Make Your Car Unique: Vinyl Wraps vs. Paint Jobs

Written by a Guest Blogger

If you have decided it’s time you changed the look of your car but are yet to make up your mind on whether you should go for the traditional paint job or a vinyl wrap, here is a head to head comparison of the two options.


The highest quality vinyl wrap when installed professionally will cost you between $1,500 and $3,000. This includes the cost of custom graphics. A traditional paint job; again depending on the professionalism of the job and both the quality and color of the paint; costs between $5,000 and $15,000, inclusive of any graphics. So at the cost of a single paint job, you may be able to get between two and five vinyl wraps.

Resale value

If you are planning to sell your car in the future, it might be best to pick a vinyl wrap. That way you’ll have the chance to remove the wrap and return the car to its original color, which often leads to a higher resale price. Cars with original manufacturer paint are easy to resell, but if you apply a new coat of paint your choice of both the color and quality of paint combined with the quality of the job can influence prospective buyers.

Time taken to install

Wraps can be completed within two days, including graphics. Paint jobs on the other hand can take week or more before the job is fully done. If it is custom painting, you may have to wait to for even longer. This can leave you short of transportation options for a substantial amount of time.

Longevity and safety or removal

The life spans of both vinyl wraps and paint jobs depend on exposure to environmental factors. Nonetheless, vinyl still comes out on top. High quality vinyl-wraps last longer, and are safe and easy to remove. If a car was to be wrapped in quality vinyl and garaged, its life span would increase by between five and seven years. Even after that long, you’ll still be able to safely and easily remove the wrap. Paint jobs generally last between three and five years, but painting also permanently changes the appearance of the car.


Unlike traditional paint, vinyl wraps also protect your car. For example, all surfaces covered by the wrap will be protected from direct, prolonged exposure to the sun. The wrap also protects the paint underneath from rock chips, debris and bug stains.

Ease of maintenance

Vinyl wraps are quite easy to clean; you will never have to wax your car again. With water and soap, you can hand-wash vinyl wrap to a sparkling new look. If there is any tough dirt, simply get a microfiber rag and a 70% alcohol solution and your wrap will look new again.


While paint jobs are actually quite popular, vinyl wraps easily win this race. Not only are they cheaper, they are much more cost effective in the long run and help maintain the resale value of your car. Wraps also give a wide range of options to choose from and are very environmentally friendly.

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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