posted by Vinyl Frog on February 28, 2022
How Much Does it Cost to Wrap a Car? - An Honest Wrap-Up
Wrapping your car is an attractive option for some people. But how much does it cost to wrap a car? While several variables come into play, it's essential to know that you must keep in mind the different types of wrap materials when discussing cost.
Vinyl wraps have become all the rage in recent years. They not only extensively enhance the aesthetic appeal of your vehicle, giving it a luxurious, captivating appearance, but also preserve its originality by saving its exterior from deleterious elements. In order to get the best of the vinyl wrap, it is imperative to opt for the premium quality.
The plethora of options available, selection becomes a daunting task, plus one must also take the cost factor into consideration. So how much does it cost to wrap your vehicle? Let's dive into the details and figure out the actual cost of wrapping a car and the factors it is dependent on.
How Much Does It Cost to Wrap a Car?
Car wraps are made of sturdy PVC material to bear the harsh elements of the physical and natural environment. The cost of wrapping a car depends upon many factors. If you are opting for a full car wrap by a professional, the cost can range from $2000 to $6000. However, this is a ballpark figure. If you own a luxury exotic car in impeccable condition, the cost goes up from $10,000 to $12,000 as well.
If we consider the cost per square foot, a car wrap costs from $5 to $15. Add installation charges to it which can be from $3 to $4 but this depends upon the type and condition of the car, and how you want it to be wrapped. Hence it can increase or decrease accordingly and can go up to $19 per square foot. The majority of the cost goes into labor, not automotive grade vinyl.
Following is a lowdown on the average cost of different types of vehicles:
- Family Sedan: The baseline cost for fully wrapping a family sedan is $3000.
- Compact car: The cost of wrapping a small car can begin from $2000.
- Coupe: Depending on its size, the initial cost can range from $2000 to $3000.
- Compact Crossover: On an average, the cost for wrapping them can start from $3000.
- SUV: Wrapping a full size SUV can be a bit expensive starting from $4000.
- Jeep: Depending on whether you have a two-door or a four-door vehicle, the average cost is $3000 to $4500.
- Truck: For wrapping a truck, the starting cost would be $4000 primarily due to its size. If it is a small truck, the cost might start from $2000.
- Commercial vehicles: The average cost for fully wrapping a commercial vehicle such as a van is about $3000 to $5000.
- Luxury cars: High-end, exotic, luxury vehicles can cost from $5000 to $10000. This is because installers have to be extra cautious while wrapping these cars. According to expert opinion, wrapping an Audi, for example, can start from $6500; Lamborghini from $4000 to $5000, and a Ferrari roughly $7000. A Rolls-Royce would cost about $10,000 because its body panels are more complicated to remove.
Vinyl Wrap Cost Chart for Different Types of Vehicle
Vinyl Wrap Cost Determinants
There are many factors that determine the cost of the wrap. Let’s have a look:
- The color and finish of the vinyl wrap
The total quote that you receive for your vinyl wrap depends on what you have chosen to transform your vehicle. Vinyl wraps can be monotone, which are slightly less expensive, and multi-colored. They can have different finishes as well such as glittery, metallic, glossy, satin, chrome or matte.
The price differs accordingly. Depending on whether you have opted for solid color with a matte finish, or a more expensive version, the cost can range from $2500 - $3500 for a regular car or $3500 - $5000 for a truck or SUV.
Chrome is the most expensive of vinyl materials and the most difficult to install. Chrome wraps normally start around $6,000 and will increase depending on the size and complexity of the vehicle.
The cost of vinyl wraps – an overview
Presenting a bird’s-eye view of the tentative cost of the vinyl wraps according to their finish:
- Gloss: it is the common and sought-after finish in vinyl. It adds a slight sheen to the vehicle making it a captivating stunner. It costs relatively less from other vinyl wraps starting from $3.40 per square ft. You might have to pay $59.99 for 25 Sq./ft. (5ft x 5ft).
- Matte: This is the most pocket friendly vinyl finish. It gives the vehicle an impressive look, enhancing its curves, without the overwhelming luster. Its cost starts from $9.88 for 1ft x 5ft to $299.99 for a full car wrap roll that is 50ft x 5 ft.
- Satin: Satin wraps are not highly shimmery nor are they completely matte. They have a slight shine and a silky, sophisticated look. Their cost starts from $17.99 for 5 Sq./ft. and $296 for 125 Sq./ft.
- Metallic: This is a highly shimmery vinyl finish that makes your vehicle glimmer with all its glory when light interacts with it. Metallic wraps are costly starting from $11.99 for 5ft x 1ft to $191 for 50ft x 5ft.
- Carbon Fiber: This is a textured wrap that is slightly glossy and emulates the carbon fiber look. It costs more than the gloss and matte finish starting from $12.99 for 5ft x 1.5ft to $249 for 50ft x 5ft.
Once you have installed your favorite vinyl, you might want extra protection to ensure its longevity. Any treatment for this might add to the total cost of wrapping. For example, liquid Nano-ceramic coating acts as a durability enhancer and shield for the wrap against damage from water, UV rays and minor scratches. For a compact car the cost of the treatment can be $1,500 and $1,800 for an SUV.
The quality of the vinyl wrap
The quality of the vinyl wrap used is an important factor in gauging the cost of wrapping a car. In the vinyl world the statement, “You get what you pay for” stands true. If you want durability, longevity and proper UV protection, and you do not want the paint underneath to be damaged, you should opt for a high quality wrap.
Low quality wraps may look good initially but soon they warp around edges and curves, bubbles are formed, they might even crack at places and when removed, they damage the paint of the car leaving you irate and bearing loss. Cast vinyl is of high quality and consequently of high cost, whereas calendared vinyl is cheaper in comparison.
Calendared vinyl is thicker with an aggressive adhesive. You might think it looks good when applied but it shrinks or bubbles at the edges after a short passage of time. It is advised not to use calendared films for car wrapping.
There are many who use calendared films because they are 50% to 70% cheaper than cast vinyl and they think they got a good bargain but it is not so. Later, they end up spending more to rectify the issues caused by the vinyl.
Cast vinyl is malleable, can be repositioned and does not leave much residue behind when removed. It is waterproof and gives good UV protection. When you visit a vehicle wrap provider make sure you go through the specifications and do not settle for a cheaper, low quality wrap.
Do product comparisons. If a seller is quoting a price much lower than others, he is probably selling low quality vinyl. Do not settle for less if you need perfection and a long-term solution.
The size of the vehicle
Pricing also depends upon the size of your vehicle - the bigger the size, the more material required leading to increase in cost. Needless to say, a truck is going to cost more than a car and, on the contrary, a bike will cost far less.
If you have a compact car, the installation of the wrap may cost around $2000, a family sedan may start from $3000, an SUV may start from $4000, and wrapping a luxury sports car may range from $4000 to $6000.
Furthermore, it is not only the size but also the make and model of your vehicle that matters. Vehicles that boast of complex body shapes cost more when wrapped. Complex curves are difficult to wrap and require expertise. Hence, a flat surface, say of a large van, is a much different and easier application than an exquisite car with jagged edges and intricate curves. Same goes for the spoiler and bumper of a car.
Quantity of wrap required according to the type of vehicle
The quantity of vinyl wrap that a vehicle may need depends on its size and make. According to a rough approximation compact cars require 15-17 meters; mid-size cars require 18-20 meters, and full-size cars, small SUVs and small vans need 20-23 meters. Keeping in mind your vehicle, you can gauge how much vinyl you need from the list below:
- Sedan: 16-18 meters.
- Wagon: 19-22 meters.
- SUV and 4WD: 17-22 meters.
- Micro: 8 meters.
- Mini: 13 meters.
- Van: 23 meters.
- Coupe: 14-15 meters.
- Pick-up: 21-22 meters.
- Hatchback: 17-19 meters.
- Sports car: 17-18 meters.
|Vehicle Type||Quantity /Meters||Image|
|SUV and 4WD||17-22 meters||🚙|
|Sports car||17-18 meters||🏎|
The condition of the vehicle that is to be wrapped also plays a crucial role in the cost analysis of a vinyl wrap. A vehicle has to be prepared and made ideal for wrapping. It has to be clean and smooth before the process. There should be no dirt or contaminants on its surface. For this, a power wash may also be needed.
One has to take into account the scratches and damage its original paint has as this might affect the smoothness of the wrap. Hence preparing the car for wrapping, which also includes removing its bumpers, headlights, taillights, accessories and trims, adds to the cost of installation. This is an important step that makes it easy to wrap the vinyl around edges and into the car's crevasses.
Full or partial wrap
- Roof, hood and trunk wrapping can be $300 each.
- Door handles $60 each.
- Side-view mirrors $100 each.
- Spoilers around $300.
Custom design and commercial wrap
Having a custom design in mind and a certain look for your vehicle, or wrapping it for commercial use, advertising and so on affects the cost of installation. If a custom design is intricate and requires the whole vehicle to be wrapped, it will need more material and more labor resulting in a higher price. Simple commercial wraps can be as low as $3,000, while an intricate custom wrap can reach up above $10,000
Installation services hired
Good installation services by professionals add to the cost of wrapping a car. You should know which installer will give you excellent services with the best value for money and can be trusted with your vehicle.
Before settling for an installer, check its history, specifically the work they have previously done. Do not forget to read the reviews of previous customers.
A good installation facility will offer you limitless options to bring your dreams come true; they will have a state-of-the-art facility; and they will have abundant knowledge and expertise about material, preparation, installation, maintenance, and removal. Of course they will charge more but in the end, you will be a highly satisfied customer with a hot set of wheels to flaunt!
Location and climatic factors
Location plays a significant role as far as the cost of a car wrap is concerned. If you live in a colder climate, the car wrap installation will cost more as it will take longer for the heat to set in and the wrap to heal. If you live in a warmer climate, the car wrap will be cheaper because the temperature will keep the heat in longer.
How Long Does it Take to Wrap a Car?
Wrapping a car is a complex process and it can generally be completed in as little as a few hours or two to three days at the most depending on how much area has to be covered.
The wrap application only takes a couple hours for partial wraps and generally two days for a full wrap. Since the vehicle has to be wrapped indoors so that weather cannot affect the process, it has to be left within the premises of the installer.
After installation of the wrap, the vehicle cannot be used immediately. In order to ensure the durability of the wrap, it is better to let it heal and dry properly before it is taken out for a drive. Following is the approximate time required to wrap a car:
- Partial wraps and lettering: ½ an hour to 2 hours.
- Half wrap (one to four or more sections): 2 – 4 hours.
- Full wrap: 2-3 days.
Selecting the Right Wrap Colors
Choosing the right color for your vehicle can be tedious and time consuming as the shade you opt for says a lot about your personality. If you are spending money, you would want the right look.
The shade also varies in different finishes of the wrap for example; a matte red wrap will be muted whereas a metallic wrap will shimmer brilliantly grabbing instant attention. The color should be according to your choice.
Do not settle for a color just because it is less expensive or is more commonly seen on the road. You should like the finished product hence do not refrain from personalizing through experiment. The color of your car does not have to be in the mainstream to be beautiful.
If you are one of those adrenaline junkies who are always brimming with zest and want to defy the norm then choose a bold color such as red, gold or matte black. They will stand out and will turn heads.
If you want a change but want to remain inconspicuous then go for shades such as blue, white, gray, or black. Invest in what satiates you.
The following is a brief guide to what each color might signify:
- Black: Sophistication, class and luxury.
- White: Fresh and young.
- Gray: Maturity and dignity.
- Red: Modern, passionate and brimming with exuberance.
- Green: Cool and friendly.
- Blue: Dependable, trustworthy and committed.
- Purple: Innovative and wise with a touch of femininity.
- Yellow: Amiable, cheerful, and accessible brimming with youthful energy.
- Brown: Sober and macho.
- Orange: Joyous, lively and energetic.
Vehicle wraps can be designed using software, hence you can choose to have unique colors and graphics on your vehicle. Of course that will be an added cost but will surely give you creative satisfaction. The purpose for wrapping a car also plays an important role. If you want to use it for advertisement, you will have to use colors that represent your brand for maximum exposure. Contemplate and make a wise decision.
DIY Car Wrapping Cost
Enzo Ferrari said, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”
DIY car wrapping is a humongous task but not impossible. It costs anywhere from $1000 to $2500+, which is certainly less than professional installation. However, before embarking on this tedious journey ask yourself, “Do you have the patience, perseverance and the expertise to do it?” If the end result will be crude and unsightly, it is better to get professional help. You cannot resort to trial and error for performing this task.
If you are confident and can do the job yourself, the following costs have to be taken into account.
Purchasing the Vinyl
The baseline cost for purchasing vinyl can start roughly from $600 - 800 for a compact, two-door vehicle. With the increase in size and complexity, the cost of the wrap can go as high as $4-5,000 or more. The cost also depends on the type and quality of the vinyl as mentioned above.
Tools Required for Vinyl Wrapping a Vehicle
Once you have purchased your vinyl, you should have the right tools for its application. These will add to the total cost of the process. The tools will cost somewhere between $100 and $700. The following accouterments are needed:
- Squeegee: A plastic tool that helps in removing air bubbles and creases.
- Wrapstick flex: A long and flexible tool for tucking vinyl and wrapping around curves.
- Heat gun: A device that emits hot air and allows adhesive to form a secure bond with the substrate.
- Infrared thermometer: To measure the temperature after heating.
- Surface cleaner: It is required to clean the paint’s surface before applying the vinyl wrap.
- Microfiber cloth: A absorbent cloth that helps in removing water and dust.
- Small magnets: These help in positioning the wrap
- Cutting tape: To cut the vinyl smoothly.
- Blade: Used to remove wrap after installation is complete.
- Tweezers: Used for weeding small pieces of wrap from intricate crevices.
- Snitty blade: This is a safety cutter for vinyl that does the job without damaging it.
- Tape measure: To measure various dimensions during application.
- Masking tape: This is used to protect areas where vinyl is not applied.
- Gloves: These help in better grip during installation and saves the vinyl from fingerprints.
- Spray bottle: To spray water or a cleaner as and when required.
- Clay bar: Used to remove contaminants from the car’s exterior before installing the vinyl.
- Isopropyl alcohol: Used to clean the paint surface.
Another important point of consideration is how much time you are willing to give to the task. If you have a helping hand, which is an utmost necessity, and very little vinyl is wasted, it will take anywhere from a couple to a few days to complete the job. Hence you also have to consider the amount of money your time is worth. These hours also add to the cost of vinyl wrapping.
You will also have to consider whether you have the space to apply the vinyl. The perfect place for the job needs to be dust-free. Every speck of dust ruins the finish of the film. You cannot simply work outdoors. If you do not have a clean, covered area and you plan on renting a garage for the same it will add to the cost.
DIY or professional car wrapping?
Let’s recap: The cost of DIY car wrapping ranges from $1000 to $2500 and if you opt for professional installation, it rises significantly from $2000 to $6000+. Both depend on different factors mentioned above but we, at VinylFrog, suggest going for the latter unless you are a DIY enthusiast armed with the right knowledge and expertise.
Professional car wrapping ensures that the job is finished on schedule, is done keeping the best quality in mind and a perfect finished product is delivered that definitely earns praise and appreciation.
Benefits of Getting Your Car Wrapped
Car wraps are versatile. They are available in a plethora of colors and finishes giving you a lot of room for experimenting. You can transform your vehicle into a stunner with them and win accolades. Apart from the beauty aspect, car wraps have certain benefits as well. These are as follows:
- Wraps protect the paint and exterior of the vehicle. if the paint is not already damaged, a wrap protects it and you can always remove it to go back to the original look. They also protect the exterior against minor scratches and abrasion bearing the brunt themselves.
- They act like your car’s second skin and if taken care of, they can last for a considerable period of time making your car the hottest set of wheels.
- Wraps give you liberty to design your car. If you do not want a single color on your vehicle you can apply two different colors of a car wrap, personalizing it and making it a piece of art.
- Not only colors, you can choose different finishes for your car as well such as matte, gloss, metallic, chrome and so on.
- If you do not want to invest in repainting the whole vehicle, you can get it partially wrapped as well focusing on a certain area.
- Car wraps are not as heavy on the pocket as repainting the whole vehicle. You can get a new look in comparatively cheaper rates.
- If you are a business owner and want to put your brand out there, wraps provide an opportunity to advertise.
Follow-up Cost of Wrapping your Car
Like any other product, vinyl wraps also need follow-up care to enhance their longevity. You cannot just get your car wrapped and leave it to bear the atrocities of nature. You have spent money and you would want the best value, hence it is imperative to care for your vinyl to keep in prim and proper condition.
It is better to wash the wrapped car manually using a mild detergent. You will have to invest in the right products for this. If you plan to take your vehicle to a car wash, go for the brushless option.
You will need isopropyl rubbing alcohol to spot clean isolated stains. Keep wet paper towels handy to clean fuel spills. Do not park your car outdoors in the sun. You will need a garage or a canopy. Ask your wrap installer to guide you regarding specialized cleaning products for your wrap that will be an additional yet important cost.
Nowadays car wrapping is all the rage not only because it glamorizes and bedazzles, but also due to its benefits as far as protection of the exterior is concerned. When opting to wrap a car, the cost factor plays an important role that is influenced by various factors. The DIY option is cheaper but it is only for those who are well versed and know their way around. Professional installation is the preferred way to go that might be heavier on the pocket but the results will be outstanding.