You love your ride. It’s your all-time favorite vehicle. You baby it — nothing but the best for her… or him. Maintenance is completed ahead of schedule, and although it’s spotless, it’s never been through a car wash. Only hand washing is good enough. You’ve been thinking about vehicle graphics, but aren’t sure. You wonder — will vehicle graphics removal damage my paint on my car or truck?

It’s possible, but not likely. In the past, when compliant adhesive vinyls weren’t available, it was more likely the surface could be damaged during removal. Done properly, it’s much less likely with today’s standards, and here’s what you should consider:

How long will it be on the vehicle?

The longer the wrap remains on the vehicle, the more chance of paint or substrate damage. If it’s left on longer than recommended by the manufacturer, it may be difficult to remove, which could lead to surface damage.

FAQ: Will Vehicle Graphics Removal Damage My Paint?
photo credit: Dru! via photopin cc

How is it being removed?

There’s a right way and a wrong way to remove vehicle graphics. Here’s the right way.

What’s the substrate?

Vehicles aren’t all steel. They’re made of plastic, fiberglass, aluminum, and glass, and each surface may react differently to adhesive vinyls. The condition of the surface and paint should also be considered. If there are doubts about their condition, a snap test is recommended. According to 3M, “This test can be used to help determine if a substrate appears to have sufficient integrity to remain intact during eventual graphic removal.”

What type of paint is on the vehicle?

Paint applied at the factory is seldom a problem, unless it’s older, faded, and worn, but aftermarket paint may be a different story. The paint can be tested by applying a small piece of adhesive vinyl to an unexposed area and removing it after a few days.

Is it a full wrap or partial?

After a few years, the exposed areas of a partial wrap may fade, no longer matching the paint covered by the graphics.

If the paint and surface are in good condition, and the right material and proper removal techniques are used, the surface will be undamaged at removal and it will have been protected. If you’d like to know if your vehicle is graphics-ready, we’d be happy to advise you. Contact us here.

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