How Long Does Car Wrap Last?

So, maybe you have been thinking about getting your car wrapped for some time, or maybe you have just had it wrapped and it is looking like a completely new vehicle.

Whatever your situation, you may well be wondering how long your car wrap is going to last.

This article will answer this question for you, as well as explain first of all what exactly a car wrap is, the material used for a car wrap, and how to preserve your car wrap for as long as possible.

What is a car wrap? 

Car wrapping is a wonderful decorative treatment that your car can undergo that completely changes the appearance of your car.

It can turn your car from drab to fab in just a few hours. It consists of a number of vinyl sheets and decals which are applied to your car. The part of your car that gets wrapped is the visible panels of the body of the car.

It is not done with one huge sheet, but a number of smaller sheets that are cut to fit your car exactly. You can choose to get your car wrapped in a number of different colors and finishes, as well as choosing any design imaginable.

The world is your oyster with car wrapping, and it really is a case of just getting your creative juices flowing to see what design ideas you can come up with.

Typically, for a professional car wrap, you should take it to a professional that specializes in car wrapping and has done lots of them before, preferably with a portfolio that you can look through first.

It can be done on any car, old or new, and can really spruce up the appearance, or even make it look like a new car altogether. The only requirement is that the car’s paint job is in good condition.

Car wrapping is not recommended as a cover-up for a bad paint job, or paint that has corroded, rusted, or peeled off as it will result in an uneven and bumpy wrap.

What is it made from?

We already mentioned that wrap is typically made from vinyl, but we would like to explore this a little further as the materials of the wrap will have a direct impact on how long your car wrap lasts. We need to explore what it is about the materials used that make them ideal for this process.

Vinyl is the material that is most commonly used for car wrapping, and the reason for this is that it ensures a high-quality finish as well as being long-wearing and available in practically any color, finish and design that you can think of.

The vinyl that is most commonly used is known as cast vinyl, which starts its life as a liquid and is then cast into the vinyl sheets that we may be familiar with by being placed in an oven.

This step also ensures that the solvents in the vinyl evaporate, ensuring that the vinyl conforms to a thin, solid film. This thickness for a colored wrap is around 4 millimeters, so is super thin for covering your car.

Of course, as with most products, some vinyl is better than others, so it is well worth asking the wrapping business about the vinyl they use and how they assure that it is of very high quality.

You get what you pay for when it comes to your car, and vinyl wrapping is certainly no different – paying a little more for quality service will definitely be more beneficial in the long run. The better quality the material used for your car wrap, the longer it will last!

Also read: which car shelter is your best bet during winters?

How Long a Car Wrap Lasts and How You Can Preserve It for as Long as Possible

Now, onto the good stuff! We have explored what a car wrap is, and why vinyl is typically used for it, now we need to tell you how long you can expect your car wrap to last.

As well as this, we want to let you know whether there are any steps you can take to ensure the longevity of your car wrap, preserving it for as long as possible.

First thing’s first, it is worth noting that as long as you look after your car when it has been car wrapped, it can last for up to 5 years! However, this would mean taking great steps to ensure that this happens.

A car wrap that isn’t looked after properly can start to wear after around 2 years. Obviously, out of these two options – 2 years or 5 years -, we are all going to want our wraps to last 5 years, right?

The good news is that this is definitely possible as long as due care is taken to ensure that the car is protected from the elements and any other factors that may affect the lifespan of your car wrap.

Of course, your chosen wrapping company should tell you all about how you can maintain this wrap. However, we are going to write it all down for you, too, so you know exactly what you can do to preserve your car wrap for as long as you possibly can.

Keep It Out of the Elements 

This is one of the most important steps you can take for ensuring your car wrap lasts as long as possible. Super high temperatures and exposure from the sun can make your car wrap bake in, which makes it really hard to remove, but also shortens the amount of time it will last.

To stop this happening, try not to leave your car parked outside, especially in the warmer part of the year. Park it in a garage if that is possible, or in a place that is well-shaded from the sun, especially when it is at its strongest at midday.

Some vinyl, especially high-quality 3M vinyl, comes with added UV ray protection which should ease your worries a little when it comes to the sun, but even so, we do still recommend keeping your car under covers if possible.

Rain and wind should not have much of an effect on your car wrap, thankfully! However, of course, it will still be beneficial to keep your car covered if it is raining very heavily and the wind is blowing a gale.

Similarly, snow and ice should not have much of an effect on your car wrapping, however, ice scraping tools can cause significant damage to your vinyl wrap, so be careful what you use for de-icing, or, keep it under covers if you expect freezing temperatures.

Clean It Carefully

It is not generally recommended to use an automatic car wash if your car has been treated with a vinyl car wrap.

This is because the harsh brushes can scrape the vinyl off. Instead, hand wash it yourself at home with super-soft microfiber cloths and a waterless cleaning product.

Clean it gently whenever it gets dirty, and ensure the products you use are not filled with harsh chemicals.

Following these steps will ensure that your car wrap can last for the full five years!


To conclude, your car wrap will last around 5 years as long as you do your best to maintain it, ensuring it is protected from harsh sunlight, high temperatures, and that you don’t use harsh cleaning methods.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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