April 9, 2020
Does Heat Affect Car Wraps?
It’s starting to warm up (finally!) in North Little Rock.
But these gorgeous spring days will quickly give way to those steamy, blazing Arkansas summer days and a lot of our customers are asking us, “How does heat affect car wraps?”
During the installation of a car wrap, GameTime Wraps uses heat to help the vinyl conform to the curves of the vehicle we are wrapping. Because the vinyl is heat sensitive (otherwise it would never stick to the car), hot summer weather and harsh, direct sunlight can cause ultraviolet (UV) damage and cause them to warp or fade a little. But we have a few maintenance tips for you to keep your wrap looking great and extend its life well past summertime.
Better to read up now and be prepared – we all know how quickly spring can turn to summer around here!
How does heat affect car wraps?
Over time, direct exposure to the sun, and the UV rays it emits, can cause your car wrap to fade. You may think, “No problem! I’ll store it out of the sun!”, and you’re definitely on the right track! But you have to be careful of how you store a vinyl wrapped car in hot weather. If you store your car in a storage container or any other kind of enclosed space that gets very hot, your wrap may distort, shrink, expand and peel, or the adhesive may melt and loosen the vinyl.
But don’t lose heart! Even though extreme heat and direct exposure can shorten the lifespan of your wrap, we have several easy tips for protecting your wrap during harsh high temperatures.
Tips For Protecting Your Car Wrap From the Heat
Park Your Car Out Of Direct Sunlight
The easiest way to avoid fading and other sun damage is to park your vinyl wrapped car in a garage or under a covered carport. Garages are usually built out of stone or concrete which block sunlight and act as insulators, helping to cool down the covered area. Car parks block the harshest overhead light and even if they’re metal, the sides are open, allowing the area to breathe and be cooled by air circulation.
As we mentioned above – do not park your car in an enclosed space exposed to the heat – especially if it’s made of metal. This ends up being more like an oven and can result in a melted, bubbly, peeling mess.
If you don’t have access to a garage or covered carport, you can also park in a shaded area under a tree or alongside your house. If this isn’t an option for you either, consider parking your car in the opposite direction ever so often and regularly switch back and forth. This slows down the fading a little by making sure one side of the car isn’t always exposed to the harshest light. And if it does fade, at least it will fade uniformly and not be so noticeable.
Another excellent option is a car cover. It can be a pain to put it on and take it off every time you enter or exit the vehicle, but it is excellent protection from the UV rays and it keeps your car free of leaves, twigs, and bird droppings as well!
Use Wrap-Safe Waxes As A Sunscreen
Just like you change color when you go out into the sun without sunscreen, so does your car. And like your skin, you can use UV blockers as a sort of “sunscreen” to protect your car wrap from damaging rays!
Note: Please do not use actual sunscreen on your car. It will not work and it will be terrible to clean off.
There are several brands of polishes and waxes that offer UV protection. Any layer of protection you can add between your vinyl wrap and the sun will extend its life and end up costing you less money in the long run. Just make sure that the brand specifies “safe for vinyl” or “safe for car wraps” as well as touting UV protection. You don’t want to accidentally ruin your wrap with an incompatible product.
If your car would talk it would be begging for a cold splash of water – just like anyone else in an Arkansas August! But even though keeping the vinyl cold is good for your wrap, try to schedule your washes wisely.
If you need to wash your car during the summer months (and of course, you will) avoid doing it in the midday heat. This is when your vinyl is most vulnerable to tears and a sudden change in extreme temperatures can cause warping. Opt instead for early morning or evening hours when the sun is less harsh and your car isn’t fry-an-egg-on-it hot.
And as on any other day, don’t scrub your wrap too hard as it could lead to tearing or stretching – much more likely in the summer when it’s already a little warm and melty.
We know this may seem a little disheartening but don’t panic! Summertime does not mean your car wrap is doomed to become a vinyl puddle on the sidewalk. It just means you need to take a little extra care. Park somewhere cool, wash in the mornings and avoid too much direct sunlight.
If you have any questions about caring for your car wrap, contact GameTime Wraps! We’re here to answer your questions and help you keep your wrap looking as good as possible for as long as possible.