We know you’ve got questions.
Am I really wrapping my vehicle in a giant sticker? Doesn’t it look sloppy or cheap when it’s applied? I heard that the process messing up your paint, is that true? Doesn’t it wear off after a few months?
Lucky for you, we happen to know a thing or two about the art of vinyl wrapping because we utilize this unique form of automotive expression on our pack of hard-charging Dodge Hellcat sedans. In fact, vinyl wrapping is an art form that is best attempted by artisans that have years of practical experience, and finding a technician or company with this unique skill set is way more of a challenge than simply popping on Yelp or Facebook Marketplace to find the shop with a 5-star review. Let’s be clear here when the wrap is done right, it is a thing of beauty and when the job is done poorly – you’ll want to park your ride in the deepest, darkest garage you can find.
So, let’s answer all of your burning questions and give you all you need to know about vinyl wrapping your car, truck, or SUV:
- History Of Vinyl Wrapping: Where It All Started
- Applications & Styles: What Types Of Wraps Are Out There
- The Facts: What You Need To Know About Vinyl Wraps
- Pro Tips For A Successful Wrap Project
- Making The Hellcat Stand Out Even More
We promise you’ll come away with just a little more information about this unique art form and that your ride will be turning heads in no time.
mpound called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which was discovered back in 1872 by accident. However, this white polymer compound was extremely brittle and due to a lack of technology, went basically untouched until 1926. That’s when a certain company by name of B.F. Goodrich (yes, the one that makes tires) invented a process of plasticization that, when applied to PVC, made the formerly brittle material strong and flexible. This new material could be formed into everything from water-resistant (hydrophobic) products like plumbing pipes, to ultra-thin vinyl sheets.
PVC sheets (what we now call vinyl wraps) would see a huge increase in usage during the 1980s in applications with the U.S. Military.
Large-format vinyl lettering and logos started to be used on the side of things like airplanes and huge ships. For the time, this was primarily only large-scale work, as huge die-cut machines were needed to slice out the letters from the vinyl adhesive sheets. Designs were simple.
As the 21st Century rolled around, and we all survived the dreaded Y2K bug, formerly unattainable technology started to surface with the invention of more powerful computers, higher quality printers, and more intricate die-cutting machines. The vinyl wrap evolved as a method of advertising for companies who were looking for help standing out in a crowded world by utilizing their cars as a rolling billboard.
Today, the industry has evolved beyond these simple die-cut shapes and into one that can produce custom-designed graphics that are tailor-made to fit the exact shape and curvature of a modern car. Only your imagination and your wallet are the limiting factors.
Applications & Styles: What Types Of Wraps Are Out There
There are two different types of “wraps” out there but they vary quite a bit in their construction and their customization potential:
PlastiDip or “Dip” is a rubber compound that can be applied to the entire surface of your vehicle and completely change the exterior color! In general, PlastiDip is a simpler process that works better when an owner is looking to change their vehicle’s color in its entirety. Although you can work in patterns since PlastiDip is sprayed on (vs. hand applied) intricate patterns become more of a challenge. Dipping is also less expensive than a full vinyl wrap but doesn’t last quite as long. Just like a full vinyl wrap, it can be removed with no damage to your vehicle’s original paint job. For a quick fix, this is the cheap and easy way to get it done but it has limitations.
Vinyl wraps are PVC sheet goods that are printed on large format printers and applied to your vehicle’s paint by hand. Since these wraps are printed on vinyl and can be cut into a variety of patterns, the opportunity for customization is frankly unmatched. Properly applied Vinyl will last longer than a PlastiDip but there is less room for error in the application process. You can also count on a vinyl wrap being up to 50% more in cost – depending on your vehicle.
For ultimate customization – this is the way to go and it’s how we help our fleet of Hellcats stand out even more than they already do.
The Facts: What You Need To Know About Vinyl Wraps
There’s a lot of misconception out there about this unique process, so let’s cover the facts and give you everything you need to know about vinyl wraps:
- The cost of vinyl wrap is considerably less than a quality paint job and will vary in price depending on the type of vehicle being wrapped. For example, a truck will cost more than a subcompact.
- Just like your vehicle’s paint job, a properly applied vinyl wrap requires specific maintenance to retain its original look. This includes things like only hand washing the vehicle and using a soap that’s specially designed for vinyl wraps.
- You can expect a good vinyl wrap to last 4 – 5 years without issue, as long as it’s well taken care of.
- Vinyl wraps DO NOT void the factory warranty.
- Although they dramatically change the entire look of your car, they are 100% removable and will not damage the factory paint.
- Unlike paint, it’s easy to achieve a variety of extremely unique looks with vinyl wrapping. This includes matte finishes, which, unlike paint, do not require complex maintenance regimens.
- When properly applied, it is difficult to tell that a vinyl wrap is not painted.
- Applying a vinyl wrap is an art form that takes skilled artisans many years of experience to perfect.
- Your vehicle surface must be clean and free of dips, dings, or dents – otherwise, the vinyl will not adhere properly.
- Damage can be repaired by simply repairing one section of vinyl and matching up the pattern.
- Vinyl provides an awesome protectant for your factory paint job and having it on can actually ADD to the value of your vehicle.
Pro Tips For A Successful Wrap Project
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Here are a few more things to keep in mind prior to wrapping your vehicle so that your wrap job goes off without a hitch:
- Keep in mind the reason for wrapping your vehicle. Are you looking to make a statement with your supercar? Advertise your brand? Protect your factory paint? All of these applications will provide a separate set of challenges that you’ll need to keep in mind when looking for a shop.
- You can expect a good wrap to start showing signs of age around the 4 – 5 year mark and be toast around 7 years of age. Of course, this will depend on the environment you’re in and the maintenance performed. Keep your expectations reasonable!
- Just because it looks like someone performs quality vinyl wraps in a photos doesn’t mean the real results actually match up! Things like bubbling or bumps on the surface of your wrap rarely show up in photos. Reputation means more than anything.
- Consider hiring a shop that has been in business for several years, has experience with hundreds (if not thousands) of wraps, and has real-life examples that they can show you. Here, word of mouth referrals are going to be your best friend, especially because of the fly-by-night nature of the automotive wrap business.
Making The Hellcat Stand-Out Even More
We Go Fast And Look Good Doing It
At Xtreme Xperience, we love to bring real speed and real supercars to the masses. There’s nothing better than shrieking around a perfectly set up road – course in a vehicle that’s designed to take you to the edge and back. Actually, maybe there is. How about looking outstanding while shrieking around the road course? Not only are we currently wrapping our fleet of 8 Hellcat Widebodys but we’ve wrapped, clear bra’d and applied paint protection film to dozens and dozens of vehicles.
When we roll to the track on the weekends, we want our cars to look as good as they sound and we take a huge amount of pride in being able to bring enthusiasts and non enthusiasts alike into our paddocks.
See you at the track!