Car wrapping is growing in popularity in the UK as more and more people see it as a good option instead of a full respray.
One of the key factors in this growing trend, is that it is an easy way to give your vehicle a completely new look without spending a fortune.
But that said, if you choose fancy colour schemes, or want the vinyl wrap to contain custom designed patterns, then expect to pay upwards of £3,000.
In this guide, we will delve into everything that you need to know about car wrapping. We will go over the options, car wrapping costs, and the questions car owners always ask.
But first, let’s cover what wrapping is.
What is a car wrap?
A car wrap is a plastic wrapping that gets applied to the outside of your car.
Vinyl wraps come with strong adhesive for a long-lasting hold. They are available in various colours, finishes and designs. You can choose from solid colour vinyl finishes (red, white, black etc.), satin metallic finishes to more shiny finishes, such as chrome.
Some specialist vehicle wrapping companies will even allow you to create a bespoke customised wrap to suit your own design.
With so many available options, choosing a car wrap can easily get overwhelming!
Car Wrap For Repairs
While many car wraps are seen as a cosmetic customisation option, they can also be used as a “repair” option.
If your old car paint has lots of chips, scratches or has faded away, a full car wrap can bring it back to life.
As car wraps are relatively easy to apply and finish (for a professional), car wrapping does not take a lot of time when compared to a full strip down and respray.
And you get a lot more options in terms of design and colour ,when compared to painting.
Respray Vs Wrapping
A wrap or respray are the two most common options when it comes to giving your car a fresh new look.
If you choose to respray instead, you have to keep a couple of things in mind.
Firstly, a “cheap” respray may cost you less than a car wrap, but the result won’t be as good. A professional respray will almost certainly be more expensive than an equally high-quality wrapped car.
Secondly, car resprays are permanent when compared to vehicle wrapping. If you change your mind on the final colour/design, then removing a car wrap is much cheaper (and quicker) than removing even poor-quality spray jobs.
Ultimately, it boils down to what you want from your car.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Car Wrapping
Now that you have some idea about wrapping, we need to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of car wrap. Because if it was the be-all and end-all, everyone would be doing it.
In reality, car wrapping also has its problems.
When we look at the advantages and disadvantages of car wrapping, we are primarily comparing it to spray paints (a respray).
Car Wrapping Advantages
1. Make A Statement – The first big advantage of car wrapping is that the end result can be more striking than a repaint. Car wraps are available in bright, bold colours and patterns which will certainly make you car stand out.
If you are someone who loves their car and wants to make a statement, car wraps are definitely a better option for you.
2. Colour Options – Car wraps are available in a wide range of colour options. Wraps give you the opportunity to experiment and to try out different colours and designs on your car.
Whereas, when it comes to spray paint, the number of colour options is nowhere near. In terms of applying different colours on the same car, spray painting is much more expensive and complicated.
3. Design Options – If you can think of a design, it can probably be done. Wrapping your car allows for all types of customised designs. This makes it one of the major advantages of a wrapped car.
With spray paints, the limitations and experience of the painter, also limits the designs. And the more complex the paint design, the more expensive it will be.
You will be able to pick wild and wacky designs at a fraction of the cost by using car wraps.
4. Cover Imperfections – Car wraps can help cover small dents, faded paint, scratches and even replacement panels which are the wrong colour. These are the cases when you do not want a full car wrap.
Yes, you can do the same with car paints, but the preparation is more involved, takes more time and is more than the cost to wrap.
So, not only does wrap allow you to target small sections of your car, it also saves you money!
5. Cost To Wrap – Depending on the type of car wrap you choose, car wrapping is more likely to be less expensive than a respray. While “cheaper” resprays can cost less, they are not the same in terms of quality.
A high-quality respray will cost you more than a car wrap. If you want to save money while getting high-quality finishes for your car, wrapping it is a much better option.
These are the biggest advantages of wrapping a car. But there are some disadvantages too.
Car Wrapping Disadvantages
1. Wraps Don’t Last Forever – Car wraps are temporary. You will need to change them every 5 years or so. Otherwise, it will start peeling off your car and it won’t be a pretty sight. But is that a bad thing? Not for everyone.
Some people prefer to have their car wrapped every once in a while to give it a fresh look. But when you factor in this additional cost, it becomes one of the main disadvantages of vehicle wrapping.
2. Car Wrapping By Professionals – You are always best to get a professional to wrap your car. Whereas with spray paints, some people buy spray paint at local car accessory shops (such as Halfords) and try it themselves with reasonable success.
But wrapping a car yourself is a much more difficult task. It is better to leave it to the professionals for the best results.
3. Expense – While we are comparing car wrap costs with spray painting, wrapping it still not cheap. It could still end up costing thousands of pounds.
As you can see, there are more advantages than disadvantages of car wrapping. In the end, it boils down to what you want. If you want the convenience of car wrapping, it is the best option for you. If you want the permanency of spray paint, by all means go for it.
What affects car wrapping costs?
A few different factors will determine how much wrapping a car costs. Not every car wrap costs the same.
Here are some of the most common factors:
- Car Size – The size of the car is the biggest factor that determines how much you will have to pay. It is obvious that a large car would cost more to be wrapped than a small car or medium sized car. In simple terms, the more material that is used to wrap a car, the more it will cost.
- Car Shape – Cars will smoother designs are easier to apply vinyl wrap to. Whereas cars with lots of intricate shapes, vents etc will take longer to get the vinyl to follow the contours. There is more chance that mistakes will happen and the process has to be restarted. This all affects the cost of car wrapping.
- Vinyl Material – Another important factor which affects the cost of car wrapping is the material you choose. If you choose pearlescent or metallic car wraps, it will cost you more than a solid colour would.
- The Design – While most people choose a simple one colour design (which is the cheapest option), other people select two tone colours and layouts. One such example is a camouflage colour scheme or a fun toy characters scheme (see below). This is when the cost of customising a car wrap becomes even more expensive.
How much is car wrapping?
Wrapping a car can cost very little or a lot depending on what you want.
On average expect the car wrap cost to be anywhere between £1,800 to £3,000 for a straight-forward job. The price will go higher depending on the make and model of car.
As a rough price guide, here are some estimate car wrapping costs:
|Car Size||Gloss or Matte Finish||Satin or Metallic Finish||Pearlescent Finish||Printed Graphic Finish||One-Off Design|
|Small (e.g. Vauxhall Corsa)||£1,800 – £2,000||£2,000 – £2,500||£2,500 – £2,700||£2,700 – £3,000||£3,000 plus fees|
|Medium (e.g. Ford Focus)||£2,000 – £2,250||£2,250 – £2,700||£2,700 – £3,200||£3,000 – £3,500||£3,500 plus fees|
|Large (e.g. BMW 5 Series)||£2,500 – £3,000||£3,000 – £3,500||£3,700 – £4,200||£4,000 – £5,000||£5,000 plus fees|
|4×4 (e.g. BMW X5)||£3,500 – £4,000||£4,000 – £5,000||£5,200 – £5,700||£5,500 – £6,000||£6,000 plus fees|
|Van (e.g. Transit)||£3,500 – £4,250||£4,000 – £5,250||£5,200 – £5,750||£5,500 – £6,500||£6,500 plus fees|
Car Wrapping Colours
Some car wrap colours are more common than others.
Red, orange and yellow are popular colours to grab peoples attention. But if you want to go to the other extreme and show off luxury and elegance, then black, purple and gold will make a statement.
Matte, metallic, and pearlescent finishes are among the more popular options. However, car wrapping can be done in virtually any colour or design.
Customising your car wrap might cost more, but it also gives your car a distinct look. The freedom to pick and choose makes car wrapping an amazing option for most people.
Car Wrap Cost Conclusion
Throughout this guide, we have drawn several comparisons between car wraps and spray paint jobs.
If you want a colour change and or a new design and do not mind changing them every 5 years, car wraps are a better option for you.
But if you want your car paint to last longer, a high-quality professional spray job is the way to go – and it might be more cost effective.
Which one is better? – it’s hard to say. It all tends to be driven by the wrapping cost and paint cost. Though there are several factors which suggest the versatility of car wraps win over full car resprays.
Car Wrap FAQs
How long does car wrap last?
On average, car wraps last for 5 years. High-quality wraps will last even longer if applied by a professional car wrapping service.
Does car wrap damage paint?
In general, vinyl wrapping won’t harm the car’s paintwork. Some vehicle wrappers actually say that protecting the paintwork with high-quality materials like 3M vinyl wrap helps prevent harm. In most cases, the car’s paintwork is not harmed when vinyl wraps are removed carefully.
What is car wrap advertising?
Car wrap advertising refers to a marketing technique where you use branded car wrap to promote a company, service, or event.
Is it easy to remove car wrap?
Yes and no. If you know what you are doing with a heat gun then it can be easy to remove to expose the car’s original paintwork. But removing wrap is something best left to professional vehicle wrappers.