Best Car Vinyl Wraps: Wrap Your Car in Style

Treat your car to a new look with the best car vinyl wrap for your style.

byCorrina Murdoch| UPDATED Nov 4, 2022 12:16 PM
Best Car Vinyl Wraps: Wrap Your Car in Style

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Best Overall

3M Carbon Fibre Black Vinyl Wrap

Summary
This long-lasting film is removable for a custom look that you can change. The kit comes with the vinyl and an installation toolkit that includes a squeegee, detailer squeegee, and felt squeegee edgers. The vinyl is black and features a carbon fiber pattern.
Pros
  • Pressure-activated adhesive
  • Acrylic-based air release channels
Cons
  • Sheets are short
  • Hard to adhere
Honorable Mention

Avery Supreme Vinyl Car Wrap Film

Summary
This dual-layer vinyl wrap is great for full vehicle wraps as well as pinstriping and chrome deletes. It is 4.5 millimeters thick, has a built-in air release, and is pressure-activated.
Pros
  • Looks smooth and gloss-like
  • Simple to apply
Cons
  • Thin
  •  Susceptible to scratches

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Best Car Vinyl Wraps Reviews & Recommendations 2022

This long-lasting, dual-activated film comes in over a dozen different sizes. The film is removable, and the kit comes with everything you need for a complete installation, including a medium-hard squeegee, detailer squeegee, and felt squeegee edgers. Two felt tips reduce the risk of scratching, and the vinyl is black and features a carbon fiber pattern.


The great thing about this adhesive is that it's pressure-activated, so you can place it on your vehicle and adjust it for a perfect application. It has a really good look and texture and makes the surface look just like carbon fiber. The product is easy to work with, and it's amazing how many times you can pull and reset it. It has acrylic-based air release channels for a bubble-free finish. The vinyl also stretches around very tight corners and is very pliable with the help of a hair dryer.


However, depending on what size you get, the sheets may be too short, so you need to measure carefully. You may also find it challenging to get the adhesive to fully stick, and the product scratches easily. In addition, the pattern may appear a little bit wavy.

This color-changing, dual-layer film is designed for metal surfaces, including automobiles, watercraft, laptops, appliances, and cell phones. Smaller sizes can be used for pinstriping, racing stripes, and chrome deletes. The vinyl is 4.5 millimeters thick and features an air release, so you can push out the air bubbles. The pressure-activated adhesive allows you to reposition the vinyl, which can be stretched with a heat gun on curves.


This wrap is very protective and produces a smooth and gloss-like finish. It conforms well on deep recesses and is easy to apply and easy to remove any air bubbles. The company claims it will last outdoors for up to 12 years, and it's also a bit cheaper than some other brands. Overall, it's a great product to use if you're a first timer and have never worked with vinyl.


One downside is that the vinyl is a little thin, so it may not last as long as other products. Also, the glossy black color has a tendency to scratch rather easily. In addition, it may not be quite as black as products such as 3M.

This dual-cast film does not require overlapping and is made for dimensional stability and durability. It's a pressure-activated adhesive, so you can slide and reposition it as necessary before setting it. The wrap is scratch-resistant, can last up to eight years outdoors, and can be heat-stretched to fit curved surfaces. It also has invisible air release channels to prevent air bubbles.


Wraps from 3M are very easy to work with and are very forgiving if you make a mistake. This one has great adhesion when you run a squeegee over it. And since you can reheat the material, it's easy to get rid of the wrinkles. The material itself is also very good quality, and it even adheres well to slightly textured interior plastic trim.


One downside is you may need another person to assist you if you are applying very large pieces onto your vehicle. It can also take a while to cut it and fit it properly, it requires a very sharp blade for application, and you need a bit of patience to get the job done. This particular shade also looks a little faded and is not deep black in color.

Whether it’s your first or 15th time wrapping a car, getting the position just right is the biggest challenge. With the EZ AutoWrap Chameleon Blue Car Vinyl Wrap, you don’t have to worry about it setting in the wrong position. It features a pressure-activated glue. The friction (and resulting heat) adjusts the molecular bonds of the glue. It enables you to slide it into place before pressing firmly and securing it in position. Useful on surfaces of all angles, it works on curved and flat spots. Featuring an ethereal hue called Chameleon Blue, the matte finish gives your car ample character. It comes in a roll a foot wide and 5 feet long. It might not be enough to overhaul your whole ride, but it can accent your existing paint in a unique way depending on how you place it. If you feel like a change but don’t want a totally new look, this is a great way to go. 


You can use it on both the inside and outside of your vehicle, so long as the surface is flat. If there are any bumps or imperfections before you place the vinyl wrap, it can compromise the hold. Consider buffing out any flaws before you get started to avoid these issues.

Some wraps are meant to enhance the look of your car for a short period, while you feel out your style. Others, like the LXRun 3D Carbon Fiber Vinyl Wrap, are built for long-term application. Acting as a way to strengthen the exterior of your car while adding to its appearance, this wrap comes in rolls a foot wide and five feet long. It includes a knife and a hand tool, meant to smooth out air bubbles during the installation process. The high-grade vinyl is built specifically for automotive applications. It includes an even coating of a high-grade adhesive that prevents excess bubbling. Because of the glue on the back, you can easily move it over curves and make adjustments during setup. Built to last for a full five years, this wrap comes in a range of colors, each opaque. Incorporating a grid on the back of the wrap, you can make measurements with ease, making for a smooth setup overall. 


The only real drawback to this pick is a matter of style. Many vinyl wraps opt for an even, flat appearance without texture. Taking an opposite direction, this vinyl has a finely-printed pattern that isn’t apparent from far, but is clear when up close.

When planning to use the car wrap to accent your car’s existing appearance, the Diyah 3D Black Carbon-Fiber Vinyl Sheet is a fantastic option. Coming in a wide array of sizes, ranging from 720 square inches to 7,200 square inches. Basically, this wrap can tackle jobs of any size. Each roll comes with a well-designed twill weave, giving a raised texture that not only looks good, but also has functional benefits. When used outside of the vehicle, this ultraviolet-resistant material adds surface area to avoid overheating (and compromising the glue’s integrity). Neither prone to fading or water damage, this vinyl sheet reflects light. It keeps your hood cool and can add a glint of light when used inside the vehicle. Equipped with a self-adhesive backing, you can place it easily and count on it for long-term use. 


Bear in mind that, though this carbon-fiber vinyl wrap stretches fairly well, it requires heat to do so. The heat, in turn, adds to the viscosity of the glue and can result in a compromised hold. Careful measurements before installation mitigate this risk and result in a more even application.

Ever dreamed of the crisp and bold look of a chrome ride, making you virtually unmissable on the road? If so, consider the Nileel Car Chrome Mirror Vinyl Film. The vinyl film features a self-adhesive back, enabling smooth installation. Relatively elastic, getting it to curve smoothly over the whole car is light work. You can lift it back off, reposition it, and move it around during installation. Even after it’s been on your car for some time, the adhesive formula is made specifically to be gentle on car paint. Thin enough to maneuver easily, it cuts smoothly to size without impacting the color presentation. 


Entirely waterproof, this material wicks away moisture; and, thanks to the reflective properties, it also keeps the car cool. Coming in a package of roughly two feet by five feet, you’re likely to need more than one pack for a full wrap. That said, the pieces integrate seamlessly, resulting in a smooth chrome look. 


The only note is that this wrap is typically for exterior use — unless you want to turn your interior into a mirror. It features a bold chrome appearance that reflects sunlight on a noticeable scale. While fellow drivers will surely notice you, they may not appreciate the glare from the chrome.

Want to add a bit of flair to your car without it looking too obvious? Try the StyleTech Type S Wrap for its smooth appearance and easy installation. The black wrap comes in a foot-wide, 3-foot-long roll that works on all parts of the vehicle. You can use it inside the vehicle, smoothing out its appearance and refreshing the look of your ride. It might come at a higher price point, but it’s accounted for through the high quality of the adhesive and material. Protective against UV radiation and extremely resistant to damage from scratches, it both fortifies and reinvigorates your ride. The removable design doesn’t leave behind residue nor does it damage the paint beneath the wrap. It’s safe to use on all types of surfaces, provided they are smooth and flat. The heat-controlled adhesive contours it into position, giving you truly high-end results while requiring next to no tools. 


Bear in mind that this set only includes 3 square feet of wrap. If you’re looking to overhaul your ride, check your measurements and get more than one roll. That said, if accents are your focus, one roll is likely sufficient.

Our Verdict

Now that you know the nuances of tracking down the best car vinyl wrap, you can overhaul your ride’s look. The 3M Carbon Fibre Black Vinyl Wrap offers a sturdy, reliable option that provides a sleek look. If you’re looking to save some money, the Anself Stretchable Glossy Vinyl Film provides a lot of value at a reasonable price. 

With car vinyl wraps ranging from bright and shiny to matte and mature, you are in full control of your ride’s look. Happy wrapping!

Types of Car Vinyl Wraps

Calendared Vinyl

This type of vinyl material is cost-effective to manufacture and can be found in the form of car wraps. The main ingredient is polyvinyl chloride polymer, short for PVC. A plasticizing agent gets added in to add flexibility while a coloring agent gives it a hue. It is typically thick, due to the absence of a solvent for paint casting. Constructed by applying heat, it comes out as a paste that gets put through rollers. The end result is between three and six millimeters thick. It works best on flat parts of the car and is an ideal way to add accents. You can expect a lifespan of between one and seven years, though if you drive often, it will likely be on the lower end. 

Cast Vinyl

Though it’s more expensive to manufacture, this type of vinyl is generally preferred for car wraps — especially if you’re wrapping the whole car. It adds value in terms of durability, thanks to the plasticizing agent added during construction. It starts as a chemical slurry, referred to as organosol, and is poured on a casting sheet (thus the namesake). It’s then put on a conveyor belt and dried slowly, leaving behind a sheet. This is then rolled up for the later addition of adhesive. Most car vinyl wraps include this adhesive, but not all do. If you source your own glue, be sure it is high-viscosity, lest the two-millimeter thick vinyl show imperfections and air bubbles. 

Protective Vinyl

Not all vinyl wraps are meant as an aesthetic statement; so, while it’s less popular, the functionally-focused category is worth a note. Some drivers opt for a clear sheet of vinyl (made the same way as other vinyls, just without adding pigment). The primary purpose of this type of wrap is to prevent damage to the paint. It can help avoid issues with dust and debris in the air, as well as slow the fading of your car’s paint in the sunlight. Within this category, you can choose a matte look or varying degrees of gloss. As such, it can work to turn a matte paint job into a glossy one for a fraction of the cost. 

Colored Vinyl

Perhaps the most versatile type of wrap, you can find rolls of colored vinyl in any color you could imagine. Ranging from bright chrome to classic car colors like red and black, these wraps focus on aesthetics. Most feature gridmarks on the back, letting you make precise measurements. Stretchy and easy to apply, colored vinyl tends to last around five years in good condition. A perk of this type is that you can use it both inside the car and on the exterior. It comes either flat or textured and you can use it everywhere from your dashboard to your gearshift. 

Car Vinyl Wrap Pricing

  • $10 to $20: This is the base amount you will pay for most vinyl wraps that are one foot by five feet. Obviously, you have to buy a lot more if you want to cover larger areas or your entire vehicle.
  • $20 and up: The more surface area you want to cover, the more expensive the wrap will be. Some brands may be pricier than others. Higher-quality wraps work better on extremely curved surfaces and are more scratch-resistant. It can cost several hundred dollars for 375 square feet, for example. 

Key Features

Color/Style

Looking for the best vinyl car wrap colors? There are loads to choose from. Custom car wraps come in a variety of shades, depending on the manufacturer. In addition to color, you can also choose the type of texture you prefer as well as the finish. The possibilities are nearly endless. Ultimately, it's up to your individual style.

Size

The best vinyl car wrap brands sell their products in a variety of sizes to accommodate different people’s needs. The first thing you need to do is determine the size of the surface area that you want to wrap. Then choose a corresponding wrap that exceeds those dimensions. It's always better to have a little extra left over than not enough to complete the project.

Quality

Look for high-grade cast vinyl wraps. They are very sturdy and durable. Note that some companies, including 3M, make several types of vinyl, so be sure to choose one designed specifically for automotive use. It will last longer and conform to the various shapes and curves of a car. Most vehicle vinyl wraps last several months to a few years.

Other Considerations

  • Pressure-Activated. If vinyl is pressure-activated, that means you can slide around and reposition the adhesive during application. Once you find the sweet spot, you apply firm pressure. These vinyl wraps have air release channels that enable you to quickly and easily install the wrap without any bubbles.
  • Adhesives. Should the car vinyl wrap not come with an adhesive backing, you must supplement with a glue. If you want to avoid the extra step, make sure your set includes the adhesive agent. However, if you do source your own, check that it is a high-viscosity glue that will apply evenly and not result in air bubbles. 
  • Necessary Tools. Chances are, you’ve got a flat hand tool lying around your garage, but when it comes to removing air bubbles, you need something specific. Be sure that the kit includes one, or you’ll need to source a vinyl wrap tool elsewhere. Using proper supplies improves the end result significantly.
  • Enlist a Friend. Two heads are better than one, and four hands are better than two when wrapping your car. From handling the roll to helping you efficiently remove air bubbles, this is a two-person task. 
  • Rules and Regulations. When you register your vehicle, you note the color. If you change the color of your car, you’ve diverged from the official record on file. This can cause some legal issues. Make sure your registration and insurance are up to date and ensure that you are within the law when you make those changes. 
  • Warranty Concerns. If your car is covered under a service contract, double-check the underwriting. Though wraps come off easily and don’t damage the paint, it’s better to have all the facts before you get started. Look at the underwriting and make sure you aren’t at risk of voiding your warranty.
  • Installation. Not all wraps are the same when it comes to application. Some are easier to install than others. The best ones have flexible properties and allow you to reposition the vinyl. Many require an external heat source to set them in place and to conform to curves. Make sure to research the product to avoid any problems.

FAQs

You've got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: How much does it cost to vinyl wrap a car? 

To fully wrap your car, the safe bet is getting 65 square feet of vinyl. The average car rings in at around 60 square feet, and it’s better to have more vinyl wrap than not enough. Typically, it runs around $3.50 per square foot, or around $220 for the whole car. The bigger your ride, the more vinyl you need, and the pricier it gets. 

Q: Is it legal to vinyl wrap your car? 

Technically, yes, it is legal to wrap your car. However, some states and cities have their own laws on the matter. These delve into the realm of advertisements on vehicles and registration, should the vinyl wrap reclassify your vehicle. While not a crime, some wraps might go against your Homeowner’s Association regulations. Generally, though, standard wraps in regular colors are perfectly legal.

Q: How long does vinyl car wrap last? 

Some vinyl wraps purportedly last for up to seven years, but five is a safer bet. The wrap’s exposed to rain, dust, sunlight, and the constant wear and tear of everyday life. If your area is prone to extreme temperature changes, the adhesive will  likely lose its integrity more quickly. 

Q: Is it cheaper to wrap or paint a car? 

Assuming this is a DIY project and you want professional results for the least cost, vinyl wraps are preferred. A paint job requires the tools (including a compressor) and multiple layers of paint. Vinyl, conversely, is a simpler process with more consistently smooth results. Vinyl results in less waste and more time savings as well. 

Q: What can I wrap with vinyl? 

You can wrap almost anything you want. All you need is a clean flat surface. Avoid wrapping parts that get very hot, such as the engine and exhaust. You can wrap the entire exterior of the car and several of the interior pieces. Many people choose to wrap the trim pieces in their dash for a custom look. 

Q: How do I prep my car for wrapping?

You need to thoroughly clean the surface of your car. You could wash the car yourself or take it to a professional cleaner. Be sure to not apply any wax after washing, as this will hinder the vinyl’s adherence. Pay attention to areas where you have pits or chips in your paint. These will become amplified when wrapped. Before you apply the wrap, you can wipe down your surface with isopropyl alcohol to remove all residue. 

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