Sunshine is great – unless it’s ruining your car! Did you know what happens when those glorious warm rays of sun start shining down on your brand new car wrap? The answer is not so pretty. Here’s how the sun can affect your car wrap.
With over $1.2 BILLION spent on car wrapping in the U.S. each year, if you’re one of those brand wrap investors, you’ll want to protect as best as you can.
Read on for a rundown on the impact of sun and heat on your car wrap, along with some helpful tips on how to protect your car wrap, as well!
Does The Sun Damage Vinyl Wrap?
Yes, the sun can damage vinyl car wraps. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause the vinyl to fade and crack. This is why it’s important to protect your car wrap from the sun with protective coating such as clearbra, or a ceramic coating.
If you live in a warm, sunny climate, ask your car wrap installer about options for protective coatings. For example, ceramic coating is a simple procedure that can be done at the time of installation. This will help to protect your car wrap from the sun’s rays.
Another aspect that will show you how sun can ruin car wraps – most car wrappers will warranty their wraps for 5 – 7 years in climates that aren’t too hot, like Chicago, New York, the Midwest and so on. But in states like New Mexico, Nevada, or Arizona, 3 – 5 years is a normal warranty. That’s because the constant beating of the sun on your car in a 100 degree Arizona summer will speed up the wear of your car wrap.
Do Car Wraps Last In the Sun?
Yes, car wraps do last for at least 5 years, even in the sun or extreme heat. However, they will not last as long as they would if they were protected from the sun’s harmful rays, or if you live in a more milder climate city. Sun exposure can cause the vinyl to fade and crack over time.
Typically, in our experience, a car wrap will last for about 5 – 7 years. But if your car is exposed to excess sunlight and heat, it may only last for about 3 years. Luckily, there are several things you can do to prolong the life of your car wrap. We’ll get to that further down this article!
Does Heat Affect Vinyl Wrap?
Yes, heat can also affect vinyl wraps. Heat can cause the adhesive on the vinyl to weaken, which could lead to peeling or lifting.
Additionally, when temperatures get too high, the vinyl can become soft and pliable. This can cause it to stretch and warp, which will ruin the wrap’s appearance.
Do Car Wraps Fade In Sun?
Yes, car wraps can fade in the sun. The sun’s rays tend to wash out the color vibrancy of the printed graphics. However, there are many factors that will affect how quickly the wrap will fade, such as the quality of the wrap and the type of ink used, and the coverage of the wrap.
For example, a small partial wrap (like decals) will not see such significant change in color as a full wrap will. That’s because your eye doesn’t see the difference as much in a smaller amount of coverage – you tend to focus on the actual messaging of the graphic.
Additionally, proper care and maintenance of the wrap can help to prolong its lifespan. For example, regularly washing the wrap and keeping it clean can help to prevent fading.
Understanding Ultraviolet Rays On Printed Car Graphics
What are ultraviolet (UV) rays anyway?
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation. They are invisible to the human eye but can be felt as extreme heat. UV rays are divided into three categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UVA rays make up 95 percent of the UV radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. UVA rays are the most harmful ultraviolet rays and are known for causing skin cancer. Thus, UV protection is important for people AND our vehicle wraps!
When exposed to UV rays over time, the inks and pigments used in printed graphics can actually start to break down, fade, and eventually they will lose their vibrancy. This can cause the colors to appear dull and washed out, and your graphics won’t have that POP you want on the road.
Will Window Tinting Protect My Vinyl Wrap?
Unfortunately, no. Window tinting can help protect your vehicle’s interior but it won’t do much to protect the exterior.
The same sun that can damage your vinyl wrap can be detrimental to fabrics and plastics inside your vehicle. Ultraviolet rays are the main cause of both fade and deterioration.
Window films can screen out 99% of the damaging UV rays that can fade colored fabrics and plastics. Heat and sunlight also play a part in fading, but using window film to block nearly 100% of UV rays will increase the life of your vehicle’s interior.
How The Sun Damages Car Paints And Plastics
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the paint and plastic on your car. The damage is most often seen as fading, chalking, or peeling.
Fading is when the color of the paint becomes duller. Chalking is when a white powder forms on the surface of the paint.
Peeling is when the paint starts to come off in flakes. The sun’s UV rays can also cause plastic parts on your car to become brittle and crack. This can happen with vinyl wraps, as well.
What Else Could Ruin My Car Wrap?
It’s not just heat and sun you need to worry about! There are a few other things that could potentially damage your car wrap.
If you drive your car through a car wash, the high pressure of the water and the spinning brushes can cause the vinyl to peel or bubble. It’s best to hand wash your wrapped car using soft cloths.
The number one reason we see car wraps bubble and peel is that they weren’t installed correctly in the first place. Always find an experienced car wrap installer to apply your car wrap to ensure the best, longest-lasting finish.
If your car paint was already faded, peeling, or chipping off due to sun exposure or other problems, it will impact your car wrap. The vinyl car wrap needs to adhere to your car surface. if that surface is broken or damaged, it reduces the likelihood of the vinyl bonding properly.
Dirt and Grime:
Other things that can damage your car wrap finish include bird droppings, tree sap, and mud. If your car wrap gets dirtied up, make sure you gently wash away the debris and add more protective coating.
How Do I Protect My Vinyl Wraps From The Sun?
There are a few things you can do to protect your vinyl wrap from the sun’s damaging rays. Eventually, use and exposure will impact your car wrap, but taking precautions can greatly extend the life of your car wrap and keep it looking great.
Apply A Protective Coating:
You can work with a car wrap company to have a protective ceramic coating installed over the wrap.
Ceramic coating is a protective layer that can be applied to the surface of a car wrap to protect it from the sun, and general damage. It will also make your graphics POP even more – ceramic coating adds a glossy, reflective finish.
Ceramic coatings are typically made of a liquid polymer that contains small particles of ceramic, which create a strong and durable protective layer when applied to the car wrap.
Additionally, if you simply want to protect the paint of your vehicle, you can have a car wrap company apply ClearBra.
ClearBra is a protective film that can be applied on the paint of the vehicle, to protect them from scratches, chips, and other types of damage. It is typically made of a clear, thermoplastic urethane material that is applied to the car using a pressure-sensitive adhesive. In very hot climates, you may need to repeat this annually as temperatures rise.
ClearBra is not applied over car wraps. To protect car wraps, you’ll want to go with a ceramic coating.
Store The Vehicle Indoors:
To protect your car wrap from heat, try to keep it out of the sun as much as possible. If you must drive in hot weather, make sure to park in the shade whenever possible.
If you can’t store your vehicle in a garage or covered space, use a car cover. Find one that’s easy to put on and off, so you can use it frequently throughout the day. Anything that creates a physical barrier between harmful UV rays and your vehicle wrap is helpful.
Bottom Line: Sun And Heat Can Ruin A Car Wrap If You Aren’t Careful
The reality is that heat and sun exposure can damage even a high-quality car wrap. Luckily, with a few simple precautions, you can protect your wrap and enjoy it for years to come!
We hope this blog post has answered all of your questions about car wraps and the sun. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We would be happy to help!