Vehicle wrapping

How much does it cost to wrap a car?

Whether you’re rebranding or recolouring, just how much does a car wrap cost?

No matter how much you love and care for your car, time is going to take its toll. That gleaming showroom appearance will slowly fade, the vibrant lustre finish will begin to lose its sparkle, and your what was once your pride and joy will lose a little part of its lovability.

So, how do you fall back in love with your car? What are the best ways to inject some of that ‘new love’ excitement back into your relationship?

A professional valet is one option, but realistically, that will only ever be a short-term fix. That wax and polish will lose its shine in a few weeks, and once the dog and the kids have done their damage, the interior will also be right back to square one.

Vehicle wrap vs respray

Once upon a time, there was only one real option to this dilemma. A respray. Fixing any dents and dings and giving your car a brand new coat of factory finish paint would restore its bodywork to a gleaming brand new status.

However, that’s no longer the case. There’s a new kid on the block, and it comes with a mass of advantages over the traditional paint job. The big question is whether it’s affordable and competitive with a respray; just how much is it to wrap a car?

The full vehicle wrap

You’ll have seen a plethora of advertising wraps on vehicles flying up and down the motorway. However, you won’t have given a second thought to adapting the same techniques to change the look of your car.

The instigation of full vehicle wraps began with vehicle advertising and branding. A van, a car or anything else you could consider mobile advertising space, was covered with a self-adhesive vinyl sheet, printed with whatever the company was advertising.

It wasn’t long before the many advantages became apparent to other vehicle owners who didn’t want to drive a rolling billboard, but were looking for a cost-effective way to change the look of their car.

The advantages of a full car wrap

  1. You can change the colour of your car without damaging the original paintwork.
  2. It’s completely reversible – if you don’t like it, simply peel it off.
  3. It can protect your car’s paintwork from scratches and mild abrasions.
  4. There are an abundance of finishes to choose from – matt or gloss, pearlescent, metallic, glitter, carbon fibre — if you can print the pattern, you can cover your car in it.
  5. They’re cost-effective, durable and long-lasting.

If a full wrap is out of your reach, the benefit of vinyl wrapping means you can choose to personalise different areas of your car as and when you want. Wrap your bonnet. Wrap your wing mirrors. If how much it costs to get a car wrapped is out of your budget, wrapping just a few sections of it most likely won’t be.

How much does it cost to wrap a car in the UK?

It all depends on who you choose to do the work, how big your car is, and the finish you want to achieve.

We’re not going to leave you hanging like a lot of websites do, but these are only suggestions for typical prices.

A full wrap can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £5,000. Maybe even more. However, a good quality colour change will probably cost you something in the region of £2,000.

If you drive a smaller city car, you’ll save on materials and labour time, as there isn’t as much car to cover—our estimate: somewhere around £1,200 to £1,500.

Larger vehicles, sports cars, SUVs and off-road vehicles are likely to cost more, as they are not only bigger but have more complex shapes to contend with. That all adds up to more material and more time to do the job.

Pearlescent and printed finishes will take you up to the top end of the scale. Mattes and metallic won’t be quite as expensive but will still add a hundred or so pounds to your basic colour choices.

If you’re only looking to mix things up a bit, wrap a roof, a door or a bonnet for a lesser sum. We’d expect those items to cost less than a hundred pounds or so.

If you’re currently looking into ‘How much to wrap a car?’ we hope our guidelines provide enough information to pursue a selection of professional quotes.

Wrapping a car is one thing, but how much to wrap a van?

Let’s consider a van a big car. You won’t be at all surprised to hear you’ll pay a higher price.

We’d expect a small van to fall in the range of £3,500 to £4,000, and up to anywhere between £5,000 and £6,000 for larger vans. The only real way to find out what it would cost to wrap your car or van is to find a reputable agent, and request some quotes.

How long does a car wrap last?

It depends on who you ask, the quality of the vinyl you use, and how much care you take in looking after it.

3M will guarantee a correctly applied and maintained wrap will last at least 3 years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first).

We’d suggest that you can expect a decent install to last around 5 years, yet some exceptional manufacturers project a lifespan of up to 12 years for their most high-end premium products.

Vinyl car wrap DIY

Much in the same way as a good home mechanic might be bold enough to take on a respray, a practical and patient operative could consider a vehicle wrap something within his or her ability.

The materials are readily available, and the tools you need aren’t complicated at all. If you’re interested in taking on the task, there are plenty of how to vinyl wrap tutorials online.

Preparation is everything. You should work out all the materials and equipment you’ll need well in advance. For example, how much vinyl to wrap a car of your size, the best cleaning materials to prepare your car, specialist vinyl application tools, and how to achieve the best results.

Vinyl wrapping your car and the law

Even though a vinyl wrap is considered a temporary covering for your car, it still changes the appearance and colour of your vehicle, so you must let the DVLA know.

It’s a simple enough process, and it only takes a few minutes, but the law is the law. If you don’t let them know, you could be liable to a fine. If you’ve already paid a few thousand pounds for a finish that could only last you 3 or 4 years, you don’t need any further avoidable expense on top of that.