How Long Do Car Wraps Last On A Vehicle: What You Need To Know

For most car owners, not only the care is paramount but also the style.

Car wrapping is a way to add a particular design to your car without messing too much with the paint.

However, you might have come to wonder about the longevity of car wraps.

So how long does a car wrap last exactly?

Quick Answer

On average, car wraps can last from five to seven years. In most cases, car wraps will maintain their quality and looks for a long time. A correctly done installation and good care can make car wraps last even longer. Yet, under harsh conditions, the lifetime could be drastically reduced. 

Depending on different factors, the answer to this question could vary. In this post, I will cover all the relevant information regarding the longevity of car wraps!

Keep reading to know everything there is to know!

How Long Does Vehicle Wrap Last?

Quick Answer

Car wraps normally last about five years, and with dedicated care, they could last up to seven years. They are a long-lasting addition to your car design. Choosing a quality vinyl wrapping could substantially increase the lifespan. 

Using quality materials will offer a much valuable investment and experience overall.

With cheap and low-quality vinyl, you could be looking at lost money due to the shortness of their lifetime. 

In these cases, car wraps could last only a couple of years as much. If you want to protect your car and also your investment, you should aim for a quality product to wrap it.

In the long run, this will be beneficial for your vehicle and your pocket. 

Having the wrap properly applied is also a determining factor in its lifespan.

Mediocre work and a lazy car wrapping process could end up in the vinyl peeling at a faster rate. If this happens, the money and time spent on the wrapping will be a waste.

Another aspect to consider is the finish used with the car wrap. There are lots of different options for vinyl wrap finishes.

These options can offer not only style but also protection. Depending on the finish you choose, the lifespan of the car wrap could be increased.

You can check this illustrative post on vinyl car wrap options made by Rvinyl.

Here you will find a useful guide that will help you decide if you need a vinyl wrap finish and which one to go for!

Looking at the mentioned factors in more detail can give you a helping hand with car wraps.

Factors That Can Reduce The Lifetime Of A Wrap

Many factors can affect the durability of car wraps. Depending on the conditions the car is exposed to, the lifetime of a car wrap can be shorter. 

These are the most common factors for a shorter car wrap lifespan:

  • Vinyl wrap brand
  • Installation of the vinyl car wrap
  • Sun exposure of the vehicle
  • Road exposure of the vehicle

In many cases, these aspects will determine the worth a car wrapping can have for you.

Vinyl Wrap Brand

Choosing a high-quality vinyl will be paramount for having durable car wrapping.

The better the brand, the more added benefits you will have with it. Many leading brands such as 3M offer valuable products and a warranty to accompany them.

With a cheap product, your vinyl wrapping could start losing its adhesive properties sooner.

Furthermore, the color of the vinyl could start fading away or losing its vitality faster. Using low-quality wrapping would lead to the necessity of changing it more regularly. 

Installation Of The Vinyl Car Wrap

In some cases, the installation could be done poorly. If this is the case, the wrapping will not last as long as if it had had a proper installation.

Any skipped step could result in a loss of lifespan. 

Having an expert do the job (or becoming an expert yourself) is the best way to protect your car wrapping from wearing off more rapidly.

An expert will have the correct technique and the special tools to install your car wrapping properly. 

Sun Exposure Of The Vehicle

As with most things, direct exposure to the sun can be harmful to the car wrapping. In many cases, too much sun would cause the car wrap to start discoloring; furthermore, it could begin losing its adhesive qualities. 

When possible, try to avoid direct and prolonged sun exposure, and your car wrapping will pay you off with a longer lifespan. 

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Road Exposure Of The Vehicle

For cars that endure harsh conditions on the road, for example, you might be looking at a shorter lifespan of the car wrap.

Things like regular long road journeys could hurt the car wrapping in the long run. 

When the car has too much use and is constantly on the road under sun exposure and other severe conditions, the lifetime could take a blow. 

When these factors are involved, the lifetime of car wrapping could be reduced to as little as two years, instead of the normal five years. 

Perhaps you cannot control how much you use your car, but the other factors are yours to put all hands on deck!

Taking the above-mentioned factors into consideration will give you a better sense of what to do to expand the lifetime of your car wrap.

How To Make Car Vinyl Wrap Last Longer On The Car

These are some general tips to expanding the lifetime of a car wrap:

  • Park the car in a garage or in a shaded area
  • Keep your car clean
  • Avoid extreme conditions
  • Do not apply pressure to bubbles on the wrap

Park The Car In A Garage Or A Shaded Area

This is the most optimal way to protect your car from direct sun exposure.

As previously said, the sun can affect the integrity of your car wrapping.

Having the car parked in a garage or a shaded area will substantially increase the lifespan of your wrapping.

Keep Your Car Clean

Keeping your car clean will help the wrapping not suffer unnecessary damage.

Debris, dirt, and grime could affect the integrity of the car wrapping.

However, when you keep your car clean, these contaminants are removed in time to protect the car wrap.

Avoid Extreme Conditions

Car wraps are not immune to extreme conditions.

Try to avoid any extreme climate conditions to expand the lifetime of your wrapping.

In general terms, your car will thank you for it!

Do Not Apply Pressure To Bubbles On The Wrap

In the first weeks after wrapping your car, it might be possible for small bubbles to appear. Your first instinct could be pressing them to try and fix them.

This could actually cause damage to the finish of the car wrapping.

It is better to take your car to the place you had it wrapped and let the experts fix it for you.

They will know how to handle the situation without compromising the car wrap.

A Washing Guide To Car Wrap

Apart from these general tips, there are some other things you could do to protect your car wrap. It is very common to have your wrapping damaged while you wash your car. Follow this guide to prevent that from happening. 

Wash The Wrap By Hand

Washing your car by hand with high-quality products will always be better than car washes with automated brushes.

When you have car wraps, you can use your hands to take care of the surfaces and the edges.

Automated brushes could scratch the surface, lift the edges, and worsen the overall looks of the vinyl wrapping.

To know more about why automated brushes can be harmful to your car, you can check this article I wrote about it. 

Be Careful With Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is a very useful way to remove contaminants from your car’s surface.

However, if the pressure is too high, you could damage the vinyl wrapping of your car.

If the wrapping has graphics and images, the water pressure could damage them.

If you feel like pressure water is a must, you can adjust the pressure and the temperature to protect the wrapping.

It is also helpful to maintain a safe distance so that the impact is not too strong on the vinyl.

Use Quality Products And Utensils

The products and washing utensils you use will determine the quality of your wash.

A high-quality wash will, at the same time, be beneficial for your car wrap. Using microfiber mitts and microfiber towels is paramount for protecting your car.

Furthermore, using a quality car shampoo will help the car wrap expand its lifespan.

Avoid using any abrasive product or washing utensil, as this could cause swirls and scratches to your car wrap and your car paint. 

The use of solvents could also harm car wraps. Avoid using these products.

Don’t Wax Your Car Wrap

Car wraps don’t need to be waxed as car paint does. Waxing your car wraps will be a waste because the wax will not be in direct contact with the surface of the car. 

Key takeaways

  • Car wraps can last up to seven years with proper care
  • Sun exposure can harm car wraps
  • Pressure washing can damage the graphics
  • A proper installation can expand the lifetime of car wraps
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge