Car Wrap vs Paint: Which is better? (Pros & Cons)

Is it really better to wrap your car instead of painting it like the old days? Let's find out the pros and cons of each type!

Car Wrap Vs Paint Which Is Better

It wasn’t that long ago that you had to repaint your vehicle if you wanted it to look differently. However, with modern technology and automotive advancements, you now have the option to install a vinyl wrap instead. However, you might be asking whether you should wrap or repaint your car? How do you know which is better?

We will look at the vinyl wrap vs. repainting a car to see which might fit your needs. Our paint vs. vinyl wrap evaluation will examine the pros and cons of both options.

Why Would You Upgrade Your Vehicle?

You must be considering upgrading the appearance of your vehicle if you’ve come to this decision. Maybe you think your car looks boring or you need to cover up some scratches and scuffs. If you can’t afford to buy a new car, upgrading the appearance is a great option.

There’s also the chance that you want to get creative with your vehicle. Instead of being the same color as everyone else’s, you might want to do something unique. Additionally, changing the exterior of your vehicle is a great way to get attention for your business or project. Now the only thing left to do is decide between the vinyl wrap and a new paint job.

What is a Vinyl Wrap?

Wrap Car

Vinyl wraps have been around for several decades, but they were too expensive for the common person to use. However, recent manufacturing processes have made them more affordable, allowing anyone to get a wrap on their car.

This auto body upgrade has become quite popular in the United States and other parts of the world. With a vinyl wrap, you can add a unique style and protect the paint on your vehicle without changing its color. Instead, a thin sheet of vinyl material is applied over your vehicle’s paint and secured in place with a special adhesive. 

Vinyl comes in 60-inch-wide rolls, measuring 25-feet long. This is typically what would be needed to wrap your entire vehicle. You will pay about $2,500 for this size vinyl wrap, plus the installation and design. 

Automotive Vinyl Wrap Pros

There are several reasons to consider a vinyl wrap, including:

  • Durability
  • Reasonable Pricing
  • Shorter Installation Time
  • Flexibility 

1. Durability 

The laminated vinyl wrap doesn’t get easily damaged by UV rays as paint does. Because of this design, the wrap will not fade over time.

Plus, the thick material ensures that your vehicle is protected from scratching and chipping. You won’t need to wax your vinyl wrap as you do with paint. Instead, just use soap and water to keep it clean.

2. Reasonable Pricing

Sometimes, having the car wrapped can be cheaper than getting a new paint job. This is especially true if you plan to change the graphics often, such as with a race car.

If you are working with a tight budget or you only want a small section covered, the vinyl wrap might prove to be a better option. 

3. Shorter Installation Time

It will take a few days or less to install the vinyl wrap, whereas the paint job can take weeks to complete. The longest part about getting a vinyl wrap is deciding on the design, which doesn’t require you to give up your vehicle.

If you want to drop off your vehicle and get it back sooner, the vinyl wrap is a better option. 

4. Flexibility 

With a vinyl wrap, there are no limits to what you can create. Choose a one-color design or use the entire rainbow. Plus, you can change your mind anytime you want and do a completely different style.

If you decide later to start advertising your business, it would be simple to add another vinyl wrap to a portion of your vehicle. 

What is Automotive Painting?

Paint Car

Whether you need to change the color of your vehicle or you are simply in need of some auto body touch-up, you’ve probably heard of automotive painting. This process is a little more complicated than the vinyl wrap, requiring the shop to strip down the car to its bare metal. Any chips or dents will also need to be repaired with body filler. 

Then, primer is applied to the car and left to dry before painting actually occurs. Sanding also has to happen in order to remove imperfections during the painting process. However, a car can drive away looking like it just came from the factory once the entire process is complete.

Automotive Paint Pros

While there’s a place for vinyl wraps, automotive paint jobs have several benefits too.

  • Repairs Imperfections
  • Better Color Matching
  • Ideal for Automotive Enthusiasts
  • Fixes Small Sections 

1. Repairs Imperfections

The vinyl wrap is a great option if your paint is already in great condition. Otherwise, it might not apply well, especially if there are dents, corrosion or scratches. In this case, the car will need a paint job for proper vinyl adhesion. At that point, it might make sense to just stick with the new paint application.

If you attempt to install a vinyl wrap on a car with deep imperfections, you will end up with a shoddy graphic. Those imperfections will be seen through the wrap. Plus, when you attempt to remove the graphic from damaged paint, it can lead to further issues.

2. Better Color Matching

If you desire a perfect color match between the trunk, bumpers and doors, you want a factory-quality paint job. Only automotive body shops will be able to perfectly match the color of your car for a seamless appearance.

This is especially important if you own a classic car or you plan to show off at car shows. 

3. Ideal for Automotive Enthusiasts

If you are a do-it-yourself enthusiast, you might prefer the satisfaction of painting your car. It’s like building a shelving unit versus putting one together from a kit. That’s the difference between painting the car yourself or applying a wrap.

If you take pride in your work, you probably won’t be happy putting a vinyl wrap on the vehicle. Instead, go through the process of taking it down to bare metal and starting with a fresh canvas.

4. Fixes Small Sections 

If you want to improve the aesthetic of a smaller area on the car, a vinyl wrap might not fit your needs. With automotive paint, you can touch up small areas that have blemishes.

It wouldn’t cost you much to fix a small area with a dent. Plus, some auto body shops have advanced technology that makes it easier to repair smaller areas, sometimes with no paint at all. 

Should You Wrap or Repaint Your Car? Final Decision

There’s no real right or wrong answer to if you should wrap or paint your car. A paint job will leave you with a much better result, while if you need to change the color fast and don’t want to spend a lot of money, a car wrap is a good option.

There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to either option. However, you want a vinyl wrap if:

  • The paint job already looks good, but you require more protection.
  • You want to advertise a business or add creative designs that would require a lot of effort to custom paint.
  • Time is limited and you want the job done right away.
  • You plan to change the design often.

On the other hand, you might prefer a new paint job if:

  • There’s only a small area that needs touched up.
  • The current paint is severely damaged, requiring new paint before a vinyl wrap.
  • You want to restore the car to its original condition.
  • There’s no one around you with the skill to install a vinyl wrap perfectly.
Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.