them into 1 foot squares, and chuck them away after a few minutes use. These are used for stages 1 and 2.

    For stage 3, I use the expensive yellow or blue 3M Microfibre cloths, which I wash in the washing machine and reuse after a single use. They dont drop lint, and are very absorbent.

  • Pane Talev

    October 4, 2021 at 9:08 am

  • Robert Lambie

    October 5, 2021 at 12:43 am

    The tools, cleaners etc are all important, as is your cleaning process. But the time required differs from vehicle to vehicle.
    Cleaning is just one part of disassembly and prepping.
    You can wash down the car very thorough with soap and water, pressure wash etc. but then once you remove those vehicle parts like wing mirrors, spoilers, lights and more, you really are starting the cleaning process again. Because all the hidden crap is now exposed, its wet and gunky. you clean it, but then need to clean the parts you have already done!
    then repeat with chemicals and more. now use clay-bar and again, clean some more!

    think carefully, how long to strip the car down, “comfortably”. allow for hidden surprises and then the cleaning process time. depending on the car size, 4-5 hours is not unrealistic.
    So you have just killed half a day and you haven’t even started applying the vinyl!

    Wraps are mostly quoted as “completed in a day!” by those that are desperate or inexperienced.
    If you can easily wrap a car in a day, great! but the dismantling and cleaning needs included too. so your now up “one and a half days!”

    As you realistically go through the process step by step, the time gets longer and longer.
    It is not because you are slow or a bad fitter, its the process that needs to be followed by the book, but because the wrap industry is so badly devalued by what to charge and the time it has to be done in. people want a rock bottom price and completed in the same day. it just doesn’t work like that!
    Yannimize on TV, I would say, has done more damage than good by the staged wrapping scenario they portray! (my gripe is not with him, who wouldn’t want to be in his shoes) but his Show is equivalent to the TV show E.R. in comparison to what really happens in a major hospital on a Saturday night! 🤔🤣


    Day One:
    Dismantle, clean and prep the vehicle and surrounding area of dirt, grime etc.
    Not only that, but the vehicles metal surface of the bodywork must also come up to the ambient room temperature. so having it sat in the workshop overnight is the best way to do this naturally.

    Day two:
    You have a fully tripped and prepped car to work on.
    Damaged vinyl, or ran short? order some for the next day.

    Day Three:
    Anything not completed, you still have plenty of time!
    If the car was completed on day two, great! now look over the vehicle for signs of fails occurring, like vinyl pulling from recesses and more. (you still have time to fix or replace)
    If the vehicle is perfect and all done on day two?
    you now reassemble it and get everything back on as it should.
    Polish the newly wrapped vehicle and wait for the customer to pick it up!

    from a sales point, If you ask for £1600+ for a colour changed car and tell the customer he will get it back at the end of the day! he will think its over priced. but ask him for £1600 and tell him you will be working on it for three full days, then he thinks he is getting a deal!

    • David Hammond

      October 5, 2021 at 9:00 am

      Or let him go and get it wrapped for £1000, and concentrate on the commercial work you can knock out the door in half a day, without the hassle of strip downs, deep cleaning, the expense of wrap films, and an almost 0% chance of failure/return. 😛

      When you’ve done the £350 van, pick up the phone and follow up on your quotes, proofs that are outstanding etc. 👍

      We knocked out 3 vans in a day for one customer, £1000 for all 3 – £64.00 in vinyl.

      It doesn’t happen every week granted, but I’d much rather be doing that kind of work than faffing around wrapping.

  • Peter Cassidy

    October 9, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    Good question Dan. 👍

    I am reading this with interest and some very valid points made that have me thinking.
    I have always thought asking for a third day would be out of the question, but you are right Rob.

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