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Cleaning & Maintenance of Vehicle Signage

So you have just completed your fleet signage rollout and the vehicles are looking fantastic. Question…did you consider or ask about maintenance?

Like every product that has a shelf life there is a degree of cleaning, care and maintenance required to keep signage looking spick and span and vehicle graphics are no exception.

Depending on how the graphics were produced and the method of installation will dictate how you care for them. Types of production fall into two categories:


  1. Digitally printing of vinyl media, which is applying ink onto the surface of a white self-adhesive vinyl material and preferably applying a protective clear over laminate for protection.
  2. Use of pre coloured vinyl films where the colour is impregnated throughout the whole thickness of the film.


In each instance the vinyl manufacturers recommend a basic detergent and water mix wash every week to remove general road grime. This will help prevent the deterioration of the film and generally keep that ‘as new’ look.

Many clients ask us about the use of car wash facilities and gurney’s and this is where the ‘how it’s produced and installed’ factors come into play.

For example if the graphics were printed and not laminated then anything but a mild hand wash is out of the question. If the printed film has been over-laminated then providing the installation was done by a professional firm, its generally fine to take through a car wash or use a gurney. We suggest this doesn’t happen for the first few weeks to allow the vinyl adhesives to adhere properly to the vehicle.

If the vehicle is wrapped in a solid pre coloured vinyl then on occasion you can take through a wash although hand washing is always preferred.

If the installation is cut vinyl lettering or a combination of wrap and cut lettering then it is not recommended that car wash facilities or gurneys are used as the letter edges can be lifted under high pressure.

Regarding the use of chemicals and cleaning agents, well providing the digitally printed graphics are laminated then bug and tar remover and / or methylated spirits can be used to remove tar spots and hard to remove rub marks. Likewise for solid vinyl colours and cut lettering.

Car polish can be used over graphics if desired and also ceramic coatings will add extra protection.

On a parting note a simple hand wash every week will ensure the livery presents fresh and clean. A detailed clean to remove tar spots should be undertaken every few months.