Vehicle Vinyl Wraps – More than just auto customization

In our last post we covered hydro printing as a form of auto customization. Today we explore vinyl wraps, which not only offer customization, but paint protection as well.

Vehicle Vinyl Wraps have evolved incredibly throughout the years. Vinyl wraps have been around for awhile and have the availability to applied to many surface, but the ability to apply them to vehicles, boats, and even airplanes has made the industry surge in recent years. Vinyl wraps, which are basically large sheets of adhesive can be applied in any color, texture, or graphics style. This make the choices endless and the options hard to choose from.

From a business standpoint a commercial wrap, applied to a business vehicle or fleet, offers a great marketing avenue with a very large return on investment. One is able to brand their vehicle with names, logos and other company info. This gets a business in front of thousands, if not millions of people that drive on the road every day. With the evolution of large format printers, pretty much any design can be created and applied to a vehicle.

From a customization standpoint, creativity is at your fingertips. Whether you seek chrome, carbon fiber, a hot pink barbie car, or to make your vehicle look like a plane or space vehicle, a vinyl wrap may be exactly what you are looking for. All this at a fraction of the cost of a paint job. Vinyl wraps offer affordability, paint protection, and the removability factor.

Here are a few tips from Phantom Wrapz, a vinyl wrap company out of Lewisville Texas that specialize in vehicle wraps. They have worked in the signage and large format industry for decades. They have experienced the evolution of vinyl films and the ability to apply them on multiple surfaces, including vehicles. This being said, they recommend these top 3 things to pay attention to.

  1. The Quality of Materials– inks, printers, and equipment are not all created equal. Quality matters, especially when it comes to a vehicle wrap. Make sure the shop you work with uses quality films (3M or Avery), inks, and equipment. It makes a difference in the overall quality and longevity of the vehicle wrap, and your overall cost.
  2. Professional & Experienced Installers– although vinyl films are basically like a large sticker, the installation process is a form of art. Not all shops work with experienced installers, in order to reduce their costs. Installation will impact how long your wrap lasts for and the look of the wrap. A commercial wrap is different and more detailed than a color change wrap, so the experience of the installer is essential.
  3. Proper Vehicle Care– The post vehicle care after a wrap is installed matters. You want to get the most out of your wrap. They will typically last 3-7 years, depending on the quality and installation. Once installed, be mindful of the care you give your vehicle. If it’s constantly left in the penetrating sun, your wrap will eventually fade faster. Do not take it through car washes with aggressive brushes. Hand wash the vehicle or take it through a touchless car wash. The shop you work with should provide you with proper care instructions.

And remember, quality film manufacturers offer warranties on their products. Wrap shops will often include their own warranties. So make sure you ask about warranties!

Hydro Printing

There are a lot of customization options available to vehicle owners these days. From rims and window tint to exotic colors and graphics. In this post I want to discuss an exciting technology that has been growing in popularity over the past decade. It’s called hydro printing.

What is hydro printing?

Hydro printing, hydro dipping, hydragraphics, or whatever you would like to call it is the process of transferring printed graphics to a three dimensional object via water. The process takes place in an apparatus that contains a tub of water that a printed graphic floats atop of with the help of a special chemical placed in the water. The three dimensional object is then placed into the tub at an angle, passing through the printed graphic on top of the water until it is fully submersed into the tub. At that point the object is pulled back out of the tub with the graphic adhered to the exterior of the object. Here is a video to better demonstrate the process.

What Can You Hydro Dip?

People are hydro dipping almost everything. From the full exterior of a vehicle, all the way to cell phone cases. It’s a great option for sign companies and auto customization shops because it can be applied to most substrates; from plastic, fiberglass and wood, to ceramic and metal.

The customization options with hydro printing is endless, if you can print it you can dip it. Additionally, because you are transferring it in water you are able to apply the print to the most detailed and intricate three dimensional objects. Water will fill the smallest crevices and transfer the graphic seamlessly and proportionally. This makes it ideal for specific exterior and interior components of a vehicle, including fenders, bumpers, hood scoops, rims, door paneling, dash’s, and more.

The Process.

You take the same steps when hydro dipping that you do when you paint. The surface must be prepped, primed, and painted. However, before applying a clear coat like you would with a paint job, you apply the graphic.

The graphic is printed on a polyvinyl alcohol hydragraphic film, that is gently placed atop the water in the apparatus. The film is water soluble and because of the activator added to the water it dissolves in the tub becoming part of the water. After the object is dipped and dried, the film will have adhered like a paint job, as long as not too much or too little activator was used.

The finished product is a one of a kind seamless graphic that follows the shape of the object perfectly.

Although a hydro printing apparatus does have a decent price tag with it, and the art of hydro dipping does take some time, it’s a great stand alone service or additional service to offer as an auto customization shop.

Four Spring Maintenance Tips for your Vehicle

We both understand that the cold winter weather can be brutal on vehicles. The weather conditions experienced during winter are usually unfriendly for healthy cars. We usually experience a rough driving season hence the need to give our vehicles a little extra attention in spring. Spring is characterized by warm weather which makes it easier and more enjoyable to clean and inspect your vehicle and ensure it functions as it should.

Why should I do this in spring, you may ask? By taking some proactive auto maintenance steps on your vehicle, you’ll not only keep yourself safer when driving but also prevent potentially more costly damage down the road. Neglecting your vehicle always means huge expenses in repairs in the long run. You can save money and ensure optimal performance of your vehicle by being proactive in taking care and maintaining your vehicle. Here are some guidelines to help you maintain and look after your car as you get to spring.

Wash and Wax your Vehicle

The first and most important thing you can do with your vehicle in spring is cleaning it thoroughly and waxing it. During winter, your vehicle is bound to have a huge amount of salt build up, debris and road grime. Your focus should be to get rid of all these materials as spring starts. You don’t want to allow grime and debris to continue building up on your vehicle as this may affect its finish and paint. The salt, if not cleaned off the vehicle, could result in serious problems such as rusting. Don’t forget to clean the inside of your vehicle as well.

Inspect your Tires

If you had installed winter tire, this is the time to replace them for better performance in the starting season. Winter is usually characterized by temperature fluctuations which tend to affect tire pressure. You should, therefore, inspect the tire pressure including the spare tire. Make necessary adjustments. Ensure your vehicle has a good tire thread. Note that car tires are essential for your safety. Consider rotating your car tires at least every five thousand miles. This ensures even tread wear.

Check Alignment and Suspension

You agree to the fact that the winter season is often harsh on roads. Throughout this season you’ve been traversing and moving across huge potholes which could have affected your vehicle’s alignment or damaged its suspension. Consider taking your vehicle to a reputable auto shop for a quick suspension and alignment inspection. Make sure everything is working fine and if every problem fixed.

Inspect Wiper Blades and Brakes

You need to be sure if your wiper blades are working properly. As the temperatures start warming up, inspect your vehicle’s wiper blades for any signs of damage or wear. The ice buildup in the cold weather can cause this part of your vehicle to wear of crack. They play a very important role when it comes to spring rains.

Take your vehicle to an auto mechanic for an inspection on its brake system. Sometimes the cold weather can cause the brake pads and rotors to wear or get damaged. Brakes are very important for your safety when driving. Make sure they are working fine even as spring starts.