How Long Does It Take To Wrap A Car?

Car modification is one of the fun aspects of car ownership that focuses on the after-market tweaking of its features. Most of the changes you make to the car body are for it to meet your tastes, especially in appearance. Talking of appearance car wraps are some of the best options when it comes to the exterior décor of the vehicle.

As the name hints, they are wrappings that you set on your car and are mostly made from vinyl. Aside from decoration, body protection is one of the many benefits of wrapping a car. When you decide to go this way of body modification, one of the questions you may have is how long does it take to wrap a car?

As with any car modification project, you need to focus on the time factor. To give you a clear picture of how long it may take, this piece takes an in-depth look at the entire concept of car wrapping.

how to wrap a car yourself

Different Types of Car Wraps

As earlier indicated, car wrapping involves covering your vehicle’s exterior with vinyl and maybe the whole body in the form of decals and stickers placed in specific areas. When focusing on how to wrap a car, you have to know the different types of car wraps. Highlighted are the ones you will come across.

Glossy wrap

If you want your car to have a shiny aspect, the glossy is one of the best car wrap materials to try out. This wrapping looks similar to your vehicle’s body finish, and it adds an edge of smoothness. The shininess makes it stand out, making it ideal for decorative purposes.

It comes in a variety of colors, including metal flakes, where you pick the most preferable, mostly the nearest to your vehicle’s paintwork.


Matte is the opposite of the glossy wrap, taking up a duller look. For a long, it has not been such a popular pick for automobiles making it seem a rarity. However, many car enthusiasts appreciate its uniqueness, which makes it ideal for when going for a custom design.

Due to its dual nature, matter wraps do not reflect light. It has some stylishness in it, specifically if you target a classic look, or an appearance suitable for the auto-sport scene. If done professionally with some tweaks on the headlights, it can upgrade your vehicle’s aesthetic value.

Satin Wrap

Talk about a mix of glossy and matte hues, and you get a clear picture of the satin car wrap. It is shinier compared to matte, though it does not match up to the glossy wrap. It is very versatile and features in various car wrap reviews due to its adaptability.

The wrap does not scream too much; hence, it is suitable for executive car applications where it portrays a level of class and professionalism.

Chrome Wrap

The inclusion of chrome wrap among the different varieties of car wraps is debatable by a section of automobile enthusiasts. Most place it under the glossy wrap class, though it can stand on its own due to its uniqueness.

This wrapping is unique, giving your car a mirrored surface, meaning it is highly reflective. It is a suitable type for auto-sport and advertising, where its glimmer will draw attention. Some territories may ban the use of chrome due to the potential traffic dangers it has due to its high reflection.


The carbon wrap is common in racing circuits, where it adds to the rugged look of the circuit-oriented vehicles. It comes in two forms, where one has the texture of carbon, while the other features carbon imprints on its surface.

It can come in the either glossy or matte form and can be the best vinyl for motorcycles, primarily for racing purposes due to its versatile look.


Brushed wraps have a low reflection, and they mimic the real brushwork. There are two types, with one having the brushed texture, while the other has prints looking like the brush strokes. The former looks more authentic as it has a rugged feeling and looks.


Custom car wraps have the image or print of your choice, etched during preparation. When searching for ‘car wraps near me,’ look for a place that offers custom printing if you want special characters to feature in your wrapping.

There are also several vinyl wrap designs to check out if you want decals.

Car Wrapping Procedure

With the background knowledge of the different wraps, you now proceed to an essential part, the fixing procedure. It is not a difficult task to pull through, and after a few trials, you can do it correctly so long as you abide by the following steps.

how to wrap a car

Step 1: Cleaning the Surface

You start by cleaning the vehicle to ensure it is free from dirt, which may prevent you from correctly setting the wrap. Do a thorough cleaning with sufficient soap and water, and you may want to bring in a pressure washer to deal with stubborn stains.

If you seek professional vehicle wrapping services, they may handle the cleaning part. In such a setting, aside from ensuring there is no dirt on the surface, the purpose of cleaning is to maintain the tidiness of the room they perform the wrapping.

Once the car is dry enough, work is ready to start.

Step 2: Checking For Anomalies

Wrapping requires a smooth and even surface for it to stick perfectly. It calls for a thorough inspection to check for damages such as dents and deep scratches. You should sort out the anomalies for the vinyl to stick properly.

Step 3: Preparation

Preparation is a critical step as you set the surface ready for the vinyl. You cannot afford to miss this stage as it may affect how the vinyl will appear on the car’s exterior. Here, you bring surface cleaners to get rid of residual dirt.

Some manufacturers, such as 3m vinyl wrap, have a cleaner as part of their package, and it is compatible with their covering materials. You then remove parts that can get into the way of wrappings, such as door handles and other protrusions.

Step 4: Setting Up The Vinyl

After cleaning the surface using the cleaner, you can now bring out the vinyl to modify your car’s body. Before application, it would help to stretch the wrapping material, to aid in fitting areas such as the bumper and side mirrors.

Putting the vinyl requires precision to avoid bubble formation, which makes the work look unprofessional. Carefully remove the backing paper and on your surface, start working at the middle area as you move to the edges.

You need a squeegee to aid in the alignment of the vinyl, where you press on it as you move outwards to remove any entrapped air. When finished, you can remove the top cover from the wrapper.

Step 5: Let the Wrapper Dry

After wrapping your car, you let it stay for 24 hours, which is the recommended vinyl wrap cure time. It needs some heat for it to stick well. Automobile wrapping professionals may use a hot air blower to hasten the curing process. When using the blower, you need to be careful as too much heat may damage the wrap.

How Long Does It Take To Wrap A Car?

A direct answer to this question is that it may take 2-5 days, depending on many factors. Among the significant factors to consider is your expertise. If you are a pro in this form of modification, it may take two days maximum to complete it.

If you are a beginner, it may take time, characterized by trial and error before you get it right. An auto modification joint may take a shorter duration, like 36 hours, to clear up the job. The issue with going to an auto-tuning place is that the costs might be hefty.

You also consider the labor factor, where if there are many hands, you can complete it in two days. If you are doing it alone, it may take some time before you complete it. In such a situation, you tackle the wrapping in sections, completing one at a time.

The other factor to know about is the type of vehicle you are tuning. Smaller vehicles take a shorter time, while larger ones such as buses and lorries will take longer.

On average, 2-3 days is enough to complete the wrapping process, factoring in the 24-hour curing step.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Car Wrapping


The following are some of the perks of wrapping up your car.

  • It improves the aesthetic value of your car. You can choose from plenty of wrapping designs and types to get the desired look.
  • The vinyl covering is cheaper. When looking at car wrap vs. paint, the former is affordable compared to a quality paint job.
  • This act of modification is suitable for commercial purposes, such as marketing and advertising.
  • Wrapping is very fast and can take three days to complete if you know your way around.
  • The modification also protects your car’s surface from scratches and similar physical damage.
  • Improving the resale value of your car, especially when you consider the state of the body, is a key determinant of what it will fetch.
  • The wrappings last longer, with some having a lifeline of up to ten years.
  • You have a variety of colors to pick from, most of which will blend perfectly with your vehicle.
  • The vinyl is removable, and you can get rid of it easily when you want a change of appearance.


Despite having several benefits, car wrapping has some disadvantages that you should know about, some of which are highlighted below.

  • If you are not a professional, setting the vinyl can be a hard and complicated task.
  • Low-quality wrappings may damage the car’s paintwork, more so when removing it.
  • Cars with complex bodywork may be hard to wrap.

The Car Wrap Process YouTube Video

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How Long Does A Vinyl Wrap Last On A Car?

The durability element is one of the standout things about using a vinyl wrap that makes it popular. The thick and tough vinyl can serve you up to ten years, while the less sturdy one can maintain your car for 3-5 years. Be keen on the one you are looking for and ensure it is long-lasting.

How Hard Is It To Wrap A Car?

Wrapping a car is not hard, though initially, it may be difficult. However, with several trials, you can hack it and be a pro. A thing to note is that you set the vinyl sheet in the middle of the surface to cover, then work towards the edges. It is a simple yet effective technique that ensures you do not have to deal with bubbles or creases.

Do Car Wraps Damage The Paint?

On the contrary, one of the things that the vehicle vinyl covering accomplishes is protecting the paintwork. It does the job perfectly, particularly if you get the right product. Low-quality products may damage the paint due to poor adhesion or lack of uniformity. You may notice the damage when removing the vinyl.

Should I Get My Car Wrapped Or Painted?

The car paint vs. wrap debate is a long-standing one, and it depends on your preference and budget. Painting is quite expensive, though it is long-lasting and sturdier. Car wraps are affordable, and you may get durable ones that can serve you for almost a decade.

The application of the car vinyl covering is straightforward and easy to tackle compared to painting.

Can You Go Through A Carwash With The Vinyl Wrap?

Most of the wrappings have waterproof properties, meaning a session at the carwash cannot affect their quality. They attach firmly to the car surface; they are safe to use in such an environment.

Final Word

Wrapping is one of the popular ways to modify your car’s exterior, allowing you to take advantage of affordability, durability, and upgraded aesthetic value. This article takes a deeper look at the tuning concept, touching on areas like the different types and how to wrap your car.

As a beginner, it can take you an average of 2-3 days to complete this task. The curing stage is essential, and you must give it a curing time of 24 hours. Follow the highlighted steps on the application to achieve the preferred look on your car.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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