Color Change & Paint Replacement Wraps

Change your car's color without committing to a color or an expensive paint job

Vinyl color change films allow car owners to update the look of their vehicle with a fresh finish or achieve paint colors which weren’t available to them from the dealer, all while retaining the original paint underneath.

Vinyl Wrap vs. Traditional Automotive Paint

Vinyl vs paint graphic

In many cases, a vinyl vehicle wrap is less expensive than paint

We get calls everyday where customers are under the impression that a vinyl vehicle wrap is cheaper than paint, and it is, but it’s also not. The cost of wrapping as well as paint, can vary greatly from shop to shop. The costs rely on experience of installers, type of materials used and most importantly, quality of work. Wraps are not for every situation and you have to also keep in mind that paint, is permanent!

Have you ever wondered how much a good quality paint job costs? We’re talking about a GOOD quality paint job. We've seen the going rate for a nice quality refinish ranging anywhere between $12K-$20K on most cars! Of course though, there are lots of “cheap” paint shops which specialize in fast in-and-out style paint for vehicles and you can likely repaint your whole car for under a few thousand dollars.

A more common cost to repaint the average vehicle in the Bay Area can run between $3,000-$8,000 for what could be considered a "decent" paint job by many. But remember, PAINT IS PERMANENT! A permanent $4,000 paint job really isn’t going to be that great of quality. These middle range paint jobs will lack the additional prep work required for optimal durability and aftermarket paint is never as durable as factory paint. Aftermarket paint usually starts to fail within 5 years and when it does happen, you can't just peel it off like you could with a vinyl wrap, the whole car will need to be sanded down again and re-coated.

We’ll admit though, some cars just NEED paint.. and we’ll get into more detail on that later.

Military green color wrap on Ford Raptor

Why paint doesn't always makes sense

The fact is, nobody should be getting a cheap paint job on a brand new vehicle unless they have the $12-$20K to shell out on the high end refinish. You’ve heard it before, you pay for what you get. And if you didn’t pay that much, don’t expect to get a whole lot, especially when it comes to paint. If you have a fairly new vehicle or maybe a lease, you may not want, or be able to make permanent vehicle customizations. There is a time and place for everything. For a newer vehicle or one that still has a good finish intact, you’ll need to take all of this into consideration. Vehicle factories use acid baths and plasma treatments to create the optimal conditions for the paint to bond to. Factories have state of the art facilities to meet EPA and other regulatory guidelines so they can use more "aggressive" chemicals that smaller automotive body shops simply can't. These paints have a harder finish and as a result have better durability to the elements. Aside from aftermarket paint not being as durable as the original, if you decided to repaint a brand new car, chances are that you very likely just devalued the resale of your vehicle.

Over the years, we have wrapped many repainted vehicles. It is surprising to see just how many paint shops there are who just don’t remove crucial parts, such as lights and rubber moldings. They literally mask, sand and spray. When these parts don’t get removed, there is un-painted areas and areas where the paint is much thinner and more likely to peel. You'll even end up with over-painted areas where paint was never supposed to be in the first place. Most critically, these poorly repainted cars have bad paint adhesion on edges. We see it all the time, and you’ll see it eventually if you go the cheap paint route. Sending your car to the body shop for paint also means your vehicle will be out of commission for upwards of 3-6 weeks!

When a vinyl wrap makes sense

Vinyl wraps allow anyone to change the color of their vehicle without the change being permanent. You can get exotic colors and specialty finishes that are difficult to achieve with paint, for literally a fraction of the cost of a good paint job. The average price of a full coverage external paint wrap is between $4,000-$5,000 for most vehicles and most finishes. The turn around time for a full wrap is only about 4 to 6 business days from the time you drop your car off, to when you pick it up from our shop! Our professional installers expertly disassemble parts on your vehicle so that the vinyl wrap tucks in deep, covers the all of the original color of your vehicle visible from outside and so we can ensure your new wrap lasts for years to come.

The advantages of paint without the high costs

A car wrap provides you with a comparable finish of paint, without the costs and commitment associated with real paint. The results are amazing, have outstanding durability and are sure to set your car apart from the next. Our customers wash and detail their car wraps not much differently than they did their factory finish. We only use the top name brands in vinyl to guarantee our customers have the best longevity on their vinyl wrap.

Cadillac CTS with chrome blackout

The coolest part, and one of the BIGGEST advantages of a vinyl wrap…. it is 100% removable without causing any damage to your OEM finish! Changed your mind within a year or two? No problem! Maybe that car is a lease… yeah, we can put it back to normal. Sometimes we get the guy who has a special edition paint color from the factory… no worries there either, that beautiful paint is protected underneath your vinyl wrap the whole time. Vinyl wraps are really meant to be removed, even though many of our customers just leave them on for the life of the vehicle.

Manufacturers have a warranted clean removal period which is usually around 5 years. This means that your car wrap will come off clean with no messy residue and no damage to OEM paints when professionally removed within the warranty period. In our experience, if the vinyl wrap is removed past the warranty period, it will still come off fairly clean but may leave a bit more residue behind than if it was removed sooner. So the beauty of vehicle wraps, is that your finish underneath is protected just as it would be with paint protection film. Keep in mind that horizontal areas such as the hood, roof and trunk may get more wear than the surrounding areas of your vehicle. As a result, the life expectancy can be reduced. If you garage your vehicle, you can drastically extend the life of the wrap upwards of 12+ years!

When a vinyl wrap makes sense

We need to clarify, there can be downsides to wrapping your vehicle and vinyl wraps are not a magical fix to worn or damaged paint. If you leave a wrap on too long and let it deteriorate and visibly breakdown, beyond it's expected durability, there is a possibility that you can permanently damage your paint underneath.

A wrap can be seen as an investment, and as such, should be cared for properly. We've been doing this before many shops in the area even existed. We have installed vinyl on thousands of cars and seen first hand the results of properly maintaining a wrap, as well as not doing so. Customers who didn't take care of their wraps, let the film fade, crack and peel often resulted in damaged to their paint. Just as you would with anything else you cared for, you should make sure to maintain it. We highly recommend regularly washing the vehicle and using care products, and we also encourage adding a ceramic coating package to your install to help extend the life expectancy.

If your paint is in poor condition, it will need to be either repaired and in a “paint ready” state, or it just needs to be repainted and called done. This is when the cost difference between a cheap paint job and a vinyl wrap may not be justified. If your paint looks a little less than fresh, then you’ll need to know that vinyl will show all the little imperfections in your paint finish. These can be anywhere from chips, flaking paint, scratches, even dust in your factory clear coat… and yes, you can likely get a paint job for much less than vinyl, since an “okay” look is very much acceptable at this point.

Peeling and sun damaged paint job on car roof

If your vehicle is older than 10 years, the chances are that you aren’t trying to preserve your paint… which is a major selling point of vinyl wraps. While a quality repaint finish is going to cost you upwards of $9,000, you can probably find a lot of cheap “scuff and spray” paint shops which will refinish your whole vehicle for as low as a couple thousand using cheap single stage paints. It's not ideal, but it will definitely look better than faded peeling paint. If all you care about is to get rid of your fading paint, then a vinyl wrap isn’t for you and we don't recommend it.

Check out 3M's latest
2080 wrap colors

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Check out Avery's latest
SW900 wrap colors

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See More: Check out our Gallery page for more photos on color change vinyl wraps

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