Tire stickers applied to your vehicle’s tyres are the key to giving your ride a professional, sponsored appearance. But, more importantly, how do you get them to adhere to the rubber? It’s actually quite simple, and you can purchase kits that include everything you need to complete the task at your leisure. Tire stickers can be purchased as temporary or permanent decals, depending on whether you want them for a special event or photo shoot or if you want them to be a permanent part of your vehicle’s everyday appearance.
Method 1 Temporary
1. Clean the tyre sidewalls with acetone and a clean rag after they have been cleaned. Using your finger, dab the rag with acetone by holding the container’s mouth directly onto the rag for a couple of seconds. Squeeze out all of the dirt and grime from the sidewalls with a clean rag until the rag no longer becomes discoloured or dirty. If necessary, apply more acetone and use clean parts of the rag.
As an alternative to acetone, brake cleaner can be used.
This removes dirt and oil from the tyre sidewalls, allowing the temporary tyre stickers to adhere properly to the sidewalls.
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, put on a pair of latex gloves.
2. Remove the sticker from the adhesive side of the paper backing by peeling it away from the sticker. Turn the decal over so that you are looking at the lettering from the other side. Carefully peel away the kraft paper backing and toss it in the trash.
Temporary tyre stickers are also referred to as peel-and-stick tyre stickers, which refers to the fact that they require no additional steps to be installed.
3. Place the sticker on the sidewall of the tyre by pressing it down. Place the sticker on the sidewall of your tyre with the sticky side facing up. As soon as you’re satisfied with the placement, press the object firmly against the rubber.
Before pressing the decal into place, check that it is straight by referring to the tyre reference lines on the vehicle.
4. Remove the transfer film from the sticker’s front side by peeling it away. Carefully and slowly peel away the semi-transparent transfer film from the surface of the paper. If any of the lettering starts to peel away from the decal while you are removing the film from the front, press down on it again.
The lettering that has been left behind is referred to as the ink.
5. With your fingers, apply light pressure to the sticker to make it stick. For best results, press down on the ink of each letter to ensure that it is firmly adhered to the tyre. Make sure you do this twice to be sure.
Pulling up an edge with your fingers and rolling the sticker off the rubber is the best way to remove the sticker.
Method 2 Permanent
1. Latex gloves should be worn to keep your hands clean. This shields your hands from dirt, grease, adhesives, and other chemicals that may come into contact with them. Wearing gloves throughout the application process is recommended.
Permanent tyre sticker kits are typically bundled with gloves, tyre decals, adhesive, and touch-up cleaner to complete the installation.
Permanent tyre sticker kits are available at auto supply stores and on the internet.
2. Clean the tyre sidewalls with acetone and a clean rag to ensure they are completely clean. To use, place the rag over top of the can of acetone and gently tip the can over for a few seconds to allow some acetone to spill out onto the rag (see illustration). Wipe down all of the sidewall surfaces with acetone, starting with a clean section of the rag and adding more acetone as the rag becomes dirty.
When the rag stops becoming dirty while you’re wiping the rubber down, it’s time to call it clean.
As an alternative to acetone, brake cleaner can be utilised.
Depending on how dirty the tyre sidewalls are, you may have to wipe them down ten or more times before they are clean.
3. Acetone should be used to clean the back of each decal. Using a clean rag, apply a small amount of acetone. Gently wipe the back of each decal you intend to apply with the rag to remove any contaminants that may have accumulated.
After wiping the backsides of the decals with acetone, place them face down on a clean surface to keep the backsides clean.
4. Apply an even layer of adhesive to the back of each decal by squeezing and spreading it. Use your fingers to gently squeeze a medium-sized bead from the nozzle of the adhesive tube, following the shape of each letter or shape on the decal. Spread the adhesive out evenly on the back of each letter or shape by using the tip of the nozzle to spread it out.
If your decals are longer than 3-4 letters in length, begin by applying adhesive to only about half of the decal to ensure proper adhesion before moving on to the other half.
It is important not to apply a thick coat of adhesive, as this will cause the adhesive to ooze out from the edges when applying the decals.
5. Apply pressure to the tyre for 30 seconds after placing the decal on the tyre. Set the decal into place on the tyre sidewall by aligning it with the tyre sidewall. For 30 seconds, press down on the lettering with both hands to secure the decal to the tyre.
For those who only applied adhesive to half of the decal, you can simply repeat the process to apply adhesive to the other half of the decal and press it into place.
6. After 10 minutes, remove the transfer film from the surface. Allow 10 minutes for the tyres and decals to dry completely so that the adhesive has time to set. Using a gentle and slow motion, carefully peel the transfer film away from the front of the decals and discard it.
In the event that you notice any air bubbles or areas that don’t appear to be completely bonded, smooth them out by applying light pressure to them from the centre of the decals outward to the edges of the decals.
7. Apply more adhesive and pressure to any edges that haven’t been properly sealed with the tape. Examine all of the edges of the decals to see if any are lifting up or peeling away. To seal the decals, squeeze a small amount of adhesive under any lifted edges and press them down onto the tyre for 30 seconds.
If you accidentally squeeze out too much adhesive, wipe it away with the touch-up cleaner that was provided or with acetone and a clean cotton rag.
8. Allow 1-2 hours for the decals to dry completely before driving or washing your car. This allows the adhesive to completely dry and ensures that the decals are properly adhered to the surface. After an hour or two, you can resume driving and washing your car as usual!
When washing and detailing your car, stay away from oil-based tyre shines. They have the potential to damage the decals.
If you ever need to remove permanent tyre stickers from your vehicle, simply peel them off with pliers and discard them. With acetone, remove any remaining adhesive from the tyre sidewall and lightly sand the tyre sidewall with 220-grit sandpaper to finish the job.
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