THERE will be a time in your car ownership life that your car’s paint job will seem a little bit boring to you or the paint has faded and dulled or (most likely), you have seen the many nice cars on the road that have been wrapped in many alluring (sometimes bordering on silly) colours. If you are interested in wrapping your car, there are a few questions that need addressing first.

Firstly, the existing paint on your car must be in good order. Faded or dull paint is still okay to be wrapped but chips and dents will have to be fixed beforehand. Rust is a definite no-no. Providing the base is good and dent free, then the wrapping may be applied.

In many instances, wrapping your original paint will also preserve it when the time comes to sell it. Original paint will increase the car’s resale value.

Wrap is usually made from vinyl and is very durable. While it is not totally bulletproof, it is more resistant to scratches and chipping than paint. Since you are covering almost all of the painted surfaces with up to 3mm of vinyl, the original paint will be protected from natural hazards like bird droppings as well as being fairly resistant to weathering from sun and UV exposure.

Most vinyl wraps will last from four to 10 years with careful maintenance and can be safely removed afterwards.

The ability to change your car’s colour is another advantage of wrap. While it is not cheap, wrap will allow you to choose from the sublime to the ridiculous with ease. Maybe you prefer chrome or matt pink, the choice is yours. In addition, the next owner need not be saddled with your choice of colour (maybe he likes orange polka dots instead). The painted areas need not be the only areas you wrap. It is possible to wrap the rain gutters, bumpers or chrome trim in the same (or even contrasting colours). The choice of colours and combinations can be yours with no consequences on the original paint.

Vinyl wraps are easy to maintain. The only cleaning they need is washing with soap and water so a visit to the car wash means having the luxury to say no to a wax job every time. There are detail sprays that can improve the looks and the option of coatings (like on normal paint) also applies to wraps. The life expectancy of wraps are dependent upon exposure to the elements and regular cleaning and washing so don’t expect the wrap to withstand unnatural sun exposure.

Professionally installed vinyl films with the highest quality materials can cost a lot but a good job can cost as low as RM2,300 and will have a life expectancy of four to 10 years. For a fraction of the cost of (equivalent colour and type) paint, it is possible to have a completely unique vehicle. Airbrushing graphics will add to the cost of paint considerably but adding graphics and logos to wrap is definitely cheaper.

One of the advantages of wrap is, of course, the possibility of having your car in a completely non-standard colour, possibly a colour that is not available in factory paint. After booking your car, you need not wait for the colour of your choice. Just pick the first one available in the showroom. Sometimes, a particularly vile standard colour of your car will even be discounted heavily since it is less saleable.

Another advantage of wrapping is the time and level of preparation needed is much less than paint. It is possible to have your whole car wrapped in just two to three days whereby a paint job will require almost a whole week, even for a cheap respray.

The main and most sane reason for wrapping is the preservation of the original paint. It is best to have the wrapping done while the car is still fairly new. Having the car repainted in another colour will dent the car’s resale value and having the original paint looking like new before selling it is a major plus point. A cheap respray job will not last as long as original paint and will cost only slightly less than wrapping the car. That said, a high quality wrap is not cheap either, especially if you choose the more premium colours or have a custom printed design on it.

Legal issues like having the registration document endorsed with the new colour is necessary, of course. You must declare the colour change within seven days and if you have more than one colour, the most dominant colour (more than 60 per cent) is the one on the document.

See you in your new bright green polka dot BMW M3 soon.

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