Car wraps are a popular way to change your car’s look or protect your car against minor wear and tear. Wraps can protect a clean paint job underneath and be removed later without damaging the paint. Wraps are also ideal if you want a graphic or design, rather than a solid color. In many respects, and in particular when you only want to wrap part of your car, wrapping can be easier and cheaper than painting. The average cost of wrapping your car’s hood with carbon fiber, the most popular type of car wrap, is around $55 to $65 if you do it yourself, and around $250 to $300 for a professional installation. Read on to find out everything you need to know about car hood wrapping.
In This Article
Benefits of Wrapping Your Vehicle’s Hood
You may have noticed that the hood of a car is often the first area to show signs of paint wear and damage. This is because this large, relatively flat area tends to be affected by flying debris on the road, and leaves, pollen, and other materials gathering on it. Vinyl and carbon wraps are an convenient way to protect your car from this kind of damage and protect your paint job.
Keep in mind that your paint needs to be in good condition when you apply the wrap — the wrap won’t adhere properly to uneven surfaces. Once applied, wraps are also easy to clean. They also protect the paint job underneath and can be removed without damaging the paint. Wraps are ideal if you want to temporarily change the look of your car, yet still be able to change back to your original paint color later on.
Wraps are also ideal if you want a design or graphic, rather than a solid color. You can even use car wraps to advertise for your business or services. In fact, there are entire car wrap advertising companies dedicated to recruiting people to drive their cars around with wraps featuring advertisements for various businesses.
Want to make money instead of spend money with your wrap? You may want to read about car wrap advertising through our article, Legitimate Car Wrap Advertising Companies: Requirements, Pay, Reviews.
Types of Vehicle Wrap
Car wraps are generally available in glossy vinyl, matte vinyl, and carbon fiber material. Carbon fiber wraps are the most popular because you can get that CF look for less. Gloss and matte vehicle wraps come in a range of solid colors, while carbon fiber is available in both a range of single-colors and printed or graphic formats.
Here’s a look at the different types and the costs for each one:
Vinyl Gloss Wrap
- Description: This vehicle wrap has a smooth, shiny appearance and is somewhat thicker than carbon fiber. It’s the least expensive type of car wrap.
- Cost: Around $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot (view prices on Amazon)
Vinyl Matte Wrap
- Description: This car wrap has a softer, satin-like finish rather than a gloss, and is a mid-range priced vehicle wrap type.
- Cost: Around $2 to $3 per square foot (view prices on Amazon)
Carbon Fiber Wrap
- Description: The most popular type of vehicle wrap, vinyl carbon fiber has a textured surface. The material is durable, flexible, and very thin, and can be easily removed and re-applied.
- Cost: Around $3 per square foot (view prices on Amazon)
- Description: This is actually a type of carbon fiber car wrap that comes with a range of pre-printed graphics in a wide variety of styles.
- Cost: Around $4 to $5 per square foot (view prices on Amazon)
The Cost of Professional Hood Wrapping
If you’d rather not tackle the job yourself or simply don’t have the time, you can have your hood wrap professionally installed. Professional hood wrapping typically costs around $250 to $300, depending on the type of wrap used, the size of the hood, and the condition of the vehicle. We found this price range by contacting auto body shops and viewing auto body websites.
The cost of professional hood wrap installation includes both labor and materials. In addition, pro shops use specialized tools, such as air release tools and heat guns, ensuring that your vinyl wrap is absolutely smooth and durable for long-lasting use. Most professional installations use carbon fiber wraps. The base cost can increase if you choose specialty designs, graphics, or images for your vehicle hood wrap.
You may also want to factor in the costs of wrap removal when wrapping your car — professional wrap removal typically costs around $50 to $100 an hour. Generally, you can expect a solid color vinyl wrap to last an average of seven to 12 years, and a graphic or printed wrap to last around five to seven years. However, you may want to consider removing and/or replacing the wrap sooner, as vehicle wraps don’t stay perfectly applied through the entire lifespan.
The Cost of DIY Hood Wrapping
Partial car wraps like hood and roof wraps are fairly easy to do yourself with a few simple tools, as compared to full vehicle wraps. The total cost of DIY hood wrapping, with tools and materials included, is around $55 to $65 for a carbon fiber wrap. DIY costs can increase to around $95 to $100 if you’re installing a hood wrap with pre-printed graphics.
If you’d like to install a hood wrap yourself, keep in mind that DIY installation may void any warranty on the wrap itself. It’s also a good idea to have at least two people on hand to install a hood wrap. Due to the size of the vinyl sheet, it can be very difficult to peel off the adhesive backing yourself without having the wrap curl up or stick to itself before you can get it laid flat on the hood.
Also, be sure to prepare the surface of your hood thoroughly before applying the wrap. The surface must be completely clean and dry, and there should not be any serious imperfections in the surface. If your hood has dents, deep scratches, or rough surfaces, the vinyl wrap will not adhere properly, and the imperfections will still show through the wrap.
Here’s what you’ll need to wrap your vehicle’s hood:
- Cleaner and cleaning materials: Such as automotive cleaner or mild vegetable oil-based soap, rags, sponges, and towels
- Vinyl wrap: Around $40 for a carbon fiber hood wrap (view prices on Amazon)
- Squeegee: Small hand tool used to remove air from underneath the wrap during application; around $5 (view prices on Amazon)
- Utility knife: For cutting away excess wrap material; around $10 (view prices on Amazon)
Additionally, you may want to consider the costs of DIY wrap removal. In order to remove vehicle wraps yourself, you’ll need additional tools such as a heat source, which will make the wrap more pliable during the removal process. A hair dryer can be used, but it’s recommended to use either a heat gun or a blow torch. Heat gun prices range from about $15 to $35 and up, while blow torch prices range from $13 to $40 and up.
If you’re not sure about installing or removing a vehicle wrap, or if you’ve used primer for the installation process and need the wrap removed, it’s generally a better idea to hire a professional.
Need some pointers on wrapping your vehicle hood yourself? Here’s a helpful YouTube video about vinyl hood wrapping that shows the process step by step.
Hood Wrapping vs. Painting
Generally speaking, the costs of professional vehicle painting and professional full-car vinyl wraps are about even, with both options starting at around $2,500 and ranging up to $6,000 or more. If you’d like to have your vehicle hood resurfaced, it can be easier, more convenient, and more economical to get a vinyl hood wrap rather than a new coat of professional paint. Wrapping is usually much quicker than painting and you should consider the time you won’t be able to drive your car — for example, because you’re waiting for paint to dry — when thinking about costs.
Most of the time, professional car painters will recommend that you have the entire car repainted, even if one section is more damaged than the rest, to ensure an overall even appearance. However, some shops will only paint the hood. The average cost for a professional hood painting is around $250 to $350, although some professional jobs may cost up to $1,000, depending on the amount of damage to the hood.
Interested in painting or wrapping your entire vehicle? You can learn more about the costs of painting vs. wrapping your entire car in our article, Car Wrap Cost vs Paint Job Cost: Which Is Cheaper Upfront, Long-Term.
Hood wraps are a great way to update the look of your car and protect your hood’s paint against future wear and damage. Professional hood wraps start around $250, but if you have the time and skill to do it yourself, you could spend as little as $60. Wrapping is ideal if you want to add graphics or want a temporary design change — you can remove a wrap later with the original paint job intact.