Vinyl Car Care: All You Need to Know

Getting a vinyl vehicle wrap or a custom graphic is a fantastic way to spruce up your ride or take your advertising everywhere you go on the road. After you get a custom graphic applied by Sound FX, it’s essential to know all the basics of vinyl car care to keep it in pristine condition. There are three types of vinyl car care finishes: gloss, satin, and matte. Depending on the vinyl’s finish type, the aftercare will vary. That’s why we’re always here to help you navigate the process and keep your vinyl finish looking nothing short of supreme. Looking to vamp up your vehicle or show off your sweet business logo? Contact Sound FX to get started on your vinyl graphic installation!

Vinyl After Care

Vinyl Finish Types

GLOSS:  Vinyl car care for a gloss finish will include a few steps. To clean a glossy finish vinyl, you should do the following:

  • Use a wet, non-abrasive solution
  • The solution should contain ZERO solvents or Alcohol
  • It should have a pH value between 3 – 11
  • Recommended cleaning products from 3M include Croftgate Wrap Care, Turtle Wax Ice, and Rapid Clear Vinyl Polish

SATIN OR MATTE: Satin and matte vinyl finishes are made from a glossy finish. If you do not properly perform the necessary vinyl car care to a satin or matte finish, it could return to its original, glossy state. To avoid that happening, we suggest:

  • Do NOT use any harsh chemicals or brushes when cleaning your vinyl
  • Refrain from applying any waxes, polishes, or clear coats
  • Matte or satin vinyl finish cleaners can be purchased online or at your local AutoZone

ALL FINISHES:  Wash thoroughly from the top down and avoid excessive scrubbing. If contaminants are not removed after normal cleaning, we recommend trying 3M citrus-based cleaner or 3M marine mildew stain remover on a customer test-and-approve basis.

Standard Vinyl Maintenance

Knowing the basics of vinyl car care all boils down to the type of finish you get for your vehicle. However, there are rules that apply to all vinyl finishes, no matter if it is matte, glossy, or satin. When it comes to vinyl car care, you always want to avoid excessive or harsh scrubbing. To remove tricky stains, we suggest using a 3M citrus-based cleanser or a 3M marine mildew stain remover. Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding vinyl car care:

Car Washes: You can run your vehicle through the car wash, but it’s important to note that the brushes can potentially loosen the edges of your vinyl graphic over time. You also run the risk of dulling the graphic and causing premature damage and fading. Any damage from car washes voids any warranties.

Power Washing: Can be used to clean your vehicle, but note that aggressive power washing can damage vinyl graphics. Any damage from power washing voids any warranties.

Hand Washing: If you want to take your vinyl car care seriously, washing your vehicle by hand is your best bet. Gently pre-rinsing, mildly washing, rinsing, and air drying your vinyl vehicle is the least abrasive way to clean your car.

Parking: Rotating your parking spot can greatly help reduce premature sun fading. Routinely switch off where you park to keep your Sound FX GrafX intact!

Interior Graphics Care

  • Use mild liquid detergent and water solution and wash the graphic with a soft brush, rag, or sponge.
  • Wipe the graphic with a water-soaked sponge to wash away the detergent.
  • Dry the graphic with a clean towel.

Graphic Damage: When to Repair vs. Replace

  • Make contact with our team immediately, after damage is noticed. This allows us to have a better chance in repairing the panel and not replacing.
  • Once the graphics have been exposed to the elements, it is not possible to repair it to its original state. Sometimes graphic damage can be repaired, but visible differences will most likely occur. Repairs are not warrantied.
  • Depending on the location and extent of the damage, we can strategize our options in order to repair, patch, or replace.
  • Per 3M it is recommended to replace the total panel or full wrap dependent upon extent and location of damage.

Let’s Get Started!

Whether you’ve just installed your vinyl graphic or are interested in getting one for your vehicle, we’re happy to help you. Still have lingering questions or concerns about vinyl car care that we didn’t cover? Contact us today, and our experts will get back to you!