How to Put Racing Stripes on a Classic Car | YourMechanic Advice

How to Put Racing Stripes on a Classic Car

Older cars or classic cars have a lot of appeal because they represent bygone eras. Fresh paint is a great way to keep up the appearance of older vehicles, and a great way to show individual style.

Adding new racing stripes is an easy way to change the appearance of an older car and make it stand out. New decal racing stripes can be carefully applied with application kits and typically only take a few hours to apply.

Use the following steps to learn how to put new racing stripes on an older car.

Part 1 of 4: Choose the location of the racing stripes

Traditionally, racing stripes were applied across the length of the car from the hood to the rear. Nowadays, you’ll see stripes applied in wide range of patterns and styles. Before you apply the racing stripes, decide the position and location of the stripes on your car.

Step 1: Consider your car. Look at your car and imagine where you’d like the racing stripes placed.

different types of racing stripes on different models

Step 2: Research other cars. Look at other cars that already have racing stripes placed on them.

You may notice another vehicle that has racing stripes placed in a way that appeals to you or you may notice racing stripes that do not look good on a certain part of another car.

This will help you decide where you should place the stripes on your vehicle and determines the parts of your car that need to primed before you apply the stripes.

Part 2 of 4: Clean the car

Remove any dirt, bugs, wax, cleaning product or any other build up on the surface of the car. If you don’t do this, the vinyl stripes may not stick as well to your car, which can result in them coming loose or falling off.

Materials Needed

Step 1: Rinse the car with water. Use a hose without too much pressure to spray the whole body of the car with water and rinse it.

Be sure to start at the top of the car and work your way around each side.

Step 2: Wash the car. Mix the cleaning product and water in the bucket. Soak the sponge in the cleaning mixture and use it to clean the entire surface.

Start at the top of the car and work your way down. Be sure to wash the entire surface of the car.

Step 3: Rinse the car. Use clean water to rinse the car completely so that all of the cleaning product is removed.

Start at the top of the vehicle and thoroughly rinse away all of the soap that is left on the body of the car so that it doesn’t leave spots.

Step 4: Dry the car thoroughly. Using the towel, dry the entire surface of the car, starting from the top and working your way around the entire vehicle.

  • Note: Before you begin to apply the racing stripes to the car, make sure that the car is stored in a cool area. Ideally, the car should be in a room that is between 60-80 degrees.

Step 5: Repair any uneven areas on the surface. Look for any dents, scratches, rust or other blemishes on the car. Vinyl racing stripes will need to be carefully smoothed over uneven areas.

Get a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, to repair any large dents. If you place racing stripes over a dent, it may result in an air bubble beneath the stripe. Small scratches can easily be covered with racing stripes.

Repair any small rust holes in your car so that the surface is smooth.

Repeat the cleaning process, if needed.

Part 3 of 4: Place the stripes

Before fixing the stripes to your car with adhesive, be sure to place them on the car so that you can see what they look like before securing them to your vehicle.

Materials Needed

Step 1: Purchase your racing stripes. You can easily find a large variety of racing stripes online. However, if you’d prefer to purchase them in person, automotive stores like AutoZone also sell them.

Make sure that you purchase the right kind of racing stripes for your car’s dimensions.

Step 2: Lay the stripes flat. Remove the racing stripes from their packing and lay them flat on a table. Be sure to keep them at a temperature between 60 - 80 degrees.

close up of man holding racing stripe up against a car

Step 3: Place the stripes on the car. Place one of the racing stripes on your vehicle. If necessary, use some masking tape to hold the stripe in place.

If you’re placing it on the hood or trunk, simply set it where you’d like the stripe to appear.

Step 4: Make sure the stripes are straight. Step away from the car and make sure the stripe is straight and placed exactly where want it.

Step 5: Trim extra length. Cut off any extra length of the racing stripe that you don’t need.

You can also use tape to mark the corners of the stripes so that you can remember exactly where to place them.

Mark the position of the stripes using masking tape, if needed, and then remove the stripes from your car.

Part 4 of 4: Apply the stripes

After identifying where you’d like the stripes to go, prepare the surface of the vehicle and apply the stripes.

Materials Needed

  • Spray water bottle with water
  • Squeegee

Step 1: Spray the car with water. Spray water over the area where you will apply the stripes.

If you haven’t taped the stripe on one end, use masking tape to secure the end of the racing stripe to the car.

Step 2: Tape the end. Secure one end of the stripes with masking tape to hold it during the application process.

hand pulling tape off of the racing stripe

Step 3: Remove the release paper. Pull away the release paper on the stripes. This should easily lift off and will allow you to directly place the stripes onto the wet surface of vehicle.

Step 4: Remove all bumps. Smooth over the stripes with the squeegee, making sure to work out any bumpy areas.

If the stripe is not straight, you can lift it off the car and straighten it before it dries in place.

person smoothing down racing stripe

  • Tip: Only pull back about half of the release paper at a time so that you can slowly work your way down the stripe with the squeegee.

  • Tip: Apply the squeegee evenly across the stripe. If there is an air bubble under the stripe, slowly force it out by using the squeegee to push it out from under the stripe.

Step 5: Remove the tape. After you’ve applied the stripe, remove the masking tape that is securing it in place.

Step 6: Remove the backing tape. Take off the backing tape that is on the unattached side of the stripe.

Step 7: Smooth the stripes again. Once the stripes are applied, smooth over them again with the squeegee to make sure they are secure.

The squeegee should be kept damp when smoothing over the stripes after the backing tape is removed.

  • Note: Washing and waxing your car will not negatively affect the racing stripes if it is applied properly.

Adding racing stripes onto your car can be a fun, creative way to enhance the appearance of your vehicle. The stripes are easy to put on and can be safely taken off or replaced without damaging the paint job.

Be sure to follow the steps above to ensure that you’ve applied the stripes correctly so that they look good and are appropriately secured on your car.

Next Step

Schedule Oil Change

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Oil Change. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Oil Change reviews

Excellent Rating

YourMechanic Oil Change Service

Average Rating


Number of Reviews


Rating Summary


25 years of experience
12 reviews
25 years of experience
Ford Ranger - Oil Change - Charleston, South Carolina
My wife and I broke down on our honeymoon. And thank God, Jamie really came through for us. He did a speedy repair, and did great great work. He made us a priority cause he knew we were on our honeymoon. Being broken down out of town is stressful, and Jamie sorted that out for us no problem. I’d give 100 stars if I could!!!! Super friendly, awesome, people person sort of guy. Don’t hesitate to call Jamie to come to the rescue!! 10/10 recommend!!!
Kia Sorento - Oil Change - Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Absolutely fantastic. On time, accurately quoted, professional service. Nothing not to like. Will definitely be a repeat customer.


18 years of experience
50 reviews
18 years of experience
Ford Explorer - Oil Change - Memphis, Tennessee
John did an exceptional job. He provided great communication about my appointment, he was friendly, and knowledgeable, finished the job in a timely manner, and left the job site clean and neat. Thanks!
Chrysler 300 - Oil Change - Memphis, Tennessee
Mr. Chapman was professional and courteous. He even reset my "Oil gauge", that made me happy too! I will ask for him on my next auto maintenance job.


5 years of experience
12 reviews
5 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 - Oil Change - Woodhaven, New York
Arrived on time did a great job change spark plugs did oil change valve cover gasket washed the valve cover put everything back together started the car check the brakes check for leaks and checked the complete car would recommend this is best mechanic
Chevrolet Aveo - Oil Change - Long Island City, New York
Great person! Fixed my vehicle easily & no hassle at all I truly recommend this person to fix your vehicles! I thought it would be a crazy hard job but he made it super easy!


10 years of experience
9 reviews
10 years of experience
Toyota Corolla - Oil Change - Raleigh, North Carolina
Dagimar was prompt and professional! He came to my place of employment and took care of my oil change in a swift manner. Wore his mask, kept his distance and was quite polite during our exchange. First time user of Your Mechanic - I would highly recommend this service and Daimar to anyone! Thank you!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Related articles

How to Be Content With the Car That You Have
Everyone Everyone wants to have a fun, fancy, beautiful car. If you’re a car fanatic, you’ve probably spent countless hours lusting over hyper fast Ferraris, extremely luxurious Bentleys, and classic muscle cars. Even if you don’t love cars, you’ve surely...
How to Minimize Pollution When Painting a Car
A major part of the automotive repair industry involves autobody repairs. That can include: Collision repairs Dent repairs Glass replacement Paint refinishing Rust repairs Vehicle customization Autobody repairs often include the need to repaint part or all of...
How to Drive a Big Truck When You’re Small
It It can be a challenge to be short. Along with difficulties reaching tall shelves and keeping stepladders on hand, people tend to view you differently solely based on your height. While there are some things out of reach (pun...

Related questions

can a passenger assist handle be installed on the A pillar like on the 2012 explorer xlt?

It may be possible to mount the grab handle on the a pillar, however, it would require modification to the a pillar panel, and welding a nut to the 'A' pillar for the handle to attach to. This is not...

Back window decal

Generally most states prohibit items in the windows that obstruct the view of the driver. Depending on specifically where on the back window the decal is placed it may or may not be illegal. You will need to check with...

Can i put wheel spacers on my Yaris?

You can if you find ones specifically for your Toyota Yaris. Just be aware that these spacers set the wheel out wide and will cause premature wheel bearing failures. If you need assistance with the installation or run into any...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 ·