Vinyl car wraps once appeared as the latest trend in car customisation. But, they have stood the test of time and have proved to be more than a passing fad.
This article will take a deep dive into all you need to know about applying a vinyl wrap to your car.
What Is A Vinyl Car Wrap?
A vinyl car wrap is a way to change how your car looks on the outside without repainting the vehicle. As the name suggests, the process involves wrapping every panel on your vehicle with a layer of vinyl.
The best part? That vinyl layer can be pretty much any colour or design you can imagine. Plus, you can choose from a wide range of finishes like matte, gloss, metallic, satin, or a transparent protective layer if you prefer.
With a vinyl car wrap, you can customise your car while still protecting its original paint underneath at the same time.
And if you ever get tired of the way your car looks, you can remove the vinyl layer yourself and revert back to the vehicle’s original appearance.
Why Vinyl Wrap A Car?
There are plenty of good reasons to get your car wrapped. The first and most popular reason is to customise the vehicle’s look in a way that is not necessarily permanent. On top of that, a wrap will also increase the vehicle’s resistance against the elements, particularly anything that might cause scratches or chips.
Still, vinyl is not the only material you can choose to customise your car. So, let’s take a closer look at how it stacks up against other options like a new paint job, as well as Plasti Dip or PPF installation.
Vinyl Wrap Vs Paint
Compared to full-body custom paintwork, choosing vinyl will save you time and money. Firstly, wraps are available at plenty of different price points, allowing you to choose whichever suits your budget. Besides that, a custom paint job requires more time and specialised equipment.
Vinyl also comes with the option for graphics. You can order custom graphics to be printed on vinyl film to then be wrapped around your vehicle.
On top of that, it also protects the car’s body against light damage like chips and scratches. This material also reacts a lot less to UV rays, which means that it is fantastic at resisting fading.
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Vinyl Wrap Vs Plasti Dip
Plasti Dip is another popular option for aftermarket customisation. Some options can be applied using spray cans, though a more efficient option is a spray gun and hose.
However, with a wrap, you will only need magnets to hold it in place and a heat gun to adhere it to the surface.
In terms of durability, Plasti Dip typically starts breaking down three years after application. In comparison, vinyl car wraps can last five or more years.
Vinyl Wrap Vs PPF
Paint Protection Film is another alternative to vinyl wrap. High-quality vinyl and PPFs have similar lifespans of 5-10 years, depending on the quality. Both of them are fantastic options for adding protection to your vehicle’s exterior.
So, choosing one over the other is a question of whether you want to customise your vehicle further. As mentioned earlier, wraps come in all sorts of colours, unique designs, and finishes (matte, etc). PPF is transparent so it will show off your existing paint while also protecting it.
Professional Vinyl Wraps: What To Expect
If you want a professional to apply your vinyl wrap car then you’ll want to find a body shop or detailer that offers wraps as one of their primary services. That way, you can expect that the people applying the car wrap are professionals with the experience and know-how to get the job done right.
Remember that vinyl car wraps offer a virtually unlimited selection of colours, unique designs, and finishes. So when you approach a professional service to help you with this, they should be able to provide you with plenty of films to choose from.
Better yet, they’ll often have samples that you can use to visualise what the film will look like once it is on your vehicle.
More importantly, a professional service will get the installation done in two or three days, including the hours it takes for the car vinyl wrap to set.
How To Vinyl Wrap Your Car At Home
One of the benefits of a vinyl car wrap is that you can apply it yourself at home. You’ll need tools like a heat gun, utility knife, squeegee, and magnets. Preferably, you will also have another person to help you out.
Here is an overview of what the DIY process will look like:
- Clean: Firstly, all of your car’s panels must be spotless. Wash and dry your vehicle to ensure that there is no dirt on the surface.
- Apply: Apply the vinyl films on one panel at a time. Drape the vinyl film over the surface and stretch it to create tension. Use the squeegee to massage any air bubbles and wrinkles out. Then, use the heat gun to remove imperfections.
- Complete: Trim the film edges and sections around door handles. Lastly, apply heat again to remove any remaining imperfections from the film.
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How To Remove Vinyl From Your Car
One of the benefits of a vinyl car wrap is that you can undo it just by pulling the film off of each panel on your vehicle. However, you have to be very careful with this process. Firstly, the vinyl film must be warmed up using a heat gun. Then, you should only pull the vinyl sheet from the corners at a 45-degree angle.
This careful approach is vital to avoid tearing or breaking the vinyl apart and making the removal process much more difficult.
If necessary, you can use a razor blade to get under the layer of vinyl and pry them up. However, this requires even more caution to avoid scratching anything underneath.
How Much Does It Cost To Vinyl Wrap A Car?
In Australia, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,900 to $4,200 or more to wrap your vehicle, depending on its size. The price will also be affected by the quality of the wrap that you choose.
How Long Do Vinyl Car Wraps Last?
You can expect a vinyl car wrap to last from 5-7 years.
Is It Legal To Vinyl Wrap Your Car?
Yes, it is legal to install a vinyl wrap on vehicles in Australia. However, you will likely need to notify your state road authority of any colour changes to your vehicle.
Is It Cheaper To Wrap Or Paint A Car?
Generally, wrapping is cheaper than painting because there is less specialised equipment required. However, a high-quality wrap brand will have a similar cost to that of a high-quality paint brand.
How Much Does A Roll Of Vinyl Wrap Cost?
The price for vinyl films depends on their length. As a starting reference, a 1.52 m by 1.52 m roll costs approximately $99 in Australia.
Can You Vinyl Wrap At Home?
Yes, you can vinyl wrap at home, although it will likely take a bit of trial and error (and many Youtube video guides!). The tools you will need are a squeegee, heat gun, magnets, and a utility knife. Having an assistant will also be incredibly helpful.
Does Vinyl Wrap Damage Car Paint?
No, a vinyl wrap will not damage car paint. Instead, it creates an additional layer on top that will further protect it from chips and scratches.
Is Wrapping A Car Worth It?
Wrapping a vehicle is a worthwhile investment if you want a flexible way to customise your car’s exterior while protecting what is underneath.