It's a wrap – the latest in automotive appearance solutions

Drive down the highway and you’ll probably see cars boasting bright candy colors, metallic flakes, gator skin texture, aluminum brushed sleekness and more. Many of these cars, though, aren’t painted that way. Instead, they’re wrapped in specially imprinted vinyl. To find out more about car wraps, Advance Auto Parts spent some time with Scott Kepple of Identity Design in Jacksonville, Florida. Scott has been wrapping cars since 2009.

a wrapped bright green BMW 3 Series with tinted windows and black wheels

Source | J Morris via Pixabay

Benefits of car wraps

“A car wrap provides a custom look,” Scott explains. “The finish is perfectly smooth, the look is flawless, and it’s really cool how you can customize your vehicle in whatever designs you can imagine, including pretty hard core textures and chromes.” Car wraps are especially great for people who want a new look for their car, whether it’s more traditional (a different color, for example, or a matte finish instead of glossy) or something more outrageous and fun. Another benefit: a car wrap can last five to seven years. And, whenever you decide to remove it, the paint will look just as good as when you first had the vehicle wrapped.

Scott shares that dealerships are even wrapping their brand new vehicles; when an owner removes the wrap, the paint is still in showroom condition. 

Another clear benefit is that if your car gets dented or scratched, an entire section of the vehicle would need repainted. That's so everything matches (and, with paint fading over time, even that might not work). With car wrapping, you simply replace a panel and you’ve got a perfect match.

Cons of car wraps

There are two: one, the process may cost about the same as a quality paint job. So, if you prefer a cheaper paint job, wrapping is more expensive. And, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to draw attention to yourself or to your vehicle, wrapping is probably the wrong decision for you. You might go to the grocery store, for example, and have some ask to take a photo of your vehicle. If that makes you feel uncomfortable, think twice about wrapping – or at least avoid some of the more extreme options.

closeup of a matte black wrap on a side mirror

Source | Crea Park via Pixabay

Wrapping trends

At a car show that Scott recently attended, approximately 30% of the vehicles were wrapped. So, it’s clearly a trend for people who love to show their vehicles. “One big thing is the matte colors,” Scott says, “probably because glossy paint has been around for a long time. Matte brings out the lines of a car. It looks raw, perfectly even, really nice looking. Other trends are textured wraps, plus pearls and chromes, especially with higher end vehicles. A gator look is a cool texture, and so is fresh aluminum that looks completely brushed.”

Another trend mentioned by Scott involves spot wrapping, where a car’s wheels or engine bay, door jambs or brakes are wrapped in a way that contrasts with the rest of the vehicle. Scott recommends a website managed by his company,, to find a car wrap shop around you.

How would YOU wrap your car? Let us know.  

Editor's note: If you still choose to go old-school, visit Advance Auto Parts for a wide selection of car care appearance products or some decals or emblems.

Last updated June 9, 2021