Car Wrap
Automotive Technology

Custom Paint Vs Vinyl: How Long Does It Take to Wrap a Car?

You’ve seen them on the road — cars enveloped in an eye-catching pattern, as opposed to your typical paint color. You might’ve seen a camouflaged sedan or an SUV covered in chrome. If you wondered what that was, it was most likely a car wrap.

Nowadays, car owners are opting to wrap their cars in nylon to transform the exterior quickly. It’s a trend on the rise, too, as is the vehicle customization market. Experts anticipate it to be a $10.8 billion industry by 2025

Perhaps you’re wondering whether you should have your car painted or wrapped. To decide, you have several questions you want to be answered — mainly, how long does it take to wrap a car? 

We have that answer and the rest of the facts you need to know before choosing between paint or vinyl. 

What’s the Application Process? 

Getting a car wrapped is a slightly different process than getting it painted. 

Let’s say you have chosen to go for custom car wraps. You’ll drop your car off for the service, and the pros will start with a deep cleaning. They have to remove any debris from the surface before applying the wrap. 

After they place the nylon over your car, they will use a heat treatment to seal it into place. 

Meanwhile, with paint, the process could be much more long-winded. First, the experts will have to remove the color from the exterior of your car. 

Next, they’ll apply the new color in layers. Most of the time, they have to leave the car to dry between each application of paint. 

How Long Does It Take to Wrap a Car? 

The wrapping part doesn’t take long, but the entire process of cleaning, wrapping and sealing the vehicle will take some time. In most cases, your car will be in the shop for three days. 

However, once it’s done, you can drive off right away, so the turnaround time is relatively fast. 

How Long Does It Take to Paint a Car? 

In general, painting takes much longer than wrapping. Of course, the timeline will depend on who does the job. They will apply a chosen number of paint layers. They will decide how long to leave your car to dry between applications, too. 

You can expect your car to be out of commission for days to weeks while someone paints it. Even if they finish painting in a few days, you might have to wait a week before driving your car to ensure it’s dry and resilient. 

Which Option Allows For More Customization? 

There’s only so much you can do with a paint job. Sure, you can select a unique hue to cover your car, but, as for designs, you’ll have limited options. 

Meanwhile, car wraps come in just about any color or pattern you can imagine. Plus, you can select an eye-catching texture, such as chrome or matte. If you want something more out-of-the-box, then a wrap is the right choice for you.

How Much Do These Services Cost? 

In most cases, having your car painted will cost less than wrapping it. You could also do it yourself to slash the price even further. However, it’s a headache to paint your own vehicle — and you should only try it if you have the skills and patience to do it right. 

A basic paint job will cost you up to $1,000. This price tag will get you a few coats of paint, but you might not get as much attention to detail as you would from a more expensive paint job. 

A standard paint job would take a bit longer and cost more, but your car would look better in the end. That’s because the technicians would sand down your car first to get a smooth surface. This service, plus the paint application, would cost you up to $3,000. 

Of course, you could go all out on a showroom-quality paint job. Such craftsmanship would include all of the above, plus dent removal on the car’s metal frame and about 12 layers of paint. Expect to pay between $2,500 and $25,000 for this detailed service. 

Meanwhile, car wraps tend to range in price between $2,500 and $5,000. However, if you only want to wrap part of your car, it will cost much less. The same goes for paint jobs, too. 

How Long Do They Last? 

A high-quality paint job can last for the entire life of your car. Meanwhile, a less detailed service might start to chip in a few years. 

You’ll be able to maintain the look of your freshly painted car with regular washes and waxes. In fact, keeping your vehicle clean and shiny is imperative in preventing paint damage. 

Car wraps tend to last anywhere from 2 to 10 years. The durability of your car wrap will depend on the quality of the application, much like a paint job. 

Once you have a wrap, you don’t have to do much to maintain it. You can clean it by wiping down the exterior of your car with a damp cloth, and that’s it. 

So, do your research before you hire someone to paint or wrap your car. Have customers had long-lasting results with their services? If so, you should feel comfortable to invest in them, too. 

Which Option Should I Choose? 

You know the answers to your questions: How long does it take to wrap a car? How long will a paint job last? How much will either service cost? 

In the end, it’s up to you to decide which service is right for you. Perhaps you prefer the lifetime durability of a good paint job. Or, you want the customization options and quick-cleaning that comes with a car wrap. 

Once you’ve made your decision, check back with us for advice on all of your car maintenance needs.