Vinyl Car Wraps

Vinyl Car Wraps in Northern Virginia


How to Vinyl Wrap a Car

Today’s vinyl wrap technology allows for professional and amateur detailers to get great-looking results that minimizes trapped air bubbles or crooked decals of the past. Vinyl car wraps allow for repositioning up to 24 hours after being applied which means corrections can be made and the channels built into the vinyl car wraps virtually eliminate air pockets.

What was once a new way to apply advertising is quickly becoming a method to paint an entire vehicle for a unique, customized appearance. The process is straightforward with professional detailers taking on average 10 – 12 hours to complete the job.

Selection Process

The first step is to select the right amount of vinyl to properly wrap the car. For most vehicles, strips that are 25’ long and 60” wide are more than enough. The average cost is roughly $2500 and considerably less if it’s a solid color with no images, slogans, or stripes. Of course, you must pay for the labor which can vary depending on where you live.

Preparing the Vehicle

The vehicle must be cleaned first and the paint prepared with cleaners along with alcohol which will help smooth out any dings or dents. In addition, the preparation is necessary to help remove the car wraps when needed.

Vinyl Wrap Car Application

The process usually starts with the removal of the mirrors and molding which helps speed up the application. Many professional detailers will start with the bumpers since that is the most difficult part. Once that is completed, applying the car wraps becomes simpler depending on the model of the vehicle. Most detailers will cut the wraps into large sections and apply them as needed. The seams between the sections will virtually disappear during the application process.

Stick & Hold

Once positioned, the adhesive on the vinyl is exposed and attached to the vehicle. Here, the vinyl can be smoothed out to remove all bumps and stretched around the curves. The goal is to avoid any ridges or kinks by going slowly and smoothly. There are different techniques to applying the car wrap depending on the shape the vehicle itself.

Heat & Shaping

Vinyl car wraps will stretch even more when heat is applied. Many detailers will use a heat gun to stretch the vinyl so it will appear smoother, especially around curves and corners. Once the wrap has been fully applied, the edges are carefully removed with a knife that cuts into the vinyl, but not the paint.

Another challenge is addressing the seams. Depending on the vehicle and design that is applied, it may not be possible to cover all the seams. Some detailers will overlap seams while others will have Kevlar threads applied under the vinyl which will provide precise cutting to hide the seams.

Keep in mind that car wraps are not permanent, so they can be removed without damaging the paint underneath. It’s not an easy process, but the combination of citrus-based chemicals to dissolve the adhesive and heat to lift the sections works quite well.


If you interesting in having Like New Automotive in Falls Church VA wrap your car give us a call at (703) 536-2880.