The most Common Car Decal questions

The most common question I get about Decals is not regarding how to remove them, rather what affect they will have on the car’s paint surface when they are applied

Having a car decal or truck installed raises questions for auto car owners about the affect os of the adhesive, material, and life-expectancy on the cars painted surface.

When applying a Decal to a car will it damage the car?

Firstly, applying a Decal to the painted surface of a car, will rarely damage the paint. The issue will only occur when it’s time to remove the Decal.

The main point is to determine whether the painted car surface is a factory finish paint job or a re-spray. Whenever a respray occurs, you can never guarantee the outcome of applying a decal as car repairs, use different standards and quality paints.

If you are going to apply a Decal, then you can ask the sign shop or decal installer the following questions:

1. Ask them to use a special adhesive that is produced specifically to not damage the paint.

These adhesives are no less strong than other adhesives and will last just as long. The main difference is that the decal comes off easier. The only downside, unless you know that this type of decal was used, there is no way to tell these decals, once installed, just by the appearance.

2. Ask them to use a lack-tack decal that are made of fabric like material and apply more like masking tape. These are also easier to remove aswell and less likely to damage the vehicles paint

How do you install a Car or Auto decal?

The key point when installing a car decal is to ensure the surface is clean or dirt and dust. If you try and apply a car or truck decal that is on a dusty surface, it’s like trying to get masking tape to stick to a dusty surface… it just won’ happen.

To install your car decal, we recommend the following steps

  1. Clean the area on the vehicle where the decal is going to be installed. If you used a solvent to clean the surface, make sure you use plenty of clean (not soapy) water to ensure all solvents are removed from the surface. (FYI – any solvents left of the surface will cause the decal to not adhere to the surface correctly).
  2. Measure the area where you are going to install the decal to locate the centre point. Tape the decal to the surface and slowly begin to remove the backing paper and apply the decal.
  3. Make sure you have a squeegee to apply the adhesive to the car. This also helps drag out any bubbles or air cavities from forming
  4. Take your time to ensure the decal does not fold on itself as the backing paper is removed.
  5. Once you are happy how the decal appears on your car, you can use a razor blade to cut the edges and remove any excess material remaining on the surface.


Can car decals go through a Car Wash?

Any decal that has been installed correctly can definitely go through a Car Wash. The majority of decals are stuck on with very strong adhesive so even if your car or vehicle was sub merged under water for 1 week, it would be unlikely that your car decal would be removed.

If you would like to know how to remove car decals, then please see the following article on car decal removal

How do I know what size car decal I Need?

The best way to answer this is to use common sense.

If you have a large pick-up truck, then you can have a much bigger car decal, then a small mini.

We suggest taking your car to a local sign shop who will often design and install the decal. They are the experts and can install the decals for you

What is the best way to remove a car decal?

Well you are going to get a bias answer here, though we will also provide our thoughts on low cost or even free options.

The top 3 options are:

  1. Plastic razor blade: for removing small areas and relevantly new decals
  2. Hair dryer: low cost method though not as useful if the decal is cracked as it tends to peel off in small segments
  3. Whizzy Wheel: yes we are bias though for around $39, this is definitely the fastest way to remove car decals.

The below video shows an example of removing a Car Decal




Chief “Decal Removal” Officer

P.S – we sent some feedback to a customer lately on how best to remove decals and below is part of the email


I’ve included a few points below that may help with your job

  1. Advice to help the job: If there is any adhesive left on the surface after removing the decals, try the following citrus degreaser from Home Depot ( Costs about $12 and really helps clean the surface
  2. Advice to help the job: start on the outside of the decal and work your way in. This way the edges of the decal will come off first and help the job
  3. Paint colour: the paint under the decal maybe slightly brighter and the outside area look faded as the paint work has been protected from the sun. This is referred to a “ghost” appearance as you maybe able to see where the prior decal was, as the paintwork exposed to elements may have slightly faded