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Re-paint or Wrap Your Car? Pros and Cons Explained

Thinking about changing the appearance of your car? You have two options. You can either repaint your car or get a car wrap.

Vehicle wraps have been around for a long time. In the past, they were mostly used for advertising by businesses. Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. Car wraps are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s not hard to find a shop that offers car wraps.

What is better for your car, painting or wrapping? Both options have some advantages and some drawbacks. In this article, we will go over the most important differences between car wraps and car paint.

Car Wrap or Paint?


Let’s start with a basic question. How long does it take to paint a car and how long does it take to wrap it?

When it comes to repainting your car, the waiting time will depend on the type of paint you are using and how many coats will be applied. Old paint needs to be removed first, and every layer of paint applied to your car will need a certain period of time to dry (usually overnight).

Therefore, repainting a car can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. In most cases, you will need to wait for at least a week before your car is ready for driving.

painting car

When it comes to car wraps, the whole process takes much less time. Once you get the car to the shop where you want your car wrapped, they will need to wash the exterior thoroughly first.

After that, they just place the wrap over your vehicle and apply heat to activate the adhesive. Overall, wrapping a car shouldn’t take more than 3 days.


When you repaint a car, the results are permanent. There is no going back. Car wraps, on the other hand, are completely removable. Moreover, a car wrap will not damage the paint underneath and will keep it protected until removed.

Furthermore, repainting a car can have a negative impact on its resale value. Wrapping a car will allow you to change the car’s appearance while keeping the original paint intact, resulting in a higher resale value.


When it comes to painting your car, you could get a low-quality paint job for about $500. However, if you want a higher-quality paint job, it will cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more.

The prices of professionally applied car wraps range from $2,500 to $5,000.

Note: The prices above assume a full paint or wrap. The cost can be much lower depending on what needs to be repaired.

car wrapped


The durability of a paint job will depend on the quality of paint used. Lower-end paint jobs will last a couple of years. On the other hand, high-end paint jobs can last a lifetime if done right.

You should also keep in mind that paint can be damaged by UV rays, scratching, and other hazards.

A car wrap will last anywhere between 2 and 10 years. This depends on location of the wrap (horizontal or vertical) as well as color used.

Thanks to James Katt in the comments for summarizing Avery's durability documentation. Scroll down to the comments to read his comments in more detail.


Painted cars require quite a lot of maintenance if you want to keep the paint looking shiny and new. It’s absolutely necessary to wash and wax the car on a regular basis if you want to avoid damaging the paint.

paint maintenance

With a car wrap, you’ll spend much less time on maintenance. The only thing you need to do is keep the surface clean. You can simply wipe it with a wet cloth. Even if you fail to do so, the dirt won’t cause any serious damage to the wrap.


Getting a custom look for your car is much easier with a car wrap than paint. You can choose any color you like or even have a custom design made.

You can get a car wrap with a matte, metallic, or even a textured finish for a fraction of the price of what it would costs to achieve similar effects with paint.

Final Thoughts: Should You Wrap or Repaint Your Car?

First of all, if the paint on your car is in bad condition, getting a car wrap is not a good idea. Any imperfections on the original paint job will show through the wrap. In this case, repainting is definitely a better choice.

Car wraps are also a great option and it takes much less time to have your car wrapped than to have it repainted. Furthermore, the wrap will keep the original paint intact so you can always change your mind.

Richard Reed
I've been a General Manager of a moving company and I've also been a Professional Mover for over 30 years. I've driven flat beds, reefers, dropdecks, moving vans, heavy machinery, etc. In my time as a Mover I've driven over 1,000,000 safe miles. My days of moving and driving truck are past me but The Vehicle Lab allows me to share the knowledge I've gained over the past 40 years.

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