Letting Tesla Wrap Your New Car Is a Bad Idea: Advice from Professional Detailers
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Recently, Tesla announced that it will let buyers choose a custom vehicle wrap from the factory, rather than expand its available paint options. As a professional car detailer, let me give you some advice: letting Tesla wrap your brand-new car is a terrible idea. Here’s why:
Are wraps bad for your car?
Regardless of brand, car wraps have several drawbacks. For one, wrapping a car can often damage the paint. Should Tesla opt for a dry wrap application, as is most common, that process alone is hard on paint finishes. Any repositioning risks pulling up the paint, as the adhesive can instantly bond to the car’s clear coat on contact.
Complicating that is the fact that these Tesla wraps are to be applied over freshly painted cars. In such a scenario, the paint is even more susceptible to damage as it hasn’t had the proper 30 to 60-day cure time recommended by most professional body and detailing shops.
Don’t believe me? Larry Kosilla of AMMO NYC recommends a full 90 days of cure time before applying wrap or paint protection to a new vehicle:
Why you shouldn’t let Tesla wrap a new car
The problem with a car wrap isn’t unique to Tesla, but it is the first brand offering a color change wrap service at its factory service centers. Regardless of whether you let the company wrap your car as it comes off the line or you choose aftermarket alternatives, there are definite problems with car wraps as a whole.
For starters, installing any wrap is a complex process that should be handled by trained professionals. Considering Tesla’s ongoing issue with build quality and consistency, it’s difficult to recommend they take on such a specialty service on a brand-new car. Furthermore, wraps do not offer the same level of paint protection as paint protection film (PPF).
Because wrap material is thinner and more brittle than PPF, it is more susceptible to damage. Tesla claims that the new system is a color-infused PPF, though data on material thickness and composition has proven elusive. Tesla simply says it is a urethane-based film, which, depending on type, can be either better or worse than traditional vinyl.
Finally, wraps fade quickly under UV light, compared to automotive paint with a clear coat. That means a Tesla wrap will both cost more and be less durable than simply adding more paint colors to the lineup.
How much does a Tesla wrap cost?
There are seven total colors available for the new Tesla wrap program. Prices range from $7,500 to $8,000, which is on par with aftermarket alternatives. However, for that $8,000, you’ll get a finish that is less protective than PPF, and less durable than automotive paint with a clear coat. Couple that with the difficulty of installation, and it’s hard to recommend you wrap your new Tesla, or any brand-new car, for that matter.
This Tesla wrap will cost you money more than once
In addition to the four-figure up-front costs, a wrapped Tesla will cost you money in depreciation as well. The aforementioned fading and cracking combined with paint damage underneath mean you’ll have big issues when it’s time to trade or sell.
It can take as little as three years for a car wrap to degrade, at which point you’ll have to pay for removal. This will almost definitely result in paint damage that requires a complex repair. That bill alone can range up to $5,000 depending on severity, location, and color. And if you don’t want to take on the responsibility, your resale and trade-in values will take the hit instead.
Is it possible to take care of a new car wrap?
Should you decide to wrap your brand-new Tesla regardless, you’ll want to spend a bit more beyond the initial $8,000. Adding an enamel or ceramic coating will add UV protection to help that wrap last a bit longer. And if you can, avoid parking in the sun, as the heat and UV rays will cause cracking and fading over time, whether you’ve added protection or not. Finally, if you really want to wrap your Tesla, don’t pay the company directly. Find a reputable wrap installer in your area to ensure you get a professional result.