Most of us are more likely to associate Michigan winters with colorful and joyful Christmas gift wrapping. However, it’s also important to consider your car wrap under these extreme weather conditions.
With temperatures as low as 3 degrees or under and up to 9 inches of snow, Michigan winters are certainly tough on us – and our cars.
A vinyl wrap is a great way to protect your car’s paint job or as branding/advertisement for your business. However, a vinyl that’s not well cared for can have the opposite effect.
To get the most out of your wrap and to give it the longest lifespan possible, you should follow some common-sense steps to protect it during winter.
How long do car wraps last in Michigan?
Generally, a car wrap lasts anywhere from 5 to 7 years. It depends on the quality of the wrap as well as how well you take care of it. Since winter conditions, like cold and snow, don’t have much effect on a car wrap, your wrap should have the maximum lifespan if you care for it well.
How to keep your car wrap fresh through the Michigan winter
Store your car inside whenever possible
Your car’s wrap is its first line of defense against the elements. That also means your wrap is the first thing that gets worn down. Try to limit your car’s exposure to only when you’re actually driving.
While the cold of snow in itself shouldn’t do much harm to a high-quality vinyl wrap, it can indirectly make wrap care much harder. If there are already small tears in your wrap, the snow can also go underneath and interfere with its adhesion.
Prevention is better than cure, as they say.
Be gentle when clearing snow from your car
No matter how hard you try, chances are your car will get snowed under at least once. Although it’s considered a normal way to clear off snow, almost all wrap professionals will warn you against using scrapers. In fact, scraping, in general, is a no-no, no matter what you use.
Instead, opt for something like a snow brush. It’s almost just as effective as a scraper but much easier on your wrap (and paint job). If your car got snowed on, clear it as soon as possible, before it turns into a crusty ice layer. Soft snow is much easier and safer to get off.
Wash your car regularly
Like most states with heavy winter snow, Michigan roads are treated with de-icing chemicals. Chemicals like sodium-, magnesium-, or calcium chloride and calcium magnesium- and potassium acetate are used to stop a layer of ice from forming or to break up an existing layer. These chemicals are sometimes referred to as, or are ingredients, of road salt.
While they’re very effective at de-icing roads, unfortunately, they can also get kicked up and stick to your vehicle wrap. They can then slowly start to erode your wrap and spoil your car’s finish.
You should aim to wash your car every other week to get rid of them. Washing your car or finding a car wash that’s open in winter might be tough, but it’s a must for winter wrap care.
Fix any tears or holes ASAP
Even tiny tears or holes in your wrap can snowball into bigger troubles over time, on top of looking bad. For one, small tears will inevitably get larger with time until they are fixed.
Secondly, snow, dust, grime, or other particles can work its way in between the wrap and the car. This can increase the rate of your wrap’s deterioration. Even worse, the wrap can trap the particles causing them to slowly wearing away your car’s finish.
Can you install a wrap during winter?
Although it’s possible to DIY car wrap your vehicle, we don’t recommend it. For one, it’s a very tricky process and you need to get it 100% right. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with ugly air pockets or creases and there’s a good chance you’ll have to get a new wrap.
In winter, it’s even trickier because car wraps don’t apply well in cold weather. If you let a professional do it (which you should) you should make sure they have proper facilities. They should be able to keep their workshop to a minimum temperature of around 50-70 degrees.
If the temperature goes below this, the wrap won’t be as pliable and the adhesive won’t have the same sticking power. This can lead to it becoming brittle and a much shorter lifespan.
Take care of your wrap and it will take care of you
As you can see, winter car wrap care isn’t rocket science. In fact, you probably already take some of these steps as general winter car care. Hopefully, this information just enforces why you should take care during this trying time and make these tips a habit.
If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a car wrap that stays looking better for longer and protects your finish along the way.