How to keep your car wrap looking fresh for as long as possible

How to keep your car wrap looking fresh for as long as possible

Your car rolled out of the garage looking sleek, fresh, and clean. But how long will it stay that way? That depends on how well you take care of your car wrap investment. Read on for tips from the pros to keep your car – and the wrap that gives it a unique look – looking brand new!

Step One: Get a Top-Quality Car Wrap – the First Time!

Taking care of your car wrap starts before you even drop your ride off at the garage! Quality car wraps last a long time without fading, bubbling, peeling, or stretching. When you’re making an investment like a whole-car wrap or even a windshield application, don’t skimp on the front end! You’ll end up spending even more money to have the original work removed and a quality wrap re-applied.


Trust your car to an experienced and reputable shop – like Gametime Wraps! Our team has designed and applied hundreds of thousands of square feet of vinyl wraps in stadiums, on corporate fleets, and on individual vehicles. Taking care of your car wrap starts with getting a car wrap worth taking care of!

Step Two: Wash Regularly – By Hand if Possible

The best way to keep your wrap looking fresh and clean is to hand wash your vehicle at least every other week – or more often if it’s frequently exposed to dirt and other pollutants. We don’t recommend using wax products on your matte or textured car wraps. Use a manufacturer suggested car wash solution for your wrapped car, such as 3M Car Wash Soap 39000. 


Keep your car clean between washes by immediately wiping and rinsing any spilled fuel to prevent deterioration of the wrap and by treating difficult contaminants – like interstate bug splatter – with a hot soapy soak and rinse. Avoid abrasive brushes and scrubbing tools, as these can cause fading and other issues with your car’s wrap. Spot clean difficult contaminants as soon as possible to keep your car stain-free!

Automated Car Washes

Ok – hand wash – got it! But what if you just need a quick run-through wash and rinse? Automated car washes can be OK for your wrapped car, as long as they’re touchless car washes. You shouldn’t trust the brushes and abrasives in traditional car washes and should always ensure you’re running your car through a brushless car wash. 

Pressure Washers

If you wash with a pressure washer, make sure:


  • Water pressure is set no higher than 2,000 psi
  • Water temperature is below 180 degrees
  • Spray nozzle is set to a 40-degree wide angle
  • Spray nozzle is at least 1 foot away from and perpendicular to the graphic wrap

Wax and Finishes

You should never use any abrasive or cutting texture on your wrapped car, and you should never use any polishing or wax products on a matte or textured car wrap. If you do wax your car, remove any wax or wax residue on the surface of your wrap with an all-purpose cleaner. Manufacturers recommend testing and approving any wax or shine products on an inconspicuous area before using the product on your whole car.


3M, the top choice in vehicle and vinyl graphic wraps, recommends using 3M Perfect-It Show Car Paste Wax 29526 on smooth gloss textures, a 2:1 ratio of Isopropyl alcohol and water on matte or sating textures, 3M Tire Restorer or Meguiar’s Natural Shine Protectant on carbon fiber or brushed metal textures, and Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer on carbon fiber black (1080-CF12) textures. For matte white and carbon fiber white (1080-M10 and 1080-CF10, respectively), they recommend using hot, soapy water; isopropyl alcohol and water (2:1 ratio); Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner; household chlorine bleach followed by an isopropyl alcohol/water solution; or mineral spirits followed by an isopropyl alcohol and water solution.

Step Three: Keep it Covered

Whenever possible, make sure your car wrap is UV-treated to prevent fading from sun exposure and pollutants. Even when you do have a treated wrap, keep your car under cover whenever possible. Store your car in a garage or at least in a shaded area during the day. Protect against dew and rain at night, which may contain acidic pollutants, by using a cloth car cover.

Repairing Your Car Wrap

If your graphics begin to discolor or turn brown, they need to be immediately removed from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint. In general, any damage or discoloration of the graphics can be repaired by a trusted partner.

Come to Gametime Wraps for a Long-Lasting Car Wrap

Whether you have a car wrap already or are considering a car wrap in the near future, contact us for a design consultation. We can get your car wrapped, windshield covered, or other graphics installed on your car in no time – and help you keep them looking sharp for the long haul!