Vehicle wrapping is a trend that has accelerated quickly over the last decade as a result of increasing availability of options, ease of install, and decreasing cost of vinyl manufacturing. These days you can pretty much get a vinyl print of anything you can imagine to make sure your vehicle is one of a kind. The mass expansion of the industry, though, leaves buyers with a lot of choices on their hands - from 3M vinyl wrap to Briteline to Orafol - it can become a bit difficult to choose.
Now, there are probably a few big concerns for you while picking a manufacturer - price, durability, color options, etc - so it’s never a one size fits all. If you’re looking for a quick, cheap wrap, our 3M recommendation may not be for you. However, if you want a vinyl car wrap that’s going to look how you wanted and last a decade, I’ll argue that 3M is the place to be.
Briefly, I wanted to break down the general categories of this space for those who are less familiar with the industry. What people informally refer to as ‘wraps’ can actually be a few different types of materials and serve different purposes. Technically, any film that is sticky and wraps around a piece of your car can be a ‘wrap’.
As such there are four main categories to be aware of.
- Customized car wrap
- Commercial wraps and graphics
- Window tinting
- Paint protection
Many people jump directly to the customized category immediately, but just know there’s a lot more than that! Almost everyone in Houston uses window tinting to minimize the sun penetration into the vehicle, whereas a much smaller group of people use the custom wraps to style their vehicle. I’d argue that 3M is likely one of the best in the tinting space as well, but here we’re going to talk about the 3M vinyl car wraps where you can customize your vehicle exterior.
Car wrap prices can vary wildly depending on your color and finish, but expect a few thousand dollars at least for a nice looking, well installed option. Wrapping a truck has also gotten more popular and is generally similar to cars. You just have more room to be artistic!
What makes 3M vinyl wrap so good?
3M is a massive company with almost 100,000 employees that has been around for a very long time. That means they’re not going anywhere when it comes to supporting and continuing to improve on their wrap options. They also have a storied past of creating incredibly innovative adhesive products due to their creative work culture.
Have you seen those 3M Command wall hangers that you can pull and remove with no residue? Chemistry isn’t most people’s strong suit, but back in the day the serious adhesives used chemical reactions to stick which would cause lots of discoloration with the mating surface. Now, due to their innovation, the thought of having a hook that ruined the wall is appalling.
Everyone has their opinion, but if I’m going to entrust a brand to put a sticky material all around my beautiful car, I want it to be the one that literally invented making sure you can get the sticky stuff off without a problem.
3M Vinyl Wrap Colors are Never Ending
After price and quality, the vinyl wrap color options is a major decision factor in who to choose. If you’re going after that pink unicorn flying off the hood in a cloud of pixie dust look, you deserve to have that look! Not to fret, my friend, as you have come to the right place.
For your semi-basic options, the 3M vinyl wrap colors are quite extensive. Check out their psychedelic mustang option below.
If that doesn’t quite fit your fancy, how about the military green chart here. Note the texture on the green giving it a bit of a black mixin look.
If you’re looking for something new, you can explore the chrome wrap series which will really stand you out in a crowd, whether you’re driving a Camry or a Ferrari.
Chrome has historically been very difficult to wrap with and requires a lot of attention to detail when installing, but can be striking when done well. The NSX above has an incredible look that’s almost paint-like. 3M has a ton of info on their new GC451 Gloss Silver on their website if you want to learn more about it. While this won’t be the cheapest option, it’s certainly a unique one.
Virtually Configure your 3M Vinyl Car Wrap
Another cool thing about 3M’s vinyl wrap is that they provide an online configurator where you can explore different options for you car. Not sure what to pick? Use the restyler to test out all your favorite colors until you find something that clicks. You can build unique and personalized wraps using multiple colors, textures and finishes. Restyling Studio
How to install 3M Vinyl Wrap
While I personally recommend anyone who isn’t in the industry to just have a professional wrap their vehicles, you can find lots of great info directly from 3M about how to install and care for their wraps. A brief tips & tricks guide provides some basics for the chrome install, but you can also find support for all their products which is another benefit of buying from a larger established vinyl company.
If you’re thinking about wrapping your vehicle yourself, you’ll want to make sure you know how much vinyl you need to buy . You can get some pretty cheap options on Amazon for self-installation. Always get a little extra to make sure you have some scrap and don't forget to include the roof and mirrors. Easier to buy extra on the roll to start with than to re-order more.
If you have some free time, there's something mesmerizing aobut watching people wrap a car.
Best places to buy 3M Vinyl Wrap
- Amazon - Automotive-Vinyl-Wraps-3M-Accessories