Vinyl wrapping is one of the best things to happen to aftermarket car customization since the airbrush. Car wraps can completely transform the vehicles they are applied to, and the endless design possibilities means you can get the exact look you want with vinyl wrapping for a fraction of the cost compared to a new paint job. Speaking of cost, if you’re considering a DIY car wrap job to save money, you might be surprised to learn that it may wind up costing you more in the long run to do it yourself.
Buying Vinyl Car Wrap
The first cost you need to consider is the cost of the vinyl wrap itself. Vinyl wrap can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on the size of the roll and the type of film. Higher quality wrapping films from leading brands like 3M will cost more, but every extra dollar spent is worth it in the long run if it means a higher quality wrap job.
For example, a 5×10 foot roll of gloss black vinyl wrap film is around $100 from online retailers. Specialty finishes like brushed chrome or snakeskin will add to the total cost. The same size roll of 3M carbon fiber vinyl wrap from the same online retailer costs $90 more.
One of the drawbacks (and dangers) of buying vinyl car wrap yourself is that you may order more wrap film than you need. This can add a lot to the total cost of wrapping your vehicle. On the flip side, you may order less than you need and then have to pay for shipping on the second roll you need to finish the job. When you leave it in the hands of a professional, you only pay for the exact amount of vinyl film needed to wrap your car.
Car Wrapping Tools
One of the many reasons why people don’t normally wrap their own vehicles is the fact that few people outside of the circle of auto detailers and wrap installers have the tools needed for the job. On top of buying the vinyl wrap film, you will also need to purchase a handful of tools and equipment to help with the installation. Of course, you’ll need to learn how to use these tools, but that’s another subject; for now, let’s focus on simply how much it will cost you to purchase the tools you need.
- Squeegees and Tucking Tools – You’ll need squeegees and tucking tools to apply the film to the car. Kits are available online and range from about $30 to $300 or more depending on the number of pieces in the kit.
- Knives and Blades – Not any knife or pair of scissors will do when it comes to cutting vinyl graphic and wrap film. Specialty wrap blades are designed to cut through the paper release liner of the film so there’s no risk of damaging the wrap. Professional wrap cutters cost between $30 and $50.
- Heat Gun – Vinyl wrapping a car is impossible without a heat gun. The film needs to be carefully heated in order to be stretched over curves and lines in the body. A digital heat gun can range between $50 and $100 or more.
- Infrared Thermometer – See the above description (“The film needs to be carefully heated…”) and you’ll understand why you also need a thermometer. This is an important tool for making sure that you don’t overheat the film and damage it as a result. IR thermometers can also range between $50 and $100 or more.
So to recap: Just for the most basic tools you’d need to wrap your car, you’d be looking at spending between $160 and $500 or more. The only time it may be worth the investment to purchase your own tools and do the job yourself is if you plan on changing the look of your car every couple of months. Even then, it may take you a few DIY jobs before you start seeing a “return” on your investment.
How Long it Takes to Wrap a Car
Any attempt to answer the question, “How much does it cost to wrap your car?” would be incomplete without mentioning how long it takes—after all, time is money. It can take two people a full day at least to wrap a four-door, sedan-sized car. It can take even longer if you still need to figure out how exactly to apply the wrap film to your car.
Don’t waste your time and money wrapping your own car when the experts at Auto Super Shield can do it for you. Our car wrap installers have many years of experience and use the latest tools in order to finish the job quickly without sacrificing quality or appearance. If you live in South Florida, contact Auto Super Shield to get a free car wrap estimate.