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12 Different Types of Vinyl Wrap for Cars

Blue vinyl glossy wrap on car.

After getting my car vinyl wrapped, I would have so many people come to me to ask about what it’s like having a wrapped car. The most common question I would receive was how long vinyl wrap for cars lasted. 

My answer was always, it depends on the type of vinyl wrap. People are always surprised to know there’s a wide range of vinyl wrap options for car owners that want to easily update the look of their car. 

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Business owners mostly use car wraps as a form of advertising to boost brand awareness and attract more clients. In any case, here are the different types of vinyl wraps that you need to know about.

Types of Vinyl Wrap Finishes

When you’re getting your vehicle vinyl-wrapped, there are different types of finishes to choose from.

1. Glossy Wrap

VViViD Gloss Black Vinyl Wrap Adhesive Film Air Release Decal Sheet (1ft x 5ft)

As the name suggests, glossy wraps have a smoother finish and texture that closely resemble the glossy, classic original paintwork used on most vehicles. In addition, it comes in a variety of colors and designs, so glossy wrap can be pretty versatile.

This explains why glossy wraps are one of the most popular types of vehicle wrap.  Glossy wrap is your best bet if you want the paint-like finish that you’re used to. This type of wrap reflects a lot of light and will make your car shiny and adds more depth to the surface.

This is especially so with glossy metallic wrap, which has had metallic flakes added that reflect more light. The most significant advantage of glossy wrap is its low maintenance.

It’s recommended that you wax and treat your car after getting it vinyl wrapped to enhance color and make the glossy finish last longer.

2. Matte Wrap

VViViD Matte Black Vinyl Wrap Roll XPO Air Release Technology (1ft x 5ft)

In contrast to glossy wraps, matte wraps provide a matte finish to your vehicles.

While some people think that the matte finish looks lackluster or chalky, others believe it gives the car a luxurious and modern look that makes it stand out since you don’t see many vehicles with a matte finish around.

The good news is that matte wraps share many advantages with glossy wraps. They are cost-effective, and they come in various styles and colors.

On top of that, matte wraps are better at hiding the scratches on your car. However, they tend to show oil stains and finger marks more easily.

So matte wraps require more maintenance, and you may have to clean your car more frequently (but keep in mind you can’t wax or coat the matte finish!). 

Typically, car owners that choose matte wraps want to make their cars trendier. Matte wraps absorb light, but they don’t reflect as much as glossy finish. While this gives the surface a lack of depth, it also accentuates the body lines and curves.

Besides matte wraps, you can also opt for matte metallic wraps that contain tiny metallic flakes to enhance the color of your wrap and add more dimension.

3. Satin Wraps

VViViD+ Satin Black Premium Adhesive Vinyl Wrap Film (1.5ft x 5ft)

Satin wraps are somewhere between glossy wraps and matte wraps. On the one hand, satin wrap is glossier than matte wrap because it’s more reflective. On the other hand, it’s not as reflective as a glossy wrap.

This is why satin wrap is sometimes referred to as semi-matte wrap. So if you can’t decide between a glossy or matte wrap, you can have the best of both worlds with satin wrap. 

People who prefer this type of vinyl vehicle wrap want their car to look sophisticated and have a unique appearance because of the subtle glossy texture. Think of it as your car wearing a silk shirt.

The main advantage of satin wrap is that it helps your car stand out more by giving it a sleek appearance. In addition, satin wrap is relatively low maintenance since marks and fingerprints don’t stick as much to the slightly glossy surface.

4. Brushed Car Wraps

VViViD® XPO Silver Brushed Steel Car Wrap Vinyl Roll with Air Release Technology (1.49ft x 5ft)

Brushed car wraps are another modern vehicle vinyl wrap option. If you’re considering this type of wrap, there are two options to choose from. You have brushed texture wraps and brushed material wraps.

Brushed texture wrap is not very reflective, so it gives a more authentic finish. On the other hand, a wrap with a print of brushed material doesn’t look authentic, but it’s more cost-effective and easier to install and maintain.

Generally, brushed car wraps closely resemble metal surfaces, but they have a more textured look that might be likened to scrapped material.

Overall, this option gives your vehicle a brushed look, and the three-dimensional light reflection gives your car a high-end and cool appearance.

Types Of Vinyl Wrap Textures

The texture of vinyl wrap will vary based on the materials used.

1. Carbon Fiber Wraps

VViViD XPO Black Carbon Fiber 5ft x 1ft 8yr Car Wrap Vinyl Roll with Air Release

If you don’t want a wrap made from metallic materials, you can always choose carbon fiber wraps. You can opt for a carbon wrap that contains strands of carbon, or choose a wrap with the look of carbon fiber printed on its surface.

The first option may be more expensive, but it’s more durable, and the aesthetics are more impressive.

Carbon wraps generally have a matte finish and a greyish-black color. The main thing that stands out with this option is the texture. You should choose carbon fiber vinyl wrap if you’re also looking for a wrap with a protective function.

2. Chrome Wraps

VViViD Silver Mirror Chrome Cast Vinyl Wrap Self-Adhesive Film Decal Air-Release Bubble and Air Free 3mil (1ft x 5ft)

Chrome wraps are very eye-catching and have a shiny mirror-like finish. Therefore, this is an option for people who want their car to stand out. Chrome wrap will give your car a flashy and expensive look but at a fraction of the cost of solid chrome plating.

Chrome wraps tend to be more reflective than glossy wraps, so they help keep your car’s interior cooler on hot summer days.

If you’re interested in getting your car wrapped, buy the quality stuff and work with an experienced professional. This will help prevent the formation of stress lines and make the chrome wrap last longer.

Other Types Of Vinyl Wrap

Vinyl wraps for vehicles also fall into other categories, including the following:

1. Camo Vehicle Wraps

VViViD Vinyl Camouflage Pattern Wrap Air-Release Adhesive Film Sheets (1ft x 5ft, Snow Camo)

You have seen soldiers wearing camouflage. With camo wrap, you can also give your car the same attire! Some car owners choose this type of car wrap because they want the vehicle to blend easily in a natural environment.

Besides texture, camo wrap is also a great option because of its unique aesthetics. The only catch is that camo wrap doesn’t blend well with other cars in cities and urban areas because it’s too eye-catching. This explains why it’s mainly used on off-road cars.

There are various types of camo wraps with different colors and effects that mimic the “army style.” However, as unique as the camo finish might be, it only appeals to a small group of car owners.

2. Cut Out Shape

ramuel Universal Auto Racing Body Side Stripes Vinyl Car Body Sticker 2PCS for All Cars SUV Truck Off-Road Vehicles Universal Stickers Accessories (r02 Black)

You can cut out shapes from vinyl wrap to produce decals and stickers that are placed in strategic positions on your car. A machine is used to cut out the precise shape from the vinyl wrap, and the shape is then applied to the surface in the same way that a car wrap is applied.

For instance, you don’t apply racing stripes to the car’s entire body. Instead, they are precision cut and applied to give the car a “sporty’ or “racing” vibe. The good thing about cut-out vinyl shapes is they are less expensive and can be easily replaced.

3. Custom Print Wraps/Bespoke Designs

TOMALL 2Pcs 94.4'' Flame Graphics Car Body Side Stickers Flame Racing Sports Stripe Decal for Car Universal Vinyl Self-Adhesive Decal Decoration Accessories for Truck SUV Off-Road Vehicles (Black)

A custom wrap is made according to the design that you want. The custom wrap can be matte or glossy, and it’s up to you to choose the image you want to be printed on the surface.

For instance, some people may choose to have words, a picture, or an effect printed on the vinyl wrap before it’s applied to their car. 

Similarly, vehicle vinyl wraps with bespoke designs are made for the crowd that wants to stand out. A bespoke design could be one with diamond sparkles and shine that you won’t see on any other car when driving around.

A typical example of a custom wrap is a commercial wrap printed and used for marketing purposes by a business. The commercial wrap will contain the brand’s colors, logos, and other graphics that are unique to the business.

Companies use commercial wrap for advertising themselves cheaply while their vehicles are out and about.

4. Full Wraps

DIYAH Gloss Chrome Mirror Vinyl Car Wrap Sticker with Air Release Bubble Free Anti-Wrinkle 12" X 60" (1 FT X 5FT) (Blue)

As you would expect, a full wrap is applied to the entire surface of the car. This is a great option if you want to give your car a complete makeover but want to avoid an expensive full paint job.

The good thing is a full wrap can come off whenever you want it, whereas a full paint job is not reversible. Although some people refer to a full wrap as a color change wrap, you can still choose a wrap that matches the original paintwork.

This might defeat the whole purpose of giving your car a new look, but some people only do it to preserve the real finish of the car. If you want to take things up a notch, you can choose a blackout car wrap that covers other chrome components of your car, such as the rims and door handles.

If you want to take things even a step further, you can also choose an interior wrap that enhances and transforms your car’s interior. 

5. Partial Wraps

GraceYou High Glossy Wood Grain Vinyl Wrap Sticker Decal Car Internal Wraps Self Adhesive DIY Film, Waterproof Wrap Roll Without Bubble, 100x 40cm/39.4x15.7in, brown, Medium

Partial wraps only cover part of the vehicle, unlike full wraps. Therefore, you can expect a partial wrap to be cheaper.

However, the effect is not as striking though this may be ideal for car owners that want to subtly upgrade their car’s appearance. Partial wraps are usually applied to the hood, roof, trunk, or doors. 

6. Colour Flip Wraps

3M 1080 GP287 Gloss FLIP Electric Wave 3in x 5in (Sample Size) Car Wrap Vinyl Film

This is a fairly new type of vinyl wrap for cars. Color flip wrap isn’t limited to one solid color but contains multiple colors. The final effect is that your car will have a different color each time you change the angle of view.

When done right, the color flow will be smooth, so it won’t look like the car is wrapped in different colors. Instead, the sleek color changes will be mesmerizing, and this type of car wrap will turn heads everywhere you go.

Vinyl Wrap FAQs

Do the Different Types of Wraps Have the Same Quality?

Cheap vinyl wraps generally don’t have the same quality, so you should be prepared to splurge more if you want a high-quality vinyl wrap. Low-quality vinyl is susceptible to orange peel and can deteriorate quickly from UV damage. 

A cheap wrap is also prone to tearing and can leave marks on your vehicle after removal. Before buying vinyl wrap, do your research to find reputable brands that initially cost more but provide more bang for your buck in the long run.

How Long Does Vinyl Wrap Last On a Vehicle?

There are different categories of vinyl wrap with different lifespans. Quality wraps can last as long as seven years or more, while cheaper wraps don’t last as long.

You should also keep in mind that the lifestyle of vinyl wrap is affected by different factors, such as how frequently the car is driven, UV exposure, number of washings, and whether the wrap is placed on a horizontal or vertical surface. 

If you want to make your car wrap last longer, always use a soft material to clean it (don’t scrub) and be careful when pressure washing because excessive water pressure can cause tears. You should also avoid parking your car for too long in the sun.

Will Vinyl Wrap Keep the Paint on My Car Protected?

Vinyl wrap offers the opportunity to switch up the look of your car, and it can also help protect your car’s real finish from the elements. However, this is only the case if you use high-quality vehicle wrap since this tends to be thicker than the cheaper options.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Vinyl Wrapping Your Car?

Pros

  • Gives your car a custom look
  • Cheaper than paint
  • Helps to protect the original paintwork
  • Many designs, finishes, and options to choose from

Cons

  • It’s not permanent because the car wrap will eventually deteriorate
  • Some car wraps get damaged quickly if they go through a car wash

What’s the Difference Between Cast Vinyl and Calendared Vinyl?

Cast vinyl is prepared by casting the liquid vinyl in a mold and printing with the appropriate image. Cast vinyl is durable (it can last seven or more years), but it’s thinner than calendared vinyl, which is made by applying heat and pressure to solid vinyl.

Calendared vinyl is thicker and more affordable. However, because of its thickness, it doesn’t conform well during application and has a shorter lifespan.

What’s the Difference Between Avery Cast Vinyl and 3M?

Avery Cast and 3M are popular brands of vinyl wrap. Each brand has its own pros and cons, so you’ll have to do your own research to decide which brand is right for you. 

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