Best Car Wraps: Give Your Ride Personality and Style
Enhance the look and feel of your car with these custom car wraps you can install yourself
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PUBLISHED ON June 24, 2019
Your car is your identity out on the road. Getting to customize its appearance, sound, and color is a great way to stand out from all the other similar cars driving by. While painting it may be expensive, getting a custom wrap for it can be more cost-effective and helps protect it. Here are the best vehicle wraps we found to give your car a custom look.
- Best Overall3M Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl WrapSummarySummaryThis high-quality carbon fiber wrap attaches to the surface of your car without the need of a heat gun. It’s pressure activated, giving you the freedom to reposition it how you like.ProsPros3M designed it with a dual cast film that is made up of non-visible air release channels to help guide anyone installing it. This helps prevent unwanted creasing or bubble effects.ConsConsThe material tends to scratch easily. You may also need to order more material than listed.
- Best ValueVViViD XPO Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl RollSummarySummaryThis is a long-lasting and durable carbon fiber-like vinyl wrap, designed for do-it-yourselfers.ProsProsIt is lightweight. yet thick, wrap that can be stretched and molded to fit around all the curves of any vehicle. The company’s low-tack acrylic adhesive allows you to lay the vinyl on the car and reposition it.ConsConsIt’s more difficult to wrap around corners and curves of the car. The vinyl smell is powerful when first opened up, so if you have a sensitive nose, you may want to plug your nostrils before working.
- Honorable Mention3M Matte Black Car Wrap VinylSummarySummaryThis is an incredibly tough and scratch-resistant car wrap, making it excellent for those who would rather do it themselves.ProsProsThe thinness of the wrap gives you the ability to mold it around corners, curves, and rivets without risk of it tearing or scratching. The extra strength and stability is due to the two color layers woven together in the material.ConsConsThe thinness can be a pain to shape and hold before placing it on the surface of your car. This also makes it possible for the wrap to fold oddly when shipped, making it difficult to reform it properly.
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Benefits of Car Wraps
- Customization. Having a custom car wrap is a great way to make your vehicle stand out from the others on the road. From a simple change of color to dramatic and unique designs, you can get a car wrap to fit just about every personality or taste.
- Protect your ride. The best car wraps act as a barrier to protect your car’s paint job. Over time the sun, road wear, rust, and scratches can cause the paint to fade or damage it even more. A car wrap fits over the paint, keeping it safe from the elements. It even preserves the life of it, making it last even longer.
- Save money. Preserving the car’s paint job, whether it’s the original or updated, will help extend the value of the car. If you ever need or want to sell the vehicle, removing the wrap is simple. The barrier provided by the wrap will have protected the paint, possibly increasing the car’s resale value.
Types of Car Wraps
Perhaps one of the most common types of car wraps, colored or clear vinyl fits over the entire car or certain areas and comes in various colors.
Stencil Cut Outs
A stencil cut out, or decal can be a picture, graphic design, or color. Rather than being a wrap that fits over a large area, these can be small enough to fit on the car door or large enough to take up the entire hood or trunk.
A gloss wrap resembles a classic paint job. This wrap will be smooth and have a soft shine to it.
A matte wrap gives off less reflection and has more of a dull or flat tone. It has no shine and is considered a lusterless surface.
A satin-style wrap is a mix between matte and glossy. You won’t get clear reflections on the surface of the wrap, but you will see more light bounce off than that of matte finishes.
Carbon fiber wraps are a textured film made up of multiple layers of carbon. They are more often metallic colors such as black or gray but can be found in other shades.
3M began as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company in Northern Minnesota in 1902. It helped create the Scotch brand of tape and developed the reflective coating for highway signs. Today, it focuses on car wraps to help customize your ride’s look. It’s known for the 3M Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl Wrap.
Located in Montreal, Canada, Vvivid creates and develops vinyl products in different colors, textures, and finishes. It has a distribution center in Champlain, New York and makes the VViViD XPO Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl Roll.
A relatively new company, TeckWrap began in 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. It specializes in adhesive-coated thin plastic films to produce high-quality vinyl films and wraps for cars. It developed the TeckWrap White Gloss Car Vinyl Wrap.
Car Wraps Pricing
- $12-$100: When shopping for car wraps, you pay for it in rolls and sheets. This price range will be smaller rolls and smaller sheets, ranging from 1⁄2 foot x 5 feet to 5 feet x 5 feet.
- $100 and up: It’s here you will pay for longer sheets and rolls that start at 6 feet x 5 feet and work their way up to much larger sizes.
Personality and Design
Being able to custom design and fit your car with its own wrap is a way to stand out on the road. Wrapping your car with unique and interesting designs, colors, and textures add flair and character to your car and yourself.
After choosing the color or design you want for your car’s wrap, selecting a finish that will show it off is another step. These include matte, satin, gloss, and carbon fiber. The choice is based on preference and whether or not that color or design comes in that finish.
- Car Type: Depending on the type of car you have will impact the amount of money it costs to wrap it. If you are wanting to wrap the entire vehicle, a larger car will cost more, while a smaller vehicle may cost less.
- Quantity: Knowing how many wraps you’ll need is highly recommended if you are planning on wrapping it yourself. Car wrap is bought by the length of the sheet, so you’ll want to measure the width and length of your car before purchasing the wrap.
Best Car Wraps Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: 3M Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl Wrap
The high-quality 3M Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl Wrap works great at covering all the necessary areas of your car. What we enjoyed most about it is the adhesive that sticks it to the surface of the vehicle allows you to attach the wrap without applying extra heat from a heat gun. It’s designed to be pressure-activated, giving you the freedom to reposition it and slide it around until it is in the correct spot.
One of the most annoying things about applying car wraps is dealing with bubbles and creases underneath the vinyl. What we found about this particular wrap is 3M designed it with a dual cast film that is made up of non-visible air release channels to help guide anyone installing it. This helps prevent any unwanted creasing or bubble effects. The rolls are wide and simple to stretch, allowing you to custom fit it to your car with ease.
However, we found that the material scratches easily. We recommend using caution and being careful when installing this vinyl wrap. You also may need to order more material than you think. Make sure to measure your car and double-check the amount you need before purchasing.
Best Value: VViViD XPO Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl Roll
A long-lasting and durable carbon fiber vinyl car wrap, the VViVid XPO is specifically designed for anyone wanting to install the wrap themselves. It is a lightweight, yet thick, wrap that can be stretched and molded to fit around all the curves of any vehicle.
One feature we found especially great was the economic value of this wrap. Its life expectancy is also quite lengthy, rated between five to seven years. The wrap can be used on the inside of vehicles as well. The company’s low-tack acrylic adhesive allows you to lay the vinyl on the car and reposition it exactly where you want it without bubbles. It’s rated to stretch up to 200% to fit around most any car.
While it may be a great budget car wrap, it’s difficult to wrap around corners and curves of the car. This is more of an issue for anyone doing it themselves. Also, the vinyl smell is powerful when first removed from the packaging, so if you have a sensitive nose, you may want to plug your nostrils before working.
Honorable Mention: 3M Matte Black Car Wrap Vinyl
For anyone wanting their car to have a matte vinyl finish, this 3M wrap is great at making your car stand out and look brand new. It is incredibly tough and scratch-resistant, making it excellent for those who would rather do it themselves.
While it is a thinner car wrap, it is easier to stretch and form around vehicles. This gives you the ability to mold it around corners, curves, and rivets without risk of it tearing or scratching. The extra strength and stability is due to the two color layers woven together in the material. The adhesive also allows users to reposition it if it is not to their liking or to get it just right.
There is a drawback to the thinness of the material, however. It can be a pain to shape and hold before placing it on the surface of your car. This also makes it possible for the wrap to fold oddly when shipped, making it difficult to reform it properly.
- You can help the adhesive stick to the surface of your car by using a heat gun. This will speed up the process by which the car wrap forms and sticks to your car.
- It is recommended to buy extra wrap before installing it yourself on your car. This way you will have some as a backup, just in case there is an issue.
- When applying the car wrap yourself, take your time and be cautious. You’ll want to measure at least twice to make sure your measurements are correct as well.
Q: What should I do before I wrap my car?
A: You should clean your car before attempting to attach a car wrap. Having it professionally detailed will help make sure it is free of any debris, dirt, or bumps you may not be able to see. Putting it on beforehand may end up damaging both the wrap and paint.
Q: How do I remove the wrap from a car?
A: Removing car wrap is not a difficult process. All you need to complete the job is a heat gun. Heat up the wrap to the recommended temperature and slowly pull it free from your car with both hands.
Q: Will the weather impact the look of the car wrap?
A: Like with paint, the weather may affect the overall look of your wrapping with time. However, since it is a wrap and not painted on, the color shouldn’t fade. Extreme heat can cause certain wraps to bubble or blister, but they are designed to withstand normal everyday temperatures without risk of damage.
If you want to enhance your car and make it stand out on the drive with a great and durable car wrap, we recommended the 3M Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl Wrap.
You can get a more cost-effective vehicle wrap and still trick out your ride with the VViViD XPO Black Carbon Fiber Vinyl Roll.