Car Wrapping: What Is It? And Is It Better Than Paint?

What is a Car Wrap Anyway?

A car wrap is a series of large vinyl graphic or decal that is applied directly over the body panels of a vehicle. The application of the wrap is done over the original paint of the vehicle and allows you to drastically change the appearance of the vehicle.

It can be done in a very short period of time and the process can be broken down into three major stages:

Stage 1: The Design Phase

At this stage, trained experts at your auto shop will start by taking accurate measurements of your vehicle and then proceed with the actual design of the graphics that you want to apply.

Stage 2: The Production Phase

Once the design is ready, the second stage can start. The production phase is where the completed graphic is printed and prepped to stop it from fading over time. This prepping involves laminating the vinyl to protect it from abrasions and UV rays.

Stage 3: The Installation Phase

The third and final phase is simply the installation of the vinyl. If the vinyl is applied to the whole surface of the vehicle, it is called a ‘full wrap’. Anything less than this is called a ‘partial wrap’ and is categorized as a:

  • Half partial wrap if the vinyl is applied to the entire rear of the vehicle and halfway up the vehicle
  • Three-quarters partial wrap if the vinyl is applied to the entire rear of the vehicle and most of the way up the vehicle, and includes a hood logo.

You may even request for the removal of graphics whenever you want. Removing the wrap will return the vehicle to its original condition. The removal of the vinyl is generally considered to be the fourth and final stage of this process.

How Do I Choose Between the Two?

To help you choose between these two, let us go over the key differences between car wraps and car paint:

1. Cost of Car Wraps versus Paint

The price between a full car wrap versus a high-quality paint job tends to be in the same range. The only difference is that you can get a low-quality paint job at a much cheaper price than a full car wrap.

2. Customization of Car Wraps versus Paint

Unlike with paint, car wrapping affords you the flexibility of choosing any color and texture you want. These finishes can range from matte to metallic and textured. You can even have a custom design made.

3. Application of Car Wraps versus Paint

Between removing the old paint and applying several coats of paint, paint jobs can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. Car wraps, on the other hand, can be designed and installed within 3 days!

4. The Durability of Car Wraps versus Paint

If you try to save money and go for a lower-end paint job, you’ll end up paying more in the long run. Not only will the paint last only a few years, but you won’t be able to have a car wrap applied to it.
While high-end paint jobs can be damaged by UV rays and scratching, they tend to last a lifetime if done right. Car wrapping, on the other hand, can last anywhere between 2 and 10 years.

5. Maintenance of Car Wraps versus Paint

Unlike painted cars that require quite a lot of maintenance for the paint to look shiny and new, a car wrap can be simply wiped with a wet cloth for it to look clean.

6. Resale Value of Cars with Car Wraps versus Aftermarket Paint

Generally, maintaining the original factory color of a vehicle makes keeping the resale value as high as possible. While a repainting means you’ll have to get rid of that color, car wrapping will ensure that the original color stays intact.

What Do We Recommend?

Considering that each has its benefits and drawbacks, you may still feel hesitant to choose between the two. So, what should you do? Wrap or repaint?

As a general rule of thumb, do not get a car wrap if the paint on your car is already in a bad condition. This is because car wraps do not conceal imperfections. In fact, any imperfections in the initial paint job will show through the wrap. If the paint job is flawed, go for a repainting.

On the other hand, if the original paint job is in good condition, you can weigh the pros and cons mentioned above and choose between the two. Think about your personal preference. If you think you might change your mind about the color, it would be a better idea to choose car wrapping in the meantime. Since car wraps do not damage the original paint and keep it intact, you have the freedom to remove it whenever you feel like it.

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