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A Look at Car Wraps

A Look at Car Wraps

matte purple car wrap

The paint job on a brand new car fresh from the factory usually looks amazing and can be a big selling point for consumers. However, a car can encounter a lot of obstacles throughout its life — things like rain, the sun, birds, shopping carts, gravel — that can eventually take a toll on its exterior paint, leaving it in less than pristine condition.

If you're currently used car shopping, you may be given the tough decision of deciding on a car that might not be as great looking on the outside as you would like. Obviously, you have the option of having your used car repainted. However, that can sometimes be a costly option. Another idea to consider is having a professional car wrap applied to your used vehicle.

What is a Car Wrap?

Unlike paint that is wet and applied by a sprayer, a vehicle or car wrap is made of an adhesive vinyl that comes in large sheets, also sometimes called decals. The sheets are applied to the car and then heated, which activates the adhesive. The vinyl sheets are very stretchable, allowing them to be molded over the various curves in a car.

Car wraps initially became popular as a way for business owners to place advertising and marketing information on their vehicles, as well as buses and streetcars. However, due to certain advantages compared to repainting, vehicle wraps are beginning to catch on for car owners looking for an alternative to sprucing up their vehicle.

Car Wrap vs. Paint

So why would a used car owner decide to have a car wrap placed on their vehicle, rather than having it repainted? The first reason would be the cost. A high-end repaint of a car can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $3,500, while a paint job that will leave your car looking like it just rolled out of a showroom can go as high as $20,000. In comparison, a professional full vehicle wrap will usually cost between $2,000 to $4,000. Another reason some car owners are choosing car wraps is how long they last. With paint, again the elements and other obstacles can leave you with nicks and scratches. If applied and protected correctly, a car wrap can last for up to 10 years. Plus the wrap itself can help protect your car's original paint.

Other pros for car wraps include the installation time -- they take about two days to be applied -- and easy maintenance. However, there are some cons to applying a car wrap to a used car rather than a new paint job. For instance, car wraps are not permanent and when they are removed some adhesive residue can be left that will need to be removed. Additionally, heat from the sun can potentially cause issues for car wraps, which is good to know for used car owners in warmer areas.

Indeed, the final decision on whether to repaint or apply a car wrap to your used car will be determined by budget and the type of look you want. With a little bit of research, you will be able to bring new life to your used car!