How to apply a car decal

Car decals are a fun and easy way to personalize your vehicle. If you have found a hilarious new slogan your dying to share with others stuck in traffic, or perhaps want to share in solidarity with others during the coronavirus outbreak, a decal can help spread your message to everyone who sees it.

Before you can start making others laugh or smile through your new decal, you need to put it on your car first. If done improperly the decal might not look as good as it could, and at worst may peel off all together. Here are a few tips for getting it on if you’ve never applied a decal before.

Step 1: Choose a location on your car

A decal can go virtually anywhere on your vehicle. It’s important to choose that location before you peel off the backing of your decal. Hold the decal up to the area you plan to place it, and make sure it will fit. The last thing you want is to get half way through applying it only to discover part of the wording is obscured due to the location.

Step 2: Wash the vehicle

If you attempt to apply the decal to a dirty spot on your car, the adhesive will stick to the dirt rather than the car itself. That means in time the decal is more likely to peel off or age prematurely.

For the same reason, it’s important not to apply wax or anything else that may leave a residue, and to only apply the decal after the car is completely dry. When you apply the decal, you want to make sure that you are applying it to the car itself, and not to all the chemicals or dirt inbetween.

Step 3: Peel the decal

How you peel the decal will depend on how big the decal is. If it is longer than your forearm, you’ll need to peel the decal a little bit at a time and apply it as you go. This lets you smooth it down slowly and make sure there are no bubbles or wrinkles before going on to the next segment.

If you are working with a small decal, you can peel the whole thing and stick it since you should be able to maintain control of the entire decal while placing it.

Step 4: Deal with bubbles

Ideally you won’t have any bubbles after applying your decal, but sometimes they can occur. If this is the case, you can smooth them out with your credit card. Press the edge of your card against the bubble, and gently scrape it towards the edge until the bubble has escaped out of the side.

You’ll also need a card if you ever want to remove the sticker. Use heat such as your blow dryer or hot water to get the decal warm and loosen the adhesive, or vinegar to help soften it, and then gently scrape it away with your card.

A decal allows you to express your opinions, share a funny joke, or support a cause that’s important to you. Make sure the joke isn’t on you by applying your decal carefully so it doesn’t turn out a wrinkled mess.

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