How much does it cost to wrap a car?

Keeping your car in shape is a fantastic idea for many reasons. Not only does the value of your car increase with regular maintenance, you feel better driving it and showing it off to the people around you. 

Car lovers have lots of options when it comes to their next upgrade. You should consider a car wrap if you want to customize, protect, or care for it. 

Wrapping your vehicle involves placing a vinyl sheet over your car’s original paint to give it a new, alluring look. In addition, it will protect the car from some kind of damage like discoloring of the original paint and harmful UV rays, and minor scratches because it acts like an extra protection layer.

The possibilities with a car wrap are endless, perfect for a long-lasting upgrade, however, you might feel concerned about the total car wrap cost. 

If you are new to this vehicle customization practice and want to determine if it is within your budget, you should consider various factors that could impact the cost of wrapping the car. 

This article will describe the primary factors that influence the overall car wrapping costs that you should consider before deciding to go for it. 

How Much Does it Cost to Wrap a Car?

Let’s get a general idea of the price range before discussing the factors affecting the vehicle wrap cost. Therefore, it’s better to ask: “on average, how much does it cost to wrap a car?” The cost of a typical car wrap depends on many factors, discussed in detail below. 

Generally, it will cost between $3000 and $5000 to wrap a car.

However, wrapping an exotic or luxurious car cost could go up to $10,000 or even more. Therefore, it’s essential to know the details of your vehicle and the various factors contributing to this upgrade’s overall expenses.

Car Size and Shape

First, you should consider the size of your car to determine the price range of your future car wrap. The pricing of a car wrap depends on how big or small your vehicle is, with smaller vehicles costing less than larger vehicles.

Simply put, the bigger your car, the more vinyl material is required to wrap. For example, a large vehicle or SUV will cost more than a small, compact car. A compact vehicle might cost around $2000, whereas a family car will likely cost a minimum of $3000. The price of your car wrap will increase if your car is large and a luxury vehicle.

Additionally, it also depends on the shape of your vehicle, which often impacts how much vinyl wrap is necessary to cover the car. Therefore, contemplate the make and model of your vehicle when determining whether a car wrap is an affordable option.

Cars with lots of curves and shapes will be more challenging to wrap and require more vinyl material. 

Vehicles with relatively flat surfaces are easier to wrap, meaning that the application process will take less time and materials, which means lower expenses.

Type of Vehicle

The total cost of your car wrap also depends on the type of vehicle you are driving. 

Along with the car’s size and shape, the cost will vary according to individual types and brands of vehicles.

For instance, a compact car or coupe typically starts around $2000, though this number varies depending on the specific design of your vehicle. A family sedan would normally cost around $3000, though again, the design of your car might change this number.

A compact crossover vehicle will cost around $3500 on average, while a full-size SUV will fall somewhere around $4000 as a starting price. 

Depending on the size and make, a truck will cost around or above $4000. 

A high-quality luxury sports car will likely cost no less than $5000 and could cost upwards of $10,000.

Vehicle Condition

The condition of your vehicle plays a part in the total cost of a vinyl car wrap. 

Any blemishes, dents, or scratches on your car will impact the wrap’s cost, outcome, and success. Therefore, before wrapping your vehicle, it’s essential to get any blemishes and repairs completed. Without fixing it, you’ll likely spend more in the long run.

Additionally, it’s crucial to have a clean car before wrapping. For a successful wrap, your vehicle must be clean, smooth, and free of dirt or contaminants. If you don’t keep up with maintaining your vehicle, you will likely incur extra costs for a power wash to prepare your car for wrapping.

Design Complexity

One exciting benefit of wrapping your car is the option for a unique design. Many people like to add graphic designs to their vehicles for a genuine personal touch. 

However, depending on the complexity of the design, you may need to put more money into this process. Additionally, some people spend extra on their wrap when they enlist the help of a designer to create the perfect look.

Full or Partial Wrap

The price of a car wrap also depends on whether you are getting your car fully or partially wrapped. A full car wrap will cost far more than a decal or partial wrap, with decals being the cheapest option. 

If you are wrapping your car to promote your business, then a partial wrap or decal is a realistic option. 

However, if you are wrapping your car for personal use, you might prefer an entire wrap to give everything a cohesive look.

Below are the general costs for wrapping different sections of your car if you select a partial wrapping service.

  • Roof, hood, or trunk: around $300 each
  • Side-view mirror: approximately $100 each.
  • Door handle: about $60 each.
  • Spoilers: roughly $300.

However, before you decide to wrap your vehicle partially, you should remember that often, a full wrap will save you more money in the long run. 

Vinyl wraps go beyond aesthetic appeal and can give your car high security and protection from exterior damage. So while you might pay more upfront for a full wrap, you won’t have to worry about costly damages in the future.

Amount of Labor Required to Wrap

The complexity of your car contributes to the manual labor required to wrap it effectively. Whether your vehicle has a unique shape, a custom design, or necessary repairs, the cost will likely go up the more labor-intensive the wrapping process becomes.

State or Region

The other important factor to consider when estimating the price of a car wrap is your state and region. You may incur more costs on a car wrap if you live in a location with a generally colder climate because the installation will take longer. 

The longer installation time is because it needs heat so that the vinyl adhesive will form a bond to your car. 

Heat activates the adhesive of vinyl decals, so colder temperatures typically mean longer waiting periods until the wrap is fully conformed with your vehicle.

Because of how important the climate is to your car wrap, you should check with a professional service to estimate the cost of your upcoming wrap. Individuals in cities like Los Angeles or Houston won’t incur as many location-based costs. However, individuals living on the east coast in cities like New York might incur location-based charges depending on the season.

Specialized Tools

Some car enthusiasts prefer to customize their vehicles by themself. But if you want excellent work, it is recommended that you go with an expert car wrap installer. 

You need specialized car wrapping tools and accessories if you choose to do it yourself. 

Generally speaking, these tools will cost you $100 to $700. 

Below are some of the tools you will need if you are considering wrapping your vehicle on your own.

  • Heat gun to help the adhesive form a secure bond to your car.
  • Surface cleaner to thoroughly clean your vehicle before applying the vinyl wrap.
  • Felt edge squeegee to remove any air bubbles or the vinyl wrap wrinkles.
  • Infrared thermometer to track the temperature after using the heat gun.
  • Cutting tape to ensure that the vinyl wrap is cut smoothly.
  • Masking tape to cover areas where vinyl isn’t applied.
  • Tape measure to track and record different dimensions during the wrapping process.
  • Microfiber cloth to absorb excess water and dust.
  • Wrapstick flex to tuck the vinyl wrap and wrap it around curves.
  • Tweezers to weed smaller pieces of the vinyl wrap from your car’s crevices.
  • Snitty blade to safely cut the vinyl without causing damage.
  • Blade to remove the wrap once you have completed installation.
  • Gripper magnets with a felt base to properly position the vinyl wrap.
  • Clay bar to remove excess contaminants from your car’s surface before installing the vinyl wrap.
  • Isopropyl alcohol to clean the paint surface.

Choice of Vinyl Wrap

One of the primary factors to consider when wrapping your vehicle is the vinyl wrap cost. You likely have more choices for a vinyl wrap than you think. 

One of the best materials for car wrapping is a heavy-duty vinyl film–however, the cost and quality of vinyl varies in the same way that paint would. In addition, some vinyl wraps have unique features that will bump up the price of a car wrap.

You may choose a vinyl wrap with unique colorways or UV resistance features. Additionally, you can choose from various effects for your vinyl wrap, such as glossy, iridescent, or multi-chrome. 

The manufacturing and wrapping process is tailored to whatever you select for your vinyl material, which determines the complexity of the overall process.

Additionally, some car owners choose a textured vinyl wrap, including brushed metal, leather, or carbon fiber. Textured wraps will cost around $1,000 more than your standard color wrap. 

If you consider adding a rare finish to your car wraps, such as gunmetal or bronze, these finishes will add between $2000 and $4500 to your total cost.

Other finishes, such as gloss, satin, or matte, will influence the overall cost. Metallic finishes are usually the cheapest and include reflective shine and brighter colors, while matte finishes are more expensive because they absorb light.

Finally, you can consider vinyl wraps with unique features to enhance the quality of your new upgrade. 

For example, you might choose to add features like waterproofing or a secure sealant and wax. While vinyl materials can be costly, selecting good-quality materials is vital to mitigate the risk of future damage.

Wrapping for Luxury Cars

If you want to wrap a high-end, luxury car, you will incur higher costs than other types of vehicles. 

It may cost between $5000 and $10,000, and luxury cars cost more because installers must use extra caution when wrapping these vehicles. In addition, body panels for some luxury cars are more complex to remove than for other makes and models.

Installation Services

Different installers will have different prices for a car wrap. Therefore, looking for options and professional services near you is crucial when considering the cost of wrapping your car. While some installers might have lower rates, their reviews and the quality of their work might not be the best.

Many professional services offer affordable and realistically priced car wrapping services that are done with care and quality. Make sure you know the process, materials, and installation time before selecting an installer for your car wrap.

Cost Examples by City

To give you a clue of what you might expect to pay upfront for a car wrap, below are some examples of the general price ranges for car wraps in three cities: Houston, Los Angeles, and New York City.

In Houston: For Gloss, Matte, and Satin finish wrap, the starting price is USD 4000, and For high-quality vinyl graphics like satin chrome wrap is around USD 8000. (Reference; Jay the wrap specialist)

In Los Angeles: For example, Wrapping the Tesla car on all painted exterior panels would cost around USD 4000 (Reference; Tsportline).

In New York: For the automotive full wrap, generally, it will cost between $2000 to $5000. And for the more elaborated vehicle, the price will go upward of $5000 for the vinyl wrap. (Reference; Gorilla painting)

In General, to wrap a car, it would cost $1500 to $15,000 depending on the features and conditions, and other factors as mentioned earlier.

Invest in Your Car’s Future

Wrapping your car is a wise investment that can save money and protect you from future damages and costly repairs. 

Whether you want to customize, protect, or care for your car, wrapping your vehicle is a long-lasting upgrade with endless possibilities. By educating yourself on the different factors that play into the total cost of your car wrap, you can ensure that a wrap is within your budget and has everything you want in an upgrade.

The total cost of your car wrap will depend on factors like your location and the weather, as well as your car type, condition, size, shape, and design complexity. If you are worried about incurring high costs because of these factors, consider getting a partial wrap or decal to make your car special while staying within your budget. 

No matter your final decision, you can guarantee that a car wrap will give your vehicle the care it deserves while looking like the car of your dreams.