How Long Does a Car Wrap Last?

Some people express their personalities through their cars. One way they do this is by wrapping their cars with the color and design they like. If you are thinking of doing this, you need to know how long a car wrap last.

On average, a car wrap can last roughly from five to seven years. Its ability to last longer or shorter depends on how well you have applied the wrap, the quality of the wrap itself, and if you provide it with the proper maintenance.

Wrapping a car is worth it because there are several benefits and advantages it could give compared to painting it. For one, wrapping a vehicle costs lower than painting it. There are also a lot of car wraps that you can choose from with better quality.

Read on to learn more about the length of time a car wrap usually last and how you can stretch its life some more.

How Long Does a Car Wrap Last?

how long does a car wrap last

Typically, a car wrap can last for around five to seven years. The actual life it can survive will depend on several things. These include how well the wrap was applied, the quality of the wrap itself, and how well you have maintained it.

Wrapping a car is an excellent alternative to painting it. It is less expensive than painting a car, you have greater design options with car wraps, and a car wrap somehow provides better protection to the car’s surface.

However, maintaining a car wrap should not be taken for granted. Like conventional car paint, a car wrap requires regular and proper maintenance. To protect the car wrap, you must wash it regularly and protect it from all kinds of pollutants.

How much does car wrapping cost? As for the cost, you can buy a car wrap starting from $2,000. The price could go up to as much as $10,000 depending on the quality of the material, its size and style, and how you want it applied.

What Is a Car Wrap?

A Colored Graphic Plastic Made of Polyvinylchloride Polymer

A car wrap is a colored graphic plastic made of polyvinylchloride polymer, or vinyl for short. This material is a concoction of several additives to make it resistant to ultraviolet light, flexible, and can acquire different colors.

All the chemical components are combined and blended. They are then cast into thin film sheets, baked, and cured.

A Graphics Installer Can Directly Apply a Car Wrap to the Vehicle

Once it is already in colored sheet form, the car wrap is directly applied to a vehicle. A graphics installer, or someone in a car shop who specializes in car wrapping, installs the car wrap correctly. It is an excellent alternative to painting a car.

Less Expensive Than Custom Car Paint

One great advantage of car wraps is that they are less expensive than custom car paint. A professional car wrap installer can finish painting an entire car in just a few days.

You can go for a car wrap if you want specially designed-car paint. The cost is not that as expensive as a conventional car painting job.

Limitless Color and Design Options

With car wraps, you have plenty of room for experimentation. Your colors and design options are limitless. For example, one car wrap supplier may have more than 1000 options in 100 plus colors.

Car wrap materials are also available in various textures, including gloss, satin, carbon fiber, and brushed.

For your car paint, you can cover it with just one color or with different layers if you want to achieve a unique color combination. You can also use the virtual customizer of a car wrap supplier to see first what your car’s final colors will be like before deciding on it.

Factors That Affect How Long a Car Wrap Will Last

The car wrap installation must be done correctly if you want it to last long. Aside from proper installation, several factors will affect the longevity of a car wrap. What are these factors?

1. Frequency of Driving

The more frequently you drive your car, the shorter the life of its car wrap will be. At the same time, the average life of a car wrap is around five to seven years; if you drive your car nearly every day and in grueling conditions, its car wrap won’t last more than two years.

A car wrap, on average, can last relatively long if it is driven in not-too-stressful conditions. The best scenario can only permit a car wrap for seven years. Otherwise, you can’t stretch its life to more than five years.

2. Installation

How the car wrap is installed will also impact the length of its life. Suppose the installer was very strict in pressing out the kinks on the surfaces of the car wrap and ensured that every surface of the wrap was tightly attached to the corresponding metal surfaces of the car.

In that case, the car cover will be smooth, and the wrap will be pressed tightly and firmly to the metal.

3. Repeated Washing and Excess Humidity

One side of the car wrap is made with adhesives that are used to bond it to the metal cover of the car. Excess humidity in the environment and repeated washing of the car wrap will affect the wrap’s life, primarily if strong chemicals are used in the car washing.

That’s why if you use a car wrap, you must use only non-abrasive cleaners and soft cloth when washing your car.

4. Use of High Water Pressure

The use of very high water pressure can also affect the life of a car wrap. Water pressure from 800 to 2,000 psi can damage the integrity of the adhesive in the car wrap and even the wrap itself.

Also, to ensure that the car wrap is safe, you should be 12 to 14 inches away from your car while spraying it with water.

5. Exposure to Sunlight

If you don’t have a garage, you must be parking outside of your home. The car wrap color will quickly fade if you consistently park your car-wrapped car under the blistering sunlight for a major part of the day. While the UV light is cooking it, the wrap will also be more prone to tearing.

How Do You Make Wraps Last Longer?

how long do a car wrap last

While car wraps can average a five to seven-year lifespan, you can do things to extend their life a little more possibly. Here are some tips in this regard:

1. Park Your Car Inside Your Garage

How long does vinyl wrap last on a car? Car wraps, made of PVC material, will not last very long under the sun’s sweltering heat – all day. To ensure that you can use it for a long time, be sure to park it when you are at home in your garage.

You are not sure if you can find a covered parking space where you are going. But at least at your home and in your garage, your car-wrapped car will have all the protection it needs from the weather, whether it is burning outside or freezing.

2. Avoid Using a Car Wash Service

It is more convenient asking a car wash service to clean your car. But this can put your car wrap in danger. You can’t control the degree of pressure the car washing machine can give your vehicle. You should clean it yourself since you have enough control over the cleaning process.

3. Avoid Using a Pressure Washer

There are risks if you clean your wrapped car with a pressure washer. The strong force of the water pressure can tear apart the car wrap. So, if you will do it, use a small amount of water pressure that is enough to remove dirt from the car’s surface.

4. Don’t Use Car Wax

If your car wrap is made of special material, don’t use polish or car wax to make it shine, such as carnauba wax. The best shine for a car wrap is made with Teflon or silicone.

5. Wipe Immediately Any Dangerous Chemical Spill on the Car Wrap

If you accidentally spill dangerous chemicals into the car wrap, immediately wipe off the substance from the surface. Don’t wait until the chemical has unleashed its destructive properties before cleaning it off.

6. Test the Car Cleaner Before Using It

To ensure you won’t destroy the car wrap, always try the cleaner in a small, obscure section of the car wrap somewhere it can’t be readily seen. This way, if the cleaner is destructive, you can easily wipe it off, and nobody will notice.

7. Be Careful

There will be small scratches from time to time that the wrap material will sustain. You need to remove and replace the ugly surfaces. When removing the worn-out car wraps, however small they may be, be careful to cause more damage to the excellent wrap covers.

Don’t remove the wrap forcefully. If possible, ask a professional car wrap installer to do it.

Again, how long does a car wrap last? A car wrap can last five to seven years, depending on the maintenance and finish.

When to Replace a Car Wrap

Over time, your car wrap will look old and worn out. It’s time to replace it with a new one.

If you have seen the advantages of car wraps, you may want to install a new color or design.

Replacing a worn-out car wrap with a new one is better left off to the pros – if you want your car to be looking new.

Since a car wrap is much less costly than an actual car paint job, it would be reasonable for you to pay a professional so that the job will look like it’s done by someone who knows what they are doing.

How Much Is It to Wrap a Car?

Of course, when installing a car wrap, you should also consider the cost. But how much does car wrapping cost? To get an overview of the car wrap price, you should consider the cost of painting a car.

Your final cost will depend on how much quality of the car paint, the size of your car, and the professional fee of the installer/painter.

Here are some figures that you can think about:

Most Affordable Car Paint$1,000
Medium Cost Car Paint$3,000 to $10,000
High-End Car Paint$60,000
Car or Vinyl Wrap$2,500 to $5,000

Frequently Asked Questions

how long will a car wrap last

If you still have some questions about car wraps, maybe you can get your answers from the ones listed below:

What Is a Car Wrap?

A car wrap is a colored graphic plastic made of polyvinylchloride polymer, or vinyl for short. It is an excellent alternative to car paint.

Car wraps are cheaper but can display the same general appearance as car paints. It can also protect the paint surface of a vehicle and is much easier and less costly to repair or replace.

How Long Can a Car Wrap Last?

Generally, a car wrap can last between five and seven years. Its actual life span depends on the quality of the car wrap, the way it was installed, and how it was maintained. Car wraps can only last two to three years if not correctly cared for.

Is It Worth It to Have Your Car Wrapped?

Considering the color and design options, the ease by which it can be installed, and its relatively low cost compared to real car paint jobs, it is worth having your car wrapped.

Is a Car Wrap Hard to Maintain?

No, it is not so hard to maintain a car wrap. But it would be best if you were more careful cleaning a car wrapped in PVC. You should not use abrasive solid cleaners, no strong chemicals, not the usual shine and waxes, and no intense water pressure.

In Closing: How Long Does a Car Wrap Last?

Generally, a car wrap can last approximately five to seven years. The actual time that a car wrap can last depends on the quality of the wrap itself, how well it was wrapped, and if it is provided with the proper maintenance.

Wrapping a car is also a good option because of its several advantages. For instance, compared to painting the vehicle, a car wrap costs less. There are also more design options you can choose from, and with better quality.

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