Wrap or repaint?

Thinking about changing the appearance of your car? You have two options. You can either repaint your car or get a car wrap.

Vehicle wraps have been around for a long time. In the past, they were mostly used for advertising by businesses. Fortunately, that is not the case anymore. Car wraps are becoming increasingly popular, and it is not hard to find a shop that offers car wraps. Make sure you do your research. Find a shop with a good reputation. Ask former customers their experience with that shop. Make sure you understand the limitations of the wrap and how the finished product will turn out. Do not take anything for granted and make sure you are in constant contact with the shop and their installer or installers. Its always a good idea to talk to the shop owner and the installer working on your vehicle and make sure that the result is clear both to you and them.

What is better for your car, painting or wrapping? Both options have some advantages and some drawbacks. In this article, we will go over the most important differences between car wraps and car paint.


Let us start with a basic question. How long does it take to paint a car and how long does it take to wrap it?

When it comes to repainting your car, the waiting time will depend on the type of paint you are using and how many coats will be applied. Old paint needs to be removed first, and every layer of paint applied to your car will need a certain period of time to dry (usually overnight).

Therefore, repainting a car can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. In most cases, you will need to wait for at least a week before your car is ready for driving.

When it comes to car wraps, the whole process takes much less time. Once you get the car to the shop where you want your car wrapped. After your car arrives there is some simple prep to get the car ready to be wrapped. A thorough cleaning is especially important, for the vinyl to adhere to your cars paint. It needs to be clean. Usually a simple cleaning is enough with a final wipe down with isopropyl alcohol to remove any remaining oils or other contaminants. It may require more depending on the vinyl applied and desired finish. The use of a clay bar to remove imperfections in the paint and even some light wet sanding may be necessary. Your installer should go over your vehicle with you before the wrap to make sure all the painted surface are in good order and if there are any issues that need to be addressed before the wrap is installed. 

After that, they apply the wrap over your vehicle using heat and pressure from the application squeegee to activate the adhesive and bond it “permanently” to the surface of your vehicle. Overall, wrapping a car should not take more than 3 days.


When you repaint a car, the results are permanent. There is no going back. Car wraps, on the other hand, are completely removable. Moreover, a car wrap will not damage the paint underneath and will keep it protected until removed.

Furthermore, repainting a car can have a negative impact on its resale value. Wrapping a car will allow you to change the car’s appearance while keeping the original paint intact, resulting in a higher resale value.

Special Events

The lower cost (which you will see below) and ease of removal also opens multiple opportunities to change the look and style of your vehicle. If you have a special event that you want to advertise and its only lasts from a few days to a few weeks. A wrap is a great way to do that with a much lower cost than paint and can be removed quickly and cleanly. Restoring your vehicle to its original look in a few short hours.


When it comes to painting your car, you could get a low-quality paint job for about $500. However, if you want a higher-quality paint job, it will cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more.

The prices of professionally applied car wraps range from $2,500 to $5,000. The more the complex the wrap the more money you save vs paint. Most high-end paint jobs with special effects, like air brush, metal flack, pine stripping, custom lettering, etc. can cost in the 10’s of thousands.

Note: The prices above assume a full paint or wrap. The cost can be much lower depending on what needs to be repaired.


The durability of a paint job will depend on the quality of paint used. Lower-end paint jobs will last a couple of years. On the other hand, high-end paint jobs can last a lifetime if done right.

You should also keep in mind that paint can be damaged by UV rays, scratching, and other hazards.

A car wrap will last anywhere between 2 and 10 years. This depends on location of the wrap (horizontal or vertical) as well as color used. Adding PPF to your wrap can add years of life and durability to your wrap. PPF or paint protection film as the name implies was designed to protect paint but it also can add that same protection to your wrap.


Painted cars require quite a lot of maintenance if you want to keep the paint looking shiny and new. It is necessary to wash and wax the car on a regular basis if you want to avoid damaging the paint.

With a car wrap, you will spend much less time on maintenance. The only thing you need to do is keep the surface clean. You can simply wipe it with a wet cloth. Keeping your wrap clean is the best way to ensure its life and look. Why spend the money on paint or a wrap and not keep your vehicle clean?


Getting a custom look for your car is much easier with a car wrap than paint. You can choose any color you like or even have a custom design made.

You can get a car wrap with a matte, metallic, or even a textured finish for a fraction of the price of what it would costs to achieve similar effects with paint.

Final Thoughts: Should You Wrap or Repaint Your Car?

First, if the paint on your car is in bad condition, getting a car wrap is not a good idea. Any imperfections on the original paint job will show through the wrap. In this case, repainting is a better choice.

Car wraps are also a great option and it takes much less time to have your car wrapped than to have it repainted. Furthermore, the wrap will keep the original paint intact so you can always change your mind.

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