Adhesive Vinyl vs. Paint

While enamel, urethane, and lacquer have been the traditional materials used to paint a car, the latest trend is to use adhesive vinyl, a process called car wrapping. We mentioned car wrapping in a previous article about temporary fixes you can make to a leased car. If you own a car and want to improve the paint job or you’re in school for car repair training and want to know about the latest car technology, you’ll want to know about both of these processes. Here are their advantages and disadvantages:

Adhesive Vinyl vs. Paint: Which Process Is Right for Your Car

A paint job is permanent and more reliable, but over the years, it can rust, crack and fade. You have to get the whole vehicle painted—even if only one portion is a problem—to make sure the whole vehicle looks right. That makes painting expensive. With vinyl, you can simply peel off the bad/old/damaged area and replace it.

Car wrapping can be done in a shorter time than painting. Vinyl takes a few days to install while painting can take a week to ten days. They both last over five years; vinyl can last a little longer, actually—up to ten years.

While car wrapping used to be more expensive, the methods are now similar in cost. Wrapping uses sheets of material, however, so the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the piece of vinyl, and therefore, the more expensive it will be. If you want the vinyl to have a lot of detail, especially in funky spots on the car, you are going to pay more than you would with paint.

As with any other material and service, you get what you pay for. The quality and price vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the final look will depend on the talent at the outlet where you get the job done.

Automotive training technicians who are passionate about their own cars, typically invest a great deal of time changing the look and style of their car. To learn more about upgrading the look of your car, check out our free eBook, The ATC Car Painting Checklist, written for current and aspiring automotive training technicians and collision technicians.

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