wintery roads, vehicle graphics, slush, grime

VEHICLE GRAPHICS MAINTENANCE

The first day of winter is just around the corner, which will be bringing slushy, salty roads that will be sure to mess up your vehicle's graphics.  Regular washing not only removes the salt and grime, it also helps to ensure that everyone can clearly see your amazing vehicle graphics that may otherwise stay hidden.

To help you keep your vehicle graphics nice and clean, especially during the upcoming winter season, below are a few maintenance recommendations from 3M that we thought you may find to be helpful.

Wash your vehicle on a regular basis – this will help to stop grit and other contaminants, such as salt, from building up and making it more difficult to remove if left on for any period of time.

 

Hand Washing – Preferred method

  • Use a soft, clean cloth or sponge and a liquid, non-abrasive soap
  • Start off by first rinsing off as much dirt and grit as possible with a spray of water
  • Locate any hard to remove contaminants, such as tree sap, tar, bird droppings and/or bug splatter, and soak them for several minutes using very hot, soapy water
  • Extremely difficult to remove contaminants may require additional spot cleaning with a cleaning product such as 3M's Citrus Base Cleaner or Isopropyl Alcohol (PIA) (2 parts IPA to 1-part water)
    • It is recommended that you first test any special cleaning products on an inconspicuous area to ensure that you do not cause any damage to your graphics 
    • To avoid scratching the film, DO NOT apply rough scrubbing or use abrasive tools/cleaners
    • Do not allow cleaning solutions to soak
    • Wash any rinse off any residue immediately
  • Thoroughly rinse with clean water and dry with a clean micro-fibre cloth

 

Pressure Washing – Use with care

Care should be taken if pressure washing and under the following conditions as recommended by 3M:

  • Ensure the water pressure is kept below 2000 psi (14MPa)
  • Water temperature is kept below 80 degrees Celsius (180-degree Fahrenheit)
  • Use the spray nozzle at a 40-degree wide-angle spray pattern
  • Keep the nozzle at least 300 mm (1 foot) and 90 degrees perpendicular to the graphic
  • Caution using the foam brush as it may scratch/lift the edges of your vehicle graphics
  • IMPORTANT: Note that holding the nozzle of a pressure washer at an angle to the graphic may lift or peel away the edges of the film.

 

Automated Car Washes – Touchless recommended

  • Automated car washes can be used.
  • Touchless car washes are the best for graphic care if you choose automated washing.
  • Caution using brush car washes as they may cause dulling, scratching and/or lifting the edges of your vehicle graphics.

 

Additional Words of Caution

  • 3M does not recommend using wax, polishing or other similar coatings on vehicle graphics, especially on matte or textured films.
  • Do not use any abrasives or cutting compounds.
  • Use an all-purpose cleaner to remove any wax or wax residue.
  • Fuel spills can degrade vinyl and adhesive. Wipe off immediately and then wash, rinse and dry as soon as possible using one of the above washing methods.
  • Extremely difficult to remove contaminants may require additional spot cleaning with a cleaning product such as 3M Citrus Base Cleaner or Isopropyl Alcohol (PIA) (2 parts IPA to 1-part water).
    • It is recommended that you first test any special cleaning products on an inconspicuous area to ensure that you do not cause any damage to your graphics.
    • To avoid scratching the film, DO NOT apply rough scrubbing or use abrasive tools/cleaners.
    • Do not allow cleaning solutions to soak.
    • Wash and rinse off any residue/cleaning products immediately.

 

And, lastly, it is recommended that you store your vehicle indoors or under cover.  Prolonged exposure to the sun and atmospheric pollutants will degrade your vehicle’s paint as well as your vinyl graphics.  If you do not have access to a garage park your vehicle in a shaded area during the day whenever possible.

We hope you have found these tips to be helpful in keeping your vehicle graphics looking their absolute best this winter!