Car Wraps vs a New Paint Job: The Pros and Cons

Car Wraps vs a New Paint Job: The Pros and Cons

Automotive wraps have been around for more than half a century, but it’s only within the past few years that their popularity has really taken off. A combination of increased consumer interest and lower prices have been winning over drivers left and right, but that doesn’t mean car wraps are the best solution for everyone. Before deciding which strategy will be most effective for upgrading a car’s exterior, drivers should read on to find out about car wraps, new paint jobs, and the pros and cons of each.

What Is a Car Wrap?

Most Americans have seen car wraps on the road. Commercial versions are often used for vehicle advertising thanks to their comparatively low cost and greater range of design options, but these days, it’s just as common to see privately owned vehicles sporting automotive wraps.

The thing is, automotive wraps designed for private vehicle owners usually feature solid colors or simple color schemes instead of complex logos and graphics, so it can be hard to recognize them. Whether drivers want understated car wraps that look just like paint or complex designs, they can learn more about a body shop that can help by visiting

What Is a New Paint Job?

This question may sound like it has an obvious answer, but the process of repainting a car is more complex than it might seem. Before a car can be repainted, the auto techs will need to remove the old paint and create a fresh surface. The techs will then need to apply multiple coats of paint, each of which takes around eight hours to dry.

The quality of new paint jobs varies significantly depending on the shop and the type of paint being used. Fewer coats mean a quicker turnaround time and a lower quote, but low-cost paint jobs don’t last as long and will need more frequent touch-ups.

Time Without Vehicle Access

Whether drivers choose to have their cars repainted or wrapped, they’ll be without a vehicle until the process is completed. It takes one to three weeks to complete a routine repainting job, compared to just three days to install a high-quality vehicle wrap.

Instead of waiting eight hours for each coat of paint to dry, the techs will simply wash the car, dry it, and apply the vinyl car wrap in one go. As a result, drivers won’t have to go without a vehicle for anywhere near as long.

Removal Process

One of the many great things about automotive wraps is that they’re just as easy to remove as they are to install. If a driver decides to sell his or her car, all it takes is a quick removal process to get the vehicle looking its best again. Plus, the paint job beneath the wrap will look just as good as it did before being wrapped since it will have had protection from the elements the whole time.

Unlike vinyl wraps, paint is permanent. The only way to remove it is to sand it off, which is a costly process that leaves the car looking far less than its best until it can be repainted again. Drivers who want to sell custom-painted cars that feature company logos or other graphics will have a hard time getting what their vehicles are worth without spending a ton of money having them repainted.

Cost of Application

The cost of painting a car varies substantially depending on the type of paint, the application method, and the number of coats the techs apply. It’s sometimes possible to find a shop that will repaint a car for around $1,000, but the average cost of a good paint job that won’t chip or fade quickly ranges from $3,000 to $10,000.

The cost of installing a high-quality, full vehicle wrap ranges from $2,500 to $5,000, but the results will be reliably good. Drivers on a budget usually choose vinyl wraps rather than cheap paint jobs that will only fade and chip almost immediately. Automotive wraps are also reliably more affordable than custom paint jobs, which tend to be both expensive and time-consuming.

Options for Customization

A custom paint job will cost a ton of money. Depending on the skill of the artist, the size of the car, the complexity of the design, and the type of paint used, a custom paint job can cost more than a new car. A custom metallic paint job on a high-end sports car, for example, could cost more than $60,000.

Vinyl vehicle wraps can be customized for far less. Drivers can choose different finishes, reproduce just about any kind of graphics, and even wrap their windows with perforated decals instead of tinting them. All of these options are available at just a fraction of the cost of a custom paint job.

Maintenance Requirements

Painted cars require far more maintenance than vinyl-wrapped vehicles. Paint wears out fast if drivers don’t wash and wax their cars frequently, which takes up a lot of time. Vinyl, on the other hand, is extremely easy to maintain. It doesn’t absorb microparticles and pollutants, and all it takes to keep it clean is an occasional wipe down with a wet cloth.

Durability and Expected Lifespan

Cheap paint jobs are very susceptible to chipping, fading, and environmental wear. They tend to fade after just a couple of years. While expensive paint jobs last much longer, they will still fade as a result of sun exposure.

Vinyl car wraps can be expected to last around a decade, though their durability varies depending on the driver’s climate and what types of driving he or she does. That said, vinyl can also be finished with UV-resistant coating to keep it brighter for longer.

Wraps vs. Paint: Which Is the Best?

For most drivers, vinyl wraps are the best option. There is, however, one exception: cars with old, chipped paint or many imperfections are not good candidates for vinyl wrapping because the wraps may not adhere properly to these rough surfaces. Otherwise, though, vinyl car wraps are the best solution for both custom commercial graphics and protective films.

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