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Vinyl wrap is becoming more and more popular among car enthusiasts who want to dramatically change the look of their vehicles. In this guide, we look at some of the best vinyl car wraps available, as well as the features you should consider before making a purchase. We also include some tips on the best ways to apply it.
The Best Vinyl Car Wrap
It is 3.9mils thick and can be stretched and molded around a vehicle’s curves. This vinyl does not easily show any discoloration that comes from stretch marks. For those who want to lengthen the life of this already long-lasting vinyl, the manufacturer recommends using a 3M 94 Primer and a 3M edge sealer. These products help the vinyl adhere to the surface while maintaining the texture and protective properties.
Uses a solvent based adhesive that allows for repositioning
Dry carbon texture and feel
Adhesive won’t damage paint or car surface.
- Weight4.8 ounces
Great for those who want to wrap their car themselves
Can last for up to seven years
Unfortunately comes with a strong vinyl smell at first
This vinyl won’t harm a car’s paint job, and the rolls of vinyl come with an incredibly helpful grid backing so you can cut and trim the vinyl to the exact size you want with little fear of making mistakes.
Can be repositioned during installation
Grid pattern on backing paper allows for precise cutting
Comes in a variety of sizes
- Weight0.32 ounces
Easy to use
Can last up to 10 years inside a car
Sadly, durability drops to a 5 year life span when used on the outside of a car
3M made this black vinyl wrap with non-visible air release channels that helps users apply the vinyl without creases and bubbles. This saves on time as it makes the vinyl far more malleable, yet never at the expense of a car’s paintwork.
High quality carbon texture finish
Comes in wide rolls
Easy to stretch and position to a car’s every curve
- Weight5.6 ounces
Allows users to cover large sections of the car
Dry to install with no heat needed
Can scratch easily
VViViD produced this vinyl to be a strong competitor. With a 4.3 mil thickness and high-gloss look, it is well on its way to achieving that goal. The vinyl is a good alternative for those who want to quickly and painlessly cover up scratches in their finish.
Dry adhesive makes for a clean application
Can last up to seven years outdoors
The adhesive VViViD uses won’t damage your car paint
- Weight2.4 ounces
Highly resistant to stretch marks
High gloss finish makes it very susceptible to scratches
The wrap is designed in such a way that it has two color layers that give the vinyl stability and durability. The adhesive allows the vinyl to be repositioned as required, and it comes with a squeegee to iron out any bubbles and creases.
Comes in a variety of widths and lengths
No need for sealant to add to its lifespan
0.1 mm thickness
- Model1080 Series
- Weight2.24 ounces
Double colour layer
Can be fiddly to apply
The vinyl is easy to apply and comes with detailed instructions that make the application almost idiot-proof. It is also water-resistant, adding further protection to your car in inclement weather. Some heat is needed when applying the vinyl to headlights, but it is a quick and easy job, especially given the small amount of surface that is being covered. It’s ideal for a quick update to your vehicle.
Superior transparency, allows up to 90 percent light transmittance
Ideal for headlights and tail lights.
- Weight4.2 ounces
Allows users to add a unique touch to their car
Comes in a variety of colors
Some States do not allow headlights to be tinted
It is incredibly easy to apply with a self-adhesive backing that allows you to reposition it until the weave pattern is in exactly the right place. It looks great on the outside of a car as well as on the inside for an instant update to woodwork or plastic finishes on dashboards or handles. It is long-lasting and easy to clean with water, so it maintains its looks a long time after application.
Carbon fiber finish
Highly resistant vinyl that protects your car’s paint job
Each weave is about 0.20 inches and the sheet thickness is about 0.015 inches
- BrandF & B LED LIGHTS
- Weight4 ounces
Inexpensive way of giving your car a carbon fiber finish
Self adhesive so easy to apply
Weaves need to be used the same way for the most professional of finishes
The 4D visual effect is a unique characteristic that gives a car added personality, but the aesthetics do not affect the performance of the vinyl. It is strong but lightweight and will protect the interior of your car from damage. It can also be used inside boats and airplanes.
Chic bright red color
Comes in a variety of sizes
3.9 mils thick making it highly resistant to stretch marks and scratches
- Weight14.4 ounces
Easy to apply
Can last up to 7 years
Bright red color may not be to everyone’s taste
Should only be used inside a car
This car vinyl is also resistant to scratches, which is unusual for a wrap that has such a high-gloss finish. It also stretches around curves without producing unsightly stretch marks; however, it works best on flat surfaces.
Black vinyl wrap with a high gloss 5D finish
To be used on the interior of a car
Comes with air release channels for bubble free application
- Weight6.4 ounces
Users should be aware of direction of pattern when applying
It is easy to remove and will not damage a car’s paint job in the process. It can also be easily moved and repositioned until the user has it in the correct spot. It helps to use a heat gun and squeegee during the application and once completed, it is hard to tell the difference between this auto vinyl wrap and actual carbon fiber.
Carbon fiber finish
Self adhesive backing
Stain and UV resistant
The finish make the vinyl quite thick
Best Vinyl Car Wrap Buying Guide & FAQ
Why Should You Wrap Your Car?
Wrapping your car allows you to modify it and put your personality on it without taking too drastic a decision — especially if you choose a car vinyl that is easy to remove. Additionally, it is a great deal cheaper to vinyl wrap your vehicle as opposed to having the whole car resprayed. Plus, if you have an old banger, you may not want to invest as heavily in it as a spray job would cost you.
Car vinyl also helps to protect a car and its paint job against scratches that come from general wear and tear and stone chips.
Plus, it’s ultimately easy to replace so if you don’t like it you can change it again quickly.
Ways to Wrap Your Car
There are several ways to wrap your car to alter the overall finish that you want for the final product, but the process is broadly the same regardless of whether you choose a wrap with a pearlescent finish, a matte finish, or are simply applying a stencil cut out to one of your doors.
- Plan how and how much vinyl you will need to coat your car. Try to buy that little bit extra for any mistakes that could be made.
- Inspect the surface of your car and identify where the difficult parts to wrap are located. The problem areas will be the parts that have the most curves. Also, look at trying to fill any scratches or chips as these will be magnified with the addition of a chrome vinyl wrap or a car vinyl with another finish.
- Get your tools in place. This is not like plastic wrapping food. You will need to have by your side a heat gun, cutting knife, squeegee or sponge, cleaning solution, gloves, and a measuring tape.
- Prepare your car and clean it. It is best to remove all parts that could block you from smoothly applying the car vinyl wrap and also to clean your car first so that no dirt or debris will be caught underneath the wrap itself. This will show up in the final finish if it has not been removed first. It’s also a good idea to make sure you are working in a clean area too.
- Measure the parts you want to cover and cut the wrap appropriately. This means that you need to add about 6 inches or 15 cms all around the area you need.
- Lay the wrap. Try starting on the smallest area first until you get into a rhythm. It also helps for this area to be flat. Start in the middle and lay the vinyl as smoothly as possible, easing out any air bubbles as you go. Use your squeegee to smooth the surface down one last time before applying the heat gun. If air bubbles appear at this stage, smooth them out as best you can.
- Cut the wrap but not your car. Once you have a smooth surface of vinyl, it is time to cut the excess material. Do so leaving about a quarter of a centimeter around the vinyl wrap
- Tuck in the edges. Now tuck in that extra quarter of a centimeter to set off your car wrap.
- Set the vinyl wrap by applying heat. Heating the entire panel one last time is a way of setting the car wrap in place. Apply your heat gun evenly across the surface of your car. Reapply parts as needed.
DIY vs. Professional Installation
Car wrapping can be a complicated process and sometimes, it is just easier to use a technician than try to do it yourself. A technician will have the right tools available to prepare the surface of your car for the vinyl so that the car wrap cover adheres to your car’s surface as well as possible. From there they will apply the plastic to every panel you want and ensure there are no kinks, creases, or bubbles. If your chosen vinyl has a patterned finish, your technician will also marry up the edges seamlessly.
Doing it yourself, however, is perfectly possible - especially with the whole host of repositionable vinyl wraps that are listed above. Plus, many of them come designed with the DIY car lover in mind so that the finish will be bubble-free if enough time and patience are spent on it. It’s not easy, nor is it really a one-person job if you are covering large parts of your car, but it is definitely achievable and cuts out a huge cost of updating your car too.
Vinyl Car Wrap Types
There are several ways that you can wrap your car.
- Colored vinyl wrapping
This is perhaps the most common way to vinyl wrap a car as it can really update a car’s look and feel. Many people love to use a colored vinyl wrap to personalize an old car or even a brand new model at the fraction of the cost of a paint or spray job. Plus, colored vinyl comes in a variety of finishes like matte, high gloss, 5D, or even pearlescent. Many vinyl wrap car advocates do not even wrap their entire car, they just like to add color to the bonnet or roof for example.
- Stencil Cut Outs
Those that do not want a solid block of color added to their car, can simply buy a vinyl stencil cut out of a picture that they would like to add to one of their car doors or car hood.
- Clear vinyl wrapping
This is commonly used simply to protect a car from stone chips and scratches. It is a great option for those that live in an area where road surfaces are not pristine tarmac at all times. As a consequence, when you come to sell your car, the paint job will be immaculate.
- Advertising wraps
This is a popular choice for those that use their car a great deal for business, or if a business wants to build a brand through advertising. It is possible to have a design made and printed in car wrap vinyl and then emblazon it on one car to a whole fleet should you wish.
Best Vinyl Car Wrap FAQ:
Q: What is a vinyl wrap?
A: Vinyl wrap is a method of protecting a car by completely covering it in a layer of malleable plastic. Automotive vinyl wrap is perfect for this therefore and comes in a variety of colors and finishes. For those that are purely interested in protecting their car, clear auto vinyl wrap is available to buy which will not change the color or look of a car once it has been installed.
Vinyl wrap can also be used as a way of personalizing a car’s interior and exterior.
Q: How should I prepare my car for vinyl wrap?
A: Always clean your car before you attempt to vinyl wrap it. Any debris that is left on the surface will show up once the vinyl wrap has been installed which will make for a poor final finish. If you can afford to, take it to a professional cleaner or valet surface, but don’t have it waxed. Plus, think about ways to diminish any scratches or stone chips as this will also be magnified whenever vehicle wraps are used — they won’t simply be hidden.
Q: How do I remove vinyl wrap from my car?
A: Removing car wrap vinyl should be easy, just make sure you have the right tools at your disposal before you start. In the main, all you should really need is a heat gun. Also, it is a good idea to look at your car wrap vinyl’s manufacturer website to ensure there is nothing special you need to know about removing their vinyl from your car.
Heat the vinyl to the recommended temperature and try pulling it away from your car, with both hands at a 45-degree angle. Make sure you do this slowly and do not tug the vinyl as this can cause the vinyl to come away from its laminate, which will make the vinyl almost impossible to remove cleaning.
That should be all there is to it. If any problems are encountered, it is best to take it to an auto shop as you could damage your car’s paint job if you try to fix the problem yourself.
Q: How to wrap car interior trim?
A: If you want to update the inside of your car and its trim, vinyl wrap is one of the easiest ways to do it. It just takes a little time and effort, but car wrap is often designed with the interior of a car in mind as well as the exterior. Simply follow the same steps as you would with the exterior of a car and as directed by the car wrap that you choose. Car vinyl comes in a wide array of finishes and colors so the choice is limitless in terms of what and how you want to personalize the inside of your car.
Related Post: Best Clear Coats for Cars
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for the best vinyl car wrap is the VViViD XPO Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl. It has a high-quality finish and is simple to apply. It’s also long lasting and durable in various weather conditions. Those who want a sleek, slick look on their vehicles should consider this car vinyl wrap, which is affordable yet produces a luxurious look.
- How to Vinyl Wrap Your Car - ApexCustoms