Is a Car Wrap easy to remove?

This is a question that we hear almost with every client that inquires about car wraps.  The concern is; are vehicles wraps easy to remove?  The answer is: YES.

If the vehicle has been wrapped with a high-quality car wrap vinyl then the removal process is very easy.  All is needed is a heat source, preferably a heat gun, some experience and a lot of patience.

High-quality films made by Avery and 3M are designed to leave no adhesive residue when removed.  However, it is important to keep in mind that both of these brands manufacture many different vinyl where some have very strong adhesive and are not designed for vehicle wraps, choosing the right wrap vinyl is very important.

The removal process of a vehicle wrap is also important.  The wrap needs to be heated to reach a certain degree and pulled back slowly in a 45 degree angle.  Using both hands with the fingers spread open so contact is made to the most of the surface of the film while pulling back.  Do not yank the film.  If the car wrap has been on the vehicle for more than 3 years then there is a chance that the adhesion is pretty strong, yanking the film may cause separation from the vinyl and laminate.  A car wrap without a laminate is very difficult to remove.

Here is an image of a wrap we recently removed where primer 94 was used to seal the edges. You can see the nasty residue and the separation of the vinyl from the laminate.

Also, it is very important to make sure when your wrap is installed that you request NO Primer is used…  There is an old school of thought that using the 3M Primer 94 on the edges is necessary to seal the vinyl to avoid separation and water getting under the film.  This is not true, if the installer takes his/her time and the necessary steps to prepare the surface, install the vinyl properly and perform the post installation requirements then there is absolutely no need to use a primer.

Removing a car wrap where a primer has been used on the edges is a nightmare…  This not only causes the vinyl & laminate to separate but the adhesive residue left behind is extremely difficult to remove and clean.

Many wrap shops and independent installers use 3M Primer 94 to speed-up the installation process by not performing the necessary steps for an installation that will last for years rather than months.  Using the primer is like cheating on a test so you can barely get a passing grade.

It is important to keep in mind that Primer 94 is required when wrapping boats and other water crafts, but that is another blog coming soon…

To conclude if and when a car wrap is installed properly will not only give your vehicle a unique look but will also protect your vehicle’s original paint resulting in a higher resale value.

We hope this article answers your question about removing a car wrap.

20 Comments
  1. That’s actually a really good bit of advice that not many guys looking for wraps are going to know about. Totally agree with the fact that a wrap done well does not need primer and certainly highlighting the reasons why and the issues it can cause for removal, should make people more aware.

  2. Ok, so I have my Hood and trunk wrapped on 3M carbón fiber vinyl.
    One time I needed to replace the vinyl on the trunk and it was very hard.
    The vinyl was breaking even that we used a heat gun. So long story short, we had to use some kind of paint remover or I dont know what it was, to get rid of the glue left in my car. Took about 4 hours to remove all the vinyl AND the glue.
    There was no damage to the paint tho.
    Now I want to replace the vinyl on the Hood, what/how do you recommend to take it off?

    • Unfortunately if you waited too long to remove the vinyl then the removal process is very tedious and time consuming. The vinyl needs to be removed when signs of wear & tear such as change in color or hairline cracks become visible. If you wait too long the vinyl will crack and burn into the body of the car.

      The best way to remove it is to park the car under the sun on a hot day for few hours and using a heat gun start chipping at it. To remove the adhesive residue you need a product such as Rapid Remover & never a paint remover as this could damage the clear coat & paint.

      I hope this helps and best of luck with your project.

      • Yes, we had to do it like that.
        We used Rapid Remover, works great.

  3. That is really a better than average bit of exhortation that relatively few gentlemen searching for wraps are going to think about. Thoroughly concur with the way that a wrap done well does not require preliminary and surely highlighting the reasons why and the issues it can reason for evacuation, ought to make individuals more mindful.

  4. Please help! My Mercedes was wrapped with a #M brushed steel wrap two years ago. I am not removing some of the wrap (rear trunk spoiler, roof spoiler, side mirrors, door handles) to get a sportier look but after reading this article I now realize that the shop where they wrapped my car used a primer! It is on the edges like you said and now it won’t come off. I’m using Goo Gone for the adhesive itself but the primer is still there. How do I remove it??

  5. Can a wrap on windows be removed and then put on another vehicle, and if so what is best method?
    Thanks

    • Hi Richard,

      Usually once the vinyl is installed it is very difficult to remove it & reinstall it on another surface. There are few factors that will determine if the vinyl can be re-used such as how long it has been on the surface, what type of vinyl it is, is it laminated or not. We never re-install a vinyl as it stretches and during removal and is not the best idea to re-install it, therefore we just print a fresh one. If you were to do it, I would recommend using a heat gun to gently heat the vinyl and pull it off slowly avoiding over stretch. I hope this helps.

  6. I liked when you said that a good vehicle wrap will not only give the design you want but also protect the original paint. I can see that making sure you find a company that is known for their quality can help you get all the benefits of the job. It is important to remember that consulting with several companies and comparing them can help yo find the services you need and get the best deals for it.

  7. Hi there,I read your blogs named “Is a Car Wrap easy to remove | Lucent Wraps” daily.Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work! And you can look our website about proxy server list.

    • Yes, a properly installed vehicle wrap without the use of a primer is easy to remove. However, you need to make sure that you don’t wait to long to remove the wrap since a sun damaged vinyl will damage your clear coat and is extremely difficult to remove.

      Thank you,

      Lucent Wraps Team

  8. Great info! Will a wrap last longer than 3 yrs if the vehicle is kept out of the sun the majority of the time? I’m thinking about wrapping my rzr plastics. Mainly to save the factory finish from scratches. Only use it a few times a month and it is in a shop the rest of the time.

    • Hi Cody,

      It is very difficult to say how long a wrap will last. This depends on many factors such as weather and the level of care. If the vehicle is stored indoors then there is a good chance that will last 3 years or more. One thing to keep in mind is that vine does not really adhere well to unpainted and parts with no clear coat. Plastic parts are considered low-energy surfaces and vinyl will not adhere to them.

      Good luck,

      Lucent Wraps Team

  9. Hello everyone,
    I hope you are all doing well.

    I wrapped my car about 8 months ago. I want to unwrap my car now. My wraps color is white. Unfortunately, some small edges in car turned yellow. I think that is because I haven’t washed the car for a while. They wont go anymore. I want to remove the wrap now. However, I wanted to ask you guys if you think the actual car’s paint will be damaged or not?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Faris,

      It’s hard to say if the paint will be damaged or not during the removal. If you used a high quality vinyl such as Avery Dennison or 3M you should be fine. Also, the result will depend heavily on the condition of your car’s paint & clear coat at the time you wrapped it. If your paint & clear coat are OEM and in good condition then you should be fine. If your car was painted and is not OEM or the condition was bad then you could have some serious issues when removing the wrap. The age of the car also plays a big role, even with OEM paint if the car is old there is a good chance the clear coat is weak and could be removed with the rap. Even with OEM paint and clear coat you definitely want to be careful when removing the wrap from the bumpers as OEM paint does not adhere well to plastic to begin with, therefore removing the wrap from these parts could take the paint off with it.

      I know this is a lot to digest but as you can see there are a lot of factors to consider.

      We wish you the best of luck.

      Lucent Wraps Team

  10. Actually, the true thing is its matter on what type of material or vinyl used on time wrapped what vehicle you are going to use for remove vinyl and how long it will go with….
    as you said this is also true that there are many factors that need to consider before to remove or install vehicle wraps. But there are also good chances to remove wraps from the vehicle if you used good quality of the material.

    • That’s very true as we mentioned the use of high quality vinyl is extremely important. The high quality vinyl have better adhesive which translates to easier removability.

      Thank you for your comment, it is much appreciated.

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Lucent Wraps

1374 Logan Ave., Ste E-2
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
949-334-3533