Are Car Wraps Worth It? | Edmunds

wrap is a great way to change the
personality of your car without the commitment
of a new paint job. Think of it as a
temporary tattoo that could last a couple of years. Car wraps used to be the
domain of high-end luxury and exotic cars. But it’s now a multi-billion
dollar industry that’s gotten a lot more
mainstream in recent years. There are a ton of colors
and finishes available, which means you’re just
limited by your imagination. But you’re not just limited to
changing up your daily driver. There are a lot of
commercial applications. You can advertise your business
on the side of your car. Before you go in
for a wrap, it’s important to note that
it’s not going to cover up flaws in your paint. In fact, it’s probably
going to accentuate them. Thin or damaged paint can
actually be lifted off when you remove the wrap. So it’s important to start
with a nice pristine surface. After about 10 months
with our Tesla Model 3, we started to get a little
bored of its midnight silver metallic paint. Rather than wrap it
in just a solid color, we decided to have just
a little bit of fun. We held a competition
among Edmunds employees to come up with a concept. And after the votes
were tabulated, this concept won out. The next step–
making it happen. We headed to Impressive Wraps
just outside of Los Angeles. The first order
of business is get that paint surface pristine. That meant a clay bar treatment,
followed by an alcohol rub down to remove
any contaminants. They typically remove
the bumpers, headlights, and take apart the doors
to make installation just a little easier. They use a heat
gun to get the wrap to conform to all the contours
of the bodywork, followed by a squeegee to get rid
of some of the air bubbles. It can take a few days,
depending on complexity. One problem area are the
door jambs, because of all the complex curves there. With black cars, you
can usually get away with not having
to wrap that area. Prices typically start right
around $3,000 or $4,000 for something like a Mustang. If you go for a bright chrome
or metallic finish, that can double the price
because it takes a lot more care not to overstretch
the vinyl, which would dull the finish. Higher end exotics
and luxury cars– they can cost as much as $12,000
because of all the extra care needed when disassembling
and assembling the car. Our Tesla came in
right around $3,700, which is about what we’d expect
to pay for a decent paint job. A wrap can last up to
five years if properly cared for by keeping it
garaged, covered, and out of the elements. A lot of sun exposure can
actually bake the vinyl to the surface,
shortening its lifespan and making it a lot
harder to remove. Regularly parking your
car on the street, exposing it to salt and
extreme temperatures can drop its lifespan
down to one year. For those reasons, we
had Impressive Wraps add nano-ceramic coating. It protects against water
damage and adds an extra layer of UV resistance. This treatment does add another
$1,500 to $1,800, though. Of course, your car will
eventually get dirty, so it’s important to maintain
it and keep it clean. But you can’t take it
to an automated car wash, because those brushes
might lift off the vinyl. Impressive Wraps recommends
handwashing with microfiber towels, or using some
of the waterless car wash products out there. Once you’re done
with the wrap, it can cost between $500 and
$600 to remove the wrap. If it’s a complicated
job, though, it can cost as much as $2,500. Those are the ins and outs
of getting your car wrapped. It’s probably not as
affordable as you once thought. But it is a fun, low-commitment
alternative to a new paint job. Let us know what you think
in the comments below. And hit subscribe to see
more Edmunds content. That’s a wrap. [MUSIC PLAYING]