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Can Decals Ruin Car Paint, Stickers on Shirts, and Vinyl Durability

Car vinyl stickers, vinyl graphics, auto decals, car graphics

Will decal Stickers damage your car paint? How to apply them on t-shirts, and how durable vinyl is?

Question:  Will a decal harm the painted surfaces of my vehicle?

No. In fact, it provides a sunscreen to your vehicle’s paint, which is why we don’t advise you to put decals on your car’s painted surfaces unless they’re permanent.

Bumper Sticker Quote If you put a bumper sticker on the painted surface of your trunk, for instance, and remove it 3 years later, the other paint on the vehicle may have faded somewhat, but the paint under the sticker will be a little newer looking and less faded.

If you’re also wondering if removing a decal or sticker from your car’s painted surfaces, unless you have a really poor quality paint job on your vehicle, it is highly unlikely that a decal can remove paint, and certainly, the acrylic adhesives used on decals won’t affect the chemistry of the paint.

Easiest Way to Remove a Sticker From Your Car

The best and easiest way to remove the sticker from your car will be to apply heat to the surface, using a hair dryer or a heat gun. This will loosen the glue’s grip and make it so you can peel the vinyl decal from your vehicle.

If it leaves glue residue, and often they do, especially if it’s been there a long time (over a year), you can purchase glue remover (orange peel) at most hardware or home improvement stores. You’ll simply apply the remover to the glue, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a paper towel. Re-do this step as needed.

Question: Can vinyl car decals be applied to t shirts?

No. At least not for very long. You can put stickers on your shirt, though, and ruin your shirt if you leave it on too long.

If you want graphics on a T-shirt, there are shops around your neighborhood (in most areas of the US) that will put a graphic on a T-shirt(s) for you. These can be washed and will last a good while.

If you want lots of T-shirts with graphics on them, you will probably want to contact a T-shirt screen printer, though, as they’re a lot less expensive than the previously mentioned shirt printers.

Question:  What may reduce vinyl to last a shorter time?

Most vinyl decals and stickers will last 2-3 years out-of-doors. However, you’ve asked how the life of a vinyl sticker might be adversely affected. Let’s see…

Sun

Sun is probably the biggest offender that will reduce the life of a decal. It attacks not only the vinyl, but the print as well, causing it to fade. Cheaper vinyl decals will often pull away from whatever they are stuck to in direct sunlight.

Salt water

Salt water is also not too good for decals, unless they are laminated with a salt water resistant laminate, which are available. However, most of you won’t need to worry about this unless you live on the ocean where the wind sprays saltwater into area where you have decals.

Rain

Rain, Wind and Snow are typically not a threat to vinyl stickers. But chemicals can be. Certain laminates will protect decals from light chemicals like gasoline or paint thinner, but few can resist lacquer thinner or MEK.


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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