Expectations, Preparation, and Maintenance
Vehicle Graphics Expectations
Action Graphics & Signs, Inc. has been installing vehicle graphics for over 5 years and we have installed both short and long term vinyl on most types of vehicles. Our experience has been extensive, and from this experience we have developed a set of guidelines for what you should and should not expect from your vehicle graphics and our installation team.
In all cases the vinyl we install on your vehicle is put on with a 4î squeegee and is applied by hand. We clean your vehicle with all the correct and approved chemicals and remove all objects we can to make the installation as successful as possible(See Vehicle Prep. Guide). Once this is completed, we then tape the graphic panels to the vehicle to make sure they will line up on the vehicle as they were designed. The rule for installation is to install the graphics on the sides of the vehicle first, then the front, the back, and finally the roof. When we install the back, we try to make a clean transition from the graphics on the sides to the back, but there could be a hard line between these two graphics if the body lines of the vehicle are not in favorable places.
The same is true for the front of the vehicle and the roof. On passenger vehicles, in almost all cases it is next to impossible to line up the sides with the back graphics and the sides with the front graphics. A compound curve is a part of the vehicle that has two surfaces going in two different directions, all compound curves require us to stretch the vinyl or a piece in the vinyl to cover these areas. This can sometimes cause problems with the graphics.
To prevent these problems, it is advisable to use a generic graphic background in these areas. Some vehicles have body indents (i.e. Hummers) and since we cannot stretch the vinyl more than a 1/4î, we are forced to cut the vinyl and cover only the areas that are viewed from a straight-on view of the vehicle. Areas around door handles, mirrors, door locks, wiper motors, antenna, roof racks, etc. are very difficult to make look perfect, and it is very common to cut the vinyl around these areas and piece in extra vinyl to cover the extra body areas that the vinyl could not cover.
You can expect that the vinyl could have small wrinkles, bubbles, and minor imperfections. You need to understand that this is not paint. If you expect a perfect vehicle graphic that is flawless, then an airbrushed paint job is the best way for you to proceed. You can expect to pay 4 to 10 times the price for this ìpermanentî graphic. This is not a service Action Graphics & Signs, Inc. offers. We always do our best to make your vehicle graphics look as good as possible, and we stand behind our work. Our rule is that if the vehicle looks great from 4 feet away it is a successful wrap. If you have any problems with your vehicle graphics, you need to contact Action Graphics & Signs, Inc. immediately so that we can fix the problem. Letting the problem go could cause it to get worse or possibly be unfixable.
Vehicle Prep Guide
Download this info in a pdf format.
This document was designed to help you and us insure that all the proper steps are taken to prepare and install your vehicle graphics. Action graphics & Signs, Inc. is proud of the fact that we use only the best trained installers with the highest quality materials.
1. All vehicles must be cleaned/washed before we can accept them for installation. If the vehicle does not come to us clean we will charge a $100 (for passenger vehicles and an hourly charge of $100 per hour for larger vehicles) washing charge per vehicle. We will then wipe down the vehicle with a certified cleaning agent. All graphics should be removed prior to installation (Action Graphics & Signs, Inc. charges for removal of old graphics, call for pricing).
2. All vehicles must have a proper paint finish (automotive grade paint, NOT PRIMER). All paint must be clean without rust or corrosion. If the vehicles finish (body and paint) is not in good condition, all vinyl installed will not be warranted by the vinyl manufacture or Action Graphics & Signs, Inc.
3. All extra options on the vehicle that inhibit the installation of graphics must be removed by the customer. Examples are: RV awning, ladders, special lights, speakers, roof racks, etc. If we are required to remove these items there will be a charge of $100 per hour to remove and reinstall these items. Items that we will remove at no charge are mirrors, reflectors, lights, and small emblems. Action Graphics & Signs, Inc. is not responsible for any damage caused due to the removal or reinstallation of these items.
4. All Diamond Plate and surfaces like diamond plate will not be covered. Mirrors are not covered or warranted. Vinyl is not installed on cylindrical items on the vehicle (pipe assemblies like roll bars, brush guards, etc.). The law prohibits us from installing graphics on the front windshield, drivers window or passengers front window. Wheel graphics are not warranted.
5. Installation – When we install graphics on a vehicle we use a felt squeegee or a soft sleeve on the squeegee to prevent scratching the laminate film. Even with these preventative steps we take it is still possible to end up with small scratches in the over laminate, these fine scratches do not affect the film. Along with the squeegee we use sharp blades to cut the film on the vehicle, all areas where there are body panel seams or areas where the vinyl could lift due to hard lines in the body or connection points, we cut the vinyl at these points. Sometimes the knife can cause small lines in the paint finish of the vehicle and when the film is removed the lines can be seen. This is an industry standard way of installing graphics and needs to be understood by the owner of the vehicle. Action Graphics & Signs, Inc. and the manufacturers of the vinyl (3M, Avery, etc.) do not cover this damage under our/their warranty.
6. Turnaround is based on availability of our installers. The average time from date of final approval is 5 days (3 days to produce the vinyl graphics, and 2 days for the installation of the graphics).
7. Vinyl Removal – When we remove vinyl from a wall or vehicle we use a heat process to soften up the vinyl that helps make it easier to remove. In some cases the vinyl removes the paint from the wall or vehicle because the paint was not properly applied to the surface. Action Graphics & Signs, Inc. is not responsible for any damage to the wall or vehicle due to the vinyl being removed. If the surface that has the vinyl on it is damaged, the surface must be repainted before new graphics can be applied. New paint requires 5 days to cure, so if you feel your wall or vehicle could be damaged during the removal of the vinyl you could choose to apply new graphics over top of the old.
Action Graphics & signs, Inc. uses 3M™ Controltac™ Graphic Film for a full one year warranty. The more you care for your vehicle graphics, the better they will look and last. The warranty is prorated so we recommend you review the following suggestions for maintenance for your Action graphics & Sings, Inc. vehicle graphics.
1. Car/Truck Wash – You can take your vehicle through a car/truck wash without any concerns. We have not found any car or truck wash that will harm your vehicle graphics.
2. Pressure Wash – When we install graphics on a vehicle we always overlap each panel by 5″. This installation procedure helps prevent the vinyl from peeling back when driving fast and if your vehicle brushes against branches etc. As a result you must always pressure wash your vehicle from front to back and always keep the wand at an angle to the vehicle (do not point the wand straight at the graphics). Never get closer than 20″ with the wand or you risk blowing holes in the vinyl. Any auto wash soap will work fine on the vehicle. For tough stains and dirt please use a brush. DO NOT PRESSURE WASH YOUR WINDOW PERF or you will rip it apart.
3. Wax – We highly recommend that you wax your vehicle once a year (or more) to maintain the high shine and the life of the vehicle graphics. The best wax to use is a liquid wax which makes it easier to apply. In most cases wax will take out the stains you might get in the graphics.
4. Snow Removal – Only use a brush, never use a scraper as this could damage the film. If you wax the film (the solid film not the window perf), the snow should just come off with very little effort.
5. Window Wipers – DO NOT EVER USE THE REAR WINDOW WIPERS ON THE WINDOW FILM! If you do this will void the warranty and damage the film.
6. High Heat – If your vehicle is out in the sun and gets very hot the film will not fall off or peel. The film loves the heat.
7. Insurance – Most insurance companies offer a special policy to cover your vehicle graphics. Call your insurance agent for more details.
8. Peeling or Lifting – If you see the film lifting or peeling back, you must contact us immediately so we can fix the problem. If you leave it you will prevent us from fixing the problem and void the warranty.