It’s no secret that people in Los Angeles have a special relationship with their cars. Not only is car culture inextricable from the spirit of California in general, but due to the thousands of miles of highway and surface street that crisscross LA and the traffic that often congests all this miles of roadway, we spend a lot of time in our cars. That means our cars spend a lot of time being subjected to myriad potential sources of damage, from ultraviolet radiation beaming down from above to corrosive salty air blowing in from the Pacific Ocean to dust and debris flying about on the freeways and boulevards. All of these factors and more can damage the exterior of your car, fading the paint job and damaging the exterior both in terms of cosmetics and even in terms of proper function: vehicle paint does more than just look good, after all; it also protects the exterior of the car against rust and degradation.

But auto paint is hardly the only way to have you car looking great and protected against damage from sunshine, salty air, debris, and all the other factors a car can face in Los Angeles. Color wrap vinyl film is a great alternative to auto paint for ensuring your car looks great and has the ability to resist damage at the same time. Whether you want a flashy color shift wrap in Downtown LA so you can stand out among the growing throng of young professionals living there or if you want a stunning polished chrome color wrap for Beverly Hills level of style or if you just want a cost-effective way to restore the exterior of a car that works well but looks dated, vehicle vinyl wrap can help you achieve the look you will love.

But how does color wrap for cars work, exactly? Many people are a bit confused when it comes to the details, and many also have misconceptions as to how vehicle wrap works and how it can be used, also.

As an example to help explain how car wrap film works, we’ll discuss one of the most popular vinyl films for cars in Los Angeles. 3M Wrap Film Series 1080 color wraps are an industry leader thanks to the great quality of the materials the brand produces and thanks to the vast array of colors and finishes 3M color wraps come in. These include dozens and dozens of colors, from classic navy blue and white and black to bold metallic colors like copper and gold to bright and vibrant shades of pink, teal, yellow, and much more. 3M color wrap finishes range from high gloss to carbon fiber to brushed to satin; you can choose the hue and finish together, thereby giving yourself hundreds of possible combinations.

But as for how color wrap film works, all 3M 1080 series films — from a brushed silver finish to an electric blue gloss exterior — are fabricated in the same manner and are applied using the same tools and techniques.

3M 1080 vehicle vinyl films measure 3.5 mil thick, or 3,5 thousandths of an inch. This is thin enough for excellent conformability to curved, angled, and minute surfaces of a car, truck, or SUV, yet is thick enough to create tensile strength that resists ripping and to ensure the film can endure most minor damage such as might be caused by contact with another car door or flying bits of road debris.

Prior to the application of color wrap film, the surface of a car must be clean and free of flaking paint that will prevent proper adhesion and from deep scratches or holes that might show through the film. But mismatched colors or even a lack of paint is no problem, the film will completely cover the exterior of the vehicle. 3M color wrap vinyl comes in sheets that measure 60-inches across, which is large enough to wrap even the biggest sections of most vehicles — the hood and roof, usually — completely, precluding any visible seams or lines.

Color wrap film is placed over the various parts of a car prior to the activation of its adhesive so it can be carefully positioned and trimmed to ensure the best possible fit. The film features invisible are release channels that allow any trapped air to flow out from beneath the vinyl, preventing the development of unsightly air bubbles and allowing for smooth, even application. The solvent acrylic adhesive is pressure sensitive, so once the color wrap film is properly placed, it can be pressed down onto the surface of the car to create a smooth, seamless exterior without the need for heat guns or blowtorches and without the need for any under laminate layers or other solvents or adhesives.

3M Wrap Film Series 1080 vinyl vehicle films are rated to last for a minimum of five years, though most last for more than seven and sometimes endure for as long as ten years while still looking great. Perhaps the most redeeming quality about vehicle vinyl wrap is that even after it starts to look worn, it is still serving your car by protecting the paint and the underlying exterior. As long as your car has vinyl film covering its exterior, the paint job underneath is protected against damage. So when you finally decide to remove the color wrap film, whether because it has become damaged over the years or because you need a new look for your car prior to a sale or for your own taste, you will find the original paint job underneath remains in great shape.

Removing 3M Wrap Film Series 1080 vinyl can be accomplished in a matter of hours when you leave the removal process to professionals. The film can be loosened and then peeled away with the aid of applied heat and then careful tension. 3M color wraps are guaranteed not to damage the exterior of your car, truck, or the vehicle, and will not leave a trace once they have been peeled away.