Are you bored with your car? If you’re tired of how your car drives, its accessories and extras, or how much mileage it gets, there’s not much you can do except start the search for a new vehicle. However, if you’re bored with your car’s appearance, you don’t need to start test-driving new options. You have several options to transform how your vehicle looks. Many people who want to change up the exterior of a vehicle get a custom paint job, while others look into vinyl vehicle wraps.

Both of these are great options, but while they can result in the same look, they do so in very different ways. If you’re uncertain whether to go with a car wrap or a custom paint job, it will help to know the pros and cons of each. Let’s take a look at how these options differ so you can determine which works best for you.


The Cost of Vehicle Wraps vs PaintingThe Cost of Vehicle Wraps vs Painting

One of the first things many people want to know is cost. Is wrapping a car more expensive, or does it cost more to get a custom paint job? As with most things, a number of factors go into the cost of transforming your vehicle. Overall, though, a custom paint job is typically more expensive. That’s because there’s often more time involved, especially if your car’s current paint is damaged. In some cases, the old coat may have to be sanded off in order to create a stable surface for the new paint.

If you get a quote for a custom paint job that is very low, be sure you see a sample of the painter’s work first. These cheaper paint jobs often don’t do as many coats of paint, which can leave the final product looking lackluster, and it’s likely to degrade quickly. They may use lower-quality paint, too, which won’t look as good.

Overall, the cost of wrapping a vehicle depends on the graphics you want and how large the vehicle is. On the other hand, a custom paint job can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, especially if you want cool metallic paint. Even using standard paint, you’re still looking at thousands of dollars at a minimum. 


How Long Does it Take?

Another important thing to keep in mind is how long it will take to apply the wrap or paint. Typically, a custom paint job can take anywhere from three or four days to over a week, depending on how many coats are needed and how long it takes to prep the car and for the coats to dry. It also depends on how busy the body shop is. If they’ve got a lot of cars to work on, it could take weeks for your car to be fully painted and ready to go.

With vehicle wraps, much of the work is done without the need for your car to be left anywhere. You and the design team work to create your wraps using graphics software. Once you approve the final design, it’s then printed on the vinyl. Only when that is done do you need to take your car in and have the wrap actually installed. The only prep work that has to be done is that the car needs to be cleaned, so it will be washed and fully dried. Then the vinyl will be installed. A team of several people can wrap a car in a day, and at most, you’ll be without your vehicle for a couple days. If you’re doing a partial wrap, it will take even less time.


How Do they Differ in Durability?How Do they Differ in Durability?

Durability is closely related to quality. If you get a low-quality paint job, that paint is likely going to be susceptible to scratches, chips, and fading. However, if you get a quality paint job using top-of-the-line paint, you may never have to have your car repainted. Of course, that kind of quality is going to cost you. 

Vinyl typically lasts around ten years, though it can last longer if you take care of your vehicle by parking it in the garage or covering it during a storm. Good quality ink and vinyl typically don’t fade from direct sunlight for years. While you may have to replace it more often than a high-quality paint job, you’ll likely find you could do so several times without paying the same amount as you’d pay for that paint. 


What if You Hate the Final Look?

What if you decide you hate your car’s new look once it’s done? Or maybe you get bored with it again after six months or a year. What can you do then? With a vinyl wrap, it’s quite easy to remove it and put a new wrap in place. You can even just have the wrap taken off and return to your car’s previous color. The paint isn’t removed or damaged by the vinyl, so your car will look like it always did once the wrap is removed.

On the other hand, a custom paint job is much more permanent. You can’t just have the paint sanded away and return to the old color. Instead, you have to have your car painted again, and it’s going to cost the same or even more than before. This is why you need to make certain the color you’ve selected for your custom paint job is the color you really want. If you decide you don’t like it, it’s not something you can quickly or cheaply undo. 


The fact that you can easily remove a vinyl wrap is also good for resell value. If you decide to sell off one of your company vehicles, you can easily have all of your branding removed. That’s not the case with a custom paint job. If you had custom artwork painted on it, you might find a buyer with similar tastes, but few people will want to buy a vehicle with a business logo. You’ll likely have to pay to have it repainted before you can sell it.


What Options Do You Have?

With paint, most body shops have a standard assortment of colors for you to choose from. Of course, you can go with a custom color and have it mixed for you, but that can be a little more costly. Metallic paints and other options are also often more costly than basic paint. If you want graphics, details, or other additions, those are also going to cost you, both in price and time. A full mural on the side of your vehicle could take weeks or months. 

Vinyl vehicle wraps, on the other hand, don’t have those limitations. You can have a wrap that simply changes the color of your car, of course, but you can also add graphics and even photos to it. If you own a business, you can put your company logo and photos of your products or your team on the side of your van. If you’re an artist, you can create custom artwork to go on your wrap. 

You can do anything you want, and you can use as many colors as possible combinations. There are no limits, and you don’t need an artist to paint anything on your car. The same experienced vinyl installer can install everything from a very plain wrap to one covered in complex images and a rainbow of colors. Wraps allow you to express yourself and get creative!


How is Maintenance Different?

Maintaining your custom paint job requires regular washing, and you’ll want to put a coat of wax on it. You’ll need to clear off any spills and bird droppings as soon as you can so they don’t damage the paint. Parking under trees may be something you want to avoid, too. 

On the other hand, vinyl wraps aren’t as susceptible to damage from staining. You also don’t have to put any wax or other protective coat on them. Simply wash them regularly with a damp cloth. If you go through a car wash, using one that is touchless is preferable.


Which is Better?

There are pros and cons to both, but overall, most people will find that a vinyl vehicle wrap is more affordable, more reliable as far as quality goes, and can be installed much more quickly. There are a lot of variables with paint—you need high quality paint, and the painting needs to be done by a professional. It takes time for that, and you will find that you have to pay a good amount for quality work. 

If you have a very expensive car and aren’t afraid to drop a good amount of money on a paint job done by a qualified professional, having it painted may be the right choice for you. For most people, however, a vehicle wrap is the more affordable option that will remain to look great for years and can easily be removed if you change your mind.


TNT Signs is Here for All Your Vinyl Wrap Needs

Once you’ve decided you want a vinyl wrap, you need a partner who can print and install it. TNT Signs can do both, and we have years of experience with wraps. Our design team will help you finalize the amazing look you want, and our installation crew will have your vehicle wrapped in no time. Reach out today to learn more or to schedule your vinyl wrap installation.