What is a Car Wrap?

Thinking about changing the appearance of your car? You should consider a car wrap. A car wrap is a series of vinyl decals that are placed over the body panels of your vehicle that allow you to dramatically change its appearance. Car wraps are becoming increasingly popular because of the endless design options. You could go with a glossy color, gradient color, matte finish, chrome metallic color or a full-on graphic. The sky’s the limit! Wrapping is different from a paint job because the decals can be removed later without impacting the existing paint, if the wrap has been maintained correctly of course.

Why Should I Wrap my Car?

Wrapping your car allows you to get creative. If you have a favorite color that isn’t offered as a factory option, then a car wrap can be a solution for you! If you have leased your vehicle but you’ve grown tired of the color, you can add a vinyl wrap to it and then have it removed before your lease is over. 

What Car Condition is Required?

Even though you won’t be able to see your paint job, your paint has to be in good condition or else the wrap will be a mess. Do not expect the vinyl wrap to be a cover-up for an or bad paint job. 

If your paint is in poor shape, the vinyl decals will have a hard time adhering to your paint. If your car has scratches or door dings, they will stick out like a sore thumb. So, we advise that you get any scratches or dents fixed before getting your vehicle wrapped because the imperfections under will always show up on the surface.

How is a Wrap Installed?

The first step in a vinyl wrap installation is a thorough wash. Then the car will be detailed with a clay bar in order to remove any contaminants on the surface of the paint. Some installers use a solution of isopropyl alcohol to clean the paint then blow off any remaining dirt particles with compressed air.

Then the bumpers, headlights and taillights will be removed so that the installed can apply the wrap as close to the edges of the body panels as possible. If you’re not comfortable with your car being taken apart, then the installer can use a scalpel-like tool to cut the vinyl around the headlights. 

After this, the vinyl wrap will be applied to the body of the vehicle. A heat gun is used to make the material more pliable, so it can properly hug the contours of your vehicle. Depending on how advanced your wrap design is, additional vinyl layers may be required. Finally, the installer will use a soft felt squeegee to remove any air pockets and smooth out the decals. 

The entire process takes a few days to complete, depending on the complexity. If you want the door jambs to match then it will take longer because it is more intricate. The doors need to be taken apart before being wrapped which adds more labor and cost to the vinyl wrap installation. 

How Much do Car Wraps Cost?

The cost of a vinyl car wrap depends on the style of the wrap, size of the vehicle and the complexity of the installation. The price will be determined on the shop you go to. For example, a matte or satin finish on an average sized vehicle can range from $3,000 to $4,000. Chrome or metallic finishes are significantly more expensive due to the higher cost of the materials and added complexity of installation. A chrome wrap can range from around $6,500 to $8,000.

A full vehicle wrap usually covers the complete vehicle or car. Well, it does not include the motor bay because it is an internal car part. It includes your door jambs as well as other parts that are noticeable outside. On the other hand, a partial vehicle wrap just covers certain car parts, either the side panels, roof, trunk or hood, which makes it perfect for brands to buy mobile advertising promotions. The other sections, however, might cost higher compared to the roof since having many curves to wrap.

The cost of your vinyl car wrap will also depend on your vehicle. A higher end car will usually cost considerably more to wrap. Installers need to be extra careful with those vehicles and the body panels are more complicated to remove.

Is It Cheaper to Get a Car Wrapped or Painted?

This depends. An inexpensive paint job can be cheaper than a car wrap and a higher-quality paint job will cost you about the same as a car wrap. It all depends on how many paint coats. The cost also depends on the type of paint job you decide on. If you chose a matte finish or color shifting paint, that will cost significantly more than a vinyl car wrap to achieve the same look.

And again, it’s important to note that a wrap is not permanent. You always have the option of removing the vinyl and going back to the original factory color. So if you chose to paint your car, reverting back to its original color would not be a possibility.

How Long Does a Car Wrap Last?

The longevity of a car wrap depends on a few factors. These factors include:

  • Exposure to the elements
  • Proper maintenance 
  • Ceramic coating on top of the wrap

The less a car wrap is exposed to the elements, the longer it will last. Excessive sun exposure can make the vinyl wrap harder to remove in the long run and can significantly shorten its lifespan. If properly maintained, a car wrap can last up to five years. But if you leave it parked outside and don’t keep it clean, the wrap might only last a year or so. Here is where Ceramic Pro can help you!

Ceramic Pro coating protection for vinyl wraps can be applied both under and over the vinyl wrap to increase its longevity. The installer applies this Ceramic Pro liquid nano-ceramic coating base coat and top coat before the wrap and atop to vinyl wrap. It hardens and protects the wrap from water damage, has a greater UV resistance, and can ward off minor scratches. The ceramic coating will help the wrap last longer! Ceramic Pro provides top-of-the-line coatings to protect vehicles from premature aging while reducing wash times. 

One of the many benefits of the coating is the fact that Ceramic Pro coatings add additional hardness to the surface of the vinyl wrap. This added hardness allows the vinyl wrap to be more protected enabling the exterior ceramic coat to take the brunt of the punishment. So what does this mean for your vinyl wrap? Simply put, the ceramic coating acts as a shield and damage caused by scratching or the likes can easily be removed with polishing services.  

Breaking Down the Cost of Car Wraps and Ceramic Pro

Customized patterns can cost up to $3,000. Many vehicle wrap companies work with either Avery vinyl or 3M. These products are intended as a branded wording and put in your car for three to five years. Nevertheless, both these companies have many different vinyl kinds.

For example, how much does it cost to wrap a car matte black? Prices range from $1.89 – $2.95 per square foot depending on the supplier. With printed wrapping, you still have to pay for the charge of service in making the car wrap, contributing to the total of wrapping your car. Adding a Ceramic Pro coating on top of the vinyl wrap will be an additional cost, but is definitely worth the investment. You will want to protect your vinyl wrap as much as possible and Ceramic Pro can help with that. Get a free quote from your local Ceramic Pro installer. 

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Geoff D

Author Geoff D

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