Car wraps are becoming an increasingly popular choice for car customization. It allows you to achieve levels of personalization that you can’t get from custom paint jobs.
Business owners and advertising companies have also taken to printing custom images to market their endeavors. Now, before you go off investing in your wrap, read on and discover how long these car wraps last.
How Long Do Car Wraps Last?
A good car wrap can last you around five years. You can even extend its life span to seven years if you take excellent care of it.
How long a car wrap can last largely depends on its material, type of wrap, and, of course, the installation.
Most car wraps now are made of vinyl with strong adhesive materials on the back that allow them to stick to your car.
If you own anything vinyl, you know that intense temperatures can affect this material. This is why some car wraps also include plasticizers. Plasticizers prevent your wrap from shrinking or stretching out due to extreme temperatures.
The addition of PVC or polyvinyl chloride can significantly strengthen wraps.
Of course, its most crucial component would have to be its UV absorbers and heat stabilizers. These protect your wrap and its overall appearance from cracking, distorting, and fading due to sun exposure.
Depending on what you’re using it for, it’s essential to consider what kind of wrap you will get to ensure that it lasts you for as long as you need it.
Type of Wrap
Some people want to cover the whole car with wrap, and some only want a portion done. Whatever you need, there’s a type of wrap that’s built for you.
- Full Wraps
Full wraps cover the entirety of the vehicle to be designed. It can be composed of various colors and combinations. Some may even opt to have a personalized print covering their whole car.
- Half Wraps
Only certain parts of the vehicle are wrapped. Sometimes car owners only want to highlight certain features of the car. Others may wish to utilize a large graphic that may occupy a large amount of space.
- Cut Graphics
Cut graphics only utilize a small amount of space on the car for individual images. Businesses, organizations, and companies mainly use this to place their logo or other details onto vehicles for marketing or advertising purposes.
These wraps can also come in various finishes such as matte, satin, carbon fiber, and even textured finishes!
Professionally wrapped cars tend to have longer-lasting car wraps than those done via DIY.
Because car wraps are getting increasingly popular and getting it professionally done can get pretty pricey, some people have been leaning towards DIY methods and wrapping their own cars for a fraction of the price at home. In fact, many reputable companies sell some pretty good car wraps online.
Now, there is nothing wrong with this, and it does save you a couple of extra dollars. However, since DIY methods are often done by inexperienced individuals, it may lead to more errors in installation.
All it takes is a good air bubble to ruin what could have been an excellent car wrap. Dirt and moisture underneath can also slowly destroy your wrap and shorten its lifespan.
Having said all of that, it is highly recommended that you go to a professional to get your car wrap done. Not only will professionals ensure that your car looks its best, but they will also take extra precautions to ensure that your wrap stays intact and has a longer life span.
How Do You Take Care of a Car Wrap?
Let’s say you do decide to get a car wrap, or you’ve already gotten one installed. What can you do on your end to ensure that this beautiful wrap stays beautiful for as long as possible?
- Minimize Sun Exposure
UV radiation ruins everything that it touches. It may not seem immediately evident but over time, continued, and uncontrolled exposure to the sun will cause your wrap job to fade in color.
Having said this, you must park in areas that protect your wrapped car from sun exposure as much as possible. This can be a garage or shaded spots like under trees.
- Maintain Controlled Temperature
Again, most wraps are vinyl, which can be easily affected by extreme temperatures. Your wrap can quickly shrink, crack, bubble, or expand when exposed to extreme cold or heat.
To avoid this, ensure that your vehicle is parked or stored in an environment that somewhat maintains the temperature. Ideally, this would be a thermoregulated garage. Still, even an ordinary garage can be a better shelter than harsh outdoor weather.
- Wash with Non Abrasive Methods
Improper cleaning habits can often cause the most damage to wrapped cars due to the harsh chemicals and methods involved. Scratches, dulling, and fading are only some of the damages from this.
To ensure that your wrap gets clean and stays intact: it’s best to use gentler methods such as using sponges and soft rags instead of brushes, avoiding hard scrubbing, and using cleaners that are compatible with the wrap used.
Be mindful of the water pressure used on car wraps, too. Avoid high-pressure washes.
When Do I Need to Replace My Car Wrap?
Car wraps can last longer or shorter than the expected five to seven years. If the wrap shows the following signs, it may be time to replace it:
- Expansive Cracking
- Peeling or Lifting
- Extremely noticeable difference in color
- Tearing of vinyl
- Presence of stains
If you’re using the wrap for marketing purposes, you can also change it if you want to advertise another product or service, details indicated on your wrap have changed, your company changed designs, and so on.
Which is Better – Car Wrap or Paint Job?
Now, when it comes to vehicle customizations, your two main options are car wraps or paint jobs. Now which one would better fit your needs?
Car wraps allow for a broader range of personalization and customization that may not be achievable with a paint job. Car wraps allow you to custom print logos and images, while paint jobs usually only limit you to color choices.
Car wraps are also quicker to install and only take a few days, whereas paint jobs can take weeks to finish depending on the design. They also function as added protection that preserves the original paint job underneath.
On the other hand, paint jobs are cheaper and can last longer. Ordinary paint jobs can last up to 10 years, while high-quality paint jobs can last a lifetime.
Each choice comes with its own advantages and tiny quirks that you need to consider. But which option is better is dependent on what you’re looking for in customization.
Good car wraps can give your vehicle a nice, polished look that is entirely customizable. While it may not last you forever, it can last you a long time so long as you get it correctly done, take good care of it, and be attentive to its needs.