Vehicle wrapping vs respray: which is better for you?

By Richard Clark on Apr 21, 2022 5:26:19 PM

6 min read
Wrap vs respray

If you’re finding it hard to decide whether to respray or wrap your vehicle, we get it. You don’t want to invest your money in a style, colour, or branding solution that you might hate once the work’s complete. Choosing between a vehicle wrap or respray can be tough at first, and that’s why it’s important to get all the info you need to make an informed decision.

Even after 30 years in the business, people still ask us about wrapping vs respraying their cars and vans. That’s why we’ve decided to write this guide. Here, you’ll discover which option will likely work best for your project, along with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.


When is a respray the better option? 

It comes down to what you want to achieve. A respray is a permanent visual choice. Your car or van will be stripped of the original paint and re-primed, but if you’re happy with the results, you won’t have to worry about its longevity unless you scratch or scrape the bodywork later on.

Classic cars lend themselves better to resprays due to their age. They also tend to have more fused or welded panels that make them harder to wrap – leading to overlaps or joins. If you’re planning to restore a classic vehicle, we would usually recommend a respray over a wrap.

Vehicle size can also help you choose between a wrap or respray. The average wrap is about 1.5m wide, so taller vehicles tend to have more seams. That said, a skilled wrapping company will have a dozen or so tricks to hide or reduce them.

A respray is best for:

  • Restoring your vehicle's old paintwork
  • Permanent colour changes without a design
  • The restoration of classic and vintage vehicles

When should you wrap a vehicle instead?

Ferrari-Gold-Blue-Supercar-Wrap-Gumball-3000-Rally- Raccoon

Because a wrap is temporary, you can choose from any design without running into future issues. Getting to change the vehicle’s look on a whim is perfect for drivers who want to make a bold statement, add racing stripes, enjoy a dazzling new colour, or stand out at an event or rally. You can also pick from a suite of colours, some of which may not be available with a respray.

Wrapping is the ideal branding solution for business owners. Advertise with liveries, change to rich company colours, and add any design with crisp detailing – it can all be removed at any time! If you update your branding every 5 years or so, you’ll appreciate the flexibility of a wrap far more than the permanence of a new paint job.

A wrap is best for:

  • Refreshing your brand every few years
  • Events, rallies, and short-term alterations
  • 100% accurate, fully bespoke printed designs
  • Choosing a colour not supported by the manufacturer

Is it faster to wrap or respray a car? 

It takes around 2 days for a wrap to adhere to the vehicle’s surface. It can take longer in some cases, but a reputable wrap company should be honest about how long you can expect to wait. It takes about 4 days to have the interior panels wrapped as well.


The average respray takes between 4 and 7 days, but realistically, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The final waiting time depends on the amount of prep work needed, the job’s complexity, and if the bodywork needs repairs.

Will a respray last longer than a wrap? 

Usually, yes. Wraps last between 3 and 7 years, while a good respray can last between 10 and 15 years. However, you can maximise your wrap’s lifespan with good vehicle wrap aftercare and keeping the surface as clean as possible. Doing so will help you make the most of your investment.

Tip: Wondering which option will protect your vehicle most? Wrapping acts like a ‘second skin’, so it’ll take the brunt of any nicks or scratches. This helps defend the paintwork underneath, potentially saving you money in the long run.

Will wrapping or painting my car affect its value?

A good respray can help maintain your vehicle’s value, but custom paintwork will reduce it. That’s because getting rid of custom paint and returning the car to its original shade can be expensive.

Wraps don’t have this issue, which is why it’s often better and cheaper to wrap a leased vehicle than it is to respray it. You’d eventually have to restore the original paintwork before handing it back – making the whole thing more expensive and inconvenient.

Can I respray or wrap my vehicle if it's damaged?

It’s not advisable to wrap your vehicle if it suffers from rust. Vinyl has a tough time sticking to rust, and it can make scratches more noticeable as it contours to the bodywork. As such, anything more than very minor damage will prove difficult to wrap.

A full respray can involve fixing these imperfections, but this won’t happen for free, and you could end up spending hundreds more than you expected. In either case, it’s best to get the issue fixed early to stop it from getting worse.

How much does it cost to wrap or respray a vehicle?

The cost of vehicle wrapping depends on factors like vehicle size, materials used, and the project’s complexity. Car wraps cost anywhere from £1,600 to £3,000, while van wraps typically cost between £1,900 and £3,200. If you have a fleet of vehicles, you may find the cost per vehicle is closer to £2,000.

The cost to respray your vehicle depends on its size, age, make and model, and its overall condition. At the lower end, expect to pay no less than £2,000 for a car, and no less than £3,000 for a van respray.


We at Raccoon are big on educating readers just like you.

And while we can’t make the choice for you, or give an exact price for respraying, we can provide all the info you need when it comes to vehicle wrapping.

Below, you'll find links to our pricing calculators. One is for businesses looking to brand their vehicles, and the other's for individuals looking for colour change and other bespoke wrap services. Just click the link that best describes your project, fill in some details, and get an instant price shown on screen.

Quote for Vehicle Branding   Quote for Bespoke or Colour Change

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!