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Top External Threats Vinyl Decals Face and What Vehicle Owners Can Do to Prevent Them

We’ve all seen severely discolored, cracked, and dried-up decals on vehicles. Decals are designed to give additional protection to car surfaces. Unfortunately, there are some external threats that even ultra-durable decals can’t prevent. Harsh UV sunrays dry out the external surfaces of cars – including vinyl stickers.

Harsh sun rays also cause car materials to turn hard and release VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Vinyl decals are low-cost products that can combat these threats. Decals can make your car surfaces last longer. But what about the external threats your decals face? Here are the top factors that will impact the outdoor durability of your auto decals –

Application of the Decals

The way you apply your decals to your vehicles will impact their outdoor durability. Most decals come with outdoor ratings. These ratings signify the decal’s resistance to external damages and pollutants. However, these ratings are based on vertical applications. The decal will only last as long as its rating suggests if it is applied vertically.

A decal that’s guaranteed to last for five years will only last that long if it’s applied vertically. Why? Because applying decals on angled or horizontal surfaces, greatly increases their exposure to harsh UV rays. Hence, their service lives are reduced because of this added exposure. That’s why people who buy decals must observe the following installation rules –

  • Always apply the decals as per the descriptions and instructions provided by the decal seller.
  • The decals on the hoods of your vehicles will experience more intense UV rays. They will need extra shade on extremely bright and sunny days.
  • Unless it’s a temporary installation, avoid applying vertical decals horizontally. Instead, buy different types of decals for different types of installation.


Heat will be the main enemy of your decals. The heat from the sun and engine heat may combine to damage the vinyl graphics on the bonnets of your vehicles. With long-term use, you may witness the following effects –

  • Decals become dry and cracked due to long-term sunlight exposure.
  • Fumes from the vehicles impact the design quality of the decals.
  • High humidity causes the adhesives on the decal to melt or wither in quality.

The best way to prevent heat damage from doing too much harm to your decals, take the following steps –

  • Always park your vehicles under cool shades. If your vehicle is mobile for multiple hours, take small breaks.
  • Use your vehicles more during the nighttime when the harsh UV rays are absent.
  • Use vinyl restoration products every six to twelve months. Apply these products to your vinyl graphics to make them appear colorful and bright again.  

Cold Temperatures

Although heat is the main enemy of auto decals, cold temperatures aren’t too friendly either. Exposure to extreme cold temperatures may cause your decals to peel immaturely. That’s because the adhesives on the decal freeze and lose their stickiness. When the adhesives on your decals become solidified, take the following steps –

  • Use heat guns to heat the peeling regions of the decals.
  • Apply gentle heat and pressure on the decals to make them stick again.
  • Keep repeating the process until the peeling stops.

High-quality vinyl stickers and decals are great advertising tools. Follow these steps to make them last longer!

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