How Long Do Reusable Stickers Last On Vehicles?

What a wonderful thing to have a sticker product that can be reused. Prior to this, many suppliers only offered very permanent vinyls that would be used, removed, and then thrown into a landfill. OR a very thick magnet that would be thrown away that is many times thicker and less eco-friendly as an adhesive-backed fabric paper.

How To Make Them Last!

Thankfully, innovators of print materials in this industry have developed materials that have such unique properties that they can now be reused. Thick enough to handle the removal and reapply process many times. By reusing a sticker and not immediately throwing it away, you are enjoying one of the benefits of a more sustainable product type. These do however come with a shelf life. They are not magnets, but when handled correctly they can be removed and reused many times.

There are many variables that can affect your installation and removal. Below is a quick summary of the important factors for preserving the life of your reusable prints.

Table of Contents

Make Sure Your Surface Is Clean

Please read our surface preparation article if you are not familiar with installing vinyl.

It is important to only apply your reusable stickers to surfaces that have been cleaned before each application. Removing all dirt, oil, or moisture from the surface using Sprayaway cleaner (recommended), soap & water, mild cleaning solutions, or just water or rag if absolutely nothing else is available. Make sure the surface is wiped dry before application.

This includes the surface you are removing them to when not in use (not on the vehicle). Typically customers will use a clean wall, a flat dirt-free surface, or even the backing liner that the item was shipped with to temporarily store their prints.

Want Tips?

• Do not handle the adhesive side with oily, wet, or dirty fingers. This could lead to the adhesive being affected and cause it to not stick to surfaces.

Using Proper Installation Methods

When installing your prints, make sure there are no open wrinkles on the edges, or over the curvature of the body (no bridging) that would allow wind to send debris or moisture behind the adhesive. Make sure all corners are stuck and not flapping. Once the corners have dirt stuck to the adhesive, they will begin to flap with the wind and grab more debris as time passes.

Once the dirt has been stuck to the adhesive side it will only get worse after each use, and not stick in those areas. This material is an adhesive (not a cling), and cannot be washed after it has become dirty.

Using Proper Removal Methods

It’s also important not to contaminate the edges or corners when removing your stickers. If possible make sure your fingernails are clean when picking at it. Use a thin flat tool (that will not damage your vehicle) to use to lift the print corner from the vehicle. Then grab your fingers after it has been safely lifted to hold and remove.

For common installation techniques, view the how-to article linked below.

Other Variables

Cleanliness and installation/removal techniques are the main variables for preserving your item. This is not the only thing that can play a factor. Review some of the other contributors that can affect your prints.

Length Of Installation

Just like any adhesive vinyl, the longer it has adhered to a surface the stronger the hold gets. For example, even removable vinyl can seem permanent when removed if left for many years.

Our reusable material is much more forgiving though. It is still easy to remove for up to a year (depending on surface type too), but time is not the only factor.

Climate may play a factor as well. It depends on the climate that the prints are exposed to.  For example, Arizona is much different than New York. Extreme heat may promote adhesion and extreme cold may make it more brittle and the adhesive may be harder to stick to surfaces.

Stretch

There are three variables that can cause the material to stretch upon removal.

  1. Strong Hold. Material can stick to some finishes stronger than others. This can come from high surface energy and the surface not wanting to let it release. This is not that common with reusable stickers but depends on the vehicle finish.
  2. Heat. This material is thicker than the vinyl so it can handle hot temperature removals and not stretch too badly, but if it has been installed for a long time it may stretch. If you are in a hot climate it is recommended to let it cool down in a garage and remove it later in the day when it has cooled down.
  3. Size. When a large piece is removed from a high surface energy surface it may stretch. It can still be reinstalled after it has stretched but may have wrinkles if you are not an experienced installer. If you are wanting very large prints (above 3ft) you may want to test a sample of the material to see how it reacts to your surface type.

Humidty

Another environment concern is moisture. If the surface you are applying to has moisture from humidity, or even thin frost from cold weather, you may encounter problems. If the adhesive side gets wet it will not allow it to bond with the surface during installation. 

We are still testing whether or not the adhesive can get back to normal after being wet and then dried out.

Want Tips?

•  Select rounded corners when ordering instead of hard corners. This sometimes helps in the prevention of dirt from getting stuck to corners, and wind from lifting as you are driving.

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