You’ve probably seen cars driving in the city streets or down the busy freeways that are colorful and seem to exist solely to be an advertisement for a particular company. Clearly, they are part of a marketing plan and certainly bring awareness to a specific brand. But how do they get these vehicles in the first place? Do they buy them customized straight from the manufacturer? Obviously, there is another way. To get that unique look you’re looking for, whether it’s a company logo for your new business or a tri-colored collage not available by default, you have two main options; get your vehicle wrapped, or get a custom paint job. Both can accomplish the task. But which is better for you and your situation?
Paint is a more permanent option. Vehicle paint is different than typical paint because cars have to withstand the elements more than other structures, including your home. Because of this, traditional paint won’t work because it will start to chip and fade in a few short years or even sooner. There are many professional paint shops that do car repainting exclusively, and some can even do custom designs, the tattoo artists of cars.
As long as your paint job is done by a reputable car painter, it won’t come off anytime soon. This is good if you know that you want to keep your new design for many years. Painting a vehicle the right way is a time-consuming process. It requires extensive cleaning with high-pressure water jets and coatings to protect the surface. After the main color or design is added, a clear coat is usually put on top. As the top layer, this coating needs to protect the paint beneath so that it doesn’t tarnish or chip. One way it does this is by resisting ultraviolet light. This is especially helpful in areas with frequent sun exposure, but not too much of an issue in cloudy regions.
Because paint is applied directly to the vehicle and becomes a part of it, there’s no chance that it will rip or tear. With vinyl warps, there is always a slight chance, although this is minimal. The paint, however, should be waxed periodically. Waxing isn’t required with vehicle wraps; in fact, it’s discouraged, as it can ruin the design or reduce the durability of vinyl.
While a good paint job can endure for a decade or even longer, it doesn’t come cheap. If you’ve never had a car repainted and haven’t bothered to look into it, you’ll likely be shocked at just how expensive it is. House paint is often sold by the gallon. A custom mix of the highest quality home paint can cost up to $400 per gallon. That might seem like it’s expensive, but it’s nothing compared to how much high-end car paints cost. These paints can easily cost over $1000 per gallon, and that’s without the cost of a professional doing the work. Having someone apply the paint for you causes that price to skyrocket.
Currently, the national average for painting a home is $2668. Painting a car, on the other hand, often ranges between $2000 and $5000. This is a significant investment for most anyone, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The cost can even increase from there if custom designs are required, and is the main reason most people choose not to go this route.
With all of the strong qualities of paint, vehicle wraps might seem like a “poor man’s paint”, but wraps actually offer many advantages of their own. And the price isn’t the only thing.
The greatest strength of paint can also be one of its greatest weaknesses; it’s permeability. Painting a car isn’t something that is done often. A single owner is unlikely to do a second custom paint job for the duration of their ownership of the vehicle because it’s an expensive and time-consuming process. Vinyl wraps don’t have these problems. While they’re still durable and unlikely to be damaged, they can also be changed without too much difficulty.
This means that the same car can have multiple wraps done to accomplish different goals. For example, a company or city may have a centennial celebration to mark a 100th anniversary that will only come once. Instead of painting multiple vehicles to bring awareness to the event, they can have multiple vehicles wrapped instead. The benefit comes once the celebration is over. Instead of being stuck with a paint job of an event that is in the past, they can simply remove the vehicle wrap and restore the car back the way it was; or use a new wrap to mark another event!
Like painting a car, a vehicle wrap can cover the entire car. But it doesn’t have to. There are many options for vehicle wrapping depending on your budget and what you’re targeting. Partial wraps, for instance, can only be on one side of the car. Put it on the left side while you drive in the right lane in traffic! Transparent back windows with custom designs are also catching on. Because there are so many options, they can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on the wrap type and complexity of the design, which is much lower than the five grand for painting.
Vehicle wraps allow designers to create a design via software first in a format that they can then expand to fit your desired size. This often allows for final detail than painting and allows you to preview the design and make any changes that you wish. The software often allows for different placements of the design such as on the roof, hood, or full wrap to see what looks best. The final product will also be saved digitally, which allows for small repairs in case of damage without having to worry about color matching paint.
Both painting and vehicle wraps have their benefits. Painting is permanent and is great if you know exactly what you want and don’t anticipate any changes. But the lower cost and flexibility of vehicle wraps makes it a better choice for many people will still having a similar effect. But no matter your decision, it’s important that you work with a reliable customization company to make sure the job gets done right.