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Can You Clear Coat Over Vinyl Wrap?

Installing a vinyl wrap over your car is one of the easiest ways to change its whole look. Instead of getting a paint job and being stuck with it forever, you can get this sturdy coating over your vehicle to transform its aesthetic on a semi-permanent basis.

With virtually endless combinations of colors, designs, and finishes, you can enhance your car’s look however you want. The best part? You can remove your car wrap after a few years of usage, and enjoy the showroom-worthy appeal of the paint that the wrap was protecting underneath.


But there’s one problem. While these car wraps are made to be durable, they are not invincible. Overtime wear and tear can make way for significant damage, and cause you to lose your wrap job before it has lived out its projected lifespan of half a decade. 


That brings an interesting question to your mind: Can you clear coat over vinyl wrap?


The answer is exactly what you may be hoping for: Yes, you may certainly apply a clear coat to your vinyl wrap and enhance its overall strength.

Here’s how it all works.


How Does a Vinyl Wrap Work?

A vinyl wrap is typically made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which makes it a durable yet accessible coating for your car. At its surface, the PVC wrap has the design, color, and finish of your choice. At its base, it has an adhesive backing that is supported by industrial-grade materials. 


This structure ensures that the wrap sticks to your car without any issues while also providing your vehicle with your ideal aesthetic. The synthetic plastic is also durable enough to sustain small scratches and scuffs. However, it can wear down with overtime damage, and affect your car’s appeal. 


Typically, a PVC wrap can last for 5 years. However, this projected lifespan can be cut short if the wrap keeps taking frequent hits as well as consistent wear and tear. If small scratches and contaminants consistently breach your wrap’s outer surface, it can bring down the material and your investment in it. 


What is Clear Coat and How Does It Protect Vehicles?

Clear coat paint is the topmost layer over an automotive paint job. As the name suggests, it is transparent in its appearance and makes sure that the paint under it stays completely visible. 


Clear coat’s main function is to protect the main paint from scratches, scuffs, and contaminants. By becoming the primary contact between these external elements and the car’s actual paint, a clear coat strengthens your paint job and lengthens its lifespan.


This makes sure that you are able to get the most value out of your car’s factory paint job, or the auto body improvements that you make on your own. 


Apart from its protective features, the clear coat layer is also used to give a car’s paint a refined finish. This makes a clear coat a typical final touch to high quality paint jobs. Due to this popularity, this layer of automotive paint is highly sought after by those car owners who want to enhance and protect their vehicles to the best of their ability.


How Can Clear Coat Help With Vinyl Wrap Protection?


When applied to a vinyl wrap, a clear coat brings its signature features to the table. Through its own material, this coat of paint protects the layer right underneath, which in this case happens to be a PVC material. With its refined finish, a clear coat can also bring a distinct level of gloss and finish to the car wrap and enhance its overall aesthetic even further. 


This is why putting a clear coat over vinyl wrap is an unconventional yet logical approach. Many auto body professionals follow it proactively, while others aren’t reluctant to do it upon request. The practice is most commonly executed by automobile aficionados, who want to follow every trick in the book to ensure long-lasting durability for their car wraps. 


Whether you have recently installed a vinyl wrap on your car or if you have had it for a while, you can get a clear coat over it. You just need to reach out to a professional who is experienced with the process and able to coat your car wrap without damaging it.


With that being said, you need to remember that a clear coat doesn’t make the car wrap invincible. Similar to any automobile paint job that is finished with a clear coat, your vinyl wrap is still prone to damage. But the overall level of that damage and its effects on your wrap is decreased quite significantly. 


How is Clear Coat Applied to a PVC Car Wrap?

Clear coat is originally meant to be applied over the car’s metal body and paint. Due to this reason, its typical application process is different from the procedure used against a car wrap. But despite this contrast, the clear layer of paint is highly effective in protecting your PVC wrap from overtime wear and tear. 


Ideally, you should have the clear coat applied right after you have installed a new car wrap. However, it is not mandatory to do so. Even if you got your wrap a while ago, you can get a clear coat on top anytime. However, you need to realize that if your vinyl wrap has been exposed to the elements, putting a clear coat over it would have a slightly lesser effect in terms of overall protection.


With these points in mind, here’s what a general clear coat application looks like on a PVC wrap.


  1. Your vinyl wrap is cleaned thoroughly. This ensures that your wrap is free of contaminants, dust, and grease.
  2. The clear coat is applied carefully. The clear coat needs multiple applications in quick succession to fix on top of your vinyl wrap.
  3. The clear coat is air dried cautiously. Once the clear coat application is done, your vinyl wrap dries in a safe space away from contaminants. 


From cleaning to drying, the application process takes a few hours. Depending upon the starting time, you can take your car home the same day. However, you need to pay optimal attention to your PVC wrap. This ensures that issues such as a lack of cleanliness or extended exposure to the sun don’t affect your investment.


Contact a Professional for Further Information


It’s important to remember that a clear coat doesn’t cost much, but offers additional protection to any vinyl wrap. With that being said, applying a clear coat over your vinyl wrap completely depends upon your discretion. 


If you have any further questions about the approach, don’t hesitate to contact an auto body professional. By discussing your needs and expectations with an expert, you can determine whether getting a clear coat is the right choice for you.

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