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A blog dedicated to custom commercial signage, vehicle wraps and graphics, and business signs of all kinds!

The Worst Paint Conditions for the Perfect Vehicle Wrap

Posted on June 02, 2016 | Posted by Kris Williamson

Here's a common scenario we see at our shop: A person isn't happy with the condition of the paint on their vehicle. A new paint job seems too expensive, and they've heard that a color change wrap is an option. They contact us to get an estimate, and we ask the normal questions about their vehicle - make, model, year, paint condition...STOP right there. A wrap won't work. Here's why.

The cast vinyl used for vehicle wraps will only adhere to paint that is in original (OEM) or like new/very good quality condition. Even if the problem area is small, installing a wrap over the damaged paint has the potential of creating more problems.

Most colors and finishes of wrap material will amplify the problem area. Since the vinyl is an extremely thin film, it just doesn't hide flaws. We've found that matte black film is the only vinyl option that can sometimes possibly maybe camouflage certain areas of bad paint. Our team of expert installers can let you know if matte black is an option to hide the paint issues on your vehicle.

Maserati with a matte black custom wrap. 12-Point SignWorks - Franklin, TN

Matte black vinyl can be an option. This vehicle did not have any flaws in the paint, but it offers an example of a high quality matte black custom wrap by 12-Point SignWorks.

Even if the vinyl will adhere to (or around) the problem area, the removal of the vinyl may cause the damaged and/or surrounding paint to pull off. Remember, vinyl wraps don't last forever, and they need to be removed at some point. Taking the vinyl off and bringing the paint with it is not good. Ever.

If you are looking at your vehicle, wondering if a wrap is the right choice for you, here are images of some paint conditions that won't work.

Paint Scratches

Paint scratch on a vehicle. 12-Point SignWorks - Franklin, TN

Scratches, chips and other defects in the paint will be magnified when the vinyl is installed. Removal of the vinyl also may cause the paint surrounding the damaged area to pull off.

'Orange Peel' Texture

The 'orange peel' effect on a vehicle. 12-Point SignWorks - Franklin, TN

Bad paint jobs with excess paint can cause an 'orange peel' effect that will not be hidden by a vinyl wrap. We recommend professional paint repair and proper cure time before a wrap should be applied to a vehicle. Even then, we cannot guarantee the condition of the paint once the wrap is removed.


Photo courtesy of Pinterest showing painted rust on a vehicle. 12-Point SignWorks - Franklin, TN

Ok, this is actually a paint job that looks like rust, but here's the deal: Wraps don't stick to rust.
(Photo courtesy of Pinterest.)

Peeling Clear Coat

Clear coat breakdown on a vehicle. 12-Point SignWorks - Franklin, TN

Clear coat failure is not a candidate for a vinyl wrap. The only option is new paint.

These images demonstrate the worst paint conditions that will keep you from getting a perfect vehicle wrap, but there are more situations that can prevent a wrap from looking it's best. If you are still unsure if your vehicle is a candidate for a smooth, sleek, 'gets mistaken as paint' wrap, leave it to the experts. We invite you to our shop at any time to see our facility, meet our team, view product samples, and let our experienced installers take a look at your vehicle with you. We can offer you the best advice on how to prep your car for a vehicle wrap.

Still have questions? Contact us at (615) 595-6764, or click on the link below. We are happy to work with you to recommend the best options for your vehicle transformation. We are pleased to serve the Middle Tennessee area, including Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro and Hendersonville.

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