Installing vinyl wrapping on automotive is a great way to make vehicles pop, a technique that has been used not just by individuals to pimp up their cars but also by marketing agencies to advertise businesses on vehicles.
But this may get new car owners wondering – is the wrap only applied to the main body of the automotive or can you vinyl wrap wheels too?
Vinyl is very customizable, so yes, you can have it both on the body and on the rims of your vehicle. Stick with us and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about vinyl wrapped wheels.
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Benefits of Vinyl Wrapping Your Wheels
Because vinyl wraps are produced in different styles, colors, and finishes, they can come in handy when you want to:
Customize Your Car
If you are looking to make your rims pop, then having a wrap over them will get the job done. Depending on the brand and where you are buying, you can choose any color and style you want to make a bold or neutral statement.
Protect Your Rims’ Paint
Just had your rims painted? Have a clear vinyl wrap around them to prevent dirt, dust, and scuffs, all while keeping your paint job visible. Buy wrapping that applies smoothly so there are no bubbles formed.
Boost Resale Value
Enhanced, eye-catching wheels are more likely to attract potential car buyers, as they show that you take good care of your vehicle. However, when preparing your ride for resale, make sure to install high-quality wrapping; that way, if the buyer wants to change the style or color, they can do so without ripping the paint underneath or damaging the wheel.
3 Easy Steps to Vinyl Wrap Your Car Wheels
Wrapping the rims of your vehicle with vinyl is a pretty simple process. All you need is your vinyl, something to clean the rim, a squeegee, and a pair of scissors.
Step 1: Clean the Rims
The surface on which the vinyl is applied must be completely clean and dry so the wrapping can adhere properly.
Dip a soft cloth in a solution of water and mild detergent and rub over the rims to get rid of dirt, oil, and grease. If there are any stubborn stains, use rubbing alcohol to clean them off the surface. Rinse thoroughly, then wipe dry.
Step 2: Install the Wrap
Peel off the backing of your pre-measured vinyl and lay the wrapping on the rim, then use your fingers to tack it down in place. Next, apply some heat as you push the vinyl into place with a squeegee or flat edge. Begin from the center and work your way outward, using medium pressure. Push any bubbles to the edges of the rim until expelled.
Step 3: Seal the Vinyl and Trim the Edges
Once you have your wrapping where you want it, firmly press the edges down into the crevices. Use a pair of scissors to trim away any excess wrapping. Now, step back and enjoy the look of your new rim job.
For more information, tips, and guidelines on how to apply vinyl wrapping on wheels, check out this video.
How to Care for Your Wheels’ Vinyl Wrapping
Vinyl wrapping is not meant to be applied and forgotten. As with the rest of your ride, the wraps on the rims require regular care and maintenance so they can last longer and retain their vibrant color. Here are things you can do to achieve this:
Wash Your Wrap frequently
Because the wheels of your car are exposed to plenty of elements, it is important that you wash your vehicle at least once a week. Handwash the wrap, especially, with mild soap and a soft cloth or automotive sponge and rinse thoroughly before drying with a microfiber cloth. You can use chamois to drain excess water before drying.
If you are going to use any commercial cleaning product on your vinyl, make sure to test it first on a small area to see if it works and doesn’t damage your wrapping.
Also, think twice before taking your vehicle to a drive-through car wash, as some brush car washes can be too rough of the vinyl, causing damage, peeling, or lifted edges. Only take your car to a washing facility that doesn’t use brushes. Water spray alone should be safe for most vinyl wrapped wheels.
It is also important that you don’t use high-pressure water jets, as these too could ruin the wrapping, potentially removing it from the rim’s surface. And if this happens, the vinyl will start peeling and wearing, leaving you with unsightly rims.
What if there is a spot on your vinyl – you may ask?
Use isopropyl rubbing alcohol to get rid of the stain and rinse with clean, cold water. If you must scrub the spot, only use a soft-bristled brush.
Avoid Parking Your Car In the Sun
While most vinyl wraps will come with a UV protection layer, they can still fade if exposed to direct sunlight for a prolonged period.
Whenever possible, park your vehicle in the shade or an enclosed area. Shielding your vinyl wrapped rims from the sun not only prevents them from fading; it also helps the vinyl last longer.
Follow the Recommended Care Guidelines
No matter how conversant you are with caring for various vinyl products, make sure you understand what your specific product requires.
Different wrap textures and finishes may have different care guidelines. For instance, you should not apply polish or wax to a matte wrap, as this could damage the finish.
Do not overlook the instructions given by your vinyl manufacturer, as this could mean the difference between a lasting wrap and one that gets ruined in just a few weeks.
Is Wheels’ Vinyl Wrapping Really Worth It?
People wrap the wheels of their vehicles all the time to give them extra personality, but is it really something you should do? Well, we will give you a few reasons as to why we do not recommend them:
For starters, we know that vinyl should be applied on a smooth, solid surface. Now, even if the outer metal of your rims is smooth, it is not solid. Your car wheels will sometimes spin at 80 mph and this won’t provide a very solid surface for the vinyl, which means your wrap won’t last too long.
If you are applying the wrapping to the vehicle’s body, then that would be a different story because that part of the car is stationary, solid, and fixed. Whereas vinyl wrapped to the vehicle’s main body can last up to 7 years, wrapping around the rims will probably last only one year.
Another reason we wouldn’t recommend having vinyl wrapping around the rims of your car is their location. You see, your wheels are constantly bombarding with mud, dirt, ice, dust, and oils left by other vehicles on the road, meaning, the vinyl will also be exposed to these elements.
Keeping in mind that oil and dirt are some of the things that shorten the lifespan of vinyl, your wheel wraps will definitely not be in the best of shape and you will need to clean them often to keep them looking new and serving your desired purpose.
Without doing this, your vinyl will get damaged and start to fade within a short period of time and you will typically be wasting money. Not just that. Having your wheels wrapped with vinyl can put you in danger if a part of it dislodges and flies onto your brakes.
So, yes, you can vinyl wrap your wheels, but also consider all the factors that will be working against your vinyl and decide whether it is a project worth spending money on.
What’s the Alternative?
If you are looking to glam the rims of your ride without worrying about damages, a powder coating would be more appropriate. Sure, you may not have a lot of styles and options like when using vinal wrapping, but how the coating is applied is what makes this product more superior to vinyl.
The application uses an electrostatic charge to bond finely ground pigments of powder to the rims, a process that makes the coating hardy, long-lasting, and unlikely to scratch. This tough layer is able to handle the elements on the road much better than a vinyl wrap that is likely to tear, chip, or get damaged within just a few weeks depending on the obstacles on the road.
Nothing adds color to a vehicle’s rims than a vinyl wrap. If you’re looking to give your wheels a new look, protect their paint, or increase the resale value of your car, just wrap the rims with vinyl. And as you can see from the installation steps outlined here, wrapping a vehicle’s wheels with vinyl is relatively easy.
However, it’s important that you first understand what you are getting yourself into. Sure, vinyl will look good on your rims but will get ruined much quicker than powder coating. Take good care of your wrapping to make it more durable.