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Car Wrapping: Get an Awesome Custom Look

Whether it’s needed for a brand, a company, or just for yourself, car wrapping can give your car an amazing and highly appealing look that can make you the envy of any driver on the road. There’s plenty of things that go into car wrapping to get that awesome look, though, so this article can give you a crash course in wrapping your car and give it a makeover.

Car Wrapping

Car Wrapping Costs

As with any vehicle customization, it’s important to understand the costs inherent of getting your car wrapped before jumping into anything. Car wrapping isn’t cheap and there are generally two ways to get your car wrapped: professionally or DIY. The costs of each can be drastically different due to the time and energy involved.

For professional costs, there is no flat rate for wrapping. The vast majority of detailers generally base their prices around vehicle types and models. For example, a Tesla is one of the simplest and can be cheap, provided you’re going for a base wrapping and not going for upgrades like specialty vinyl, custom designs, or other non-standard jobs. The colour of the vehicle also matters, as certain colours can blend in better when it comes to leaving parts exposed from wrapping; black is much easier and looks better compared to white or red, for example.

For professional prices, your everyday vehicle can cost between $3,000 to $4,000, although you should always check with your local detailer just to make sure. Although not always an option, depending on the professional, motorcycles can also be wrapped; these generally go for around $1,500. If you own a luxury sports car, these can go for significantly higher, depending on the make and model; on the low-end, wrapping typically costs around $5,000 but can jump into five digits if the car is exotic enough.

If you’d rather do the car wrapping yourself, than DIY wrapping kits are available and are cheaper than professional jobs. You can find vinyl wraps from big-name companies like 3M on sites like Amazon in a variety of lengths and colours; of course, the larger the wrap, the more it costs with five square feet, costing only $17 before shipping and tax while 375 square feet (the largest available on Amazon) runs for around $770.

Applying Wrapping Properly

If you want a great wrapping look for your car, you’re going to have to know how to do so properly so everything comes out as good as possible. It can take anywhere from hours to days, depending on your vehicle, and may require expert knowledge to do so correctly, so keep that in mind. Safety glasses, closed-toe shoes, and potentially mechanic overalls are a must to protect yourself and avoid any unfortunate accidents while you work. You’ll also need a friend for help and a plentiful list of tools, although the last two are optional:

  • Heat gun
  • Felt-edge squeegee
  • Breakaway knife with spare blades
  • Wrapstick
  • Small magnets
  • Soft magnetic tape measure
  • Teflon-coated backcutter
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfibre towels
  • Vinyl-wrapping lintless gloves
  • Knifeless tape
  • Compressor
  • Infrared thermometer

You’ll need to prep your car beforehand, too, as the wrapping won’t look great without it. Make sure your vehicle exterior is thoroughly cleaned of all dirt and debris while any blemishes like rust are taken care of. Once it’s wiped down, you should apply the wrapping ASAP to avoid any future debris build-up getting in the way.

For the application itself, there are six easy steps for you to get the perfect awesome car wrapping you’ve been waiting for:

  1. Find a starting point. If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended to start on a flat surface.
  2. Remove anything that might get in the way, like door handles, logos, grilles, and other exterior finishings.
  3. Find the amount of vinyl you’ll approximately need using the tape measure. To avoid miscalculation, it’s recommended to add an extra six inches horizontally and vertically.
  4. Cut the material without placing it on any potentially dirty surface.
  5. With your friend’s help, remove the vinyl’s backing and drape it across the vehicle. The wrap is made so it only adheres under certain heat and pressure. Drape the vinyl with some tension over lightly curved surfaces.
  6. Choosing a centre point, start applying pressure to the vinyl with the squeegee. Push outward from the edges to remove air bubbles.

Once you’re done that and everything looks proper, start removing the excess vinyl and folding any edges out of the way. Use the heat gun to make sure any folds are properly sealed and adhered to the vehicle. The thermometer may come in handy as many vinyl manufacturers have guidelines concerning heating and post-heating their vinyl.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Even though you now have an awesome car wrap properly applied and ready to go, the work doesn’t stop there. In order to keep that awesome look, you’ll need to keep the wrapping properly maintained and clean, so it keeps looking good.

When washing your car, it’s best to wash often and gently. Washing often means you prevent a build-up of dirt and debris that can ruin the wrapping’s look; if there’s excessive build-up or tough stains, try using isopropyl alcohol to break them up. There’s a variety of cleaning products ideal for vinyl wrapping out there, like Turtle Wax.

Gentle cleaning prevents you from ruining the wrapping through rips and tears; hand washing and drying is highly recommended. Use silicone squeegees and microfibre towels for the best results. Power washers can be used as well, provided they’re on lower settings and proper angles; the ideal set-up is under 2,000 psi, under 180 degrees Fahrenheit (80 Celsius), >40 degree tip, around 12” (30 cm) from the surface, and held at a right angle.

If you keep up proper washing and maintenance, they can last anywhere from three to ten years, with the average being around five; this is also determined by the quality and type of the wrap, care both during and after application, and environmental factors.

If you’re worried about the wrapping ruining the paint, don’t worry; car wrapping can actually serve as a layer of protection between the paint and debris that might otherwise damage it. Wrapping can also help prevent rust through protection from chips and scratches. Keep in mind, however, that any pre-existing rust will continue to form.

Author’s Bio

Author Bio

Rhett Desormeaux is a content writer currently working with BreezeMaxWeb. He’s a passionate writer and loves studying ancient history, especially Bronze Age civilizations.

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