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Is Your Vehicle as Distinctive as You Are?

Custom Vehicle Wraps Provide Creative Alternative to Permanent Paint Jobs

You are what you drive. Or so implies Jon Linkov, deputy auto editor for Consumer Reports. Linkov says, “People think of cars as extensions of themselves and their personalities.” Adds Virginia Tech behavioral psychologist Joseph Sirgy, Ph.D., “Your ride fits the three dimensions of your self concept – who you think you are, who you want to be, and how you’d like others to see you.” So if you’re thinking about changing the appearance of your vehicle, you have two options. One, repaint or two, get a car wrap. A car wrap, you say? That’s right. The same technique that’s been used for years on commercial vehicles has become increasing popular with consumers. This is due to its distinctive colors, textures, finishes and designs that reflect your unique personality. Following are some of the key criteria for determining whether a custom wrap or a new paint job is right for you.
Forget about the limited factory paint colors offered by your vehicle manufacturer. Today’s wrap material comes in hundreds of colors, with additional custom colors available. From Carbon Fiber White to Fiery Orange, manufacturers like 3M are developing unique color palettes to appeal to all driver personalities.
In addition to a wide spectrum of colors, shades and hues, unique finishes like gloss, matte, metallic and even textured are achievable in wraps at a fraction of the cost of paint.
Painting a car can be a more complicated and timely process depending on the condition of the vehicle and the quality of the paint to be applied. First, the existing layer of paint needs to be removed before new paint can be applied. Then, each layer of new paint requires time to dry (usually 24 hours per coat). On average, a new paint job minimally takes about a week to finish. On the other hand, a wrap is usually a much faster process. Once the vehicle has been thoroughly washed, the wrap material is fitted to the car and heat is applied to activate the adhesion. Overall, the entire process usually takes 2-3 days. Note: if a vehicle has body or paint damage, trying to cover this with a wrap is not advised. Imperfections in the paint job, scratches or dents may be seen through the wrap and should be corrected before application. Additionally, a bad (i.e. cheap) paint job is not recommended for wraps as the old paint may not hold up when the vinyl is ultimately removed.
One of the most popular reasons for choosing a wrap over a paint job is that the wrap can be removed at any time. Not only is the car’s original paint job unaffected by the wrap, but the wrap can protect the original paint and finish. This can result in higher resale value when it’s time to sell or turn in the vehicle. A paint job, however, is permanent. Your preferred color may not be anyone else’s favorite, thus diminishing the resale value of the vehicle.
Like the paint on your home, the better quality paint used the longer it will last. A high quality paint should last for a vehicle’s lifetime. However, keep in mind that a paint job can be compromised by scratches, road hazards and Florida’s strong UV rays and love bugs. A wrap should last anywhere from 4-10 years while protecting the paint underneath it.
Most car owners know it takes frequent washes and waxing to keep a paint job looking shiny and new. Meanwhile, a wrap is almost maintenance-free. Simply wipe it down with a wet cloth or hose it down with some soap and water to remove surface grime.
The cost for a paint job varies based on the quality of the paint used and the company doing the work. On average, a good paint job should run you between $3,000-7,000, more if you want pin-striping or other custom accents. A full vehicle wrap averages between $3,500-5,000 for a standard-sized vehicle. You can find less expensive alternatives for either but there’s no substitute for quality. Whichever route you take, select quality products and qualified service people to perform the work. In the long-run you’ll be glad you did. Interested in exploring a distinctive new look for your personal automobile or fleet of business vehicles? Contact the experts at AlphaGraphics Lake Mary today for a free consultation at (407) 330-0245 or

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