How to avoid the biggest vehicle wrapping mistakes

By Richard Clark on Mar 4, 2021 2:51:20 PM

6 min read
Vehicle wrapping mistakes - a man sits in the back of his van with his head in his hands

When you invest in a vehicle wrap you want it to do three things: look spectacular, last for years, and bring in plenty of business. Whether you’ve got just one vehicle or an entire fleet, you want to feel proud of the image your business projects. To achieve these things, there are certain things you’ll want to avoid (as well as things to list as ‘must do’).

In this blog we'll guide you through the common pitfalls and vehicle wrapping mistakes so you know exactly what to look out for. 

The Devil is in the (Design) Detail

Don’t rush your vehicle wrap design. You’ll want to make sure your images and copy are on point, and set to grab people’s attention at the highest resolution.

Here's our list of key do's and don’ts' to help you avoid vehicle wrapping mistakes at the design stage: 


  • Crowd your vehicle wrap with too many images
  • Use too many fonts
  • Use too many colours
  • Submit your files in the wrong format
  • Submit your artwork on the wrong vehicle template (this shouldn’t happen if you’ve already had a good chat with your vehicle wrapping supplier)


  • Pick one or two clear, strong images that people will remember
  • Use one or two high impact fonts that stand out and are easy to read from a distance
  • Use no more than three main colours in your branding
  • Submit files in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) format – the standard for outdoor printed materials
  • Proof, proof and proof again
  • Ask your vehicle wrapping supplier for the correct template for your vehicle

Looking to get started on your vehicle designs? Request free vehicle templates  here!

Never base your decision on cost

When it comes to vehicle wrap pricing, avoid choosing a supplier on the basis that they are cheap. There will be reasons one supplier comes in at a significantly lower price than another. The most likely reasons are that they:

  • Are new to the vehicle wrapping industry and are using price to leverage their position in the market, i.e tempting customers in with a ‘low-low’ price
  • Use inferior vehicle vinyl wrap equipment and cheaper materials such as unbranded vinyl and inks
  • Don’t invest in aftercare
  • Will turn around vehicles too quickly, not allowing for a day’s vinyl bonding time
  • Haven't properly invested in tools, printers, high grade vinyl and software
  • Have out-of-date vehicle wrap design templates
  • Use inexperienced technicians to do their wraps
  • Do the wraps themselves and work from their own garage 
To find out what to expect from investing in a vehicle wrap, check out: "Will a car wrap cover scratches & scuffs?"

The true cost of a cheap wrap

One of the first questions people ask when researching vehicle wraps is: "How much does a vehicle wrap cost?" and a common mistake is being lured in by a ‘low-low’ price. The cost seems like a great deal until a few weeks later when problems can start to emerge. This could be anything from fading inks or blistering vinyl, to the wrap shrinking and lifting away because it hasn’t been given enough time to bond.

TOP TIP: Once your vehicle has been wrapped, it will take a day to bond, especially in winter. Avoid suppliers who suggest that you can pick up your wrap as soon as it’s been done, as vinyl lifting is likely to occur. 

If you are going to choose a low-cost supplier, check they have a ‘no-questions asked rewrap policy' if any issues arise. If such a guarantee is non-existent, it’s a warning sign that you may end up spending more money in the long run compared to a slightly more expensive and reputable operator — not to mention having your vehicle out of action for a longer period of time!

Check out our blogs for guidance on how to prepare a car for vinyl wrap and vehicle wrap aftercare.

Look for experience

Experts cost more money for a reason. Usually, they’ve been in business a long time and have invested in problem-solving, getting the right tools and equipment, and their people - boasting a dedicated team of van-wrapping technicians who know precisely what they’re doing. Such a supplier will also be more likely to provide replacement vehicles and give warranties for the wrapping materials used.

Here are some red flags to look out for when assessing vehicle wrapping suppliers... 

  1. Do they offer a super-quick turnaround?

Saving time is saving money for vehicle wrapping companies with stretched resources. However, the end-to-end process—from design to a wrapped and ready van—takes two weeks. Be wary if a supplier tells you it will take just a few hours or days. For more guidance check out: "How long do car and van wraps take?"

  1. Will they clean your vehicle before wrapping?

If your vehicle isn’t cleaned, it won’t be long before your wrap starts to bubble and blister or lift away. Cleaning the van to remove any dirt, dust particles or wax is a vital part of the preparation process and ensures a tight bond between the vinyl and bodywork.

  1. Do they perform quality control checks at every stage of the process

With a wrap, anything can go wrong at any time. A good supplier will be performing fundamental checks on everything from design layout to vinyl quality right the way through the process. They will also make last minute checks before your design gets printed. Check that your supplier does this or you could end up with a low resolution image on the side of your van (Images should be set to 300dpi resolution and your designer should be working to 10% of scale for best results!)

  1. Are they going to wrap your vehicle outside?

Not everyone has ideal premises in which to wrap vehicles, and some will insist that working outside is fine. The truth is, wrapping 'al fresco' increases the chances of dust, pollen and insects getting onto the body of your vehicle and under the wrap, so you'll lose the smooth texture of the vinyl against the bodywork of the van and it will feel grainy.  

A final word on vehicle wrapping mistakes...

Whether you’re getting a single van or an entire fleet wrapped, the above provides a comprehensive guide on pitfalls to avoid and ensure your investment is money well spent. The bottom line is, you want a supplier you can trust. If you can find one that provides exemplary service, a standout product that lasts five years, and excellent aftercare, you’re onto a winner. Best of all, you’ll know just who to call when the time comes for a rewrap and you need some help with car or van wrap ideas!

Vehicle wrapping guide

For more information on the vehicle wrap process from start to finish, and what to expect from your vehicle wrapping supplier, check out our Ultimate Guide to Vehicle Wrapping!

Richard Clark

Written by Richard Clark

Founder of Raccoon, a graphics company launched in 1992. Still working hard to help businesses and brands connect with their target market!