Pros and Cons of Painting vs. Wrapping a Car?

Not so long ago, car owners just wanted to have a car, and if there is any way to upgrade the look of your automobile, repainting is the only option. However, everything changed when the vinyl wrap became mainstream and cheaper. In the 1950s, the wraps were created, yet due to its expensive cost, car owners only use them for high-end or luxury automobiles. Nowadays, the price of the wraps reduces dramatically, which makes it to be much more popular. In fact, drivers use them as a cheaper alternative than painting. 

This raises the question: Which one is better for redecorating the car? In this article, we will list out the benefits and drawbacks of both methods to have a better look. 

Painting vs Wrapping a Car


Car Paint

Car paint is the paint that is used on automobiles for decoration and protection purposes. The most famous and widely used paint is the water-based acrylic polyurethane enamel paint. Car owners love this type of paint since it has less impact on the paint’s environment than other painting types.

In order to paint a whole car, we need to apply many different layers with a total 0.1mm thickness. Car owners must paint a base coat after applying the primer paint, then comes the clear coat in order to make a transparent and glossy cover. 

car pretty
Paint your whole car is the only way to redecorate your vehicle in the past(Photo Source: Pexels)

Car Wrap

Another way to change car’s exterior is the vinyl wrap. Car wrap, or vinyl wrap is a simple color or solid color scheme that is used to cover the exterior of the automobile. With our eyes, it looks just like paint. So if you have ever seen cars with eye-catching graphics and luminous colors, they are probably wrapped. 

The vinyl wrap is the choice we see many on the street, as well as on car advertisements. The reason for this is the price. It costs much less than a custom paint job and allows customers to be creative in design and finish selections. In fact, the car wrap has such a reasonable price it becomes the chosen option of repainting for various private luxury cars.


The Comparison

In order to compare between painting and wrapping, we must divide them into similar sections.

The Application Process

The first and the most important thing when it comes to comparison between painting and wrapping is the process of applying. Answer this question first: How long can you be without your car? If you want to redecorate the car, you might need to send it away for quite some time. 

With painting, car owners need to consider three things that are related to time. The first thing is the removal process. You need to remove the old paint to redraw, which is gonna take quite a lot of time. The second issue is the drying time. Each coat of new paint needs more than 8 hours. Yes, it is a long time. However, this is the last shocking news. All paint jobs require many layers of coats. Even though there are various quality as well as price ranges for each paint job, these three time-related things are all constant. If car owners want to decorate their cars simple, they can have it back after 3 to 5 days. However, with an average paint job, it might take from 1 to three whole weeks. 

On the other hand, car owners can save a lot more time with wrapping than painting. Normally, it just takes 3 days at most for installation once the design is finalized. The only thing we have to do is wash the car, dry the car and start applying the vinyl wrap. 

The Cost

Cost is the next thing we want to examine in the comparison between wrapping and painting the vehicle. Depending on the levels of quality, the number of coats, application methods as well as the type of paint used, the price can be functioning. With a low end level, car owners will spend around $1,000 to paint a whole car. With a good paint job, the price increases to between $3,000 to $10,000. 

Thanks to wrapping, a full car costs from $2,500 to $5,000, and the quality is standard. For personal automobiles, this is considered a very economical alternative to paint, whether customers want old-school,eye-catching graphics or solid colors.

The Maintaining

No matter how expensive they are, if they cannot be maintained, they are hardly suitable for vehicles. With paint, car owners must maintain the exterior a lot more due to the fact that paint wears out fast. If you do not wash regularly and cover the painting with a protective wax coat, they will wear out really fast. If left unwashed, the paint of the car absorbs all the pollutants along with micro particles. This will break it after years. 

Vinyl, on the other hand, is really easy to take care of. All car owners need to do is wipe it with wet clothes or wash it.  The outstanding feature of the vinyl is the restriction of microscopic dust. To be more specific, no dust can embed in the surface. 

The Duration

As we mentioned above, we want the type of cover with less maintenance. This means the duration of each type is crucial to compare. With paint, the durability depends on a lot of things, from the quality of paint, the paint job, the environment,…

On the other hand, vinyl wraps can last for 10 years. Depending on the location and the driving style of the car owners, it can even last more. Not to mention, the UV resistant coating of the vinyl can help keep the colors bright for a long time. 

The Customizing

When comparing painting and wrapping, we cannot forget the customizing process. With painting, customers must spend around $3,000 to $10,000 to paint a full car. And if you want your automobile to be painted by skilled professionals, it might be even more expensive. A metallic paint job on high-end cars, for example, will be around $60,000. 

car wrapping
It is not cheap to customize a painted car (Photo Source: Pexels)

Meanwhile, wrap-users can have as many customization options of paint as they want. From textured, metallic to matte, they have them all. With the metallic “$60,000 effect” as we mentioned above, it is the same price as any other wrap. To be more specific, graphics of any kind can be reproduced on vinyl, so you can think of any exterior’s design, and you will have it.

For example, If car owners want tinted glass, they might want to consider having the windows wrapped with perforated decals. To be more specific, from the outside, people can observe any image or color that the driver sets, but from the inside, drivers can see a light, continuous tint. With wrap, customization is in our hand.

The Removal Process

Last but certainly not least, we need to think about the removal process, just in case we want a new look for the vehicle after a while. However, this is the part when the paint shows its weakness. The car painting is permanent, so if you chose paint in the past, you are basically stuck with the outlook of the car until you spend a large amount of money in removing it. 

However, this is one of the best features of vinyl. To be more specific, car owners can easily remove it without damaging the paint underneath. Not to mention, the vinyl also saves the condition of paint beneath, protecting it from all the outside elements.

The Conclusion

With the development of the vinyl wrap, it has become the most crucial method for car owners who want to redecorate the exterior of their vehicles. With reasonable price, good durability and application as well as removal process, the wrapping option has a lot of advantages compared with the painting option.