Fleet & Vehicle Wrap Removal (#44)
Tools you will need:
- Cleaning supplies: soapy water, paper towels, micro fiber towels, method of rinsing
- Heat Source:
- Fleet Graphics: Industrial heat gun or hand held torch (weed burner, tiger torch or asphalt torch)
- Vehicle Wrap: IR Heater or heat gun
- Blade: X-Acto or snap-off blade
- Mild citrus degreaser and Isopropyl Alcohol
- Be sure the vehicle is clean before starting the removal. Debris can often be flammable causing the vinyl to be scorched or the vehicle to be damaged.
- Heat the area to be removed evenly (refer to Image A below) with your heat source to approximately 125°F (50°C). In some climates the sun will give sufficient heat to do this. If temperatures exceed 125°F (50°C) the vinyl may delaminate leaving the adhesive behind making the removal much more difficult.
- Gently lift the edge of the graphic (refer to Image B below) with your blade. When you have removed enough to get a good hand hold, begin lifting the graphic by pulling away from the vehicle at a 15° angle. Do not pull the vinyl away from the vehicle at an angle greater than 90° (refer to Image C below) as this will cause the vinyl to delaminate leaving the adhesive behind.
- Try to keep the leading edge of the removal in a straight line by spreading your fingers out along the top of the removed graphic (refer to Image D below).
- Pull slowly for a clean removal.
- If the vehicle cools before the removal is complete, cut off as much of the removed vinyl as possible and reinstall any lifted edges before reheating and repeating the above steps.
IF ADHESIVE IS LEFT BEHIND
- For small traces of adhesive residue use isopropyl alcohol; however if there are larger remnants of adhesive lightly bathe adhesive with the degreaser/adhesive remover of your choice. Let stand for 45 sec. – 1 min. giving the adhesive time to absorb the adhesive remover.
- Remove the adhesive with one of the following methods:
- Wipe adhesive away with a cloth saturated with adhesive remover.
- Gently scrape away adhesive with a squeegee or plastic scraper. Be careful that the scraper you choose will not scratch the vehicle! After scraping away most of the adhesive, wipe what is left away with a cloth saturated with adhesive remover.
- Use a power washer to remove the adhesive (this method, although preferred, will work only if the adhesive remover is able to fully saturate the adhesive). The power washer should be capable of producing 2500 PSI and works best with heated water 100°F (39°C). Hold the pressure wand 24” (approx. 60 cm) from the vehicle and at a 30° angle for best results.
- Rinse all surfaces with soapy water to neutralize adhesive remover.
IMPORTANT TIPS TO REMEMBER
- If areas of a vehicle have been repainted, primed and unpainted, or bare without body filler it is likely that these areas will be damaged upon graphic removal.
- Over heating the vinyl will result in delamination and costly adhesive removals.
- If the vinyl is scorched and the surface becomes blackened and bubbled, allow area to cool, then bathe the area with adhesive remover. Using a squeegee or plastic scraper, gently scrape away vinyl and adhesive. Before continuing with vinyl removal, rinse the area with soapy water to neutralize adhesive remover (adhesive remover may be flammable).
NOTE: This tip is designed to assist applicators in the removals of fleet and vehicle wraps which were printed with Arlon films only. The adhesive systems of other media brands may not respond as desired to the techniques explained above.