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Posted by Joseph Clement on 2 February, 2018

In recent years there has been a steady rise in the number of people getting their vehicles wrapped. This increase in demand has given birth to a lot of new businesses that specialise in wrapping. However, despite this surge in popularity, there are still a lot of people out there who have no idea what car wrapping is. Similarly, there are people who have heard of it and would like to find out more. For those who fall into these categories, I will answer all of the important questions and tell you everything you need to know.

What is car wrapping?

Car wrapping is a name that has been given to the process of applying a vinyl wrap to a vehicle. It is particularly popular with owners of sports cars, supercars, and business vehicles – e.g. vans – that need to display company information. One of the main benefits is that you can transform the appearance of your vehicle without making any permanent changes to the paintwork. Also, a vinyl wrap adds a layer of protection on top of your cars original paintwork. It can be removed, or changed, whenever you like allowing you to implement unique characteristics to your car at any given time. This is assuming that you have the money required to pay for the work to be done.

How much does it cost to get your car wrapped?

I have done some research to see what prices companies are quoting for a full wrap and it seems to cost anywhere in the region of £900 – £6,000. There are a lot of things that can affect the cost of getting your car wrapped. The first thing to consider is the size of the vehicle. Obviously, the larger the vehicle, the more it will cost, for instance, a hatchback will cost less than a van.

There are two main reasons why the size of the vehicle will affect the cost of the service:

1. A large vehicle will require more vinyl wrap which increases the cost of materials.
2. Large vehicles take longer to wrap resulting in higher labour costs.

Another thing that can have an impact on the overall cost is your choice of colour. For example, if you choose a rare chrome colour that is hard to source then you can expect to fork out more for the exclusivity. In comparison, a common colour that is much easier to get hold of is sure to be cheaper. As with any service you are going to be paying for it is important to make sure the company you choose is reputable. You don’t want your car to be worked on by a bunch of cowboys so make sure you select a professional business to get the job done. It is a good idea to read plenty of reviews, or even better, go with a company that has been personally recommended to you by somebody you trust.

Can you wash a wrapped car?

In short, yes, you can wash a car that has been wrapped in vinyl. However, there are some important things you need to take into consideration before doing so:

  • recommend that you use a clean, soft sponge, cloth, or microfiber towel to scrub dirt and grime off your wrap. They also stress the importance of not using car wash brushes as they can scratch your wrap.
  • When it comes to soap, there are a lot of speciality products for cars wrapped in vinyl. However, the good people at McLogan recommend using a blend of mild detergent and clean water.
  • Lastly, both of the sources mentioned above endorse drying the car off with a microfiber cloth after washing. However, be careful not to lift the edges of the vinyl wrap while doing this.

With all that said, every wrap is different, so if you are still unsure about whether to wash your car or not, I would recommend contacting the manufacturer for verification.

How long does a vinyl wrap last?

A high-quality vinyl wrap that has been well maintained can last anywhere between 3-5 years. Many vinyl manufacturers even offer a warranty on their materials. When preparing to get your car wrapped it is a good idea to discuss your plans with the people who will be working on your automobile. They will be able to recommend the right wrap based on your personal requirements. It’s also worth asking about the life expectancy of the vinyl you have chosen before giving the go-ahead for any work to be carried out.

What is paint protection film (PPF)?

It’s a clear film made of urethane that protects your vehicle paint from scratches, stone chips, and other types of damage. It is popular with owners of sports cars and supercars since damaged paintwork costs a lot of money to repair. The film is like an invisible jacket that protects your car from the elements. When the time comes for you to sell your car the paintwork should be in the same shape as when you bought it. The immaculate condition of your car will make it attractive to potential buyers.

Is it cheaper to get a car wrapped or painted?

As mentioned earlier, a full car wrap can cost anywhere in the region of £900 – £6,000. Interestingly, a full respray costs approximately £1500 – £10,000 depending on the workshop, the vehicle you have, the condition of the bodywork, and the quality of the paint you choose. When deciding whether to get your car wrapped or painted, I think it’s important to remember that paint is permanent, but a wrap can be removed at any time. A car wrap is less of a commitment and leaves you with options if you decide that you no longer like the new colour of your car.

Can you wrap a car with bad paintwork?

It really depends on how bad the paintwork is and how much you mind it showing through the vinyl wrap. For starters, it will be a lot harder for a wrap to bond with the paint underneath if it’s loose. Also, if the paintwork is chipped or has bumps then these will likely show through the vinyl wrap. Another thing to consider is that there’s a good chance poor paintwork will be pulled off when it comes time to remove your car wrap. Ideally, you want your paint to have a smooth finish before wrapping, therefore, it’s important to thoroughly check your vehicle before any work is carried out. Lastly, it’s a good idea to test out some vinyl wrap on a small section of your car to see if any imperfections are visible. This will allow you to get a feel for how the finished job may look before going ahead and paying for materials etc.


Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand a bit more about car wrapping. Please note, I am not a professional car wrapper nor have I ever wrapped a car before. However, I have spoken with car wrapping experts and done a lot of research on the topic. I thought it would be a good idea to answer some of the questions I had about car wrapping when I first became interested in it. If there is anything I have missed or anything else you would like to know about car wrapping, please let me know in the comment section below.