3M Vinyl Wrap: How Long Does It Last? [Answered]

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Want to know how long 3M Vinyl Wrap lasts so you know what to plan next for your vehicle? 

How about how to take care of your 3M Vinyl Wrap? 

We’ll investigate how long you can expect the wrap to last.

How Long Does 3M Vinyl Wrap Last?

3M Vinyl wrap is meant to last for at least 7 years, which is actually a couple of years longer than other manufacturers. After that, you may start to experience gradual fading and issues with your vinyl wrap – which can be delayed if you keep it clean.

The length of time your vinyl wrap lasts depends in part on the vehicle, the material used, and how it was installed. 

Having an experienced technician install your vinyl wrap can make a big difference, as well as how you treat the vehicle. 

We’ll go into more detail about all of this.

More About 3M’y Vinyl Wrap Length of Service

The actual time a vinyl wrap lasts depends on a variety of factors.

Some wraps have been proven to last 10 years or more under ideal conditions.

3M’s main warranty for their most popular 1080 series wrap is warrantied for 3 years though most users report that it lasts from 7 years to 10 years. 

How to get the most out of your 3M Vinyl Wrap

The goal of any vehicle owner with a nice 3M vinyl wrap is to make it last as long as possible. 

They are an investment after all, and unless your logo and wrap needs change, you’ll want to get the most out of your money.

Keep your vinyl wrap out of the sun

While part of the purpose of a vinyl wrap is to keep a name or brand in the public eye, try parking the vehicle in the shade sometimes or in a garage. 

UV light will cause the vinyl wrap to gradually fade and lose the pop, color, and vibrance it was installed with.

While 3M makes durable wrap products, the strength of sunlight is rather powerful and is capable of fading even tough vinyl wraps. 

Of course, keeping your vehicle in a garage isn’t always possible since some wraps are applied to large enough vehicles that indoors are impossible, but it’s good to keep a wrapped vehicle out of the sun when possible.

Another solution is to get a canopy for your wrapped vehicle – especially if it’s large enough to be difficult to put inside an existing structure. 

You probably wouldn’t find it worthwhile to build an entire garage just for your business’ wrapped vehicle.

A canopy is way less expensive and removable.

Keep your 3M vinyl wrap out of the cold

3M Vinyl Wrap How Long Does It Last Answered 1 3M Vinyl Wrap: How Long Does It Last? [Answered]

Extreme temperatures can make vehicles do weird things, and vinyl wraps are not exempt. 

The vinyl wrap can crack at extremely low temperatures. 

Attempt to keep a wrapped vehicle parked inside a reasonably warm place instead of leaving it out in below 0 temperatures. 

This might not always be possible, but it can be worth it to protect the wrap investment.

Professional Installation

This is a big one. One of the biggest costs associated with installing a vinyl wrap is having someone do a detailed install, often at a detail shop or auto shop that sells the wrap. 

While some users could learn the art of installing a wrap from YouTube, they might also be missing tools, and of course, expertise and experience that are truly valuable in installing a detailed piece of equipment on a vehicle.

Professional installation is especially important because in most cases, the installer warranties the installation itself. 

A professionally installed vinyl wrap like 3M needs to both look good and have some particular details that keep the vinyl wrap listing longer.

People who want to wrap around pieces like door handles, lights, and other small parts need to be especially careful. 

Not wrapping properly can lead to moisture getting under, or the wrap peeling prematurely because the wrap is not completely sealed.

While professional installation might be a bit costly -it’s often worth it to hire someone who has done it before and has the patience and experience to get every detail right for a wrap that will cover your car.

Cleaning your vinyl wrap

Another big factor in maintaining the shine and cleanliness of a vinyl wrap is simply cleaning it. 

Nature can get all over your wrap and vehicle – from sap to bird droppings to snow, tar – and whatever else the road throws at you.

For spot cleaning, use products like Simple Clean or rubbing alcohol to remove blemishes that are especially tough or aren’t very big. 

Using a simple soft cloth while applying those is fine and will do the job without wearing the vinyl wrap down.

You shouldn’t wait long to remove any sap or bird droppings – do it as soon as possible so you can avoid having to apply excess chemicals – and because the longer sap or droppings sits, the more damage it can do.

In regards to car washes, you should opt for a touch free car wash, or the most gentle kind possible. 

You don’t really want the spinning brushes slapping your vinyl wrap – or least not regularly. 

Even high speed brushes can cause excess wear and potential scratches to vehicles.

What should I not clean a wrap with?

There are a few products that are effectively no-nos for cleaning up your wrap. 

The wrap isn’t going to wilt and fall off instantly, but you’ll notice more advanced degrading issues earlier and more often if you use them regularly.

  • Solvents
  • Oven cleaner
  • Orange oil or goof off
  • Degreaser
  • Anything oil based

We think this is pretty simple. 

Use natural cleaners, and nothing used to remove paint or extra baked on food.

Does pressure washing reducing vinyl wrap life?

It can. You’ll want to use a few settings before pressure washing your vinyl wrap:

  • Use pressure of less than 2,000 PSI
  • Spray from at least 12 inches away
  • Use a 40 degree wide angle pattern so you aren’t being too direct
  • Keep the temperature below 140 degrees

Spraying too hard will likely cause premature wear and tear, as the wrap is not designed to handle excess water pressure. 

How often should I wash a 3M wrapped car?

Once a week, or as often as the wrap gets dirty.

If your vehicle is sitting around and not getting dirty, it’s probably OK to wait a while to clean it.

If your vehicle is at a county fair, on the road, or sitting in a dusty place then consider washing it once a week or more often. 

Do wraps last longer on cars or trucks?

There isn’t really a difference.

It’s more about how well you take care of the wrap. We have some more info here.

What happens to 3M vinyl wraps after several years?

Per 3M’s own studies and generally speaking for vinyl wraps: they can last a long time with the right treatment. 

The graphics and material of the vinyl wrap can start to fade, crack, and peel. The objective is to use some best practices to make the vinyl wrap work for seven years though.

3M wraps are meant to last for a long time, and in many ways are literally attached to a vehicle as wraps are often used for businesses.

 Thankfully, with proper treatment and regular cleaning, you’ll be able to experience a sharp looking wrap for at least several years and experience gradual degradation before needing to install a new one.