Nothing upgrades a car more than an attractive colour. A freshly painted, shiny car suggests a considerably higher value than a dull, scratched, dented and rusty vehicle. The traditional craft of car painting has become strong competition: car wrapping. Read here everything you need to know about wrapping and painting.
New paint for old cars – the traditional way
Repainting the car is the traditional way of renewing an unsalvageable outer coating.
This is an ultimate measure when nothing can be gained by cleaning and polishing: filled rust holes or dents, dulled or scarred paintwork and deep scratches can no longer be repaired with cosmetic methods. The only option here is partial or total new paintwork.
- Partial painting of levelled wheel houses or other minor bodywork components is not very difficult. With careful preparation and a bit of exercise even a layman is bound to get adequate results. However, let one thing be very clear: DIY solutions will never be anything more than provisionary repairs.
- Total repainting is different. First of all, it requires expensive equipment, such as e.g. a spray booth with burners. An impeccable result implies a professional painter, making totally repainting a car an expensive enterprise. Count on at least EUR 3000 (± £2700) for a professional painting job.
Car wrapping – the alternative for painting
Car wrapping is the application of special foil on the car bodywork. The foil is made flexible with a hot air blower to make it adhere to tricky areas such as corners. Car wrapping sounds simple, nevertheless it requires equal skills as for painting.
Still, car wrapping offers several advantages:
– limitless choice of colours and designs
A wrapping costs ca. 30% – 50% of the price of a professional paint job. The result can be amazing: a dreary second-hand car is miraculously converted into a breath-taking beauty with spectacular effects.
Nowadays, flip-flop foil design is available, which is nearly unaffordable as paintwork. Even an individual design is an option. The pattern is directly printed on the roll – at a fraction of a price it would cost as a paint job.
Experts tend to recommend employing a professional wrapping service. We say: the proof is in the pudding. The advantage of wrapping is not much can go wrong. If the attempt is unsuccessful, you can always consult a professional.
This is different for paintwork: if you go wrong here, the repair will turn out considerably more expensive.
Prior to DIY wrapping it is very important to consult all possible information and watch all tutorials you can find on the internet. Wrapping requires a few tools, none of which are very expensive.
The foil itself is also very cheap: a roll of high-grade branded foil costs ca. EUR 20 (± £18). Surely this price warrants a DIY try. The most important tools for car wrapping are patience, a steady hand, frustration tolerance and taking pride in the result.
When to wrap?
Principally, applying a complete protective cover always make sense. It keeps the paintwork in an immaculate condition.
- This makes wrapping a leased car an economy factor: the protective foil is removed when returning the car and the dealer receives an unblemished vehicle, granting a threefold return of the costs for wrapping.
- This step is specifically recommended for vans: Ducato, Sprinter, etc. are often carelessly painted by manufacturers, resulting in quick rust development on these worn-out vehicles. Applying a protective foil allows you to anticipate the moment of return with plenty of confidence. Where other delivery vans are on their way to the scrapheap, a wrapped van can remain operational for many years.
Furthermore, wrapping is a quick way of giving the car an extravagant colour pattern. Passionate car lovers have a cheap way of making their car stand out.
- Nevertheless there is one disadvantage. The foil is very susceptible to cleaning. Taking it to just any car wash can spoil all your work. Scratches cannot be polished from foil.
- In this case, paintwork has the advantage. Wrapped cars should therefore always be washed manually. It is very important to dry the car with a microfibre cloth immediately after washing. In the full sunlight the water drops act like burning glasses, damaging the foil and the glueing agent underneath. The second disadvantage of the car foil is its limited durability. After seven years at most the glue loses its adhesive property and the wrap starts to peel off. This means a new wrap.
Addition – no replacement
Car wrapping is an interesting addition to paintwork. Nevertheless it is not a valid alternative. Although wrapping can maintain the value of a new car, it cannot enhance the value of a used car as much as a professional paint-job can.
Our recommendation therefore lies somewhere in the middle. On used cars, painting and wrapping ideally complement each other. Professional paintwork makes metal beautiful and valid again. Exposed plastic parts such as side mirror and bumper are cheaply protected by wrapping.
A special foil protecting the car front against stone chippings can add to maintenance of the valuable paintwork. It all depends on what you seek to accomplish. Wrapping and painting are two ways of upgrading the colour of the car, complementing rather than competing methods.
Foto: Faruk Akcay, loraks, Pretty Vectors, Africa Studio, zoulgraphic, hedgehog94, kevin leah / shutterstock.com