People fork out all kinds of money to enhance the visual appeal of their cars. We’re talking paint jobs worth tens of thousands of dollars. Around $6,000 is considered medium-budget! Compare that with average car wrap costs and the difference is astonishing, to say the least.
Although, how much you might end up paying to get your car wrapped depends on a few different things. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to calculating these costs.
Remember, car wrap services come in all shapes and sizes — from full wrap to partial wrap, and signs to decals. The quality and length of wrap; and the professional’s personal requirements also affect how much you might have to pay.
And that’s only scratching the surface of this subject. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about how much it costs to wrap your car, and how these costs are calculated.
Factors That Determine Car Wrap Prices
There’s no industry standard when it comes to calculating car wrap costs. Everyone does it a bit differently as it depends on the availability of materials, location, labor costs, and even the car itself.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors and understand how exactly they affect how much you’ll end up paying to get your car wrapped.
Wrapping a car the right way requires serious skills, and it’s a job best left to seasoned professionals. But seasoned professionals aren’t cheap, especially if they operate in upscale neighborhoods.
The final cost of your car’s wrap job isn’t just limited to the quality of material used, but it also factors in the shop’s rent and other overheads. All of which are affected by the cost of living in that area.
Heavy-duty vinyl film is the ideal material for car wrapping as it is both tough and stretchy, resulting in seamless coverage of your car’s paint that will last for up to 8 years.
Manufacturing costs for vinyl vary significantly because, just like paint, it’s available in many different levels of quality.
The inclusion of features like UV resistance, special colorways, and effects like glossy, multi-chrome, or iridescent, make the manufacturing process more complicated.
It is because of these added complications that you see a quality chrome wrap cost as much as $6,000, and sometimes even more.
If you’re looking for a wrap job involving textured vinyl (some options include carbon fiber, brushed metal, and leather), expect to pay about $800 to $1,000 premium over a standard color wrap.
Keep in mind that rare finishes such as bronze or gunmetal can add anywhere from about $2,000 to $4,500 to your total wrapping cost.
Total Wrapped Area
An efficient way to calculate the costs of your wrap itself is to measure the total area of all the parts of your car that you wish to cover. This way you get an estimate as to how much vinyl might be required, and how much it might cost.
Here is a breakdown of wrap costs per square foot for the top 4 most common finishes:
|Gloss||$1.50 to $3.50||Resembles regular manufactured paint|
|Matte||$2.00 and $3.50||Absorbs light with little reflectivity|
|Satin||$1.50||Absorbs a lot of light but offers some shine|
Simply put, the more of the paint you leave visible, the lower the costs of your car wrap. You don’t necessarily have to wrap your car entirely. Maybe you just want a high-contrast carbon fiber or black hood.
Or maybe you are looking for a subtle change by wrapping only your door handles, grille, and mirrors (though it’s worth remembering that it’s an option to Plasti Dip chrome parts).
It can even be as simple as installing decals on the front or rear windshield, rear quarter panels, or pretty much wherever you want on your car.
These customizations are easy and quick compared to wrapping your entire car, making them nearly $300 to $500 cheaper than a conventional full-coverage wrap.
Your Car’s Size and Model
When it comes to the size of your car, two factors determine wrap costs: the length of the material needed, and the amount of skilled labor required.
For instance, if you are looking to wrap a Land Rover, you will require three times the material you would need to wrap a Miata.
Wrap shops account for the attention to detail and time required to fully wrap a car. In some cases, you’ll pay less to have a cargo van wrapped compared to a smaller car because it likely has fewer details and tricky areas for your wrapper to finesse through.
Required Prep Work
This is another part of the wrapping process with two types of costs:
- Costs for cosmetic repair, which you may or may not have to do, and
- Your wrapper’s standard preparations which may vary from shop to shop.
Remember that vinyl isn’t going to hide any blemishes, bumps, dings, or dents.
It adjusts to and highlights all such imperfections, and in most cases, it doesn’t even stick to them properly. So unless your car’s paint is in exceptional shape, don’t expect a wrap warranty.
Carefully inspect your car before taking it to a wrapping service provider, and be prepared to spend anywhere around $200 to $700 on repairing possible bumps and clear coat repair.
You want the surface to be perfectly smooth before the vinyl is installed.
The Average Cost of Wrapping a Car Based on Size
Of course, all the factors covered above affect the price of a car wrap, but still, there are average costs and price ranges that can help you map out how much you can expect to pay.
|Compact family car or coupe||$2,000|
|Trucks||$1,500 to $5,000|
|Vans||$3,500 to $5,000|
|Luxury cars||$5,000 to $10,000|
Tips for Proper Wrap Maintenance
Once your car is all wrapped up, you need to pay more attention to the cleaning products you use. It’s best to hand-wash your car using gentle automotive detergents weekly.
Avoid solvents, oil-based cleaners, kitchen & bathroom cleaners, turbo cleaners, orange oil, and engine degreasers as these will likely damage your wrap.
Be wary of bird droppings, insect stains, and tree sap if you park your car outside. Clean them as soon as you see them because left untreated they can damage your wrap.
Excessive prolonged exposure to the sun and the other elements can cause damage (especially in the horizontal areas of your car such as the roof and the hood) to your wrap. Avoid parking outside when possible, and pick shade if unavoidable.
Ask serious enthusiasts about how to modify your car by changing the way it looks and they’ll recommend you not to take the wrapping route.
We have to disagree — if you want to preserve the original paint of your vehicle, or just add more flare and customizations to your favorite car, wrapping is an excellent option.
How much did you pay to get your car wrapped? Let us know by leaving a comment below!