Vinyl media has evolved over the last 20 years to solve many problems for installers & distributors however the one weakness that still remains are UV rays. Water, humidity, oxygen, and all types of light will affect your wrap in some fashion, whether it be shrinkage, expansion, or discoloration. But beyond all of these factors, ultraviolet rays have the most profound effect on your vinyl wrap. There are means to extend your wrap through optically clear laminates or using spray-on waxes or protectants however your wrap is going to go bad with continued exposure to the sun.
What Can You Do
This depends on how severe your graphics are deteriorating and thus becoming brittle. Whenever our company receives a vehicle, we have an order of methodologies we employ to remove these graphics, starting with heat.
If you’re fortunate to remove these graphics on a hot day, leave your car in the sun for at least 45 minutes if temperatures are above 70 Fahrenheit, the heat from the sun will soften the vinyl’s glue and will assist in taking off these graphics in larger pieces. If this is not remedying your problem, then you need to try using a heat gun.
Heat guns work great for removing graphics however there are still limits to what heat can accomplish. We recommend first trying a heat gun on low about 6-8 inches away and test areas of the vinyl to see if they have softened enough to be removed. If low heat does not work, try using the high setting but make sure you do not burn your clear coat in the process. There comes a point when you realize whether or not this is working or if you need to employ chemical treatment.
Steaming Your Graphics
Wallpaper steamers work very well to soften the film’s adhesive and slightly restore elasticity to the vinyl film.
Note: Consult a professional before moving on to these next steps.
Chemical treatments such as Crystaltek’s Vinyl off can restore the elasticity of the vinyl film by penetrating the adhesive. Before you spray this treatment on, test an inconspicuous area on the vehicle for dwell time and heat the area for best results. Your test area will let you know if this spray will aid in removing the graphics or not–make sure you pay attention to dwell time so you don’t have the chemical sit longer than they should. If this treatment is still not working for your wrap, then the only option that we would recommend is using a rubber wheel.
Motorized Rotary Rubber Wheels
If all other methods have been exhausted, we would recommend the MBX vinyl zapper as your last option. There are many rotary wheels on the market, but the MBX vinyl zapper produces consistent results with minimum damage to paint and clear coats. The manufacturer states that this tool can remove 50 sq/ft an hour however that has not been the case in our usage, actual results are around 10 – 20 sq/ft an hour in order to completely remove the graphic’s residue. The vinyl zapper retails for about $450.00 but if you’re serious about your graphics, this device is a godsend.