How Much Does It Cost To Wrap A Car

Car wraps have become highly-popular in recent years. Not only do they give you the option to completely change the appearance of your car, but a wrap can also provide ample, long-term protection to the paint and the surface of your vehicle. These stylish-yet-protective layers can help prevent the chips and blemishes that often occur with daily driving and exposure to the elements.

But how much does it cost to wrap a car? And what does the process entail? Let’s look at some standard costs associated with wrapping a vehicle and detail some of the various options available today.

Wrapping A Car: An Overview

In many ways, wrapping a car seems like a relatively straightforward practice. In reality, it is a task that requires both patience and expertise to execute correctly. Let’s walk through the process of wrapping a car.

There are some vital questions that must be asked by both the vehicle owner and the professional who will be applying the wrap:

What is the make and model of the car? The complexity of the design directly affects the time needed to wrap a vehicle, varying the cost accordingly
Does the car have any kind of body kit? Cars with custom body kits usually add to the intricacies of the wrap, due in large part to the unique angles and creases of the aftermarket alterations
What vinyl hue do you want? Standard vinyl hues are offered in three different finishes – gloss, matte, or satin.
What parts of the car do you want to be wrapped? Maybe you want to get the car wrapped top to bottom for commercial purposes (as a means to promote your business). Or perhaps you aren’t looking to have your entire vehicle wrapped, but rather just apply a carbon-fiber hood or red brake calipers. Each option and approach will be priced differently depending on these factors.
A detailed inspection and preparation of the car before applying a wrap is essential, including checking for damage on the original paint. A vinyl wrap does not properly adhere to the damaged surface, making it difficult (and sometimes impossible) to execute a clean, proper installation. The surface needs to be near perfect for the vinyl wrap to grip and form-fit the car effectively. A vehicle must also undergo a thorough cleaning process to remove any dust, dirt, or grime before applying a vinyl wrap.

Tools For Vinyl Wraps

Aside from acquiring the desired vinyl for your car, applying the wrap to your vehicle requires the use of several different tools:

  • Squeegee
  • Flextreme (a micro-squeegee that is specifically designed for vinyl applications)
  • Heat gun
  • Surface Cleaner
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Cutting Tape
  • Blade
  • Tweezers
  • Snitty blade (a safety cutter for vinyl)
  • Tape Measure
  • Masking Tape
  • Gloves
  • Spray Bottle
  • Clay Bar

With careful coordination, a team of car wrap professionals can typically apply a vinyl to a car body in three to seven working days. Of course, everything depends on the complexity of the bodywork and design (i.e., multi-colored body parts, stripes, etc.).

Most car wraps can withstand the elements for roughly 3 to 5 years. However, to keep the wrap in the best possible condition, you need to follow a few simple steps.

First, avoid the use of automatic or drive-thru car washes. In many cases, the rigid, harsh brushes in these facilities can considerably damage the vinyl. That means you need to have your car hand-washed whenever it needs to be cleaned. While you can still use a jet washer on your wrapped car, make sure you keep the spray nozzle a safe distance away from the vinyl surface so the water pressure doesn’t potentially harm the vinyl. 

Other car wrap professionals recommendations include:

  • Clean bird droppings and dead insects off of the vinyl surface as soon as possible. These compounds can cause damage to the vinyl if left untreated for extended periods. 
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the scorching sun, as hot temperatures and sunlight can warp the vinyl if left unprotected from the elements.
  • No matter what you do, never apply a car wrap to damaged paint. As noted above, it’s basically a recipe for disaster