How Much Does It Cost To Wrap A Car?

Do you want your car to look different, better or more you? You can make that happen without the cost of a new paint job by using vinyl wraps to reinvent your vehicle. Vinyl wraps are an easy way to reflect your personality, guard against scratches or advertise your business as you drive around town.

Wrapping a vehicle has the same effect as respraying it with paint, only less expensive. A wrap is a group of several large vinyl decals adhered over the top of painted portions of the car, truck or what have you – the hood, doors, roof, fenders, etc.

But how much does it cost to wrap a car? And what does the process entail? Let’s look at some standard costs associated with wrapping a vehicle and detail some of the various options available today.

Wrapping A Car: An Overview

In many ways, wrapping a car seems like a relatively straightforward practice. In reality, it is a task that requires both patience and expertise to execute correctly. Let’s walk through the process of wrapping a car.

How Much Does It Cost To Wrap A Car

Some vital questions must be asked by both the vehicle owner and the professional who will be applying the wrap:

  • What is the make and model of the car? The complexity of the design directly affects the time needed to wrap a vehicle, varying the cost accordingly.
  • Does the car have any kind of body kit? Cars with custom body kits usually add to the intricacies of the wrap, due in large part to the unique angles and creases of the aftermarket alterations.
  • What vinyl hue do you want? Standard vinyl hues are offered in three different finishes – gloss, matte, or satin.
  • What parts of the car do you want to be wrapped up? Maybe you want to get the car wrapped top to bottom for commercial purposes (as a means to promote your business). Or perhaps you aren’t looking to have your entire vehicle wrapped, but rather just apply a carbon-fiber hood or red brake calipers. Each option and approach will be priced differently depending on these factors.

A detailed inspection and preparation of the car before applying the wrap is essential, including checking for damage to the original paint. A vinyl wrap does not properly adhere to the damaged surface, making it difficult (and sometimes impossible) to execute a clean, proper installation.

The surface needs to be near perfect for the vinyl wrap to grip and form-fit the car effectively. A vehicle must also undergo a thorough cleaning process to remove any dust, dirt, or grime before applying a vinyl wrap.

Average Cost of Car Wrapping

Wrapping your car can be an expensive endeavor, but on average it’s a small price to pay for the eye-catching transformation.

The cost of car wrapping depends on several factors, such as the size of the vehicle, type of wrap material used, and whether you choose to do it yourself (DIY wrapping) or hire a professional.

Generally speaking, a full wrap will cost between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on these factors.

If you’re looking for something more affordable than a full wrap, there are also partial wraps that cover only certain parts of the car. These typically range from $500 to $1,500 depending on how much coverage you want.

Paint protection is another option that can help protect your paint job while still giving your car an attractive look; this usually costs around $1,000-$2,000.

Factors Affecting Car Wrapping Costs

Many factors determine the cost of car wraps, from the vinyl finish and quality to the size and condition of the car. These include:

Color and Finish

3M vinyl wraps for cars come in various finishes, and the price can vary accordingly. Monotone wraps are less expensive, while glittery, multi-colored, and glossy wraps cost more.

Chrome is the most expensive vinyl material and the most difficult to install. It starts at around $6,000 for an average car and the price goes up depending on the vehicle size and the complexity of the application.

Quality of the Vinyl Wrap

The quality of the vinyl wrap is an important factor that affects the overall price of a car wrap. Although higher-quality wraps cost significantly more, they are often a wise investment. That’s because low-quality wraps may look good initially, they are more prone to cracking, warping around the edges, or developing bubbles that can damage the paint underneath.

If someone wants a vinyl wrap that offers ultraviolet protection, longevity, and durability, a high-quality wrap such as cast vinyl is always the better choice. Although this product is on the higher price end of the scale (e.g., $12 to $16 per foot), it is malleable, waterproof, can be repositioned, and gives excellent ultraviolet protection.

Vinyl Treatments

If a customer selects a vinyl wrap for their car, they might want some form of extra protection to ensure its longevity. Any vinyl treatment will add to the total cost of wrapping.

One popular treatment is a nano-ceramic coating, which acts as a durability enhancer and protects against ultraviolet rays, minor scratches, and water damage. The average cost of nano-ceramic coating ranges from $1,500 to $1,800.

Size of the Vehicle

The size of the car is also important. The larger the vehicle, the more wrapping material is needed, and the higher the wrapping cost.

For instance, if someone has a compact car, the wrapping may cost around $2,000. On the other hand, an SUV may start at $4,000, an average family sedan could cost $3,000, and a luxury sports car can go upwards of $6,000 to $12,000.

Here are the average baseline costs of having a professional apply a wrap to your vehicle.

  • Compact car or coupe: Prices vary depending on design but start around $2,000.
  • Family sedan: The average family sedan would run you about $3,000.
  • Compact crossover: Most compact crossover vehicles start at around $3,500.
  • Full-size SUV: A Full-size SUV is likely to start at about $4,000.
  • Luxury sports car: Starting at about $5,000, expensive luxury vehicles can reach as high as $10,000+. For example, a Ferrari wrap would cost the owner roughly $7,000, according to experts.

The make and model of the vehicle also matter. Vehicles with complex body shapes cost more because they are difficult to wrap and require a certain level of expertise to install. On the other hand, an average van with flatter surfaces is easier to wrap than a fancy car with intricate curves and jagged edges.

Full or Partial Wrap

The price of car wrapping will also depend on whether a customer wants a full or partial wrap. Here are the average costs depending on how much wrapping is involved:

  • Spoiler wrapping: $300.
  • Door handles: $60 each
  • Roof, hood, and trunk: $300 each
  • Side view mirrors: $100 each

Condition of the Car

The condition of your car will affect the performance and success of the wrap. Scratches, dents, and dings will stick out, just as they would if you tried to paint over them without repairing them first.

Corrosion or chipped paint may hinder the vinyl decals from properly sticking. Some shops will not apply a wrap or will not warranty or guarantee their work if your car’s paint is peeling or suffers from visible oxidation.

Applied to a poor surface, a wrap often won’t last as long as it would otherwise. If your car’s paint is in optimum condition, figure that a vinyl wrap will keep looking its best for about four to five years, depending on the climate and exposure to the elements. It also becomes harder to remove after that length of time.

Is There a Downside to Wrapping a Car?

Wrapping your car may not be the solution to a vehicle in bad condition. Dings, dents, corrosion and scratches will be obvious even after the car is wrapped. Professionals prefer to work only with cars in good condition, as the wrap will not stay on as long or look as good if the underlying paint is peeling or has oxidized.

Additionally, the vinyl on the car is susceptible to breaking down after being left outside in high temperatures or to salt used for snow removal. If the car is in good condition when the wrap goes on, the car is kept out of the baking sun or washed after contact with snow removal salt, then the wrap will look good for around five years.

After that, the wrap needs a change and may become more difficult and costly to remove as time goes on.

How Is a Wrap Done?

In a shop, exact measurements are taken of the vehicle and the vinyl is matched to the specs of your make and model.

The car is cleaned, and typically the non-wrappable parts (headlights, taillights, door handles, etc.) are removed in order to get the vinyl smoothly on all the contours of the vehicle.

Professionals heat, stretch and apply the material using a heat gun and a special solvent. Some projects may require more than one layer of vinyl.


Is It Cheaper To Paint Or Wrap A Car?

Generally, paint jobs range between $3,000 and $10,000. In contrast, you can find a high-quality car wrap between $2,500 and $5,000. Since a good paint job can cost more than double the cost of a professional vehicle wrap, many companies with fleets choose them over paint.

How long do wraps last on cars?

Most car wraps last approximately five to seven years. After five to seven years most vinyl wraps will begin to crack, fade, and peel off the vehicle. An extra two years makes a big difference in getting your money’s worth so how do you get your wrap to last closer to the seven-year range compared to five?

Do car wraps damage paint?

No is the simple answer, a proper vinyl car warp won’t damage your vehicle, at least not when it’s installed properly. The vinyl wrap itself is designed to be safe for vehicle paint.

Can I wrap my own car?

It’s possible to wrap a car on your own, but more than one pair of hands makes the task much easier –especially when it comes to laying film out across larger panels and minimizing troublesome air bubbles or wrinkles.

Does wrapping a car devalue it?

When a car is wrapped, the resale value is considerably greater than for a car that has been repainted. This is primarily because the wrapper can be removed without damaging the car. Since the wrap preserved the paint, the value of your car is higher because it still looks new.