One of the purposes of car wrapping is to protect your vehicle. For this reason, many people also choose to wrap the lights with paint protection film. And as a way to improve your ride’s appearance, your light status can affect the overall look.
Here are a few tips about preparing your lights before wrapping them. If you don’t have the habit of maintaining your lights regularly, it might need some extra work. But don’t worry. There is a solution too.
Protection is a must
Without surface protection and regular maintenance, the clear coat on a light will fade, and the shell of it will be oxidized and turn yellow because of exposure to the sun for too long. (This can also happen if you use the wrong chemicals for car wash)
This is why you should also wrap your lights. If this is already how your lights look, you can follow the tips below to bring back their glossiness before installing any film to them, or the clarity will be terribly low. You can also use this as your guideline for maintaining your lights.
Before fixing, apply masking tape around the light, which can help you avoid accidentally scratching the paint. Then, put lubricant on the light, which can be a rinse wash. Spray it on the light, and move to the next step.
Sand off the old oxidation
You should fix your lights by sanding them first. Use a safe sanding disc that is foamy and squishy. The low-pressure pad can prevent you from getting gouges during the process.
Fold the sanding disc in fourths, and start sanding off the old oxidation with diagonal strokes. Work with even pressure along the way. Don’t press pressure through your arm when doing it. Press from your fingertip instead.
Yellow substances will flow down. It can look pretty bad before it looks good again. Spray more of the solution as you need, flip the sanding disc to another side, and continue until you finish sanding the whole shell.
As soon as it is done, spray again and wipe out the excess liquid with a microfiber towel. Dry the surface and double-check if there is any oxidized substance remaining. If it is ready, you can move to the next stage.
Polish the surface
Use a suitable compound to polish the surface. You can put a microfiber pad on a dual-action polisher and apply the mixture to the pad. Spread it evenly. Repeat the same process several times until the pad is ready.
Start the polisher, and work left to right from top to bottom. You can adjust the polisher’s speed as you need. Add more compound when it is necessary. Don’t forget to clean the pad if too much compound builds up on it.
By now, your light should look much better. Spray the lubricant you use at the first stage to the surface, and wipe it off with a microfiber towel. Doing this can keep the compound from building too much heat on the surface.
Bring the gloss back
Now it is time to extract more glossiness. Remove the microfiber pad from the polisher and switch to a foam pad. Apply the same compound to it and polish the light once again. Once it is done, your light should look perfect again.
If your lights are in good shape, you can skip the parts above and get to the normal prepping stage right away. Cleaning a light is unlike handling the paint on a vehicle. If you approach incorrectly, you might damage the lights. Here is how you can do it safely:
Don’t use all-purpose cleaners
All-purpose cleaners are popular in the market. Many installers might have one of those. But when it comes to lights, you should use something else to clean it. All-purpose cleaners usually have high pH levels, which can damage the surface substrate, especially if the light shell is plastic. Even if the shell is made of glass, the harsh chemical might etch and crack it.
It is enough to use just soap and a light scrubber when cleaning it. Or you can get pH-balanced bug removers that are designed for plastic and glass light cleaning. Using these to clean can keep you from risks and is much safer.
Don’t put ceramic coating on
The ceramic coating will cause trouble for PPF or any vinyl film installation. The wrap film will not stay properly on the surface with the coating. Thus, if you have to wrap it, remove the coating beforehand. And remember to degrease the surface as well.
Following these tips will help you prepare your lights well for the application. Don’t forget to maintain your lights regularly if you want to ease the process, though. Keep learning to wrap better at teckwrap.com