Car wrapping vs paint: what’s the difference?

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When people ask if paint or car wrapping is better, usually they’re looking for an upgrade or there is paint damage. In either case, there are many options for both and one can find many places to do the job.

Car Wrapping

Applied over a clean paint or bare metal surface, wraps come in a variety of colours and can even have textures. Wraps have the advantage over paint where it can be applied on a surface of any size. If you change your mind or no longer need it, you can hire a professional to remove the wrap. Protective wraps can even be applied to protect paint! This is usually done with the two main types of wraps: cast and calendered.

wrapping side mirrors
Car wrapping can be applied to surfaces of any size.


Cast wraps are thin, coloured vinyl films which cling tightly to the car. As cast wraps can be cut to fit specific areas of a car, they are versatile and can conform to a car’s shape. Professionals install the wrap like a giant sticker using heat and a blade to ensure it adheres properly.


In contrast to cast wraps, calandered wraps are a little less common. They are thicker than cast wraps which provide better protection but may be harder to install on corners and other tricky areas.


car paint

Paint jobs are for those who wish to restore the original paint or change the colour of their car. The body is then cleaned, degreased, and sanded down. One final cleaning readies the surface for the paint. The chosen paint is then sprayed on to coat the car evenly. Once all coats have dried, a clear coat is added as the final touch.


Acrylic is the old school paint usually found on antique cars. It is a simple and inexpensive paint, though fading can be an issue.


The newer and more common paint, urethane is more expensive than acrylic but lasts longer. It is also harder to apply but comes in single and multi-stage varieties.


Both wrapping and paint have a variety of finishes, some of which achieve the same effect, while others can only be achieved with specialised wraps or paints.


Available to both paint and wrapping, the solid or gloss finish is the most common. It is also how a car usually looks when it comes from the factory.


Also achievable with both wrapping and paint, matte is popular among those that want to change their car’s colour. Such is its popularity, that some car models come with a matte finish straight from the factory.


This finish is only available to paints as it requires the paints to contain metallic fragments. These fragments create the signature shine of the finish. If the paint is damaged howver, it can be very expensive to repair.


Another thing paints can mix with are ceramics. These ceramics really make the paint pop. It is also really expensive to apply and repair, so only pick pearlescent if you really want the look.

Moving on to the wrap exclusive finishes, we have satin, carbon fibre, and the textured finish.


The satin finish is something of a jack of all trades. It is a cross between a gloss and matte finish and yet has the features of pearlescent or metallic paint. In terms of normal colouration, satin finishes are much more interesting.

Carbon Fibre

As it says on the tin, carbon fibre wraps incorporate actual carbon fibres! This is to mimic carbon fibre panels and are popular when fitting partial wraps to hoods, rooves, and mirrors.


If you are looking to draw attention to your car, textured wraps are sure to do the trick. You can get a wide range of different textures, ranging from camouflage to diamond-plating, and many others.

  • satin car wrap
  • carbon fibre car wrap
  • textured car wrap

Car Wrapping vs Paint


In terms of price, a high quality paint job can range from RM 2,000 to RM 10,000 depending on the colour, shop, and paint quality. Professionally installed wraps with the highest quality materials can cost RM 500 to RM 5,000.


Wrapping is relatively quick, taking only a couple of days to a week. A paint job on the other hand may need weeks to ensure there are no cosmetic or integrity flaws.


Car wrapping can last up to ten years, depending on the wrap, and do not require much maintenance. This is in contrast with paint, that can last the car’s lifetime if taken care of well.

Should I Wrap or Paint?

A paint job would be best for those who want to keep things simple. It will likely cost a bit more and take more time, but it will last a lifetime. Solid colours work best for both professional and personal use. Check out our car workshop services that include body and paint.

Wrap your car if you want something less permanent, and it could be a useful way to promote your business with a custom wrap.

Have you seen cars that inspire you to upgrade? Browse our inventory of second hand cars in Malaysia for your dream car! You can also sell your car with us.

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