Caring for Your Vehicle Graphics
Care for your vehicle graphics like you would any fine paint finish. Using high quality products designed specifically for car care and these cleaning and maintenance procedures will help keep your 3M vehicle graphics looking their best.
1. Wash regularly
- Wash whenever the car appears dirty. Contaminants allowed to remain on the graphic may be more difficult to remove during cleaning.
- Rinse off as much dirt and grit as possible with a spray of water.
- See item 4, Difficult contaminants, for spot cleaning bird droppings, tar, etc.
- Use a wet, non-abrasive detergent such as 3M™ Car Wash Soap 39000 or Meguiar’s NXT Generation® Car Wash or Deep Crystal® Car Wash and a soft, clean cloth or sponge.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water. To reduce water spotting, immediately use a silicone squeegee to remove water and finish with a clean microfiber cloth.
2. Automated car washes
3. Pressure washing
Although hand washing is the preferred cleaning method, pressure washing may be used under these conditions.
- Ensure the water pressure is kept below 2000 psi (14 MPa).
- Keep water temperature below 80°C (180°F).
- Use a spray nozzle with a 40 degree wide angle spray pattern.
- Keep the nozzle at least 1 foot (300 mm) away from and perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to the graphic.
Important Note! Holding the nozzle of a pressure washer at an angle to the graphic may lift the edges of the film.
4. Difficult contaminants
Often difficult contaminants such as bug splatter, bird droppings, tree sap and similar contaminants by soaking them for several minutes with very hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and dry. If further cleaning is needed, test one of these products in an inconspicuous area to ensure no damage to the graphics: Meguiar’s Gold Class™ Bug and Tar Remover or 3M™ Citrus Base Cleaner. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) (two parts IPA to 1 part water) or denatured alcohol may also help. Spot clean the contaminants. Do not use rough scrubbing or abrasive tools, which will scratch the film. Wash and rinse off all residue immediately.
5. Fuel spills
Wipe off immediately to avoid degrading the vinyl and adhesive. Then wash, rinse and dry as in Item 1 as soon as possible.
6. Polish and wax
Most standard graphic films and overlaminates can be polished or waxed with a high quality car wax. Before use, test and approve in an inconspicuous area. Do not use any abrasive polishes or cutting compounds. For the carbon fiber and brushed metal films in Scotchprint® Wrap Film Series 1080, a polishing product such as 3M™ Tire Restorer or Meguiars® Natural Shine Protectant may be used. We do not recommend any polishing or wax product for the matte or textured films.
7. Store indoors or under cover whenever possible
Vinyl graphics (just like paint) are degraded by prolonged exposure to sun and atmospheric pollutants, particularly on the horizontal surfaces such as hood, trunk lid and roof. Whenever possible, store in a garage or at least in a shaded area during the day. At night protect the car from dew or rain, which may contain acidic pollutants (a common problem in many large metropolitan areas). When a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night. If
your graphics start to discolor or turn brown (which is caused by acidic pollution), immediately remove the graphics from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint.