The Lowdown on Vinyl Wrapping Wheels
Can You Vinyl Wrap Wheels?
Theoretically you can vinyl wrap wheels – but you shouldn’t. You can apply a vinyl wrap to almost any smooth surface, why can’t you put a wrap on the smooth metal of your wheels?
A normal vinyl wrap will last 5-7 years but only when applied to the main body of the vehicle. Vehicle wraps work well on your vehicle’s body because those areas are immobile and fixed. Though your vehicle moves, the exterior doesn’t – but rims do. Your vehicle’s wheels are spinning up to 900 revolutions per minute at 60 mph which doesn’t make a very solid base for a vinyl wrap.
Wrapping your wheels is also a poor idea due to their location – the ground. Traditional wraps are kept up and above the worst of road gunk, but vinyl-wrapped wheels will constantly be bombarded with dirt, mud, ice, brake dust, and leftover oil on the road. Considering dirt and oil are some of the worst “agers” of vinyl, they won’t play nice with a wheel wrap.
Unless you’re always driving on clean, oil-free roads you’ll need to clean a wheel wrap constantly. Without frequent cleaning any wraps on rims will become damaged or faded within a few short weeks or months and you’ll essentially be throwing money away.There’s also an element of danger if a portion of the wrap were to dislodge and make its way onto your brakes.
Constant motion, enemies like dirt and oil, and the need for frequent cleaning all work together to make wrapping your wheels a bad idea – but you do have other options.
Other Options over Wrapping Wheels
Painting Your Wheels
Painting your wheels is generally not a good idea for the same reason vinyl wraps are not a good idea. The constant motion and environmental enemies will quickly scratch, chip, and fade paint. If you can’t paint or wrap your wheels, what can you do?
If you need to hide damage on your wheels or want to give your vehicle extra personality you can use powder coating. Powder coating is not as customizable as a wrap, but it’s how powder coating is applied that makes it superior to wrapping your wheels.
During powder coating, finely ground pigments are bonded to your wheels using an electrostatic charge. This method makes powder coating tough, durable, and unlikely to chip or scratch. A tough material that’s made to handle the road’s worst conditions is a much better idea than a vinyl sticker that will likely become damaged within a few weeks or days.
Getting Custom Wheels
There’s nothing to stop you from applying vinyl wraps to wheels but they will quickly become damaged and won’t be covered by any warranty. If you want to customize your wheels talk to your local shop about powder coating instead. Your car or truck can have great looking wheels that express your personality, but not with vinyl wraps.