By looking through our gallery of images of bad vinyl wrap examples, you can see just how high the level of quality is, but that doesn’t mean that all wraps are done well.
The guys over at Pro Vinyl and SS Customs America have had some incredible cars come into the workshop and some of them have gone through some big aesthetic changes, while others have just had small details changed to just refresh and modernise the image of the vehicle. The one thing they all have in common though is that they are all finished to an extremely high quality. The vinyl is smooth and cut cleanly, to anyone else that didn’t know the cars had been wrapped it looks like the factory colour.
That is why people go to professional installers, so the job only has to be done once. If you try and get a cheap wrap done you will more than likely have to have it done twice, as any blemishes in the cheap installation will show very badly.
Air bubbles, lifting, overlapping and wrinkles are all signs of a bad vinyl wrap examples. A good vinyl wrap will be smooth and follow the lines of a vehicle, all cut sections will fit the panel exactly and won’t have had to be overly stretched or overlapped to cover the body panel in question.A vinyl wrap should never be stretched to more than 30% over its original size. If it is stretched past this then the material begins to thin and the original colour of the vehicle can show through and the life span of the vinyl is cut too.
Air bubbles look terrible and if they are left they can tear or stretch the material, the car will look worse than before you started but if it is wrapped correctly it will look much better, as shown with this Audi TT example.BEFOREAFTERIf the car is prepared well then you should be able to avoid any of the problems we have discussed. The Audi above was cleaned thoroughly, any small dings were smoothed out first and then it was wrapped to ensure a professional, quality finish. The prep work should take up nearly one third of the entire time it takes to wrap a car to make sure all the surfaces are clean and dirt free, any panels have been repaired or replaced if they are damaged beforehand and door handles and mirrors have been removed to be wrapped.
A lazy installer will wrap a vehicle leaving all of the mirrors and handles attached but to fully cover each component and keep the edges neat they do need to be taken off first.Cuts and MarksIf the installer isn’t professionally trained then your vehicle is at risk. If an installer isn’t shown the correct techniques and given the right tools to install vinyl to the high standard you, and a qualified installer, expect, the chance of damage or a mistake is much higher.
As you can see in the image below, the vinyl has not been pre-cut and as a result, to get it to fit, it has been cut against the vehicle which has cut into the original paintwork underneath. The plastic edges are also cut and scuffed and the job overall is terrible.
Joins and OverlapsYou don’t want a vinyl wrap applied on the cheap. Any work that is at a crazy cut price amount it probably going to look just that. Crazy. And not in the good way.
Cheap vinyl wrap jobs can be spotted a mile away, given away by messy edges, air bubbles and overlapping layers of vinyl. A professional job will be so good that most people won’t even know it is vinyl, it will be smooth and straight with the lines of the car and the only aspect of it people will be able to see is the incredible new colours and effects.
You want to avoid anyone that hasn’t been trained or offers their work too cheaply compared to the main competitors because it is likely they are using cheap material. As a result the end product may look a bit like this in a few places: