Drivers who are looking for a fun and unique way to change the appearance of their car often choose to wrap their vehicle instead of painting it. 

Vinyl car wraps have been popular for longer than you might imagine. Today, thanks to new printing technologies, you can vinyl wrap private and commercial cars in graphic designs that are entirely original.

But what exactly does the process entail? What are the tangible benefits and potential problems?

Side view of matt wrapped car

The history of car wrapping

Car wraps have long been in use as they turned out to be ideal for sharing news about a product or service. Advertisers and automotive manufacturers since Henry Ford and his peers in the 1950s have been taking advantage of the versatility of the car wrap to spread the word about their brands.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that vinyl wraps started to replace paint and ink when it came to personalizing cars. New printing methods developed in the 21st century. Designers’ increased access to graphic design technologies made it even easier for both individual artists and businesses to create unique vinyl wraps.

The popularity of car wrapping

Wrapping has risen in popularity since it became a sign of individual expression over a way to advertise a product. In the United States alone, for example, the automotive wrap industry is set to rise by 22.5% between 2020 and 2027. There are several car wrapping designers and a variety of car wrapping centres across the UK, as well, that speak to the practice’s popularity.

Colorful vinyl wrapped car

Pros and cons of car wrapping

Besides the above mentioned originality of the design, vinyl car wrapping offers many benefits. The most important ones include:

  • Durability – Vinyl car wraps can last for quite a while if you’re driving on urban roads. While they may not hold up as well to off-roading, you can still rely on them to maintain their texture and sheen for several months and years at a time.
  • Temporary nature – If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to commit to a certain look, then a vehicle wrap will suit you perfectly. These wraps can easily be removed and replaced with alternative looks.
  • Crisp lines and bright colours – Vinyl wraps also offer you tight, crisp designs full of bright colours; all without the hassle of having to wait for paint to dry.
  • Cost – The cost of a car wrap will vary based on the size of your vehicle. Medium vehicles, for example, can cost £1,600 to cover which is still less expensive than a paint job, as paint jobs take longer to apply and tend to fade if they’re not protected.
  • Variability – Each vinyl wrap is unique. No matter what kind of look you’re interested in, you can work with a graphic designer and shop in your area to get it on your car.

As you can see, the advantages of car wrapping offer numerous conveniences from practicality to visual effects. It is not perfect, though. Some of the most common downsides of vehicle wraps include:

  • Sizing limitations – There are some cars that may be too large, too old, or otherwise incompatible with the wraps available in your area. You’ll need to do your research ahead of time to determine whether or not your car can feasibly be wrapped.
  • Legality – You may find that your car insurance doesn’t cover a full-body wrap or the damage that it can inflict upon your car. You will need to get in touch with your insurance provider as well as DVLA before wrapping your car to make sure that you won’t lose your coverage.
  • Scruffs or damage – The longer you use a car wrap, the more likely it is to scuff           the paint beneath it. These wraps are often more prone to damage than settled paint, meaning that your individual look may be quick to fade.

Close-up of wrapped car mirror

Wrapping versus painting

Even with its disadvantages, wrapping your car seems like a worthwhile practice. As suggested above, you benefit from a highly-individualised but removable style when you invest in a car wrap. If you’re looking to personalise your car, but still want to change your look up without the hassle of taking off a coat of paint, then it seems like wraps are the way to go.

Let’s put it another way, though. When you invest in a new paint job for your car, you’re investing in more than just a new look. You’re investing in the removal of old paint, several coats of new paint, meticulous design work, and several hours of drying in-between. A car wrap may be costly, depending on the level of detail you want to invest in, but waiting for paint to dry can take longer and cost you more money.

While not all vehicles can be wrapped, those within the proper size restrictions can benefit from extensive personalisation with few side effects. If you’re thinking of upgrading your car, then, investing in a vinyl wrap car is definitely an option for you to consider.