At Ghost Shield, we take pride in being honest with our customers about what to expect out of vinyl wraps. We don’t want unhappy or disappointed customers coming back within a few months because the wrap has failed or has suffered environmental damages. We want our customers to be informed about what getting a colored vinyl wrap entails.
The Perfect Example
This is a brand new Ford Raptor that was vinyl wrapped by another local wrap company 3 months ago. This company didn’t lay it out straight to the customer and now here we are unwrapping the vehicle a short time later.
The vinyl has suffered from UV exposure. Rock chips and tears to the film. Peeling and bubbling from panel rub. Peeling from edges not being properly wrapped.
The customer was not made aware of the durability (or lack thereof) of the vinyl, how prone to UV and environmental damage the vinyl is. And overall thought that the material would last for years.
Hard Truth About Vinyl Wraps:
Vinyl was made to be temporary. It is a very thin material, about .3 mils thick. So it can tear, chip, and become damaged easily. Even washing the car can result in swirls or scratches to the wrap. A well-maintained wrap can be expected to last 2-3 years but will suffer swirls or scratches over that time.
There is no topcoat or protective layer on the vinyl like there is on paint protection film. It is exposed to UV rays and will fade or become discolored as it sits outside. Some vinyls can be ordered with an overlaminate but they make installation harder and more likely to bubble or peel. A laminate is also not a sure-fire way to prevent the wrap from going bad.
Over time the vinyl wrap will expand and retract as the weather gets hot and cold. Some panels on the vehicle flex and move as the car moves, causing certain areas to peel or bubble up over time. These are all unavoidable issues. Vinyl wraps are not paint and were made to be temporary. So over time they do bubble and peel back.
Vinyl wraps can actually rust. The metallic ones have real metal flakes in them and have been known to rust. Especially when near the ocean and exposed to saltwater in the air. In the picture above was a Gloss Metallic Silver vinyl that had been installed on a Ford Mustang. The metallic flake in the vinyl rusted and caused discoloration over time as the vehicle sat outside.
Here in Southern California, the warranty on the vinyl wrap from the manufacture is voided. We are considered a desert climate, and therefore no warranties will be honored by the wrap manufacturer.
Most wrap companies will not warranty what is considered “wear and tear” to the vinyl wrap. This includes rock hits, scratches, damage done when washing the vehicle, swirls, UV damage, and environmental damages.
How Can I Make A Wrap Last?
Ceramic Coating Over Top
Ceramic coatings are typically applied to a vehicle’s paint. However, there are special formulas made to be applied to vinyl wraps. While it is not permanent and will need to be reapplied every 2-3 years it does offer UV protection to the vinyl, as well as hydrophobic qualities to help bead water off the vinyl. It’s also not as foolproof of a solution as wrapping over the vinyl in paint protection film.
Paint Protection Film (Double-Wrapping)
If you want a more permanent option for keeping the vehicle a new color then wrapping over the vinyl in paint protection film is the way to go. It is an expensive option and will take more time as you are wrapping the vehicle twice.
However with paint protection film you are getting a thicker layer of protection for the entire vehicle, UV protection, and a “self-healing” topcoat that prevents swirls and small scratches, and is hydrophobic.
Adding gloss paint protection film over the top of gloss vinyl also adds additional depth to the finish of the wrap. It also helps to reduce the “orange peel” look of most gloss vinyl wraps.
Colored Paint Protection Films
This is a relatively new offering coming onto the market. There are certain brands of paint protection film that come colored instead of gloss or satin/matte clear. This offers the color change of vinyl with all the benefits of paint protection film.
There is a very limited number of options currently for colored ppf films. But as time goes on and it becomes more popular customers can expect to see more and more color options.