How to Remove Old Vinyl Wrap from Car Correctly

You might get tired of the current design of your car and want to change to a new wrap of a new design and color of your choice. Some may want to change the wrap to advertise for their organization or companies, and some may want to change to campaign for a noble cause.

Whatever the reason, you can remove the old vinyl wrap by yourself and add a few bucks to your savings by not taking it to the professionals.

The process, though fairly easy, takes a lot of time and effort. To make it easier for you, let us look at the type of environment you should start the project before you know how to remove the old vinyl wrap from the car.

The Environment Needed to Begin Removal of the Car Vinyl Wrap

You should do it on a day that is not cold, neither very hot and in calm weather. Start the project in a covered area, preferably in your garage.

Since you will be using a heat gun to remove the wrap, on a hot day, or if you do it under direct sunlight, the adhesives may separate from the wrap and stick to your vehicle, which will be extremely difficult to clean.

If you do it in the cold weather, you won't be able to remove the wrap smoothly in one piece, rather it will start to break off into little pieces, making your work ten times harder.

Now that you know about the ideal condition to work in, we can move on to the actual process of removing the vinyl wrap correctly.

Steps of Removing Old Vinyl Wrap from Car 

Here’s the entire process laid out for you.

  • Step One: Work on the Edges 

With your fingernails, try to get a hold of an edge, and start from there. If you are unable to use your nails, you can get a plastic instrument such as a small scrapper or a spoon to do the job.

Once you have the edge between your fingers, try to peel the wrap off. If it starts to peel in one piece, you will have an easier time removing the wrap than others.

However, if it tears, it is a sign that you are in for the long haul. In that case, don't give up and repeat the scrapping to get a hold of the edge again.

  • Step Two: Start Working with the Heat

Get a heat gun and set the gun to the temperature advised by the wrapping company. You don't want to overheat the vinyl wrap and burn it. Moreover, it will cause the adhesive to melt and leave residues.

Hold the heat gun about 5 or 6 inches away from the wrap, near the edge, and heat the area. Keep the heat gun moving along the edge to and fro, continuously, so as to heat the wrap as evenly as possible.

If you can't get your hands on a heat gun, a blowtorch will also do the job. Follow the same process as with a heat gun.

Just make sure you heat the vinyl wrap such that it is warm enough to start coming off, and you don't need to protect your hands while touching it.

  • Step Three: Start Peeling 

When the adhesive is heated enough, you will see that it is easier to peel the wrap off than before. Start to peel from the edge of the wrap at about 15 to 20 degrees from your car.

Put both your thumbs beneath the edge, and the rest of your fingers on the surface fanned out. Proceed with caution, so as to keep the vinyl wrap in one piece.

If it tears, you are back to square one. In that case, keeping your patience, start the process from step one again.

  • Step Four: Put in the Effort

Old vinyl wraps are more difficult to remove than newer ones. The wrap sticks more strongly to the car and tears easily when tried to remove.

Therefore, the effort lies in you being patient and keeping the force with which you are pulling unchanged to prevent the wrap from tearing.

  • Step Five: Heat and Peel

After a while, you will notice that the wrap has become stickier and harder to peel. This is because the adhesive material has cooled down to its normal temperature and has to be heated again.

Use your heat gun or blowtorch, whichever you used to heat the wrap, and heat up the vinyl wrap again by the same process as mentioned above.

Keep in mind to not let the heat gun or the blowtorch remain in one spot for too long. This will burn the wrap, and may damage the surface of your car.

When much of the wrap or a large area of the wrap is removed, put the wrap around your forearm and peel using the force from your forearms. This is just for easy handling.

Remember to apply even, controlled pressure when peeling to prevent it from tearing. Continue this process, till you remove all the vinyl wrap from the car.

  • Step Six: Get to the Adhesives Left behind

If you are lucky, you will be successful in removing all of the adhesives along with the wrap. However, in most cases, some of the adhesives are left behind, sticking to the car.

To remove them, you have to use additional chemical remover, available in the market. Pour the remover in a spray bottle, which you can also buy with the remover from the hardware shop.

Spray the remover to the adhesives and leave it like that for a minute or two to let it absorb. Next, with a piece of cloth, wipe away the remover with the adhesives.

Clean with firm pressure, in a circular motion, moving in both clockwise and anticlockwise direction. Make sure you get it all. Repeat this procedure till you get a non-stick surface.

  • Step Seven: Clean the Remover and Make the Car Shiny Again

Adhesive remover can leave the car surface dull, but you can avoid this by cleaning your car afterward.

Clean the car with a cloth soaked in soapy water, using the same motions as mentioned above, till you get a nice, shiny surface. 

You can also use an alcohol-based cleaner instead if you have it in your home. Use a glass cleaner for your windows to get it clear and transparent.

Other Ways to Remove the Adhesives

Another way to remove the adhesive is to scrap the adhesive off the surface. This depends on the type of remover you buy from the store.

You can opt for this method if you buy the rapid remover. However, you have to be extra careful when scrapping so that no damage is done to your car surface. This will cost you extra to fix the scratches and the dents. You can also get a biodegradable solvent.

In that case, you have to apply the solvent to the adhesive with a cloth and leave it on for some time. This will loosen the adhesive, and you will be able to peel it off with one swift motion.

Whichever method you use, you have to clean the car to remove the remover after you are done, which brings us to the next step.

Conclusion

Removing old vinyl wrap from the car, though an easy process, can be time-consuming and back-breaking.

The effort is, however, worth it, when you have a car, free to be wrapped again with the design of your choosing or design to serve a purpose, be it for a cause or advertisement.

So if you have a car with old vinyl wrap, how about spending the next weekend, removing it and getting a new one?

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