Myths About Wrapping a Car

Myths About Wrapping a Car

Think about the last time you were on the road and saw a car with a crazy paint job. Was it a wild color or design? Did it have a chrome or color-shift effect? It probably wasn't painted at all. It was likely a vinyl-wrapped car. Vinyl works beautifully for bold statements like these as well as for simpler — yet still striking — solid colors.

Vinyl wraps are a popular choice for people who want to put a new color on their vehicle without damaging the original paint job. They can also protect your car from a variety of environmental hazards. Along with the array of benefits that a vinyl wrap offers comes several myths that need busting. In this article, we'll dive into these myths about wraps and go over why they can be an excellent choice for your vehicle.

Myth #1: Wraps Are More Expensive Than Paint

This is a common misconception, but there is some truth to it. An expensive film on an expensive car can make for a costly process. However, if you're not wrapping a high-end sports car, the costs of wrapping are often cheaper than a paint job. You also tend to get better results for the same price. A quality wrap job can look much better than a cheap paint job for about the same price or less.

The cost of your wrap job can vary widely based on your choice of vinyl and your vehicle. Having it done professionally can cost several thousand dollars. With a DIY approach, you can get it done for just the cost of materials and your time. In either case, if not cheaper, vinyl wraps are usually on par with the cost of painting, but they require fewer tools and offer more flexibility. Advanced finishes and effects like chrome, metallic or chameleon will bump up the price significantly.

Wraps also give you more flexibility when purchasing a car. Between 30 and 40 percent of buyers will walk away from a purchase if they don't get the option of their first color choice. Knowing that you can change your color for cheaper allows you more options and may save you money in the purchasing process.

Myth #2: A Wrap Will Damage the Paint

Wraps dammage paint

This is one of the stranger myths about vehicles wraps because a vinyl wrap actually protects your car's paint job. The thickness of the vinyl creates a protective barrier against many environmental effects. The vinyl will take the brunt of sun exposure and protect the paint below it from harmful UV damage. If you only wrap part of your car, however, you'll have to be careful of yellowing. If one section of your vehicle is exposed to the sun while another isn't, you'll notice any discoloration on the exposed side when you take off the vinyl.

A wrap can also protect your car from minor physical damage, like dings, chips and scrapes. Any rocks that get kicked up underneath your vehicle will hit the vinyl instead of exposed metal. A wrap can also help you avoid pricey repairs from accidents and collisions. You'd likely have to repaint the entire car to achieve a smooth finish after a significant crash. With vinyl, you only need to rewrap the affected section.

Where wraps likely get their bad rap — pun intended — is from the removal process. Many different factors can lead to damaged paint during removal if you're not careful. However, if you follow proper application and removal procedures, your wrap should come off cleanly without damaging your paint. Putting a wrap on already-damaged or uncured paint can mean trouble down the road. Other ways you can damage the paint include excessive sun exposure and using low-quality vinyl.

Myth #3: Wrapping a Car Is Permanent

Nope. Vinyl wraps are made to be removed. That step is part of their lifecycle. Established, trusted brands put loads of research into the materials they use and how they are going to interact with the paint on your car. These companies have track records of successful wrap removal that doesn't harm paint. They don't leave a residue either and typically come off by gently applying heat.

Part of the appeal of wraps is that they are temporary options. If you want to try out a different color for a little while or will be leasing your car, wraps are a great solution.

There is one caveat here. Installation and removal can be tricky processes, so you need to either make sure you have the expertise yourself or pay a little more to get it done right. An amateur job will often have bubbles and rough edges. While they might pass from far-away, close-up inspections will expose shoddy work. Certified installers can offer high-end results and will usually have a warranty or guarantee associated with their work that less-trustworthy workers might not have.

Myth #4: A Vinyl Wrap Requires a Lot of Maintenance

Actually, they're pretty easy to take care of. The biggest difficulty is that you can't run it through a car wash. Car washes can put high pressure on the edges, peeling the vinyl and causing bubbles and fading. Otherwise, you don't need to wax it, and soap and water are your best bet for a squeaky-clean finish.

Keeping your car safe from the elements will reduce the need for maintenance.

Myth #5: A Wrap Won't Last Long

Wrap Won't Last Long

While a wrap is meant to be temporary, it can still last quite a while. If you buy the cheapest vinyl possible, then it probably won't last very long. But if you invest a little bit in higher quality vinyl, you can find products that will stand up for years. Many wraps can last four to seven years if you care for them well. This time frame is convenient for a leased vehicle or trying a new color.

Some tips to keep your wrap in tip-top shape for longer include:

  • Keep it out of the sun. Excessive sun exposure is an easy way to fade your color or design. While your car is expected to see lots of sunlight, you can reduce the amount of UV exposure on the vinyl by parking in a garage or using a car cover. If you live in a desert and don't have access to covered parking, you may see faster fading than someone in a more shaded environment.
  • Avoid driving over salted roads. In winter, salt that is applied on the streets to melt snow can be damaging to vinyl and may shorten your wrap's life.
  • Clean any spills immediately. Fuel, bird poop and other spills can seep into the vinyl. Some substances can erode the material, while others will discolor the surface or damage the finish. Soap and water will usually work, but rubbing alcohol is also a good cleaner for vinyl.
  • Don't use pressure washers. We've already mentioned that you shouldn't use car washes, but avoid any type of pressure washing or mechanical brushes as well. These can chip the vinyl or cause it to peel.

Myth #6: You Have to Wrap the Whole Vehicle

Not necessarily. You can wrap many parts of your car without needing to cover the whole thing. If you're on a stricter budget, this could be a way to add some protection to high-wear areas or try a vinyl wrap without decking out the entire car.

If you want to add a pop of color or advertise a business, wrapping a section of the car works well. Here are a few ways you can partially wrap your car.

  • Hood: Add a unique carbon-fiber finish to your hood to give it a sporty edge. Another popular choice here is camo.
  • Head and taillights: Rvinyl has plenty of smoked tint films specially designed for your headlights, taillights and fog lights. You can add a subtle smokey look without altering the lights themselves.
  • Rocker panel: Use a bold strip of vinyl to accentuate the rocker panel of your truck. Camo and other patterns look particularly nice here.
  • Cockpit Style: Applying vinyl to the roof, hood and pillars can give you a slick two-toned theme across the canopy of your car.
  • Roof: Put a contrasting color like white or black on your roof for an eye-catching effect.
  • Front end: We've mentioned the protective aspects of vinyl, and many people choose to cover the front end of their car in vinyl to keep it safe from rocks and debris. Clear vinyl is popular for this purpose, but a pop of color or a fresh design doesn't hurt either. Both options can keep this part of your car from seeing additional dents, chips and scratches.

Partial wraps can also work well for advertising purposes. If you've got a business to run, you may want to wrap just the door or the hood with your logo. You don't need to completely cover the car to get your image out there.

Wrapping only part of your vehicle can add unique color combinations to it without breaking the beak.

Myth #7: You Can't Wrap a Leased Vehicle

You Can't Wrap a Leased Vehicle

Leasers understand the appeal of wrapping a car, and they know that many of their customers want to do it. Besides, if done right, it protects their investment and paint. They can get a car back with a paint job in the same shape they sent it out with. It's pretty standard practice now for leasers to allow vehicle wrapping.

It is especially prevalent in the corporate world. Most businesses that require cars use them as mobile advertisements, getting their brand in front of as many people a day as possible. Many companies even have fleets of cars all wrapped up with their colors and logos. Leasers are so cool with wrapping, they're known to drop cars off at the places that are going to install the wraps.

We can't make this a blanket statement, however, as a few leasers do indeed prohibit wrapping. It's not very common, but you'll still want to check your lease agreement to be sure.

Myth #8: You Can Wrap a Car to Cover Up Bad Paint

While it would be nice if a wrap could sweep your car's flaws under the rug, it doesn't work that way. Unfortunately, a wrap doesn't make for good coverage of damaged paint.

  • Dents and scratches often show up even more clearly.
  • Flaking paint doesn't adhere well to the vehicle and can give it a texture similar to an orange peel.
  • Rust and vinyl also don't adhere well, so you will need to remove the rust before you apply any vinyl.

These issues can also bring more problems when you go to remove the vinyl later. Instead of protecting the paint, it may bring it up with it.

Before you choose to wrap a car, do an inspection. Look for any areas that may cause problems and address them first. Then, make sure the vehicle is spotless. Use a lint-free cloth and cleaning solution to remove any particles from the paint before applying the wrap.

Other Benefits of Wrapping a Car

Wrap Savings

Vinyl wraps are more than just an alternative to paint. They have a variety of unique features.

  • There are endless design options. Vinyl allows you to cover your car in some of the most intricate and eye-catching patterns. Paint alone can't get you the same results if you want something truly unique. It also can't get you a logo of the same quality and ease of installation. Partial wraps are another way to create endless customization. Getting these designs or impressive looks also tends to be cheaper with vinyl. A matte paint job can cost you several thousand dollars, but 50 feet of 3M™ Dead Matte Black vinyl costs less than $800. DIY-ing a vinyl wrap, if you have the necessary expertise, can save you hundreds.
  • Installation is much faster. A professional paint job can take up to a few weeks to finish, but a vinyl wrap usually only takes a few days. If you really apply yourself, you may be able to do it in less. You can spend less time waiting for your paint to cure and more time enjoying the new look of your vehicle.
  • You can preserve your resale value. Since vinyl will protect your factory paint from sun damage, dents and chips, it helps your car hold onto more of its original value. When you're ready to sell, simply remove the wrap, and you should have a sparkling coat of paint underneath, ready for its next user. It also gives you more flexibility. If you buy a neutral-colored car but want to paint it in something like bright neon green, you may have trouble selling it in the future. With a vinyl wrap, you aren't stuck with bold colors when you finish with your car. After you remove the wrap, you're left with that same, sellable silver that you got with the car.

Your Source for High-Quality Vinyl

Now that you know the truth behind these vinyl wrap myths, consider if wrapping your car is right for you. You'll need the correct materials for a top-quality result, and Rvinyl has them. Whether you want to add a reflective chrome finish, striking color-shift film, camo or galaxy patterns, a classy matte effect, solid colors or something else, Rvinyl is your one-stop shop.

With a wide selection of films and sizes in over 200 colors and finishes, our dual-cast vinyl can bring a new look to your car, protect an existing paint job and save you money. Check out our vinyl vehicle wraps today!