If you like taking care of your car, then you might have plastic bumpers installed on it.
How did we know? It’s simple.
Plastic bumpers are one of the easiest ways to protect your car’s body from skids and abrasions on the road. This makes their addition to a vehicle a no brainer for anyone who doesn’t want their car to get damaged with frequent hits. This is especially true when you drive a lowered car, which has an increased risk of lower body damage from pavements and curbsides.
But as amazing as bumpers are at guarding your precious automobile, they often falter in terms of maintaining its looks. With plain and basic colors, plastic bumpers leave a lot to be desired if you want a car that projects oomph left, right and center.
While this is a pesky problem for many car owners, it tends to be especially frustrating for those who put a special focus on aesthetics. For instance, if your vehicle has a car wrap or if you plan to install one to enhance its style, a plastic bumper in its original state can disrupt its whole look.
Which raises the question, can you vinyl wrap plastic bumpers?
The short answer: Yes, you can.
The long answer: Yes, only if you pay attention to a few factors.
You Can Install a Vinyl Wrap on Plastic Bumpers, With a Few Conditions
Car wraps are made out of high quality vinyl, which is attached to the car with superior strength adhesive. But even as this adhesive sticks to your car’s metal body for years on end, it doesn’t latch onto typical plastic material the same way.
There are two reasons for that. Firstly, the adhesive isn’t meant to be used on plastic and only works optimally with painted metal. Secondly, plastic bumpers often come in intricate shapes that make it difficult to put a whole car wrap onto them.
But all hope is not lost.
You can still use a vinyl wrap on a plastic bumper. You just need to make sure that the application is performed carefully. With it, you also need to understand that the vinyl wrap will not remain on your plastic bumper for as long as it does on the car’s actual body.
This means that if you install a vinyl wrap on your plastic bumpers for the sake of aesthetic or protection, it will not be as long term of a solution as the rest of your vehicle’s wrap job.
You may need to change the wrap every few months, and it may also cause adhesive issues. With that being said, high quality wrap with careful installation can minimize these problems.
If you still want to move forward with a vinyl wrap bumper application, then you can certainly invest in a wrap for your plastic bumpers.
Consult a Professional at All Costs
When it comes to installing a car wrap on your vehicle, you should always consult an experienced professional who can take care of the job for you. It’s because installing a car wrap without dips and bumps requires the utmost care and precision, which doesn’t come without sufficient expertise.
This is all the more important when it comes to installing a vinyl wrap on a plastic bumper. With unconventional material and complex shapes, a plastic bumper is no place for a novice to try their hand at their first car wrap job.
But due to plastic bumpers’ performance with vinyl wraps, not many professionals take on this task. With that being said, you can still find professionals who do the work but still maintain transparency about its long term effectiveness. As long as you are clear on the performance factor of vinyl wrap on plastic bumpers, you can find a reliable expert to execute the process for you, but don't forget to check their reviews first.
Learn About the Process
Even when you find a competent professional to do the wrap job for you, it is prudent to understand what the process entails. This gives you an idea about how much effort is your chosen expert putting into the task and how long it might take for it to be completed.
Check the Plastic Bumpers Type
If you have a textured or low quality bumper, then it would cause issues with the wrap installation. The wrap might start peeling off even before it has completed a few weeks or months on your car. It may also show air pockets or lumps underneath its surface. This is why, it’s important to not compromise on the material of your plastic bumper when you are installing a car wrap on it.
Fortunately, most modern plastic bumpers are made out of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is a high quality and sturdy plastic. As far as plastics go, it is ideal for vinyl wraps after having a coat of paint applied to it. You can easily buy this bumper from any auto body vendor.
Choose a High Quality Wrap
Any car wrap expert who vows to do the job with low quality wrap is a big red flag. Since plastic is a temperamental material for vinyl wraps, it is important that the wrap is made out of high quality material and uses premium adhesive.
With this in mind, the first step of the process is to choose a wrap of optimal quality. It might cost more than run-of-the-mill wraps, but it will get you the most out of your spending and efforts. This holds true in terms of easy installation as well as long-term efficacy.
Check Your Bumper for Damage
Any cracks, holes, or punctures in the plastic bumper may also cause installation problems. With their mere presence, these issues influence the vinyl wrap material to stick the wrong way or start peeling off from the broken area right after being installed.
This is why, it’s crucial that your bumper doesn’t show any signs of damage. If you find any problems, it is best to replace your bumper before you start putting a vinyl wrap over it. This ensures that your wrap installation goes smoothly and without any issues.
Install the Wrap in Sections
Since bumpers usually have complex shapes, performing a proper vinyl wrap installation on them with a smooth finishing can be difficult. But it is still not impossible.
Instead of doing the vinyl wrap installation with a whole, large piece, cut your wrap into sections before you install it on your plastic bumper. This gives you the flexibility to fix your wrap according to the contours and curves of the bumper. The process is longer than a traditional wrap job, but it gives you a seamless installation that looks picture perfect.
It is prudent to note that this process can be difficult with graphical wraps that need to follow a set design that goes in line with the car’s hood. However, it is ideal for gloss, chrome or satin wraps that can blend in with the rest of the car easily.
Clean Off Excess Adhesive
Cleanliness is an important part of any car wrap job. But it stands front and center when you are working on a prominent part of your car, which sticks out to anyone who throws a glance at your vehicle.
For optimal finish, it is important to clean off any excess adhesive that sticks above the surface of the wrap. This makes sure that your vinyl wrap doesn’t give of a smudged look. Instead, it provides you with your desired finish, whether it is matte, gloss or chrome.
Vinyl Wraps on Plastic Bumpers Come With Their Own Stipulations
Apart from installation practices and checks, vinyl wraps come with a few more stipulations in terms of maintenance and care.
As mentioned above, vinyl wraps on plastic do not have as long of a lifespan as a car wrap on metal material. Where high quality wraps on cars can easily go for 7-10 years, vinyl wraps on bumpers might only last for half that time, or even less in some situations. This means that you may need to replace your bumper wraps twice or thrice within the lifespan of your overall car wrap.
Another factor that you need to be wary about is maintenance. Since bumpers are prone to sustain splashes, hits, and abrasions on the road, your vinyl wrap may start showing signs of wear and tear sooner than your whole car wrap. Even when the wrap doesn’t start peeling off of your bumper, the cuts and grazes against it might look unsightly. If you are someone who holds aesthetic above anything else, then this might be a slight cause for alarm.
After understanding these factors, if you still want to install vinyl wraps over your bumper, you should contact a credible professional for the job. With their skill and expertise, such an expert would be able to take care of your requirements within a day or two at most.