Bow optional

Bow optional

Is vinyl wrap in your car’s future?

By Jennifer Hadley 12/19/2013

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By now we’ve all seen those highly customized advertisements on wheels for things like gyms and energy drinks. You’re on the Foothill (210) Freeway when a Mini Cooper outfitted to look like a can of Red Bull drives by and you silently give thanks to the universe that you don’t have to drive that thing. These wrapped cars, trucks and buses are nothing more than the post-modern Oscar Meyer Weiner truck, right? Maybe not.

Garish advertising aside, the technology used in customizing your car without having it painted is actually pretty sweet, which is undoubtedly why companies like 3M have hopped on the car-wrapping bandwagon. And with good reason. As it turns out, vinyl wrapping your car may actually offer some pretty cool advantages over painting it.

Exoticvehiclewraps.com provides a great deal of information about these procedures, and also lists seven unique benefits to wrapping over having your car painted. Citing reasons such as reduced cost, reduced installation time, protection of your vehicle from the elements and countless color options, I admit, they make a pretty good case for vinyl over paint.

Hands down the biggest advantage to wrapping a car that they cite is the fact that it can help the owner maintain resale value of the vehicle. Apparently keeping the manufacturer’s original paint is a bit of a selling point. In the event you want to vinyl wrap your car in key lime and violet but find the demand for a Toyota Camry with those colors a bit lower than you anticipated the wrap can be removed in no time.  

Another site, wrapform.com, also makes the case for wrapping your car in 2014. They point out warranties on cars may be voided if you opt to paint it, whereas with a vinyl wrap your warranty remains intact. Moreover, they claim that vinyl wrapping allows you to hide otherwise annoying dings and scratches. I doubt you can cover a giant dent in your passenger rear door like the one I’ve got, but for little dings and boo-boos, vinyl offers an attractive Band-Aid effect.

Locally, Elevated Auto Concepts (elevatedautoconcepts.com) has wrapped the likes of a 2012 Panamera S, a Lexus GS350 F SPORT, a Ferrari FF, a BMW F10, and most recently claims to have wrapped “the very first Infiniti Q50 in the world.” Their work is viewable on both their Facebook page and Web site, and there’s no denying that the cars look rad. The metallic finishes in particular are eye-catching to say the least.

I was surprised to find that it’s actually difficult to find very many people who have anything bad to say about opting for vinyl over paint. Some Web sites caution that finding talented installers can be tricky, and hack vinyl installers will leave your car a bubbly mess. And there are a few people here and there who claim that sun will damage vinyl faster than it will damage paint. I found one lone source that said that, but I had to search long and hard to find them, and when I did it was buried in an article on Autoweek.com from 2012. There wasn’t any evidence that the claim was true either.  

Indeed, even when using search terms like “vinyl wrap is bad for cars” there weren’t a lot of people advising against vinyl when you’re ready for a change.  

Now, I don’t have any intention of wrapping my car, but that’s just because I don’t care what my car looks like. It’s just not my thing. However, I do care a little bit about what I look like, and from where I’m standing a vinyl wrap seems a little like getting Botox, whereas painting your car is a bit more like a facelift. One is an aesthetic upgrade which, at its root, does not change the structure of the object in question. The other actually changes the entire composition of the target.  

Since I’m a “less is more” kind of girl, I’d have to say that if I were planning to give my car a facelift in 2014, I’d opt for vinyl wrapping over paint.  

Contact Jen Hadley at jmhadley624@yahoo.com.

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