We all know that car wrapping is a highly skilled craft and must use the right materials. Last week, our friends at The Big Picture magazine USA ran a horror story about an appalling wrap inflicted on an unsuspecting Singapore car owner. It's so bad it went viral on social media and even ran in AsiaOne mainstream media.
|Click on the image above to see the TikTok video and commentary on the unbelievably bad wrap|
When a person entrusts his or her car to a wrapper, it's probably their second most valuable asset after a house. There is a reasonable expectation that it will be treated with the utmost respect. Mr Te Zhaoyan entrusted his Mazda to a company who quoted the lowest price - yes we hear you - "You get what you pay for" but such critical work should not descend into the realms of incompetence, deceitful cover-ups and damage to paintwork and body trims.
A video of the wrap's removal by a far more competent shop, Vox Automotive Styling, went viral on TikTok, posted by the installer 'Tsuri' (also an automotive content creator), who was obviously gobsmacked at what she found. She wouldn't even call it a wrap, saying: "The client (Zhaoyan) decided to send his car to us to fix whatever the f*** this was," she said. This was after no less than five broken promises from the original installer for delivery of the finished botched job.
As the video shows, when Tsuri stripped off the shoddy wrap, she found:
- Visible air bubbles & creases
- Surface not cleaned properly
- Multiple pieces of vinyl used to patch up missed areas - like ten for one bumper alone!
- Paint scratched by trimming knife
- Rubber seals cut by inaccurate knife-trimming
It also looks to us that the wrong material, or insufficient heat, was used - in the video it doesn't look 'stretchy' enough. Quality cast vinyl is the only way to go for vehicle wrapping.
Further investigation of the dodgy wrap outfit revealed that they are really auto-detailers and ceramic finish applicators. They may have thought vinyl wrapping would be easy-peasy and took the job on at a low price.
The original installer offered to re-do the job but car owner Zhaoyan had lost all confidence in them, saying he could "no longer sensibly trust the quality of work." He found a competent installer in Vos Automotive Styling (cutely described as an 'automotive aesthetics boutique'), who removed and remediated the poor wrap and, when he collected his car, even though he had written off around a couple of grand with the first installer, was moved to say: "I just collected my car from them and I’m really impressed with what they have done! They were really meticulous and take pride in their work, and it showed in the end product."
So, a happy ending for Te Zhaoyan - the AsiaOne report can be read on this link.
It could happen here
Don't think that this couldn't happen in Australia or New Zealand - substandard wraps do happen. So much so that a Perth wrapper was moved to try and start a professional wrappers' association in 2019, as reported Here. Sadly this was just as the Covid pandemic was about to break and it looks like it never got off the ground.
However, there are still options in the pursuit of excellence in wrapping. Marrickville, Sydney company Fancee Car have started the Australian Wrap School Association, essentially a tutorial programme aimed at turning out wrappers who are as competent as they themselves are. The course cost is $3,000 but it's a small investement in a career.
The most frequent and affordable courses (sub-$1,000) are run by the material suppliers such as Orafol, Avery Dennison, 3M, Hexis, Spandex and others. These cover both printed graphic wraps and paint replacement/colour changes. The courses vary from 2-5 days and have beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
There is also a Certificate III course available through TAFE NSW as part of its Sign & Graphics course. Vehicle wrapping is covered, citing:
"Vehicle Wrappers should have excellent fine motor skills and keen attention to detail. You’ll need to be creative and able to come up with a range of designs to suit your clients’ needs. Vehicle Wrappers should be good communicators and be able to work as part of a team. You’ll need to be flexible and able to adapt your skills to meet various circumstances."
Check local State TAFEs for more details or head to ASGA's Sign Careers listing.
The message for wrap installers surely must be train, train and train - then learn in real-world applications and train some more.