If your vehicle has any dents, dings, or deep scratches, we recommend you fix those before going any further. While the vinyl will change the color of imperfections, any surface impressions will telegraph through and still be noticeable.
You also want your vehicle to have a factory paint job that is in good condition. If the paint is chalking or failing, anything you put on top of it will fail when the paint lets go. If this is your situation, you would be better off simply having the car repainted to solve the problem at the source instead of trying to cover it up.
Next, check the panels you plan to wrap and remove any bulky items that may get in the way, such as logos, trim, door handles, and hood ornaments. If you don’t know the best method for removing these safely, we recommend researching it first or contacting a body shop for help.
Now it’s time to give your vehicle a good soapy wash using the supplies you have on hand or picked up earlier. When you’re finished, use a lint-free microfiber cloth to thoroughly dry all surfaces. Once all surfaces are clean, leave the vehicle inside to dry overnight so that all of the remaining water trapped in the body panels has time to find its way out.
On install day, you need to wipe down the entire car with 70% isopropyl alcohol to ensure you have a clean and pristine surface to wrap. This is especially important for all edges of the wrap, such as the inside edges of the body panels, door panels, and everywhere else where an edge of the film will be. Many great wrap installs have been ruined within a year because not enough time or care was paid to the preparation and cleaning stage of the install. Don’t let yours become yet another statistic.
For expert installers, once the car is perfectly clean and ready to wrap, they will apply 3M primer 94 to any edges or severe indents to ensure the vinyl stays down in these critical areas. You will still need to install the vinyl correctly and post-heat these areas thoroughly, but it will improve your odds of success. Primer 94 can be found in small cans or convenient crack ampules. Don’t apply primer 94 to the entire car all at once, though. Only put it in the areas you plan to wrap in the next 4 hours. Once you finish that area, then set up another section of the car for your next 4 hours.
Important safety note about isopropyl alcohol and Primer 94: You need to have adequate ventilation for both of these products, particularly the isopropyl alcohol. Make sure to read the MSDS information for both before proceeding. Your health will thank you.