Car Wraps vs Painting a Car

Is it Cheaper to Wrap or Paint a Car?

This question is asked all the time, and the answer depends on the paint job. Factors such as the quality of paint, type of vehicle, desired finish, and extent of customisation play a significant role in determining whether it is cheaper to wrap or paint a car. 


2012 BMW 1M wrapped in @averydennison Gloss Dark Green

Here are some considerations for both options:

Car Wrapping:

  • Cost-Effective: In general, car wrapping tends to be more cost-effective than a high-quality paint job, especially for complex designs or custom graphics.
  • Protects Original Paint: A vinyl wrap acts as a protective layer for your car’s original paint, shielding it from minor scratches, UV damage, and everyday wear and tear.
  • Variety of Finishes and Colors: With vinyl wraps, you have a vast array of finishes and colours to choose from, including matte, gloss, satin, metallic, or even textured options.
  • Temporary Option: If you like to change the look of your car frequently or if you plan to sell it in the future, a vinyl wrap can be easily removed without affecting the original paint.
  • Limited Lifespan: While vinyl wraps can last several years with proper care, they typically have a shorter lifespan compared to high-quality paint jobs.

Painting a Car:

  • Long-Lasting Finish: A professionally painted car with high-quality paint can last for many years and maintain its lustre with proper care.
  • Customisation Options: Painting allows for more extensive customisation options, including unique colour combinations and intricate designs that may not be achievable with a wrap.
  • Seamless Finish: A well-executed paint job can provide a seamless finish with no visible seams or edges that may be present with some vinyl wraps.
  • Higher Cost for Quality: Achieving a high-quality paint job involves meticulous preparation, multiple layers of paint, and skilled application techniques, making it more expensive than basic wraps.

Ultimately, the choice between wrapping and painting a car comes down to personal preference, budget, and the desired outcome. It is recommended to consult with professionals in the automotive industry to discuss your specific needs and get accurate cost estimates for both options.


Full pink vinyl wrap

Older Cars Painting vs Wrapping

For an older car, that is 20 or 30 years old, the paint is starting to crack and they are waiting to restore the original paint colour, which is one thing that can’t be done with a car wrap. 

As vinyl and paint don’t have the same colours. The colour codes done cross over, there is nothing about them that is the same. 

You can buy vinyls that are the colour. But they don’t match the paint. Some of them are very close, but as a rule, there is no relation between paint and wrap. They are totally different. 

Yes, you can wrap an older car, but we would always suggest that if anything an older car is more expensive to wrap than a newer car, as there is more work in cleaning and other preparation work such as sanding. It would be more cost-effective to take it to a panel shop and get the areas that need re-painted, and some re-spraying, and it will most likely be cheaper. 

Laws around Colour Changes of a Vehicle in Victoria 

To change the colour of a car with paint is permanent. You are not actually allowed to do it unless you change everything including in the engine bay. Where as a wrap you can just change the outside.

Do I need to tell someone I have changed the colour of my car?

Your car will be registered as a colour. For example, if you buy a car that is white, it will be registered as white. If you wrap it in purple, places such as service stations or police officers will be able to look up your number plate and it will tell them what colour the car is registered as, and will say white. 

If you totally change the colour of a car, you should be letting VicRoads know, so they can alter this on your registration. 

A wrap colour change is allowed and doesn’t have to be registered with VicRoads as it is considered temporary, but a paint colour change does have to be changed with VicRoads.  

If you want you can let VicRoads and your insurance company know that you have put a wrap on your vehicle and changed the colour of your car. Just so it is on record. But it is not mandatory. 


Note: VicRoads do state that you must notify VicRoads of a change of colour of the vehicle within 14 days of the change. It is always best to check with them if you are unsure.

Need a wrap for your van, car, work or personal vehicle? Contact us today at  CRG Designs to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards enhancing your car. Remember, when it comes to vinyl wraps, knowledge and expertise are key. Trust our team to deliver exceptional results that exceed your expectations.


Written by Cameron Gurnett, owner of CRG Designs. Cam has been designing vehicle signage, branding and wrapping cars in Melbourne over the last 15 years. 

Cam has worked on vehicles for brands such as; City Mazda Melbourne, Bob Jane T-Mart, Ray White, Cocobella, LJ Hooker and Metropolitan Plumbing + Electrical, Jim’s Plumbing. If you are interested in getting your vehicles wrapped, contact CRG Designs today. 


48 Insight Circuit

Carrum Downs, VIC 3201



Mon - Fri 8am - 4.30pm

Weekends - closed

We recognise the Traditional Country of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation in Victoria and extends its respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

vehicle wraps melbourne