Skip to Content

How long does a color change wrap take?

A color change vehicle wrap typically takes 3-5 business days to complete. This includes the full process of template design, printing, laminating, and installation of the wrap on the vehicle. However, the total timeline can vary based on factors like the size and complexity of the design, the wrap material used, and the company doing the work.

What is a vehicle wrap?

A vehicle wrap refers to a printed vinyl material that is installed over the original paint or wrap on a car, truck, van, or other vehicle. The wrap has a printed design or solid color and acts as a new temporary “paint job” to customize the look of the vehicle.

Vehicle wraps can be full wraps that cover the entire vehicle, or partial wraps like hood graphics or stripes. Full wraps require more material and labor time to install but allow for complete customization. Partial wraps focus on one section of the vehicle to add visual interest.

Vehicle wrap process

Installing a new vehicle wrap is a multi-step process:

  1. Template design – The wrap company works from photos and measurements of the vehicle to create a template of panel sizes and seams. This provides a guide for printing and cutting the vinyl material.
  2. Vinyl printing – The template design is printed onto high-performance vinyl using wide-format printers. This allows the full-color design to be transferred onto the vinyl.
  3. Vinyl lamination – After printing, the vinyl material is coated with a clear laminate layer. This protects the ink and gives the wrap a glossy finish.
  4. Vinyl application – The printed, laminated vinyl sheets are applied to the vehicle panels using heat and pressure. The installer must carefully align the material and smooth out bubbles and wrinkles.
  5. Trimming and finishing – Excess vinyl is trimmed around doors, lights, mirrors, and other intricate areas. Corners and edges are reinforced to prevent lifting or peeling.

What affects the timeline?

Several key factors determine how long a wrap installation takes from start to finish:

  • Vehicle size – Wrapping a small compact car will be faster than a full-size truck or van. Larger vehicles require more material and labor time.
  • Full vs. partial wrap – A bumper-only wrap can be installed in a few hours, while a full wrap requires 1-2 days with an experienced installer.
  • Complexity of design – Simple solid colors or basic shapes add little time, but complex designs with fine details or gradients are more intricate to install.
  • Wrap material – Some specialized vinyls like chrome, brushed metal, or textured carbon fiber take longer to apply and require more skill.
  • Business workload – The installer’s schedule affects timelines if they are booked up with other jobs already.

Standard Timeline

The typical timeframe for a full vehicle wrap is:

Stage Timeframe
Design creation 1-2 days
Vinyl printing 1 day
Lamination 1 day
Installation 1-2 days
Total 3-5 business days

So for a typical sedan or SUV, you can expect your new color change or custom wrap to be completed within a standard work week. Larger commercial vehicles may take up to a week if there are no delays with the material supply or installation schedule.

How to reduce timeline

If needed, there are some ways to expedite the wrap process:

  • Choose a simple, solid color change rather than a complex graphic design.
  • Opt for a partial wrap rather than a full vehicle wrap.
  • Provide very clear photos and measurements to assist template design.
  • Have any dents filled, rust repaired, and paint flaws addressed beforehand.
  • Schedule the job during the wrap shop’s less busy periods.
  • Pay extra for rush delivery and installation.

Well-prepared vehicles in good condition can also be wrapped more quickly. Discuss options clearly with your installer, as extra charges may apply for accelerated service.

Maintenance and durability

With proper care, a quality vinyl vehicle wrap can last 5-7 years. To keep your wrap looking its best:

  • Wash only by hand or use touchless automatic car washes.
  • Avoid high-pressure water spraying directly on the edges of the wrap.
  • Use car wash soap and drying towels that are safe for vinyl wraps.
  • Don’t let gas or other chemicals drip onto the wrap when filling up.
  • Park in garages or under covers to minimize exposure to sun and weather.
  • Schedule annual inspections to catch and repair any lifted edges or cuts in film.

vinyl vehicle wrap that stays free of damage can remain vibrant and color-true for years before needing replacement. With care taken in the design, materials, application, and maintenance, your custom car wrap is a smart investment to transform the look of your ride.


Installing a new full-coverage vinyl wrap for a color change or graphic design typically takes professional wrap shops 3-5 business days. The process involves creating a template, printing, laminating, and carefully applying the custom vinyl material. Timelines can vary based on vehicle size, complexity of the wrap design, materials used, and the shop’s workload. With some preparation and maintenance care, a high-quality vinyl wrap can last 5 years or longer before needing replacement. For a unique look and protection for your vehicle’s paint, a custom wrap is a creative and cost-effective option.