5 Essential Things to Know About Applying and Removing Car Decals

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Car decals are gaining traction as the digital printing methods become more cost-effective. There are a few different types of graphical decals and – as with everything in life – there are right ways and wrong ways to apply and remove your decals. The last thing you want is to end up with the wrong kind of decals that will fall off, peel up, or damage your expensive paint job.

Choose the correct materials

Quality cut vinyl graphics come in two different categories of film: calendered and cast. Cast films are a liquid that is “cast” onto a moving printing web, allowing the film to be as thin as 2 mil, which helps the product conform to the shape of your vehicle. These thin and flexible graphics are very paint-like. Calendered film is nearly twice as thick and while economy-priced, it is generally not recommended for vehicles as the durability suffers significantly.

Clean Your Application Surface

If the surface is not clean, no matter how expensive or well-made your decal is it will not stick. Get your car’s surface shiny clean by using a commercial detergent solution and water. Follow this up with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to assure you’ve gotten rid of all the oily residue. Use a dry lint-free towel to wipe away the excess IPA before it evaporates.

Measure twice, apply once

It is critical to take a few extra moments to position your graphics before you start peeling your decals for application. Even if you are able to pick them up and nudge them a bit after you apply the first time, this will weaken the bond of the adhesive and they will not last as long, so it is best to get this step right the first time!

Tips for a bubble-free application

Most manufacturers recommend applying decals only between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably in a controlled environment. Remove the backing paper little bits at a time while using a squeegee or an air release tool. Maintain tension on the backing paper and you’ll be able to keep the graphic away from the vehicle until you are ready to squeegee it down.

Removing the decals

Removing a semi-permanent decal or bumper sticker is quite different than grabbing a bucket of soapy water and washing your vehicle. However, there are some options that will allow you to keep your sanity and keep from stripping off your car’s clear-coat finish: boiling water, natural agents like rubbing alcohol or vinegar, WD-40 or lighter fluid, and blow dryers. If you’ve gotten the sticker off and there’s still some residue, check out Goo Gone to get the last few bits of adhesive off safely.

Automotive decals can be a fun and funky way to add personality to your ride. Have fun with them, knowing that they don’t have to be a permanent look!


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Rigoberto

9 years of experience
706 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Niles, Illinois
Rigo was great! He got there early, finished the job early, left everything clean. He changed my rear pads and rotors. The original quoted time was 90 minutes, he was done in about 60. He knows what he is doing and I am recommending him to all my friends and coworkers.
Mercedes-Benz C250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Chicago, Illinois
Rigo is a maverick hands down. Don’t take your car for work elsewhere. Especially great at Mercedes—this guy knows his profession! I will be using him for everything related to my car going forward.

Arturo

25 years of experience
35 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Diego, California
Arturo was prompt and completed my brake repair, including new rotors in a very efficient manner. I am very pleased with the quality of the work and the parts and will definitely look to have him service our other car in the near future.

Scott

32 years of experience
345 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Michael

10 years of experience
15 reviews
Michael
10 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Conyers, Georgia
He was promptly on time and got the job done efficiently in a timely manner. I really appreciate the rapid respone on getting the job done! I would most definitely use this service again.

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