Vehicle Wraps Can Represent You Well

Eye-catching truck and equipment graphics can supercharge your marketing efforts and protect vehicle finishes at the same time.
Vehicle Wraps Can Represent You Well
The final wrapped WWETT Show truck took on a striking new look.

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Vinyl vehicle wraps seem to be everywhere these days — on buses, trailers, cars and delivery vans — so why not on your trucks or equipment?

Wraps can serve as a constant reminder of the services you offer. And if you don’t like the look of your black truck — no problem — just wrap it in blue. Clear wraps can also add an extra layer of protection to your vehicle’s finish.

Upgrading the look of your trucks and equipment doesn’t have to be expensive. Prices can range from $100 for a simple name or logo to $3,000 or more for a full vehicle wrap. Cost often depends on the amount of surface covered and complexity of the surface being wrapped: Is it straight and flat, or does it have a lot of concave and convex surfaces?

Think of a wrap as a large vinyl graphic applied directly over the original paint of your vehicle. However, unlike paint, it can easily be updated or removed, returning your vehicle to its original appearance at trade-in time.

Wraps are made from cast or calendered film and can last up to seven years. The main difference between cast and calendered film is stretchability. Calendered film is best suited for flat applications, while cast easily negotiates curves and contours.

Vinyls are also available in various textures – such as brushed steel – that paint can’t simulate, says Ryan Koth, owner of Wrap Right in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, who covered a showpiece truck displayed at the 2015 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show.

Depending on complexity and size, it can take up to a week to design, produce and install a wrap. But once designed, it only takes the push of a button to duplicate. Koth says wraps have grown in popularity in the past decade, primarily because of the ability to reproduce almost anything.

“When vinyl graphics started coming out and you wanted multiple colors, you would take a stock color vinyl and each color would be a different layer of vinyl,” he says. “Now we can print that on one sheet.”

Designs are drawn on a computer and placed on a template that provides an accurate measurement of the year, make and model of the vehicle. It also calculates the amount of material needed. Koth suggests businesses incorporate their logo, phone number and Web address into the design, as well as color schemes.

“A lot of people are doing Facebook and social media, too,” he says. “We also suggest where to place logos and graphics. If it’s on a curved surface it can distort lettering. We try to suggest good, visible places.”

Final designs are sent to a large format digital printer and laminated. “All vinyls are laminated,” Koth says. “What that does is protect the inks printed on the vinyl from fading in the sun. It gives it a longer life span and protects against small scratches and abrasions.”  

The durability of a wrap depends on how it’s maintained. “If it’s in the sun all the time, typically it will have a shorter life span than if it was kept in the garage,” says Koth, who advises customers to keep their wraps clean and avoid automatic car washes.  

“With full wraps, it’s not that big of a deal because everything is covered,” he says. “But if you have graphics with edges, that’s where an automatic car wash can get under the wrap and take it apart. If you’re hand washing it, you won’t have a problem.” Koth also advises using soap and water to quickly clean up fuel spills that splash the wrap.

While almost anything can be wrapped, new vehicles work best. Wraps do not stick to rust, and chipped or blistered paint can pull off when the wrap is removed. Vehicles must also be free of dust, mud and wax before they are wrapped. Should a portion become damaged, it can be replaced without rewrapping the entire vehicle.

“I’ve had customers who have hit deer,” says Koth, who keeps copies of designs on file for two years. “I just did a truck where someone had backed into his doors in a parking lot. So that’s another plus of what we can do with the vinyl, and we can match it exactly.”



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