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Upfitting Wraps

Written by Steve Contarino

With all the new vehicles entering the law enforcement market, there will be new challenges to overcome. One of these challenges is paint color and two-tone pattern options. Let’s face it—nobody wants to tell the boss, “We can’t get our vehicles to match our existing fleet.” One solution to this problem is a vehicle wrap.

What is a vehicle wrap?
It is a massive decal that actually covers all or major parts of a vehicle. The wrap changes the vehicle’s appearance much like paint would. It has been done for many years in the commercial market, and the look can be quite amazing. I have seen wraps that look exactly like stainless steel, aluminum diamond plate, aircraft with rivets and food so realistic you want to take a bite!

The increased resale value of your vehicles can also be a benefi t from a wrap. You can order the vehicles in a single color and simply remove the wrap at the end of a vehicle’s service life. In tough fi nancial times, this can be a great way to boost your return on investment.

What is a wrap made of?

Wraps are made from pressure-sensitive, adhesivebacked vinyl. is is just a technical term for a big decal. Wraps can be printed on to create a new look or match what is currently in your fleet. The wrap is laminated with a clear film that provides protection from the sun and other elements.

Will a wrap damage the existing paint on a vehicle?

No. When a wrap is applied and removed by a professional installer, a vehicle wrap will not damage your vehicle’s factory paint.

What type of vehicle can be wrapped?

Anything, big or small; vehicle wraps are not limited by the size or shape of a vehicle. Even motorcycles, boats and off-road vehicles can be wrapped. How long does it take to wrap a vehicle? It does not take any longer than painting, and it often requires less time. The vehicle can go right into service after the wrap is installed if the outside temperature is within the guidelines of the wrap manufacturer.

Can additional decals be put on top of a wrap?

Yes. Additional lettering, stripes and agency seals or badges can be placed right on the wrap. Can a wrap incorporate reflective material? Yes. Wraps can be reflective, but the more refl ective material, the higher the cost. What if the wrap is damaged in an accident? Wraps can easily be repaired, or parts can be replaced. Often you can’t detect the patch.

Can I use wraps to create a whole new look?

Yes. With a wrap, the possibilities are endless. For example, photographs can be printed on the wrap to display a specific landmark in the agency’s jurisdiction.

How long will a wrap last, and what about warranty?

Wraps can last five years or more depending on geographical region and should not fade, crack or peel. The warranty from 3M Corporation, as an example, is five years.

How much does a wrap cost?

No more than painting a vehicle. The average cost to turn an all-black sedan into a twotone, black-and-white vehicle using wraps is between $800 and $1,000. Whole vehicles cost more, of course, running between $1,200 and $1,500.

Is a vehicle wrap the answer to every agency’s situation?

Maybe not. However, it is one more option to consider with these high-tech vehicles of the future.

Steve Contarino is the vice president of Adamson Industries, a national upfitter based in the Boston area. The company’s website is www.adamsonindustries.com

Published in Police Fleet Manager, May/Jun 2011

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Vehicle Wraps

By LAWS

LAWS has been doing vehicle wraps in lieu of painting for the last year now. THere are plus and minus to this depending on where you are at. The vinyl can get brittle and will be open to door dings and damage from dury belts as well as people leaning on the car. Paint is the best option by far but it is expensive and can have a resale effect. www.laws1.com

Submitted Nov 26 at 11:45 AM

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