How to Select the Right Protection for Your Fleet Vehicle Graphics

10 February 2022By Turbo Images

How to Select the Right Protection for Your Fleet Vehicle Graphics

From solid film overlaminate to clear coat, learn about the perfect way to protect your fleet vehicle graphics from the experts at Turbo Images

One of the most important features to take into consideration when choosing fleet vehicle graphics is the quality and durability of the graphics themselves.

But what about the protective finishing?

The best way for your company's fleet graphics to survive all road conditions is with proper protection.

Each and every year brings dirt, bird droppings, tree sap, saltwater residue from winter snow, mud puddles, and other environmental factors that are difficult for your branding to stay presentable against. With proper protective finishing applied by experienced technicians, your vehicle graphics will withstand the wear and tear of daily driving, weather conditions, and car washes.

Every type of overlaminate has a different thickness and durability. Here at Turbo Images, we understand how to choose one that is best for each of our client's needs.

So how do you know which protection option is the best for your unique situation?

In this Turbo Images guide, we’ll be exploring this question and more!

Why is Overlaminate Graphic Protection Important for You Fleet Vehicles?

As discussed, using a proper overlaminate is important to protect your branding against the elements. Keeping your fleet vehicle graphics looking sharp and new can help you attract potential customers in both the short and long term.

When it comes to something like sun exposure, this is not the main cause of concern when it comes to damage to your graphics. Most of the time the materials, such as the ink in the print, are designed to last a handful of years against UV rays without laminate protection.

However, chemicals like soap and environmental factors are a different story … These can cause considerable damage and premature fading.

Any printed graphic installed in an environment in which the final product will be washed, walked on, or exposed to dirt and debris should be laminated.

Tough, heavy-duty overlaminates really add the most protection. They protect your printed graphics from abrasion and damage, as well as water, chemicals, or even road salt. However, they are also more expensive, so care must be taken to determine which is best for each individual case of fleet graphics.

The perfect overlaminate gives your fleet vehicle graphics the best protection against the elements. It should be tough enough to withstand daily wear and tear.

Types of Overlaminates for Your Fleet Vehicle Wrappings

There is a range of overlaminate protection, each type with its own pros and cons.

Also, the quality of the installation job, no matter the protection material used, relies heavily on the experience of the technician who is installing it. There is a considerable amount of room for error when it comes to the application of overlaminate protection.

This is why it’s incredibly important to choose a reputable, experienced team — such as Turbo Images — to install both your fleet graphics themselves and the laminate used to protect them.

Let’s take a look at some of the common forms of overlaminate, and how each one guards against graphics wear and tear …

Clear Coat and Liquid Laminates for Vehicle Graphics

A common solution to protect your fleet graphics is a clear coat or liquid lamination. This will give you protection against scratches, scuffs, and marring damage.

Liquid laminates provide a cost-effective solution for protecting most types of vehicle graphics, without adding too much additional weight or thickness that may distort the printing effects on the actual graphic itself.

However, because they are so thin, clear coats can be prone to peeling up if they are not applied by experienced professionals. If an inexperienced technician applies the clear coat at too low of a temperature with cheap equipment or materials, it can result in bubbling or pealing up around edges due to low adhesion properties.

Pros of clear coat and liquid laminates for vehicle graphics:

  • Cost-effective

Cons of clear coat and liquid laminates for vehicle graphics:

  • The thickness of the coating varies from one application to another, as the product is applied as a liquid
  • Consistent installation technique and a high-quality application roller are required (which we have at Turbo Images)
  • In order to prevent stretching and inconsistent protection, a premask must be applied, which adds an extra step to the installation process
  • The material can become weaker, more delicate due to the UV curing process
  • The clear coat could develop lack of clarity and become damaged quickly, depending on the severity of the environment it is exposed to

Solid Film Overlaminates for fleet graphics protection

This type of protection is thicker than a clear coat, yet still flexible. They provide more protection than clear coats against chemicals, abrasion, and damage.

Solid film laminates are perfect for most fleet vehicle graphics because they protect the printed image from fading or water damage, while providing an excellent print resolution and color vibrancy.

These materials can be applied to solvent-printed inkjet-applied graphics, as well as digital press printed images. Solid film laminates are also preferred for vehicle wraps because of their excellent adhesion properties.

This makes the application process much easier compared to overlaminates that are too rigid, that may become weak and brittle with less exposure, and don’t adhere properly during installation.

Pros of solid film overlaminates for fleet graphics protection:

  • Thicker than clear coat which provides greater protection against chemicals and abrasion
  • Best option if you have a smooth surface for printing/decals
  • Protects your print from fading and water damage, providing excellent resolution and color vibrancy
  • Printable on both solvent-printed inkjet applications as well as digital presses with good adherence

Cons of solid film overlaminates for fleet graphics protection:

  • More expensive than clear coats and liquid lamination

Even though solid film options can get pricier than clear coats and liquid laminates, the investment can be more beneficial in the long run. With higher susceptibility to wear and tear, liquid laminates may end up costing you more down the road with repairs and replacements.

Find Your Fleet Vehicle Graphics Solutions at Turbo Images

At Turbo Images, we can provide you with top-notch overlaminate protection for your fleet vehicle graphics. We have the experience and equipment to meet all of your needs, making us a reliable partner in providing cost-effective printing and protection solutions.

We will work on your project from start to finish, tailoring our process to your unique vision, standards, and expectations — from the design stage all the way through to installation on the vehicle itself.

In addition, our graphics experts can help figure out which material is best suited for your project, based on budget and overall quality expectations.

If you would like to learn more about how Turbo Images can help you with all aspects of your fleet vehicle graphics needs, click the link below!

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Assessing vehicle wrap graphics for your fleet for good protection by Turbo Images