If you’ve been researching vehicle wrapping for personal or business purposes, you’ve no doubt come across articles or forum posts detailing some of the problems you might run into.
At Raccoon we have a lot of experience with the good, the bad and the ugly of vinyl wrapping, so we wanted to pass that information on to you, to help you make an informed decision on whether vehicle wrapping is right for you.
But we won’t stop there! All problems have solutions, and vinyl wrapping is no different. What kind of help would we be to you if all we told you were the problems without letting you know the solutions after all?
Therefore in this article, you will learn the top 5 vehicle wrap problems AND solutions.
- Vehicle wrap cost
- Vehicle wrap quality
- Vehicle wrap materials
- Vehicle wrap durability
- Vehicle wrap warranty
1. Vehicle Wrap Cost
First, let’s cover the cost of vehicle wrapping. This is the number one most important metric to first-time buyers whether you are wrapping for business or pleasure.
You don’t know what a vehicle wrap costs, or more importantly, how much you should pay. After all, it’s one thing for me to tell you a vehicle wrap costs X, it’s quite another for you to know if that’s a fair price.
The reason it’s not easy to find concrete figures on price is that many vehicle wrapping projects are tailor-fit solutions, meaning companies often can’t give out exact numbers.
There is also the fear of competitors undercutting their pricing and the fear that customers will be put off by the price if they actually see it – which is kind of ironic if you think about it.
The first thing we have to say is that if all you care about is the price, then you do need to shift your mindset slightly. Don’t base your decision solely on cost: it’s a race to the bottom mentality and you are likely to regret your purchase decision.
However, that doesn’t mean that price is not important. You have a right to know what you might end up paying without the fear of getting drawn into a pressurised sales call.
The best course of action is for you to learn enough about vehicle wrapping to be able to make an informed cost vs value decision. In other words: you need to do a little homework to make sure you are going to come away with a vehicle wrap that makes you happy!
Read How much does a vehicle wrap cost? This article explores the factors that swing the cost of a wrap up or down and provides price ranges for different types of vehicles, finishes and designs.
Read How much should a vehicle cost? Quotes explained. This article will explain what goes into a vehicle wrap quote and how you can research a company to ensure you are getting your money’s worth.
2. Vehicle wrap quality
You might argue that taste is subjective and yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but let’s face it, there are some gaudy and downright awful-looking wraps out there.
Your vehicle wrap looks terrible. Many times a terrible-looking wrap is not intentional. Clients unfortunately do get let down by wrap companies that just aren’t equipped to help them.
Whether something went wrong in the design phase, during print production, or a wrapper made a technical error, mistakes do get made and fingers will get pointed.
Unfortunately, you’ve already spent your money, and if you used one company to design the wrap, another to print it and a third to actually install it, then good luck getting them to agree on who screwed up!
Look for an experienced wrapping company that owns the whole wrapping process from start to finish.
That means they design, print and install the wrap themselves under one roof. This process allows much tighter communication and quality control. If anything does go wrong, it can quickly be corrected without passing the cost onto you.
In terms of experience, 20-30 years is the gold standard. Such a company will have the experience to handle any project you throw at them, whether that be a massive fleet wrap of hundreds of vehicles or a high-end custom graphics project for luxury sports cars.
You can use these 10 questions to screen companies for quality and professionalism.
3. Vehicle Wrap Materials
Continuing our value over cost theme let’s talk about materials. A vehicle wrap is made up of a layer of adhesive vinyl that is moulded to your car. All vehicle wraps have this in common, but the similarities between various products and brands end there.
Some vehicle wrap materials are better than others. There are a lot of cheap wrapping materials out there that will look okay for a couple of days but quickly start to show signs of wear. Before you know it your wrap is starting to bubble, fade or even peel off altogether!
This might not be a problem if you are only wrapping for a single event such as a car show or a marketing event, but for most people, a couple of days is a huge rip-off, especially if you are still being charged the same price as a company that uses premium materials!
Make sure your wrap company is using premium brands of vinyl, such as 3M, Avery Dennison or Arlon.
These brands will easily last you 5-7 years if maintained correctly and they come with extensive warranty packages that protect your vehicle wrapper and ultimately you in case of product failure.
To learn more about these premium brands check out our comparison articles:
4. Vehicle Wrap Durability
Aside from material choice, there are a number of factors that affect the expected performance life of a vehicle wrap. These factors will affect the viability of wrapping for you or your business so read this section carefully.
Many premium brands claim that a vinyl product will last 10 years or more, but that’s really only true if the roll of vinyl is never going to be applied to a vehicle. It’s also only true if that vinyl is applied to a vertical surface.
It might sound odd but solar intensity or UV radiation makes such a difference to the expected performance life of a wrap that any wrap applied to a horizontal surface will have its warranty cut in half!
This is why many fleet wrap owners choose not to wrap the roof of their vehicle, though from a branding and even resell value perspective this can be more detrimental than beneficial.
UV damage is compounded at altitude as well because there is less air to diffuse the radiation. Solar intensity increases by 10-12% for every 1000m above sea level, so if you lived in Colorado for example, which has an average elevation of over 2000 meters your wrap’s lifespan would likely decrease by 25%.
High temperature and humidity also play into wrap durability and can be a real wrap killer in desert regions. Heat and humidity can cause a wrap to shrink or warp and airborne sands can erode a wrap over time.
Abrasive particulates such as dust, debris or even road salt can scratch and slowly erode a vehicle wrap over time. Pollutants and airborne particulates such as exhaust fumes, chemicals or industrial emissions contain acidic or corrosive elements that can lead to vinyl degradation or fading.
Even natural contaminants like bird droppings and tree sap may eat into vinyl or leave permanent stains.
First, let's tackle the UV problem. The simplest way to protect your wrap from UV damage is to keep your vehicle covered or inside a garage when possible.
However, that’s not the most practical solution. A more long-term option is to pair your wrap vinyl wrap with a protective coating or overlaminate that offers UV protection.
It’s also worth noting that your global location may greatly increase or decrease how much these issues apply to you.
Distance from the equator also factors into UV exposure, because the equator is closer to the sun. Countries like the UK are much further from the equator than Brazil for example, and also experience far higher cloud coverage, which diffuses UV radiation.
This means that a wrapped vehicle in Brazil is far more likely to show signs of sun damage before a wrapped vehicle in the UK will. So next time you are about to complain about our wonderful British weather remember … it’s saving you money!
Now let's get to the contaminants, pollutants and abrasive particles. There isn’t much you can do about collecting these little irritants as you drive, but what you can do is prevent them from binding to your vehicle and causing further damage.
This can be achieved with regular washing, a soft cloth and a non-abrasive detergent - nice and simple!
For more tips on how to keep our wrap in tip-top shape, read our vehicle wrap aftercare guide. You will learn how to keep your vehicle clean without damaging the wrap, how to wax a wrap if that’s something you want to do and how to store it.
Check out our vehicle wrap durability guide for more on climactic factors that affect vinyl wrap durability.
5. Vehicle Wrap Warranty
If you have just read the above section, then I bet a vehicle wrap warranty is feeling pretty important to you! Vehicle wrap warranty is usually segmented into tiered packages by the major manufacturers, companies such as 3M, Arlon or Avery Dennison.
Most vehicle wrap warranties are designed to cover you or your wrap installer in case of product failure, but they are very clear on what is and will not be tolerated in terms of wrap production and application.
This means that a wrapper must comply with manufacturer-approved overlaminates and technical guidance in regard to wrapping procedures. If they don’t the warranty is void.
If the wrap is in good condition, your wrapper follows all the technical guidance correctly, and you still have a problem with your wrap, then most likely the wrapper did something wrong that wasn’t outlined or covered in technical guidance manuals.
If this is the case, you must take up your complaint directly with the wrapper, and they may have no legal obligation to help you.
Another factor to take into consideration is expected performance life. The expected performance life of a wrap drastically varies from climate to climate, which directly ties to your warranty. This means a product covered for 12 years in the UK might only be covered for 4 in Arizona, 3 times less!
Check with your supplier to ensure they follow best practices when it comes to technical guidance and installation.
Read our warranty comparison of the top wrap manufacturers to learn more about the extent of warranty and warranty partnerships.
Make sure you don’t go through with a wrap order without agreeing to a warranty or maintenance policy with your installer first. Otherwise, you might find yourself fighting a hopeless battle with no legal leverage.
Standout companies will provide no quibble aftercare as a standard part of their wrapping services. If they don’t, don’t pick them! Check out this frustrated customer’s story if you don’t believe how important this is.
As for climactic warranty factors and expected performance life, there isn’t an easy solution. Companies in more arid or equatorial climates have had to accept that vehicle wraps just don’t last as long there as they will in temperate zones. All you can do is try to cover your vehicle where feasible and invest in a strong UV overlaminate.
Check out our ultimate guide to vehicle wrap warranty to learn what you can expect in terms of performance life where you are located, as well as further explanations of warranty factors.
How do I solve my vehicle wrap problems?
Vehicle wrapping does have its problems, but if you have read this entire article then you now know there are plenty of solutions too, many of which are detailed on this very page!
At Raccoon we’re passionate about educating our readers and potential customers: we want you to find the best-fit solution to your wrapping needs! That’s why we provided you with links to further resources throughout this article.
Click on the resources at the end of each section in this article. The information contained in each article will help you solve or avoid potential vehicle wrapping problems whether that be:
- Vehicle wrap cost concerns
- Vehicle wrap quality concerns
- Vehicle wrap material concerns
- Vehicle wrap durability concerns
- Vehicle wrap warranty concerns
Good luck with your problem-solving, and if you can’t find the answer you're looking for, don’t hesitate to send us a message. We are always happy to help at Raccoon!