How Much Does It Cost to Wrap a Car ? – Detail Explanation

Car wrapping is becoming the new fad in town, and it is with good reason too. You might have realized that nowadays, many cars have that chrome finish look or a camouflage finish. You might be left in amazement at the skill of the paint man; what you might not realize is that the finish might not be painted at all but a wrap!

By 2025, the car wraps market is expected to grow to over 10 billion dollars. You might be saying, well, that is all good news, but how much will it cost me? We are glad you asked. The cost of wrap a car will depend on a few factors. Firsts, it will depend on the size of the car, the wrapping material, the surface area you want to be wrapped, and the wrapping company. 

If you want to know all about car wrapping, how much it will cost, the factors to consider before wrap your car, and so much more, you have come to the right place.

A car wrap is a vinyl covering which is placed on the body of your car, which in turn changes its appearance. You have a wide array of options on the vinyl covering that you can use, including gradient color, full-on graphics, standard gloss, or chrome metallic color. You can choose any wrap design that you so wish. Your limitation will be your budget. 

The Purpose of Car Wrapping

One of the greatest reasons as to why you should wrap your car is to give it that new and refreshing look. Since a car wrap is much easier and takes less time than painting, you might decide to change the outlook of your vehicle. 

Another great reason for car wraps is that they are used as a mobile advertisement. Most companies use car wraps on their vans, vehicles, or trucks to advertise their products and goods. 

It is often a misconception that the warp will cover paint imperfections. If the paint is flaked, or the body has dents, the wrap will be imperfect. It is, therefore, paramount to have your paint and bodywork in pristine condition before you can wrap your vehicle. Otherwise, the work will be a total disaster. 

Wash a Car to Prepare For Wrapping

There is more preparation apart from pristine bodywork and perfect paint required to make the wrap job a success. The car has to be thoroughly washed and completely dried to make the vinyl wrap attach itself perfectly. Once the car is thoroughly washed, it is then detailed with a clay bar, which will remove any contaminants from the surface of the vehicle. 

Some companies which install the wrap use isopropyl alcohol solution to clean the paint. They then use compressed air to blow away any particles that might still remain attached on the surface. 

After cleaning the car thoroughly, then wrap installers remove the taillights, bumpers, and headlights. The removal of these parts enables the installers to apply the wrap without much hindrance. However, as a car owner, you might not be comfortable with your car being taken apart, and you might instruct the installers to omit this step. 

In such a case, they will use a razor-like tool to cut around the headlights and taillights when installing the wrap. 

To make the wrap stick better, the company doing the wrap job uses a heat gun to make the vinyl more palatable and thus easier to work with. Depending on the design, more wrap layers might be required to achieve the desired results. During the installation, some air pockets might appear. As such, the installers use a soft felt squeeze to get rid of these air pockets. 

It might take 3 to 5 days to have your car wrapped. However, the time depends on the size of the car, the design of the wrap, and other similar factors. 

Car Steam Cleaning

One of the best ways of cleaning the exterior of the car in preparation for the wrapping is by using car steam cleaning. This is a method where you use steam to get the dirt off the car. The method is, however, practical if the car is not very dirty or is not caked in mud. 

If the vehicle has mad, then it is more practical to use a hose to remove the dirt. You should also note that steam cleaning might cause some of the car parts to get hot, so you should be more careful. 

Other than that, the method is preferred by some people since you do not need to use soap or other detergents. It is also a great method to get the dust off the car’s trim pieces. 

What Should You Know About Vinyl Wrapping?

The Color Options

You should know that a wrap job is quite similar to a paint job in that every inch of your car’s exterior is covered with the wrap. This means that the underneath color will be virtually invisible. When the cover job is done as it should, the wrapping will, in fact, protect the car’s paint. Additionally, it will in no way alter the paint. 

Another thing you should know about a vinyl wrap is that it is possible to customize its color to matte finishes and gloss- just like paint. Another distinct feature of a wrap is that its final design is generated by a computer. This means that you have infinite customization possibilities. 

Another great feature of wraps is that they are extremely easy to remove as all you do is to peel them off. On the other hand, removing paint from a car is quite an engaging task. Another great feature of wrappings is that it is very easy for company vehicles to advertise their products and services using wraps attached to the vehicles. 

It is also possible to apply the wrap at a particular part of the vehicle. You might decide to have the hood, doors, roof, or rooftop wrapped. It is also possible to apply clear wraps. Clear wraps are very effective in protecting your car from stone chips and other factors that might damage your car’s paintwork. 

Condition of The Vehicle

Another factor that will determine how the wrap job will look on your car is the condition of the vehicle, and more so its paint works. If your car has dings, scratches, and dents, they will show through the wrap, which will destroy the final work.

Additionally, if your painting is corroded or chipped, then vinyl wrap will not stick properly. Some wrapping installation workshops will not go ahead with the job if your car has chipped painting or its exterior is in bad condition. It therefore goes without saying that the better the condition of the paint, the better the vinyl will stick, and the longer it will serve you. 

The Application Process of a Vinyl Wrap

The very first step in applying the vinyl wrap is to make sure that your car is as clean as possible. The car is thoroughly washed, which will in turn make the vinyl stick better. After the car is spotless, then the workshop might remove the taillights, headlights, and bumper to make the installation process easier. 

Factors That Affect The Cost of Wrap A Car

  • Wrap coverage : As earlier stated, if you want a full wrap, then you will probably pay less than a partial wrap. 
  • Vehicle size : The larger the vehicle, the more wrapping material will be required. Therefore, it will cost more to wrap an SUV car than it would wrap a sedan. 
  • Quality or The Type of Vinyl Wrap : The higher the quality of the vinyl, the more it will cost. Therefore, if you want the wrap to last for a very long time- say 10 years- then you should go for the high-quality wrap. 
  • Toughness of The Job : The shape of the car is the greatest determining factor on the toughness or ease of a wrapping job. Vehicles with more contours are usually more difficult to work on than those with a flatter design. Therefore, if your car has many curves, then it might cost more to get the job done. 

The Cost Wrap A Car Job

The cost of a car wrap is determined by a number of factors. First, it will depend on the size of your car, the extent of the car wrap, the car model, the vinyl material, and design among other similar factors. For a car that is approximately the size of a Ford Mustang, the wrap will cost you about $3,000 to $4,000 for a metallic or chrome finish. 

Some installers will charge you $2,500 for an average graphic advertisement. You will be set back $3.600 for replacing a wrap. Chrome wraps are much more expensive, and you will cough up around $6,000 since it is of high quality, and it takes more time and labor to get the job done. 

If you want a matte black vinyl wrap on your rooftop only or on the hood, you can expect to pay around 200 to 400 dollars. For interior parts wrapping, you can expect to pay around $400 to $800. The quoted prices are just an indication of how much you should expect to pay as the cost might be more or less. 

To help the wrapping company make more accurate cost projections on the whole project, it is prudent to provide some information during your enquiry. You should state the model and the year that the vehicle was manufactured. Also, state the type of wrap that you want for your vehicle. As earlier stated, you should expect to pay more for a vinyl wrap job on a SUV than you would on a 2- door sedan. 

Also, it might cost more to completely warp around a sedan car than it would to partially wrap a large cargo van. 

Vehicle Wrap Pricing Calculator

As earlier stated, the cost of wrapping the vehicle is not fixed. To help you have an idea of how much it might cost you to have your car wrap, most car wrapping companies have a vehicle wrapping calculator. All you need to do is feed the information about your vehicle, and you will get a pretty good idea of how much it will cost you to get the job done. 

How Long Will It Take to Wrap a Car?

It usually takes three to five days to wrap a car. The reason it takes way less time to wrap the car is that you do not need to wait for layers of paint to dry. Additionally, you do not scrape off the existing paint. If you are replacing a vinyl wrap, the time to do a new wrap job is considerably less. The reason is that peeling off a vinyl wrap is way much easier and takes less time than scraping off old paint from your car. 

Compare With Paint A Car

The big question is, which is better, a car wrap or painting? As we have already discussed, wrapping involves placing a vinyl wrapper on top of your car paint to give it that shiny look and a new appearance. Painting on the other hand, involves repainting your car with a new color coat. 

So you might also be wondering which the best option between painting and wrapping is. Well, you might decide to go the wrapping way or the paint way depending on a number of factors. Some of the factors that should inform your decision include:

  • Time 
  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Maintenance
  • Resale value

How Long Take To Paint A Car

How long does it take to paint and wrap your vehicle? The time it takes to paint your vehicle depends on a number of factors. As such, a paint job can take anywhere from 5 days to a few weeks. The time that the car will take is mainly dependent on the type of car and the layer of paints that you want to apply. 

You should realize that when painting, the old paint must be scraped off before the first layer of the new paint is applied. The process of scraping off the old paint might take considerable time, especially if the vehicle is large or has many curves and contours. 

Additionally, to make the job look well done, any dents must be straightened. Additionally, the first layer of paint must dry before applying the second layer. This process of paint drying might take more or less time, depending on the weather conditions. 

If it is hot or warm, then the paint dries off fast. The case is different when it is cold as the paint takes much longer to dry, thus increasing the time the whole painting process takes. 

It is much easier to do a wrap job than to paint your car. It is also true that it takes less time to wrap your car than it does to paint it. So the other question which arises is – which is more affordable- paint or wrap?

The Cost of Painting Your Car

The cost of painting your car will depend on the company doing the job as well as the quality of the paint. The number of layers and the nature of the paint job is other factors that will determine how much the job costs. Some companies do charge more than others. Additionally, painting the whole car will cost more than doing a partial paint job. 

Generally, a paint job cost will cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the complexity of the car, size of the vehicle, and other similar factors. In most cases, the lower the cost, the lower the quality of paint used. Although you might pay less upfront, low-quality paint is a liability as you will need to paint your car sooner as compared to using high-quality paint. 

Is It Possible to Do the Wrapping Job On Your Own?

Fortunately, it is possible to wrap your own car if you have the technical know-how and the necessary equipment to get the job done. Doing so will eliminate the labor cost, and the cost of the job will depend on the material you will use and the size of the vehicle.

Below Is a Highlight of the Most Common Vinyl Wrap Materials

  • Carbon Fiber : The first material that you can use to wrap your car is carbon fiber. The material is the preference of many car owners since it is of high quality thus lasts longer. Its drawback is that it is expensive, and thus some people might not afford the wrapping material. It costs around 3 to 7 dollars per square foot. However, if you can afford the material, it is a cool one to have since it gives your car an exceptional look.
  • Matte Black Wrap : The vinyl mate is not as popular as the carbon fiber wrap since it does not have that reflective look. On the other hand, though, it is much cheaper than carbon fiber wrap as it costs around 2 dollars per square foot. 
  • Chrome : This is the most expensive wrap material as it will set you back whopping dollars per square foot. If you can afford the wrap, then you should go for it since it offers a very trend look to your car. It also lasts way longer than the other two alternatives. 


Car wrapping is a new and trendy way of giving your car that unique look. Various wrappings have different shelf life depending mainly on the quality of the wrappings. Some will last up to 10 years, while others will serve you for two to three years. Wrapping is advantageous if you do not want to go through the rigorous process of painting your car. Painting the car takes more time, and it also more labor-intensive, thus much more expensive.

We believe that you are now well informed on the benefits of wrap a car and the cost associated with the endeavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you find car wrapping service providers near you?

One of the best ways to find car wrapping providers near you is by conducting a search on Google. If you live in Philadelphia, for example, you can search for “car wrapping in Philadelphia”. Another great way to find car wrapping service providers near you is to ask a person who has had their car wrapped. They will direct you to the company that did the job. You should also check out several providers to find out which one fits your budget perfectly. 

How long does a wrap last on a car?

The duration that a car wrap will last depends on the quality of the wrap plus its material. However, car wraps last between 2 to 10 years. You can also extend the duration that your car wrap will last by protecting your car from the elements, which include extreme heat or cold, dust, and other similar elements. 
You should make sure that you park your car in the parking. If that is not possible, invest in a good car cover, which will protect the wrapping, thus prolong its life. 

Is wrapping a car worth it?

Yes, wrapping the car is a worthy investment since it will protect the painting of the car. Additionally, car wraps enhance the aesthetic appeal of the car, thus giving it that unique look. Transparent wrappings also come in handy since they protect the paint from stone chirpings, which might cause damage to the car painting. 

Is wrapping your car permanent?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a permanent car wrapping. It does not matter how long the wrapping will last; all wrappings have an expiry date. However, the period that the wrappings stay differ with some staying on for as little as two years while some stay for as long as ten years. It all depends on the quality of the material. If you take good care of the wrappings, then you can also extend its shelf life. 

Can a wrapped car go through a car wash?

Yes, it is possible for a wrapped car to go through the car wash. However, it is important to note that you should not use very abrasive equipment to scrub the dirt off since this might cause the wrapping to tear-offs. You should also be careful about the solutions or washing detergents that you use while washing the car. Some detergents are very powerful to the extent of damaging the car’s exterior. 

Does wrapping a car ruin the paint?

If the wrapping is done in the correct manner, the paint will not be damaged in any way. As a matter of fact, the wrapping helps to protect the painting since it provides a covering that protects the painting from the elements. 
However, it is important to ensure that the wrapping is done well to avoid damaging the painting during the installation process. Extra care should also be taken when peeling off the wrapping. You should realize that the longer the wrapping stays on, the more difficult it gets to peel it off, and therefore you should take extra care during this process. 

CarsPlan Admin

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