Last time, we put in some serious work on defining the pros and cons of powder coating. Join us again today as we dive into another detailed examination of fleet branding with an in-depth look at the pros and cons of vinyl vehicle wraps.
Vinyl wraps are much less durable and have a much shorter lifespan than most other branding options, but you can print anything on them and they are very easy to remove when you're ready for a change of style. Let's dive right in.
Pros and Cons of Vinyl Vehicle Wraps
Vehicle wraps are usually vinyl. These are custom-printed and form-fitted then applied to your vehicle much like a screen protector for your phone, applied in panels over the many sections of your vehicle.
They are highly detailed but like anything made of vinyl, they are generally considered a short-term cosmetic solution.
Pros of Vehicle Wraps
- Low Cost for High Detail
The one thing vinyl wraps are notoriously good for is providing a high level of detail, especially if you want detail on every angle and feature of your vehicle. This is because vinyl wraps don't involve applying pigment directly like paint or powder coating. It's a printed design that is stuck on like a sticker, so the detail comes pre-printed.
- Minimal Application Downtime
When you're working with professionals who know how to apply a vehicle wrap, it can take a day or less to fully refinish your vehicle in a pre-ordered wrap. This means minimal downtime for your vehicles if you need to be back on the road fast.
- Easily Removable and Interchangeable
Vinyl wraps are a no-strings-attached kind of refinish. You can easily peel one off and apply another one if you decide that your vehicles need a new design, if you rebrand, or if you run multiple businesses and reassign vehicles between the two brands regularly.
- Highly Flexible: Graphic Design to Car Design
Of the three options, vinyl wraps give you the greatest precision control over the design because you can create the design on a computer and then print it onto vinyl.
- Variety of Finishes
Surprisingly, vinyl also offers a variety of finishes comparable to paint and powder coating, ranging from soft matte to shiny chrome. The printing on vinyl can also create the illusion of other finishes like fur or grating or wood from a distance.
- Quick-Appearance Repairs
If one of your vinyl panels gets damaged (and they will get damaged), you can order a new matching panel and have it stuck on as a replacement reasonably quickly. This means quick cosmetic touch-ups are an option.
Cons of Vehicle Wraps
- Short-Term Lifespan Before Rewrap is Necessary
Unfortunately, vinyl vehicle wraps trade durability for all their flexibility. Unlike paint which can last up to ten years and powder coating which lasts decades, vinyl is only rated for 1-5 years before it starts to fade in the sun and/or look tattered. You've likely seen faded vinyl wraps out on the road; they are vehicles that look like they are somehow bleaching in the sun.
- Very Easy to Scratch and Rip
Vehicle wraps also lack situational durability. Like all vinyl, vehicle wraps scratch and rip easily. So if your vehicle gets into a fender-bender, scrapes a curb, or is swiped by a shopping cart in a parking lot, that vinyl can take some very apparent damage and will need to be fixed before your commercial vehicles look presentable again.
- Adhere Poorly to Previously Damaged Vehicles
Vinyl is also pretty unforgiving of underlying damage. If your paint is damaged or your vehicle body is dented, then you are likely to see bubbles in the vinyl even when applied by skilled refinishing experts.
- Low-End Vinyl Looks Low-End
It's also absolutely necessary to get top-of-the-line vehicle wraps to get the kind of sleek quality appearance you're looking for. Whine vinyl wraps are relatively affordable, the low end of vehicle wraps are very apparently lower quality and won't have that finished-vehicle appearance necessary to maintain your business reputation.
- Unprofessional Installation Results in Bubbles
Wraps also require an expert to apply the vinyl correctly. Any mistakes, and the vinyl will bubble instead of fitting to your vehicle like a glove. Bubbling vinyl looks bad, wastes a wrap, and if you do drive with it, it is more likely to fade very quickly.
- Can Appear Flat
Lastly, vinyl can look very cool but if the printing isn't perfect quality, the simulated textures and designs can wind up looking flat instead, like a printed logo on paper. No doubt, you've seen examples of this on the road as well.
So should your mobile business fleet or semi-trucks be powder coated, vinyl wrapped, or both? Like any business decision, it depends on what your goals are. If you need a quick rebranding for a few months, then vinyl wraps are a great short-term solution. Vehicle wraps remain a fantastic option when you need quick design flexibility.
Taking care of a commercial fleet requires more than trucks and gasoline. Regular inspections and maintenance ensure your fleet is safe and up to code.
Here at Wilmar, we're proud to offer customized fleet management services along with helpful advice from an experienced fleet management perspective. Contact us or just keep reading the blog for more great fleet management insights.