So You Wanna Be a Wrap Superstar

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1978 BMW M1/ Image Credit: Creative Commons

Vinyl is back, though it might not be in the way you’re thinking. Instead of scratching records, you can now express your personal taste by customizing your vehicle with a fresh new batch of vinyl wrapping. This shrink-wrapping method can give you an entirely new car color and create sheens that a traditional paint job can’t replicate. However, before you go deck your ride out with an iridescent teal, or put your favorite Star Wars poster on the hood, there are a few advantages and disadvantages that come from this technique that should be considered. Here’s a breakdown of what vinyl wrapping is, along with the pros and cons that come from wrapping your car.

What is Wrapping?

Car wrapping process/ Image Credit: Creative Commons

Essentially, a car wrap is a giant vinyl decal that goes over your car’s default paint job. It’s applied onto every panel of your ride, from the hood, doors, fender, and bumper covers. This means that you can get a near-infinite level of customization on what you’d like the new skin to be.

Vinyl Wrapping: The Pros

BMW 135/ Image Credit: Creative Commons

The great thing about wrapping is that it’s a fun way to experiment on your ride without the results being permanent. If you want to sell off your car, or don’t like the wrapping anymore, you can just peel them off. The wrap shouldn’t scratch or damage your paint. If you’re using your vehicle for work purposes and/or leasing it, this means that you can put as many advertisements or business logos as you’d like. It will give you minimal headaches when it’s time to return your vehicle.

 You can also essentially get a “custom paint job” for a fraction of the price. Instead of paying a body shop to painstakingly add racing stripes or custom graphics, you can now do it for much less. Wrapping also allows for certain sheens that traditional paint jobs aren’t capable of replicating. If you want your car to seem like it’s made from carbon fiber, no problem. The wrapping can also be completely clear and designed to be more like another protective layer that will help against an errant stone chipping your paint while on the highway.

Vinyl Wrapping: The Cons

Wrapping won’t cover this up/ Image Credit: Creative Commons

With all these positives, you might be wondering what the downsides are for doing this alteration. For one, the success of a wrap will heavily depend on the condition that your car is in. Any scratches, dirt, dents, or dings that you’ve already picked up will stick out on a wrap, just like how it would if you’d try painting over it. This also means that the vinyl wrapping will eventually peel over time, no matter how well taken care of your car is. Under optimal conditions, a wrap will hold up for about four to five years without any issues. Any longer and the wrap will become harder to remove. This could cause issues for the paint underneath it.

These conditions aren’t wrap-friendly/ Image Credit: Creative Commons

While it is generally cheaper to apply a wrap, a quality one will still cost thousands of dollars and not be permanent. Living in a place with severe weather conditions, such as extreme cold or hot environments, will also wear down the wrap much more quickly (and cost a lot more in the long term to maintain). This is where paint jobs still hold a significant edge over their wrapped counterparts.

In conclusion, the choice to wrap or not will ultimately come down to what makes sense for you. If you’d like a completely customized appearance for a few years, then wrapping may be the way to go. If you’re looking to permanently change your car to match a certain aesthetic, then this might not be for you. Have you done any wraps before? Let us know in the comments down below what your experiences are with being a Wrap Superstar.

Tyler Domecq

Tyler Domecq

From the Rocky Mountain blizzards of Wyoming to the desert sandstorms of Phoenix, Tyler has seen it all on the road. He has worked specifically within the automotive industry for two years. An avid fan of, and occasional actor in, the film industry, Tyler took an initial interest in cars after seeing the 1928 Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Phantom and Aston Martin DB5 on the big screen.