You don't have to own a green Bentley and make music videos in downtown LA to get into car wrapping. It's potentially a (very) effective way of giving your car a new lease of life - or promoting a business or cause.
Here are 10 things you (probably) didn't know about car wrapping...
If well cared for, a car wrap can last five years or more - but that's still well short of the average car's lifespan, which is 10-13 years. If you use a car wrap to promote a business, you can of course re-wrap the car if you want to change a logo, phone number, or other brand/service messaging.
A high quality car wrap will cost about the same as a high quality paint job. Prices vary but a wrap for a smaller car is roughly £1,200 - £1,500, while a larger car might cost £2,000 or more. Prices substantially lower than this may suggest poorer quality jobs. A professional job will be free of creases and bubbles many years after installation.
Taking your wrapped car through an automatic car wash could easily result in permanent damage being done to your vinyl. Aim to have your car hand washed at least once a week, and your wrap will last a lot longer and give you better value for money.
From vinyls that change colour, to those that mimic stainless steel and carbon fibre, to dazzling, crisp graphics - the possibilities of car wraps are endless.
While the capital outlay for a car wrap can be high, there's no denying that a wrap can be a very powerful advertising medium, with potentially hundreds (or thousands) of people seeing your car every day. A wrap can be designed to feature slogans, logos, brands, graphics or detailed photos of products.
It's possible to turn your vehicle into a mobile advert for a third party business or cause. This can generate a modest additional monthly income. Beware though that some wrap advertisers are scammers. In most cases they are easily identified because they ask you for an upfront fee to wrap your car; a real wrap advertiser will not do this.
In order for a car wrap to adhere to your vehicle's body, the surface has to be clean and dent/scratch free. Car wraps are therefore not the right option if your bodywork has suffered a battering.
A well-installed, high quality car wrap will protect your vehicle's paint job from sunlight, bumps, scratches and vandalism.
If you decide to remove or replace your car wrap, the process can go one of two ways. It may peel off in one piece (quicker and cheaper for you); or it may fall apart, leaving patches all over the bodywork (time consuming and expensive for you). It's a good idea to return to the team who installed the wrap in the first place. Removal can take a few hours and may set you back around £500.
Many car wrap installation firms offer a warranty - often offered through the wrap manufacturer (eg 3M). If you get a new wrap or otherwise have the wrap removed, this should be done before any warranty period ends. Be sure you understand what is and is not covered under any warranty.