Will a car wrap cover scratches, dents & rust?

By Richard Clark on Dec 11, 2020 8:27:55 AM

4 min read
A car with scratches, dents and rust.

Are you planning to wrap your vehicle, but worried what a scratch could mean for its quality and appearance? You’re not alone. We often hear from vehicle owners in the same position as you. To answer that question and be as helpful as possible, we’ve created this guide. Here, you’ll find out if a car wrap covers scratches, dents and rust – and find out if there are things you should do before going ahead with a vehicle wrap.

Will a van or car wrap cover scratches? 

When it comes to very small and surface-level scratches, yes. As long as you can run your hand across your vehicle without feeling raised edges, a vinyl car wrap will successfully cover any minor scratches or scuffs. Even so, it may be worth trying a scratch remover like T-Cut, as this could clear the problem entirely.

Deeper scratches and scrapes are another matter. A vinyl wrap acts as a second skin, so it’ll pick up any obvious contours in your vehicle’s bodywork. We recommend getting deeper scratches checked out at a trusted repair shop. By doing this, you’ll stop the damage in its tracks and ensure a blemish-free surface.

Below: This black van suffered minor scratches, but a new wrap provided a smooth finish. 

JB Sales van before Raccoon vehicle wrapping used to cover scuffs and bring it up to dateJB Sales van with specialist vehicle wrap application


Will a wrap cover a dent in the vehicle?

Yes, you can sometimes wrap over a dent without issue. At other times, you won’t get the results you’re after. Think of it this way; the wider and deeper the dent, the more it affects the design of the wrap. Thankfully, many smaller dents can now be lifted through paintless dent repairs.  

‘PDR’ involves pulling the dents out with glue tabs, a slide hammer and other tools, in turn eliminating the need to respray your vehicle. This type of SMART repair means it could be quicker and cheaper to remove dents than you think. 

Can you wrap a rusted vehicle? 

In an ideal world, you’d never wrap over a rusted panel. Vinyl needs a smooth surface to stick to, and if there’s rust, the wrap might fail to adhere properly. It could then dry out and crack, ruining the design. Remember; a wrap can be seen by up to 18 million people a year. Do you really want that many eyes on a rusted vehicle?

Then there’s its overall health to consider. You could sand down the rust and just wrap over it, but that won’t address the problem itself

That’s why you should take your vehicle to a workshop first, especially if you need your wrap for more than a month or two. They’ll cut out the rust, then fill in the affected panel and prime the surface. After that, you won’t have to worry about rust damaging the wrap or the vehicle itself. 

rusted vehicle

What can a wrap do for my vehicle? 

While wraps won’t always cover scratches, dents and rust, they do offer a suite of benefits that make them hard to pass up. A wrap can breathe new life into your vehicle; whether you want to liven things up with a fresh colour or design, or plan to expand your customer base through vehicle branding. It’s also an excellent choice when you need a design for a public event, and don’t mind covering a minor scratch or two. 

Another plus; vinyl wrapping is one of the most affordable forms of marketing there is. As a result, it’s always worth fixing your vehicle first, so the wrap can do its job effectively – and that’s to get you noticed or build trust in your brand while you’re out on the road.

How can I get my vehicle ready for wrapping?

At Raccoon, we only want what's best for your vehicle. That’s why we recommend you get any car or van bodywork issues sorted out as soon as you can. Once that’s done, any vinyl wrap design applied to your vehicle will look its best for as long as you need it. 

There are other ways to prepare as well, and we have all the info you need right here. Simply follow the link below for our guide on vehicle wrap preparation.

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for 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!