How Long Does a Vinyl Vehicle Wrap Installation Take?

Have you ever noticed brightly colored vehicles on the road, perhaps with graphics or lettering to advertise a business? In most cases, the total vehicle transformation is the result of a vinyl wrap installation that covers the whole car or different parts such as the hood and trunk. It’s a great way to showcase your business or your personality.

So how long does it take to wrap a car? Since these custom wraps can cover everything from door handles and windows to headlights and auto bodies, it’s reasonable to assume that it can take a long time to wrap a car. Still, most shops offering the service have their own time-tested process to wrap a vehicle without taking weeks to finish the project.

Though providing a specific timeframe for a wrap is generally difficult, understanding the process can help you prepare for the service and know what to expect. If you’re thinking about getting your car wrapped in a vinyl film covering, consult the guide below for all the details you need.

Custom Vehicle Wrap Color Change

The Vehicle Wrapping Process

The process for wrapping a car is detailed. Though it could take several hours to a whole day to complete a vinyl vehicle wrap, the entire process from start to finish could take up to a week depending on your needs, preferences, and decisions.

Finding a Professional Installer

Not everybody has the skills, training, and equipment to wrap a vehicle correctly without affecting its original paint job. It’s always best to go to the right shop that can handle the project from start to finish. The complexity of your design and preferences may require specialty skills, so research local vehicle wrap shops near you to ensure you select the one with the most experience and best customer testimonials.

Creating Your Wrap Design

When answering “How long does it take to wrap a car?” you’ll find that the design process for car wraps can take longer than you might expect. In fact, one of the longest stages in the car wrapping process is creating a stellar design that’ll help your car stand out from other vehicles.

Your selected vehicle wrap shop’s design team should have lots of experience creating unique designs using special software that features a model of your vehicle. This feature allows you and the designers to decide where to put certain graphics, lettering, tints, and wraps. You might even have your own pictures to contribute to your vinyl wrap design.

Your budget, practical designs, and the designer’s expertise will ensure you have an amazing vehicle wrap for your car. Depending on the complexity of the design, the team may estimate the wrap installation to take one to two hours or one to two days. Once you and the wrap shop agree on the timeframe and design, it’s time to produce the custom vinyl wrap.

Getting Your Vinyl Wrap

When designing vehicle wraps, wrap companies create them on computers at 1/20th the scale of the actual wrap. The designers will take your preferences, needs, photos, and details discussed during the initial consultation to create the finished design. They’ll send their creation to you for your approval.

It’s physically impossible to print full-scale graphics for car wraps so the team will print everything in sections. The adhesive on the vinyl is heat and pressure-sensitive, which allows a good installer to adjust the wrap to get the perfect placement before bonding it into place.

Preparing Your Car for the Vinyl Film Installation

Before getting your car wrapped, you must prepare it first. That means taking a trip to the car wash.

When wrapping a car in vinyl, the vehicle must be free of dirt and other particles that could affect the smoothness of the wrap’s finish so it’s best to spend time at a local car wash to thoroughly clean every part of the vehicle’s exterior. Hand washing may be best to ensure all nooks and crannies are clean with no dirt, dust, or grime.

It’s best to hand wash or visit a car wash the day before your wrap appointment. Simply wash the vehicle, then park it to keep it clean. When your vehicle arrives at the shop, the installers will use alcohol and other agents to provide a secondary cleaning.

Applying the Vinyl Wrapping

How long a wrap takes to get on a car can vary. A full wrap will undoubtedly take a longer time to do than a decal application. The size of the vehicle and the difficulty of the custom design contribute to the time it takes to get the car wrapped.

The process will occur indoors in a climate-controlled environment. The installation team will ensure the wrap and graphics are in the correct placement on the vehicle. The installers will be cautious when smoothing problematic edges, applying wraps around headlights and other features, and handling window tints according to local laws regarding perforated vinyl window tints.

Vehicle wrap

How Long a Car Wrap Takes

How long does it take to wrap a car? Though the process is generally faster than a new paint job for cars, the time it takes to get a vehicle wrapped depends on various factors such as the quality of the vinyl film, whether you have a good installer, and whether you choose a custom design for your vehicle wrap. The process also depends on the type of vehicle wraps you consider, which include partial wraps, full wraps, and half wraps.

Full Wraps

Many people prefer full wraps for their vehicles. This type of wrap on cars can offer a total color change, protection against scratches, and the ability to feel like you’re driving a completely new, upgraded vehicle.

Though it could take a day to finish a full wrap on a vehicle, the type of wrap you install could affect the completion timeline. For instance, chrome vinyl wraps, matte wraps, and carbon fiber wraps are different materials with varying installation timelines. Your installer will consider that factor and others when providing a time estimate for your full wrap.

Partial Wraps with Lettering

Partial wraps are like wraps for hoods only or wraps that go on doors, leaving the rest of the auto body alone. Partial wraps can also include customized lettering for business advertisements or other information you want the public to see. When getting a partial wrap, you can generally expect it to take a couple of hours or less unless the custom design includes additional lettering and graphics.

Half Wraps

Like full wrappings, half wraps take longer to apply than partial wraps. On average, a half wrap takes about two to four hours to get laid and bonded onto half of a vehicle. The more sections the installer has to apply your custom design to, the longer it will take.

What Determines How Long It Takes to Get Your Vehicle Wrapped?

To recap, you won’t know how long it will take to wrap your vehicle until you find a qualified wrap company, choose a design, and determine if you want a full, half, or partial wrap. The actual installation can take anywhere from an hour to more than nine hours. Still, the design phase can take several days if you can’t agree on it.

If you want to transform your vehicle, consider taking the time to get a full wrap. The least time-consuming wrap on a vehicle would be a partial wrap with lettering.

Car Paint Job vs a Wrapped Vehicle

It might be surprising to learn that getting a custom paint job to alter your vehicle can take longer than getting a wrap. With a vehicle paint job, you and the auto body team must meticulously plan and lay out everything before applying the paint by hand. Once the first coat of paint goes on, it needs time to dry.

Choosing to paint your vehicle a unique design featuring lots of colors means waiting several days or weeks for your vehicle to be ready. Yet, installing a vinyl wrap on your vehicle means you can have the customizations you want with excellent detailing devoid of scratches without the long wait or the high price that often comes with painting a car.

Turn to DC Design and Media Today for a Stunning Wrapped Vehicle

At DC Design and Media, which serves the Hampton Roads area in Virginia, our shop has a knowledgeable and professional crew of experienced installers and designers specializing in various vehicle wraps. We take pride in having a top-quality vehicle wrap process that enables us to wrap a car perfectly in a timely manner.

It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in a partial wrap for advertising your business using your car or a custom design with a color change option to give your vehicle an entirely new aesthetic. With us, you can be sure our experts will properly prepare and wrap your car to ensure a complete transformation.

So how long does it take to wrap a car? Experience our superior project management, creativity, and innovation firsthand— contact us or call (757) 390-2818 for a free quote.