Vinyl is not paint protection film, it is essentially a thin, colored sticker meant to be applied to garage-kept vehicles that are kept clean and not daily drivers and is meant to be temporary. It was never meant to be a paint alternative. Therefore these wraps are not made to last and often don’t.
At Ghost Shield, we take pride in being honest with our customers about what to expect out of vinyl wraps. We don’t want unhappy or disappointed customers coming back within a few months because the wrap has failed or has suffered environmental damage. We want our customers to be informed about what getting a colored vinyl wrap entails and how it differs from paint protection film.
The Perfect Example
This is a brand new Ford Raptor that was vinyl wrapped by another local wrap company. This company didn’t lay it out straight to the customer and now here we are unwrapping the vehicle three months later.
The vinyl has suffered from UV exposure. Rock chips and tears to the film. Peeling and bubbling from panel rub. Peeling from edges not being properly wrapped. And general wear and tear from the material expanding and shrinking from hot and cold temperates.
The customer was not made aware of the durability (or lack thereof) of the vinyl, and how prone to UV and environmental damage the vinyl is. And overall thought that the material would last for years.
Hard Truth About Vinyl Wraps:
Vinyl was made to be temporary. It is a very thin material, about .3 mils thick. So it can tear, chip, and become damaged easily. Even washing the car can result in swirls or scratches to the wrap.
There is no topcoat or protective layer on the vinyl like there is on paint protection film. It is exposed to UV rays and will fade or become discolored as it sits outside. Some types of vinyl can be ordered with an overlaminate but they make installation harder and more likely to bubble or peel. A laminate is also not a surefire way to prevent the wrap from going bad, we have seen even top-laminated films go bad within a couple of months of installation.
Over time the vinyl wrap will expand and retract as the weather gets hot and cold. Some panels on the vehicle flex and move as the car moves, causing certain areas to peel or bubble up over time. These are all unavoidable issues.
Vinyl Wrap Warranty?
Here in Southern California, the warranty on the vinyl wrap from the manufacturer is voided. We are considered a desert climate, and therefore no warranties will be honored by the wrap manufacturer.
Most wrap companies will not warranty what is considered “wear and tear” to the vinyl wrap. This includes rock hits, scratches, normal peeling and bubbling, damage done when washing the vehicle, swirls, UV damage, and environmental damage.
The Alternatives: Paint Protection Film (Double-Wrapping) Or Colored Paint Protection Film
If you want a more permanent option for keeping the vehicle a new color then wrapping over the vinyl in paint protection film is the way to go. It is an expensive option and will take more time as you are wrapping the vehicle twice.
However, with paint protection film you are getting a thicker layer of protection for the entire vehicle, UV protection, and a “self-healing” topcoat that prevents swirls and small scratches, and is hydrophobic.
Adding gloss paint protection film over the top of gloss vinyl also adds additional depth to the finish of the wrap. It also helps to reduce the “orange peel” look of most gloss vinyl wraps.
Colored Paint Protection Films
This is a relatively new offering coming onto the market. There are certain brands of paint protection film that come colored or patterned. This offers the color change of vinyl with all the benefits of paint protection film.
There is still a relatively small number of options for colored ppf films. But as time goes on and it becomes more popular customers can expect to see more and more color options.
Two brands we currently use are the Stek line of colored paint protection film, which can be found here. We are also working on carrying the FlexiShield colored paint protection films, which offer a wider range of more exotic color choices.