What Kind of Vinyl to Use for Car Decals

Are you planning on creating car decals? The best vinyl to use for car decals is permanent adhesive vinyl. You don’t want to use removable craft vinyl as it may not last for a long time. You need a durable permanent outdoor vinyl for car decals as it needs to withstand extreme weather conditions. 

A car decal should withstand persistent rain, the heat of the sun, heat in the garage, car wash, frost, and snow. Read further to learn what kind of vinyl to use for car decals, tips when applying it, and design ideas you can try for your car decal. 

Photo on Pixnio 

Types of Vinyl

There are two types of craft vinyl — adhesive and heat transfer vinyl. Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is printed on garments and fabrics using a heat press machine. HTV is never used on car decals.

Meanwhile, adhesive vinyl is used to personalize crafts. Adhesive vinyl is classified into two types — temporary and permanent. Permanent adhesive vinyl is recommended for use in car decals.

Removable vs. Permanent Vinyl

This is an important part to remember when choosing the adhesive vinyl to use for a car decal. Always check the vinyl’s product description if it’s removable or permanent. You can check also check if it’s for indoor or outdoor use. Here are the differences between removable and permanent vinyl.


Removable Vinyl

Permanent Vinyl

  • For indoor use        
  • Cannot withstand extreme weather
  • Water-resistant
  • May last for 1-3 years when used indoors
  • May last for a couple of months when used outdoors        
  • Will not chip wall or car paint when removed        
  • Recommended for wall decals                        
  • For outdoor use
  • Can withstand extreme weather
  • Water-resistant
  • Lasts for three years or more when used indoors or outdoors
  • Will chip the wall or car paint when removed
  • Recommended for car decals


Remember that permanent adhesive vinyl is recommended in making vinyl car decals. However, there’s a downside to it especially when placed on the car’s body, or directly on the paint. It is permanent and may damage the car’s paint when removed.

So when you stick a vinyl car decal using a permanent vinyl, remember that it’s going to be there for a long time. On the contrary, you can’t use removable adhesive vinyl as a car decal won’t last long for a long time outdoors.

Image from Wikimedia by La Luz Del Mundo

Picking the Right Spot for a Car Decal

Whether you plan to make car decals for personal or business purposes, you should know how to pick the right spot on where to place the decal. This is to make sure the decal placement doesn’t look awkward, plus it has the right placement for your intended purpose. Here’s what you should know:

Driver's Side

For vinyl decals like disability signs or car passes the driver’s side windshield is recommended spot. Make sure to place it on the upper or lower corner side so it won’t disturb the driver’s sight.


For the company or business vehicles, the tailgate is another great spot you can place car stickers like the company logo, or labels like “Do not delay, perishable goods”. You can also place the company name and contact number as a part of advertising the business.

OSHA Signs

For vinyl car decals for OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) purposes, make sure to meet the requirements of the placement of these decals. Make sure to check in with the OHSA requirements.

Car Windows Installation

For decorative vinyl for car decals, the car window is a recommended spot. Whether be it the driver’s side, windshield, or the window visor for utility vehicles that’s a great spot. Just make sure it’s not too big which may disturb the driver’s view.

Will Permanent Vinyl Damage My Car’s Paint?

Yes, permanent vinyl may damage a car’s paint. That’s why when you decide to place a permanent vinyl on your car, make sure you want it there for a long time. This is permanent, not something you just want to remove on a whim.

Permanent vinyl placed on the car’s paint doesn’t mean it can’t be removed. It just means it has a stronger adhesive and won’t come off the surface by itself. It takes proper technique to remove permanent vinyl on cars, with the risk of damaging the car paint when not done properly.

However, permanent vinyl placed on the car’s window is much safer and would do less damage. Because when you come to think of it, the window tint is installed inside, not outside. However, if you plan to place a vinyl decal on your car temporarily you may do so with removable vinyl, just don’t expect it sticks for a long time.

Image from Pixabay by StockSnap

Choices for Best Vinyl for Decals

Now that you’re aware that permanent vinyl is the best vinyl used for car decals and where to put it, it’s time to learn what are the best vinyl designs that will look great on your car. Make sure to invest in high-quality vinyl from TeckWrap Craft.

Permanent adhesive vinyl from TeckWrap Craft can withstand harsh weather conditions. Your car will be exposed to rain, extreme heat, or so (depending on where you live). You’ll need vinyl that won’t fade and has a strong adhesive, and TeckWrap Craft is an excellent product.

  1. Glow in the Dark Vinyl

 If you want your car stickers to stand out at night, you can use Glow In The Dark Adhesive Vinyl from TeckWrap Craft. The vinyl car decal will glow for up to 1 hour in the dark. It is easy to apply, and the catch? It leaves no adhesive residue behind especially when removed properly.

Teckrap Craft has 7 luminous colors available on the glow-in-the-dark vinyl collection. Aside from car decals, you can use this vinyl on book covers, laptop skin, mugs, and many more. This type of vinyl needs light exposure during the day so it will glow in the dark at night.

  1. White Vinyl (Most Popular)

Image from Wikimedia by Shwangtianyuan 

If you want to keep it simple, and want one color, you can use the variety of choices from the TeckWrapCraft 001M Series Adhesive Vinyl selection. As seen in the photo above, a simple white vinyl was used on the text graphics.

Simplicity, most of the time looks great when it comes to adhesive vinyl crafts. You can either use glossy or matte vinyl. However, matte vinyl looks more professional and classy on a car window.

  1. Reflective Vinyl 

Do you want your own vinyl decals to reflect back when exposed to direct light? Then you should consider Reflective Adhesive Vinyl. TeckWrap Craft’s reflective vinyl is produced from high-quality materials and illuminates brightly making it perfect for car decals.

This type of vinyl is a perfect idea for company cars, trucks, or utility vehicles that mostly drive at night. Not only is it a great vinyl but it is a plus on the vehicle’s safety features as well. Reflective vinyl can also be placed on bikes.

  1. Holographic Vinyl Material

Image from TeckWrap Craft Facebook Page

Holographic Glossy Rainbow Adhesive Vinyl will also make a great car decal. Holographic vinyl is gleaming and glossy, this will turn heads in broad daylight. It looks like a rainbow from afar and is an exceptional decorative touch.

Aside from being a car decal, holographic rainbow vinyl also looks great on wine glasses, home decors, wall decals, window graphics, and many more. This is an excellent choice of vinyl for mermaid or unicorn designs.

  1. Mirror Chrome Adhesive Vinyl

Image from TeckWrap Craft

Do you want a simple yet eye-catching car decal? You can use the Mirror Chrome Adhesive Vinyl of TeckWrap Craft. This mirror chrome vinyl is made of high-quality flexible PVC material. Since it has a soft build, it can conform to all shapes, angles, and contours of the car.

This is the perfect type of vinyl for sticking to window cars, car coasters, rearview mirrors, and even seat belt covers. Aside from using it as a car decal, you can also use it on mug arts, book covers, laptop stickers, and other impressive decals.

DIY Car Decals

Other than the decals mentioned above, you can also use other premium vinyl from TeckWrap Craft like glitter vinyl or smart vinyl. Just make sure you choose the right vinyl and it goes well with the design you picked out. Also, choose a bright color so it pops out from afar.

So are you thinking of creating DIY car decals? Here are the supplies you’re going to need:

  • Silhouette or Cricut Machine
  • Scraper tool
  • Weeding tool
  • Masking tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Transfer paper
  • Free SVG files of your chosen design
  • Other tools for cleaning like alcohol, clean cloth or wet wipes
  • Masking tape

Making Your First Car Decal

Granted you have the complete supplies mentioned above, what’s next? It’s time to create vinyl for car decals. Follow this entire process:

  • Decide on the right spot where you want to place it on the car
  • Use a measuring tape to the determine the right size of the vinyl
  • Place guide marks on the car using a masking tape
  • Prepare the design on the Silhouette or Cricut Design Space
  • Place the vinyl of your choice on the cutting machine
  • Send the design for cutting
  • Weed the vinyl
  • Transfer the design to a transfer paper. Use a scraper tool to remove bubbles
  • Get ready to transfer it to your car

Application Method

Car decals are great for personal use and a gift idea for a loved one. Do you know what’s even better? Vinyl car decals are a great business idea. If you plan to sell your vinyl creations, you should master the application process. Follow these steps:

Image from Flickr by Cold, Indrid

  1. Apply on Warm Temperatures

Before anything else, when you apply vinyl for car decals, the temperature in your surrounding should be warm. The suggested temperature is between 10℃~30℃ so the adhesive sticks well. Avoid sticking vinyl car decals in cold temperatures especially when outdoors.

You can also check out a detailed instructional video on YouTube How To Make and Apply Large Decals To Your Car by Makers Gonna Learn.

YouTube Source: How To Make and Apply Large Decals To Your Car by Makers Gonna Learn

  1. Clean the Area of Application

YouTube Source: How To Make and Apply Large Decals To Your Car by Makers Gonna Learn

Using a clean cloth and rubbing alcohol, clean the area of application. It’s important to clean the area properly to remove dust and other dirt. The vinyl decal won’t stick properly to the surface if it wasn’t cleaned properly.

  1. Let the Area Dry Completely Before Applying the Decal

Before applying the vinyl decal, make sure the area dries completely. Even a drop of water or a wick of moisture may be the cause of the vinyl not sticking properly so make sure to let it air dry before placing the vinyl.

  1. Peel off the Backing Slowly

YouTube Source: How To Make and Apply Large Decals To Your Car by Makers Gonna Learn

Here’s the hard part, so pay close attention. Using the masking tape guide marks you placed earlier, confirm the right placement on the car. If you’re satisfied with the placement, peel away a small part of the backing paper, preferably on the top portion.

Then, stick the vinyl on the surface. Make sure everything is aligned before completely sticking the decal. If you’re satisfied with the placement, slowly peel off the backing paper. By then, only the design and the transfer paper are left.

  1. Remove Air Bubbles Using a Scraper Tool

Using a scraper tool, remove the air bubbles. Never skip this process. Who likes to look at vinyl on car windows with wrinkles and bubbles on it? No one!

  1. Leave the Transfer Paper While the Decal Completely Dries Off

Don’t get too excited! Leave the transfer paper for a while, at least 30 minutes to make sure the decal completely dries off. This will reduce the chances of the vinyl pulling off when the transfer sheet is removed.

As much as possible, expose it to direct sunlight. Avoid using a heat source like a dryer because it may cause the decal to melt.

  1. Peel the Transfer Tape

YouTube Source: How To Make and Apply Large Decals To Your Car by Makers Gonna Learn

After you’re confident the decal has completely dried off, slowly peel the transfer tape. Start at the upper corner and peel the transfer tape back slowly. If in case the vinyl peels off together with the transfer tape, press back the transfer paper, press it with a scraper tool, then try to peel it back again.

You must have slow and steady movements to avoid any damage. The last step is to remove air bubbles using a scraper tool. Then you’re done!

YouTube Source: How To Make and Apply Large Decals To Your Car by Makers Gonna Learn

Tips When Removing Car Decals

Custom-made decals may be one of the most popular forms of print throughout the world. May it is for business or personal use, many vehicle owners have it in their car. It can be a simple graphic on the windshield or a fun design on the rear window.

However, what is the most common challenge when it comes to making car decals? The process of removing it especially when you used permanent vinyl. When vinyl is placed directly on the car’s paint, there’s the risk of the paint coming off, especially when not removed properly.

As a craft-maker or a business owner who sells car decals, you want to cover all bases and that includes the proper removal of car decals.

Follow this step-by-step process on how to remove car decals:

  • Clean the area of the car decal you want to remove.
  • Introduce heat to the car decal using a hairdryer or heat gun.
  • If the car decal is too big, work on sections.
  • When heat is introduced, the adhesive slowly peels off.
  • Use your fingers to slowly peel off the decals.
  • Never use anything sharp to peel off the vinyl as this may damage the car’s surface.
  • Start with the edges and slowly work your way to the center.
  • Follow a side-to-side motion as you pull off the vinyl.
  • If you’re having a hard time removing the vinyl, re-introduce heat into it.
  • After the vinyl has been removed, there may be traces of the adhesive left, you can use adhesive remover or nail polish remover to completely remove it.
  • If you use adhesive remover, place the recommended amount of the solution in the concerned area. Follow the instructions on the product on the recommended amount, and the technique of wiping away the adhesive.
  • Avoid using nail polish remover on car paint as this may cause damage. Using nail polish remover on windows or glass is acceptable but not on car paint.
  • After the traces of the adhesive have been removed, wipe it down with soap and water.
  • In case the heat gun and adhesive remover trick does not work, use hot water and pour it over the decal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Permanent Outdoor Vinyl for Car Decals?

Yes, you can use permanent outdoor vinyl for car decals. Permanent vinyl is the best vinyl for car decals because it can withstand harsh weather conditions and is waterproof.

Does Removable Vinyl Damage Car Paint?

No, removable vinyl does not damage car paint. Removable vinyl also called temporary vinyl has a weaker adhesive compared to permanent vinyl. Removable vinyl is a recommended choice if you intend to use the sticker for temporary purposes.

What Material Is Best for Car Decals?

The best material for car decals must have a thick and flexible material. Thick vinyl is more rigid and will last longer when used as a car decal.

Here Are Some Car Decal Designs Inspirations You Can Try


Bottom Line

That’s everything you need to know about vinyl for car decals. To sum it all up, use permanent outdoor vinyl from TeckWrap Craft, not heat transfer vinyl. The application process is tedious so you should closely pay attention to it.

A piece of parting advice, especially if it’s your first time creating car decals is to practice. You can practice with removable vinyl and try to stick it in your house’s window. Also, to start with a small simple design. When you’re confident in your skills, work your way up and create bigger and multi-colored decal designs.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

What are you looking for?

Your cart