Using decals is one of the most effective and affordable ways of jazzing up your car. Indeed, if you visit a car detailer, you will find stickers among the bestselling car customization products. To keep your car stickers looking attractive for a long time, you need to apply them correctly and also maintain them from time to time. Some useful tips:
Make a Good Start
Car stickers will last longer if the proper process for installation is followed. It is important to make sure that the surface on which the sticker will be fixed is clean. If there is dust, dirt, grime, or residues from previously applied stickers, the decals will not stick properly and will begin to peel off quickly, look unsightly, and tear. To thoroughly clean the surface, use soapy water and a sponge to wash off all the dirt and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Then, apply rubbing alcohol to the surface with a clean cloth and wipe off any gunk remaining. Do not use any commercial car cleaner or polish to clean as they may contain ammonia or other chemicals that affect the ability of the adhesive to do its job. After applying the sticker, remove all the air bubbles with a squeegee. You may need to prick the stubborn ones with a pin to get rid of them. The correct application of custom decals will ensure their long life.
You should not wash your car immediately after applying the decal or leave it out if it is raining because you need to give some time for the adhesive on the back of the sticker to form a strong bond with the surface of the car. Thereafter, no special care is required to keep it clean; you can wash the car as usual.
With time, despite regular cleaning, the vinyl sticker will undergo oxidation as a result of exposure to the elements. While there is nothing you can do about the ultraviolet rays in the sunshine breaking down the chemical structure of the dyes and causing them to fade, you will also notice oxidation taking place leaving a chalk-like white residue that mars the looks of the stickers and gives it a bleached appearance. To restore the looks of your vinyl stickers and make their colors shine through again, you can either use a commercially available restorative product or follow a simple process. Wash the sticker to clean it of dirt and debris using warm soapy water and a clean cloth. If you notice any formation of mold and mildew on the sticker, you can remove them with a sodium percarbonate solution using a soft washcloth. According to Sciencedirect, sodium percarbonate has a fast and effective action against spores. After rinsing the decal with fresh water, dry it thoroughly and clean it again with rubbing alcohol.
By taking care to install the sticker properly and keeping it free from dust and debris with regular cleaning, you can keep your car sticker in good condition. Also, by removing the oxidation, you can make it look new again, thus extending its service life.