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Discussion Police car graphics gone bad

Stacey K

I like making signs
Hello! I have a police department in the area asking me to re-letter their cars. They had them lettered by a shop a few miles from me and after just a few weeks the ink was fading and the the vinyl is peeling...badly. The shop re-lettered them twice and both times, same results. I haven't done police vehicles yet and would probably order the graphics from www.police-graphics.com since they are close to me and I've gotten good results from their printed vinyl in the past. The department is now afraid to go with printed graphics. Any input would be appreciated, I've attached a photo - yes, the car is clean, it's just that bad. Thank you!
 

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AKwrapguy

New Member
Hello! I have a police department in the area asking me to re-letter their cars. They had them lettered by a shop a few miles from me and after just a few weeks the ink was fading and the the vinyl is peeling...badly. The shop re-lettered them twice and both times, same results. I haven't done police vehicles yet and would probably order the graphics from www.police-graphics.com since they are close to me and I've gotten good results from their printed vinyl in the past. The department is now afraid to go with printed graphics. Any input would be appreciated, I've attached a photo - yes, the car is clean, it's just that bad. Thank you!

So a few things.....
They might not have been laminated or the incorrect laminate could have been used.
Thy might have used a calendared lam on cast film. The shrinking of the lam could 'pull' the edged off. This could also account for the fading.

Incorrect material used
The printed material could have also been a calendared material.

Improper cleaning of the vehicle.
Depending on the vehicle prep, they didn't use IPA to remove wax or products used. It's possible that while cleaning the vehicle, they used a power washers that caused it to peel.

Do you know what material was used? It should be in the bid.
 

ams

New Member
Or used a non-printable vinyl or unlaminated.

Edit: It gives it that rustic look, remember those rust wraps?
 

Stacey K

I like making signs
Just to clarify...I didn't order, print or apply this, it's a new customer :) I can see if the department might still have the bid from the shop that did this. I'm confident in my print supplier and my application skills, but it's nice to provide a new customer with ideas of "what went wrong". I also checked with my print supplier to make sure THEY didn't print it! They suspect the material might be reflective and they wet applied, I have my doubts simply because the vinyl is very thin, it seems as if there is no lamination. It's half as thick as the cut vinyl and I also suspect THAT might be calendared because it's quite thick.
 

ams

New Member
Just to clarify...I didn't order, print or apply this, it's a new customer :) I can see if the department might still have the bid from the shop that did this. I'm confident in my print supplier and my application skills, but it's nice to provide a new customer with ideas of "what went wrong". I also checked with my print supplier to make sure THEY didn't print it! They suspect the material might be reflective and they wet applied, I have my doubts simply because the vinyl is very thin, it seems as if there is no lamination. It's half as thick as the cut vinyl and I also suspect THAT might be calendared because it's quite thick.

Wet apply would mold, not destroy the graphics.
 

#racewraps

@printwithspeed
Hello! I have a police department in the area asking me to re-letter their cars. They had them lettered by a shop a few miles from me and after just a few weeks the ink was fading and the the vinyl is peeling...badly. The shop re-lettered them twice and both times, same results. I haven't done police vehicles yet and would probably order the graphics from www.police-graphics.com since they are close to me and I've gotten good results from their printed vinyl in the past. The department is now afraid to go with printed graphics. Any input would be appreciated, I've attached a photo - yes, the car is clean, it's just that bad. Thank you!

Departments tend to look for the cheapest option available in my last few experiences. It looks like in this case they got it. Even had the cheapest option in town copy a few of my different designs for (with watermarks) agencies that liked the design but not the price. Win some, lose some. Everytime I see one of those I get angry but it is what it is, when I see the ones with the vinyl peeling off I figure there got what they paid for.

No need to be afraid to use printed vinyl, just be sure you use the correct materials for the job. And price it accordingly. If they scoff at the price just point to this and say "you want it done right or want to pay for it again?"
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
We do quite a few Police Departments around our area. I've only ever seen that from wet applications, poor grade of vinyl.... or according to where the vehicles are parked.

Most municipalities park the cars the same way every day when not in use, almost in the exact same spot. We had one, where the cars had that exact look on one side and one side only..... and some vehicles had it worse than others. I went out to look over the situation. On the property, there was a H-U-G-E salt pile for winter salting. The closer the vehicle was parked to the pile, the worse the lettering looked. Hmmmm............

It's not always the vinyl or application at fault. :rolleyes:
 

Allen123

New Member
We do quite a few Police Departments around our area. I've only ever seen that from wet applications, poor grade of vinyl.... or according to where the vehicles are parked.

Most municipalities park the cars the same way every day when not in use, almost in the exact same spot. We had one, where the cars had that exact look on one side and one side only..... and some vehicles had it worse than others. I went out to look over the situation. On the property, there was a H-U-G-E salt pile for winter salting. The closer the vehicle was parked to the pile, the worse the lettering looked. Hmmmm............

It's not always the vinyl or application at fault. :rolleyes:
We have had similar issues with the local Sheriffs. It looked like it was parked next to a grass fire. Now for them we only use 3M Reflective (printed) and 3M laminate. N more probs.
 

HandsomeBob

New Member
How many vehicles are affected like this? Do they all look similar?
Why isn't the department going back to the original shop under a warranty?

Police usually want reflective. Why not here?

Is the other shop new? How long have they been around?
If they have definitely lost the business, go talk to them and ask what happened. Just walking into their store will tell you a lot.
 

unclebun

Active Member
Why make things difficult by insisting on printed vinyl? The standard for police car lettering has always been using cut colored vinyl or reflective vinyl. It works, it's simple, doesn't require lamination, doesn't require a $20,000 printer, and it lasts. Just because you have a hammer it doesn't mean everything needs nails in it.

That said, even printed vinyl shouldn't do that if it's done with the right technology and materials. The lettering cannot be laminated because if it were the ink wouldn't be damaged by soap or solvents or whatever they are using on it. And unless they didn't remove the silicone detail spray the car dealer put on the vehicle before delivery, I can't think of any sign vinyl that would peel up in just a few weeks unless it was so old the adhesive didn't work any more. That said, I have seen 3M materials with removable adhesive do that, even on indoor signs in a relatively short time (less than a year).
 

Allen123

New Member
We had to print it because of a fade (gradation) in the prominent letters. We print in-house and install on premise. Only 3M would guarantee their product, but only if lammed with their specified lam. Anyway, no more probs. But before, there were some cars, that after only 6 mos or so, looked like they had been next to a fire.
 

jriley

New Member
Never seen any issues like this with solvent-based ink, cast lam, and cast vinyl. Regardless of what the previous shop did, if you use the correct materials, you won't have the same problem (in my humble opinion).
 

AKwrapguy

New Member
Need = Mimi printer, right material, lam !

Your equation is false....

You equate Need to a specific values in your equation by your operating under personal bias which clouds your judgement. In fact I would say that Need (N) is incorrect in this equation. Instead I would use Positive Outcome (O) due to the variable nature of the proponents of this equation. A better equation would be O=(P+M+T)/p . In this equation you have your Outcome (O) which is dictated by Printer (P), Material (M) which in this case would be Substrate and Laminate, proper install Technique (T), and of course none of that really matters with out proper Prep (p).
 
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TimToad

Active Member
Seems like nearly every possible cause has been covered.

Is the back of the material a grainy silver metallic color?

Is the deterioration the same all the way around the vehicle? The flag doesn't look like its been affected.
 
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