wrap a car

Car wrapping protection: options, prices

But before you wrap your car with foil, you need to answer three main questions for yourself: Why? Which one? And where? we will glue. They are all equally important so that the result does not disappoint.

To wrap a car with film is becoming more and more popular: the number of such cars in the traffic is growing, and accordingly, the services for the provision of this service are multiplying. We decided to understand the pros and cons of pasting a car with anti-gravel films – both vinyl (economy version) and more modern and expensive polyurethane films.

What is a car wrap ?

The main task of the protective anti-gravel film, as its name implies, is to protect the paintwork from scratches, chips and other “minor troubles”. All films are divided into two large types: vinyl and polyurethane. Vinyl films appeared on the market first: in their structure they are closer to plastic and can change their size only when heated, then they harden and become rigid. Anti-gravel polyurethane films in their properties, composition and characteristics are closer to rubber: they can significantly stretch without heating, but at the same time take on their original dimensions. Naturally, the latter film quickly conquered the market.

car wrap bmw
Car covered with transparent polyurethane
car wrap bmw

The anti-gravel polyurethane film was developed and first used for the needs of the American army. It was applied to the blades of helicopters during Operation Desert Storm, as otherwise the blades would wear out very quickly in the “sandy” air of the Middle East. Major vinyl manufacturers have recognized the benefits of polyurethane and have begun using it for car wrapping. After all, vinyl was originally developed for advertising, signage and everything that is not subject to aggressive environmental influences.

body is already covered with matte viny
Feel the difference: the body is already covered with matte vinyl, but the bumper is not yet

The fundamental difference is that vinyl film, in fact, protects only due to its thickness, and polyurethane film – by its properties. In winter, at low temperatures, polyurethane films do not lose their protective properties, but vinyl “hardens” even more, and it is not difficult to tear them.

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wrap a car
The result of the winter operation of ordinary vinyl film on the hood: cracks, swelling and, as a result, delamination led to the fact that in the spring the film had to be removed completely …

Vinyl or polyurethane?

What are the differences? Vinyl is a common transparent film with an average thickness of about 100 microns (0.1 mm), which is mainly used for wrapping cars. It protects well against small scratches, branches, sand, damage during careless washing. Disadvantages – it quickly fades in bright sun and turns yellow under the influence of reagents. Vinyl film can be not only transparent, but also matte, in this case it also becomes an element of style. True, in the event of a scratch or a small chip, you will have to re-glue the entire element (or put up with a lack of aesthetics).

bmw wrapping
This car has just been covered with a matte clear vinyl.

Polyurethane wrap (sometimes also called simply urethane) is quite strong, usually about 150 microns thick (less often – up to 300 microns), resists large chips, deep scratches and is better suited for car protection than vinyl. For example, it protects the paintwork well from being hit by the door of a neighboring car or a trolley in a supermarket. Polyurethane transmits ultraviolet light, therefore, in order to maintain a uniform color tone, it is not necessary to paste over the entire car: the pasted and unprotected parts will not differ in tone even after several years of operation.

Also you can look PDF file about Oracal. High-quality glossy cast film made in Germany, self-adhesive PVC film characterized by durability and dimensional stability and the highest requirements for wear resistance. Glossy films Oracal 970 are films intended for full and partial car wrapping, including under extreme conditions of use. The film can be used on uneven and convex surfaces, as well as over rivets and seams.

audi wrap a car
In car factories, cars are not painted in matte colors. As a rule, such cars are covered with appropriate films.

But at the same time, polyurethane film is much more expensive than vinyl, its cost (without pasting work) is five times higher.

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Features wrap a car of different films

The film is glued onto a special soap solution. As an option, Johnson’s Baby shampoo without alkali or Fairy dishwashing liquid is taken as a basis. Some gluers just use water, but the soap composition helps the film not stick, so that in the event of a crease, it can be blown up and re-rolled without consequences.

Prices from different manufacturers fluctuate slightly, within 10-15 percent. There are three main players in the polyurethane film market: 3M, Suntek and Hexis.

Can you wrap a car yourself?

Can you wrap a car yourself?
It is hard for the uninitiated to believe that all these folds of the film will be neatly smoothed out in just an hour and a half …

In theory, this is real. It is important that the room has a constant temperature of 20-23 degrees Celsius, there are no drafts, dirt and dust. When pasting, the film is removed from the backing, which protects the adhesive layer (similar to double-sided tape on the principle), while static electricity is formed, which instantly attracts microscopic dust particles to itself.

It is necessary to glue the film, both decorative and protective, on a new car. On a car that has traveled even 100 km, some scratches and chips may already form, and the film will make them more noticeable. Unlike vinyl films, polyurethane films take time to dry the vehicle, usually about 12 hours.

wrap a car mercedes

Do decorative films protect?

Until now, we have been talking about transparent protective films. But there are two more types of material: colored films, including those with different effects (leather, carbon, wood, and so on) and chrome. The latter are glued by a semi-dry method – the surface is treated with a soapy solution, and then the film is applied. This is due to the peculiarity of the chrome film, otherwise, when it is undermined, stretch marks, holograms may form, and the entire piece of film will have to be thrown away. Colored films, like transparent ones, are glued “dry”, that is, only a thin layer of soap composition and no water should remain on the surface.

You can cover the car with foil yourself, but for really high-quality work you need a special tool, skills and experience

Colored and chrome films also have a protective function, but due to their smaller thickness (70-100 microns) it is easier to break through. However, there are a series of colored films that are the same thickness as protective films – they protect the body as effectively as conventional ones, while also changing the appearance of the car. “But, as a rule, people who order color films are still primarily interested in appearance, not protection.”

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How much cost a wrap car in USA and UK

The price of pasting a car is made up of several factors:

  1. Film and its thickness, type, color.
  2. The type of vehicle and its design features. Here’s an example: BMW X6 and BMW X6M – cars are essentially the same, but they have differences that complicate pasting (aerodynamic body kit, wheel arch extensions in body color, and so on).
  3. Scope of “reinforcement” work: assembly and disassembly of the vehicle. There are cars that need to be disassembled almost in half for pasting: remove bumpers, headlights, linings, moldings and so on.
wrapping car
Anything that can be removed is removed before wrapping

Pasting a car completely is quite expensive. And often people apply anti-gravel film only to the most vulnerable elements. Most often – the front bumper, hood, front fenders, sometimes the roof and the surface behind the door handles.

In general, it costs $2,000—$5,000 to wrap a full car in USA. About UK wrap a car costs £1,600 + VAT depending on the selected film and coverage.

If you want a specialty vinyl wrap, it could cost $10,000 or more. Wrapping parts of the car, such as the hood or roof, typically costs $300 and up.

There are no special requests for the care of the film. Matt cannot be polished, and when visiting the car wash, you must warn employees that the car is covered with a film so that the spray gun is not brought close. Some parts are pasted over joint to joint, where the film does not start behind the part, and at some angle and enormous pressure, it can be soaked. Although, as experts say, this is possible only with poor-quality work, usually the film is glued tightly, and you just can’t tear it off. The service life of most films is at least five years. To prevent the film from turning yellow ahead of time, it is necessary not to keep the car dirty for a long time.

Polyurethane and vinyl in comparison
Polyurethane and vinyl in comparison


Polyurethane film today is the best protection for paintwork from chips, scratches and stones, but it also costs 5 times more than ordinary vinyl. However, in the case of a sale, the cost of pasting a car (especially with intensive use) can pay off, because the car body will be “like new”.

Useful videos about wrap a car you can find below:

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By Vinceslav

Journalist, writer. I write articles and reviews on equipment such as cars, computers, games. Worked for 6 years in the auto and auto parts business. And all my life I have been engaged in computer technology.

2 thoughts on “How Much Does It Cost To Wrap A Car?”
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