How To Safely Remove Vinyl Wrap off your Car
Vinyl wrapping is a fantastic way to transform the look of your car without breaking the bank, and unlike paint, it offers a temporary, durable and affordable color change option. When properly maintained with the right shields and coatings, aftercare routine, and protection of edges and corners, vinyl wrapping can last for several years, making it a worthwhile investment.
How Do I Lift Vinyl?
- Avoid Direct sunlight and extreme cold.
- A heat gun is the most useful tool you will need.
- Work on all the edges of a panel to remove the vinyl in one piece.
- Remove Vinyl at a 25° to 40° angle.
- Use a Rubber Wheel for Decal Remover or Adhesive Remover for residue.
Why would you need to remove vinyl wrap off your car?
- You want to show off the original paintwork underneath. If taken care of properly the vinyl would shield the original paintwork, keeping a lot of the car's value.
- The wrap is damaged or is aging and needs to be removed.
- To change things up and rewrap your car.
The Right Environment
The ideal environment to remove a vinyl wrap from your car is in a dry, indoor space with a temperature of around 70-80°F (21-27°C). This helps to prevent the vinyl from cracking or becoming brittle due to cold temperatures, and it also ensures that the adhesive remains pliable for easier removal. It's important to avoid removing vinyl in direct sunlight or high temperatures, as this can cause the adhesive to become overly sticky and difficult to work with, making the removal process much more challenging.
If you don't have access to a garage or indoor space, you can still remove vinyl from your car by finding a sheltered area that provides protection from direct sunlight and precipitation. Look for a covered carport or shaded spot that can offer some protection from the elements.
The Right Tools for the Job
Heat Gun is the most essential tool when removing vinyl wrap from your automobile. Way too many people will muscle through removing the vinyl wrap without heating up the vinyl causing damage to the paint underneath, dents, leaving more adhesive residue and generally taking more time as the vinyl is more brittle.
Plastic Razor Blade or Scraper is a great to tool to have when you lift and peel the vinyl away from the surface without damaging the paint. Of course you can still use your hands just fine, just make sure to use gloves.
Rapid Remover, Goo Gone or any other adhesive remover for any adhesive residue that is left after lifting your vinyl wrap. If removing the vinyl with caution and technique, you will not need as much adhesive remover. If not adhesive remover, a Rubber Wheel Decal Remover is also a great option if you are skilled with using one.
Microfiber towels are a must when wiping away any debris or adhesive residue after applying your liquid solutions to them.
How Do I Remove the Vinyl?
Use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat the vinyl, starting at one edge or corner of the wrap. Heat the vinyl evenly, moving the heat gun or hair dryer in a back-and-forth motion, until the vinyl is warm and pliable.
Use a plastic razor blade or scraper to gently lift and peel the vinyl away from the surface of the car. Work slowly and carefully, applying heat as needed to keep the vinyl pliable. Avoid pulling the vinyl at a sharp angle, as this can damage the paint. Keeping the vinyl at a 25° to 40° angle is the safest when removing the vinyl.
Please Note: Avoid lifting the vinyl from a 90° degree angle and this is the prime position to damage your paint and even dent your car.
Here is a great example by Industry expert CK Wraps on how to remove vinyl for all the visual learners.
How to Deal with any Adhesive Residue
Use Goo Gone or another adhesive remover to dissolve any remaining adhesive residue on the surface of the car. Apply the adhesive remover to a microfiber towel and rub gently, being careful not to scratch the paint.
After using the remover and letting it work its magic, make sure to clean your car with soapy water to get off all the adhesive remover. Now you're done!
Take your time and be cautious when lifting vinyl off your car. The more your rush the bigger the chance you have of damaging your paint.
Do not over heat your vinyl as the excessive heat can damage your paint underneath and even burn you.
While these are the best practices for lifting vinyl from your car, the quality of the paint underneath can impact the results.