How Much Does It Cost to Wrap a Car? (Car Wrapping Cost)

Car geeks are customizing and personalizing their buddies for as long as there have been cars. One of the latest and exotic ways is with the vinyl car wrapping. If you’re already thinking about giving your car a whole new appearance, here is what you must know before opting for car wrapping, along with a streamlined overview on how much does it cost to wrap a car and is it cheaper to get a car wrapped or painted?

Want to change the entire look of your car? You’re left with two options only, either paint it or wrap it.

Well, vehicle wraps have been around among the gearheads for quite a long time. Earlier, car wraps were mostly used for advertising purposes. Now the best thing is, this old school usage is revoked, and these days, it’s easier than ever to find a shop that offers car wraps.

how much does it cost to wrap a car
Learn how much does it cost to wrap a car and pros and cons of car wrapping? (Image credit: CK Wraps)
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But why should you go for a car wrap, when you can just paint it? Or Is it costly when compared to car paint? Is it cheaper to get a car wrapped or painted? These are pretty common questions that may poke a doubt in your head. Isn’t it?

But hey, fret not, because that’s why we are here to resolve all your queries related to car wrapping and help you with all the information along with a close insight into how much does it cost to wrap a car? Scroll down and go through to know.

What is Car Wrapping? Difference Between Wrapping and Painting a Car

Car wrapping is a unique way to change the look of your vehicle without even using the complicated and a bit expensive paint respray. With vinyl wraps, you can cover your car completely or partially. Just stick your wished design with a glossy or matte finish, and your job is done.

When a car gets wrapped, first a coat of plastic vinyl is stuck over the paintwork. Next, measurements are taken to fit the graphics properly, followed by choosing the colour or type of finishes. Then, the vinyl layer is laminated to protect it from abrasions or scratches and UV damage. The final task includes preparing the surface of your car and ensuring each edge is cut to fit every single panel.

Wrapping a car is a fiddly job that needs to be done by only trained technicians. Else, your car’s original paint may get damaged.

Car Wrapping vs Painting

Before setting your mind either on painting or on wrapping, you must consider a few aspects. Also, this leads to our next concern, Wrapping vs Painting – what is the difference between wrapping and painting a car?

  • Prices Differ: The first thing you must compare is the cost of wrapping a car Vs. painting. Be it a mechanical or aesthetic modification; price is an important factor to consider before deciding one. According to the leading car wrap companies, a paint job can cost you anywhere between $3,000 to $10,000 or more than that. On the other hand, car wraps can cost from $1,500 to $5,000 on the basis of material and project.
  • After-Paint Maintenance: Not only painting your car is costly, but also it requires special attention after the job is done. You must wash and wax regularly to achieve better durability for the “new car” look where you can just forget about wax and use normal soap and water to clean your vinyl wrapped car or make it shine again.
  • Endless Wrap Designs: Most of the car companies offer a limited range of colours, but you will get to choose from plenty of options in case of vinyl wraps. So you’re all free to craft your car, just in the way you want.
  • Easy and Safe Removal: If you like to remove the wrap someday, it won’t be a headache as your car’s original paint will be intact, just like the mint condition. Though, the professional has to place the wrap in the right way to make the removal process hassle-free.

Must read: 9 Important Things to Know Before Changing Your Car Color

What are the Pros and Cons of Wrapping a Car?

Knowing the pros and cons of car wrapping will surely help you in making the decision whether to go for car wrapping. Below, we have furnished the pros and cons of wrapping your car. Have a look.

Advantages of Wrapping a Car

If you are feeling uncertain even after learning the difference between wrapping and painting a car then you should pay attention to the marvelous advantages of car wrapping. Here are some of the admirable car wrapping benefits you probably didn’t know:

  • You Can Customize the Car Wraps: Did you know, all of the car wraps are customized and made specially to set foot on an individual’s expectations. Be it the color variations, or just a message, pattern, an image- with time, more and more car lovers are getting inclined towards making their car reflect their own personalities. Basically, you can have the freedom to drive your unique dream car while opting for wraps.
  • Get Full Coverage for the Underlying Paint: The vinyl wraps work like an extra protection layer for your vehicle, which saves it from all the small dents or chips, along with sun exposure, or dirt. If you want to preserve the resale value of your car, protecting its original paint is helpful. Along with that, you can avoid any minor payments for the repairing job when your car is adorned with an extra shield.
  • Easy-to-Remove Car Wraps: One of the best advantages of getting a car wrap is that you can remove it easily, anytime, anywhere. You don’t even have to worry about damaging the original paint as long as your technician has done a great job. For business owners, this thing works the best. Because they can change their branding or message more often.
  • Reasonable Cost of Car Wrapping: When compared to custom painting, the car wrapping cost is quite minimal. So you can keep changing the color of your car without burning your pocket or lowering its resale value.
  • Easier and Faster to Get the New Look: Custom paint involves a lot of preparation before starting the actual job, i.e., priming and drying each coat. It may take up to several days or weeks to get your car back on the road. On the contrary, vinyl wraps take a faster turnaround time. Mostly, it takes one or two days to cover your car completely.
  • Wide Range of Car Wrapping Options: As we already mentioned, you will get a wide range of collections when it comes to car wraps. Different color, finish, and design options are available, including the color shifting wraps, which make your car change its color according to the play of light. Finishes available- matte, gloss, or semi-gloss. You can also have a perfect clone of carbon fiber, stainless steel, or chrome finish while going for car wrapping.

Disadvantages of Wrapping a Car

If you are planning to wrap your car instead of painting it then there are only a few car wrapping problems you should be aware of. So, let’s have a closer look at the disadvantages of wrapping a car:

  • You Get What You Pay: Are you searching for a way to wrap your car within your budget? If yes, you must remember that you get exactly what you pay for. Buying a car wrap with lower quality and doing it on your own to save the car wrapping cost often results in bad finishes. Here, a high-quality car wrap and professional’s skill will get the job properly done for you.
  • Drastic Color Variations: Covering your entire car with wraps may look the best initially, but in case the wrap suffers any type of scratch or scuff, the underlying paint will seep through the wrap. Finally, you may end up losing your car’s all finished and cool appeal. This kind of damage also dilutes the protective element of vinyl wrap.

Now that you know the positive and negative sides of car wrapping, it’s time to know about all other aspects like- how much does it cost to get a car wrapped? So, why waste another minute! Know the answer below.

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How Much Does It Cost to Wrap a Car?

According to the professionals, the full car wrapping cost depends on the style of the wrap, vehicle size, partial or full wrap, and how complicated it’s complicated to install. For instance, a satin or matte finish car wrap, which is almost about the size of a Ford Mustang, will cost you $2000 to $3000. Metallic or chromium finishes are more expensive as the used material and complexity of installation is of higher cost.

Chrome wraps can turn dull if overheated or at the time of fitting it on the curved surface of your car. That’s why a professional’s hand is much required, and when it comes to Chrome wrap; $5500 to $7500 can be the answer to your query- how much does car wrapping cost?

If you’ve got a pricey car, you must go for a pricey wrap. High-end cars like Rolls-Royce may cost as high as $12,000 to wrap. The installers are required to be a bit extra careful with the body panels. For graphics wrap, car wrapping cost decreases as you can get your job done within $3,000.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Car Wrapping?

As you already know, you need to spend $2,000 to $5,000 in general, to wrap an entire car. For specialty vinyl wrap, it may cost $10,000 or more than that. If you only want to cover the hood or roof of your car, $300 will be enough to give your car a new look.

But have ever thought why the range of car wrapping cost varies too much? Well, the installers are not burning your pocket by demanding a higher payment. Instead, the below factors are responsible for affecting the cost of wrapping a car. Take a look.

  • Wrap Coverage: Full wrap is always more expensive than a partial wrapping (i.e., door, hood, or trunk).
  • Vehicle Size: Vehicles with a larger size tend to cost more for getting a car wrap. So, if you own a truck or SUV, you have to spend more than the owner of a sedan or coupe.
  • Vinyl Quality: Different types of vinyl qualities are available in the market. Some of them have a lifespan of as long as 10 years, and some are temporary. So your query- how much does it cost to get a car wrapped? will have only one answer in this case- ‘depends on the quality of vinyl.’
  • Job Complexity: Flat surfaces like roofs or hoods of your car are easy to wrap, so it costs a lesser amount than curved vehicles like a sedan or pickup truck. The latter ones require more labour to get wrapped; that’s why car wrapping cost increases in this case.

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How Long Does It Take to Wrap a Car?

According to the size of your car, the time for installation varies. Also, the complexity of the project plays a major role here. If you have a car with a number of complex curves, it will take longer to finish the wrapping job.

When you are doing it with the help of professionals, you must wait for 2 to 3 days to fit the wrap and an additional span of 12 hours to let the wrap sit properly.

If you are a DIY kind of person, 2 to 3 full days are must to get the new appearance of your car. You can get a helping hand to finish this job within 1.5 to 2 days, on the basis of size, model, and difficulty of doing the job.

However, vinyl has an adhesive nature which is really helpful to wrap the complex curves. But you must give it at least 12 to 24 hours of “rest period” after the entire application is done. This will allow the film to completely adhere to your car. During the rest period, you shouldn’t drive the car as wind pressure may dispute your work. So add this extra spell to your time-frame of installation for ensuring the vinyl isn’t peeled back before it can set fully.

How Long Does a Car Wrap Last?

As less as your car faces extreme weather conditions, as long as the vinyl wrap is going to last. If you properly maintain it, a car wrap can last up to seven years. Excessive sun exposure can damage the vinyl, make it hard for you to remove, and you will see a significantly shorter lifespan. Moreover, if you don’t clean your car often, it might last for a year only.

To save your car from water damage, use nano-ceramic coating at the top of the wrap. Also, this coating has an excellent UV resistance power and can ward off minor scratches easily. So, the ceramic coating is undoubtedly best to make your wrap last longer than usual. But it doesn’t come cheap as you may have to spend $1500 to $1800 to use the ceramic coating on an SUV. Furthermore, this one is an additional charge which will be added with the charge of your wrap.

Do you know? How to Remove Deep Scratches from Car at Home

Can You Wrap Your Car Yourself? How Much Does It Cost to Wrap a Car Yourself?

The one-word answer is Yes. But the job is not that easy, especially when you are not a professional or doing this for years! If you are one of those who really struggle to set the phone’s protector on the screen without an air bubble, car wrapping will be a risky stunt for you. Well, you can just start by wrapping a relatively smaller and flat section of your car.

On the other hand, if you’ve got skills, and steady hands along with a great deal of patience; then you must give it a try.

Beware though as this one will proceed with a snail’s pace so a number of days may take to complete all the panels of your car especially if your car has got a number of curves.

Cost of Car Wrapping:

As long as you clearly know what you’re doing, wrapping the car on your own is cheaper. There is no cost of labor, price only depends on the size of your car and types of material. Here we’ve shared a price break up list. Have a look:

  • Carbon Fiber: To purchase the carbon fiber wrap, you have to spend around $3 to $7 per square foot. A number of people use this type of wrap on the hoods of cars. The textured finish makes the car’s appearance unique.
  • Vinyl Gloss: The price of vinyl gloss ranges between $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot. The glossy material reflects the sunlight and throws a vibe like it’s the surface of your car’s original paint.
  • Vinyl Matte: Spend as low as $2.00 to $3.50 per square foot and get the matte finish look of your car. This one is not so popular among car geeks because it ends up with a flat finish and doesn’t reflect the sunlight.
  • Chrome: You can expect to pay $8 per square foot on the basis of the quality of the vinyl that you are going to purchase. This wrap is in trend and the most expensive per square foot.

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Is It Cheaper to Get a Car Wrapped or Painted?

A significant number of people make the decision considering the upfront cost. If anything is beyond your budget, there is no use in talking about that. For a quality paint job, you may have to spend thousands of dollars, but in the end, you will obviously get what you pay for. An excellent paint job can make your car look at it’s best. Even, you may find the new paint better than it looked on the new car.

What if you don’t have that much budget to get the top-of-the-line treatment? Nothing to worry about as vinyl wrap can save you quite a good amount of money but still give your car the same look. The average price to wrap a car is $5,000. You can use a vehicle wrap pricing calculator to get the actual cost. If you compare both of the qualities, you will get it at a lower price. So the budget paint job is always the best for your car.

Moreover, vinyl offers more protection compared to the paint. Sometimes, high-quality paint also fails to protect like a vinyl wrap as it is made of some other material to shield your car’s body panels.

Not only the protection but in terms of durability, vinyl wrap takes the pride of being superior. Suppose you’ve done a great quality painting job, but after maintenance like regular washing, applying coats of wax are not done properly, your paint will fade away. On the contrary, at a low budget and low maintenance, you will see the vinyl wrap intact.

The best thing is, the vinyl wrap doesn’t decrease the resale value of your car as it protects the original underlying paint. Where expensive paints even fail to manage the resale value. Small scratches, damage from dust, or hard material- you can keep all these in vain while opting for the vinyl car wrap.

Is It Legal to Wrap Your Car?

Not just for personal aesthetics, but car wraps can be used for advertising purposes. Small businessmen and entrepreneurs get a great exposure to reach more and more audience by advertising on cars. Ultimately, wherever the car goes, the brand will get recognition. But when it comes to the legality, there are three things that you must know.

  • Local Laws: Car wraps are legal, but each state has different laws regarding moving advertisements. Many cities like San Francisco have banned advertisement on cars. So, before you make your mind on wrapping your car, do check with the local laws to make sure you’re allowed to do it.
  • Homeowner’s Association: If you park your car in an area with a Homeowner’s association, you may face issues while advertising any brand. Because the association may not permit you to park the car with visible advertisements in order to maintain the integrity of a neighborhood.
  • Commercial Vehicle Registration: Once you decide to get a car wrap, you may have to re-register your vehicle as you are going to use it for advertising purposes. In this case, your passenger vehicle will be converted into a commercial vehicle. So you must ensure whether your vehicle is registered before going for the vinyl wrapping.

Author’s View – How Much Does It Cost to Wrap a Car?

We have shared all the details regarding your queries – How much does it cost to wrap a car? What factors affect the car wrapping cost? Is it cheaper to get a car wrapped or painted? Alongside, we’ve provided our expert’s guidance on choosing one between vinyl and repaint.

As the final remarks, we would suggest you, if your car’s paint is in bad condition, repainting will be the best idea instead of vinyl. But if you just want to see your car with some other look, just go for the wraps. Totally worth it.

For further queries drop a comment in the below box. Stay connected to know more exciting stuff related to car wrapping and car painting. Till then, Sayonara!!

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About Amy Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars. I enjoy working on cars in my spare time and love anything related to automobiles. I like using different types of car accessories, car gadgets, and innovative car care products.

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