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General Graphics


Preparation of Painted Surfaces for Truck and Automotive Application

This bulletin details speci?cally with automotive painted surface preparation for vinyl graphic products.

Proper preparation of the application surface is essential to provide high quality, long lasting vinyl graphic and striping installations.


The vehicle surface must be properly prepared prior to installation of the graphics. All surfaces MUST be cleaned prior to any application of vinyl graphic/striping products. See the following steps:

1. For best results, the application should be made in temperatures ranging from 50 to 90°F. Do not install graphics outdoors if winds exceed 10 mph. Blown dirt, dust or other contaminates can interfere with the bonding of the graphic adhesive to the vehicle during installation.

2. Wash the vehicle surface with detergent and water, then thoroughly rinse the surface with water and dry completely. WARNING: Do not use any aromatic solvents such as acetone, M.E.K., toluene, paint thinner; lacquer thinner, gasoline or ammonia-based cleaners to clean the vehicle surface.

3. Saturate a clean cloth with isopropyl alcohol and wipe the surface of the vehicle where the vinyl is to be applied to remove any contaminates such as silicone, wax, or adhesives.

4. Dry the surface with a lint free paper towel.


Prior to installation, be sure to use the following tools:

1 - squeegee

1 - Snappy

TM knife or sharp razor blade

It is also recommended you use 3/4” masking tape for properly placing and installing your graphics.



1. Using your Snappy knife, carefully cut the component graphics apart from each sheet, if needed.

2. Tape the component graphic panels onto the side of vehicle to determine exactly where you want the graphic panels installed. Apply a strip of tape vertically through the center of each component and lightly tape each end of the graphic panel to the vehicle.

3. Remove the positioning tape on either side of the center hinge from the ?rst panel and peel the liner paper away from this portion of the graphic. Lightly tape the graphic to the vehicle surface (as illustrated in Step 4).

4. Temporarily secure the end of the graphic to the vehicle surface and cut the backing paper off near the center hinge.

5. Lift the edge of the graphic from the vehicle surface and use the squeegee to rub the graphic into place using short, overlapping strokes from the center of the graphic to the end. By holding one end of the graphic off the vehicle surface as you squeegee, you will prevent air from becoming trapped underneath the graphic’ surface.

6. Remove the tape hinge from the center of the graphic. Remove the remaining backing paper, spray applications solution on the application surface and squeegee the remaining half of the panel onto the vehicle using the same method as outlined in Step 5.

7. Remove the clear transfer masking by pulling it back at a 180-degree angle from the vehicle surface in a smooth steady motion.

8. If any small bubbles appear during installation, they can be removed by pricking the base of the bubble with the knife blade and squeezing the trapped air out with the tip of your ?nger.

9. Trim away excess graphic material from door edges by inserting the knife along the edge of the opening at a 45-degree angle. Then carefully cut through the vinyl on both sides of the seam and remove the scrap.

10. Repeat steps 3 through 9 on any remaining graphic panel(s).


The graphics package you have installed is designed for superior durability and requires little maintenance. Please follow the steps below to get the best performance from your graphic package:

Wash your graphics with soap and water or car wash detergents. Rinse thoroughly.

Keep high-pressure spray nozzles at least 1 1/2 feet away from the edge of the graphic when washing the vehicle. High-pressure sprayers can contain enough force to lift the edge of the graphic and cause it to peel.

Do not overcoat the graphics with clear paint of any kind.

Do not let gasoline or other fuels drip or stay on the graphics for any length of time. If a spill occurs, wipe off the graphic and rinse with water immediately.

Do not use petroleum-based solvents on your graphics. They will soften the vinyl and damage the color.

Do not apply wax over graphics, especially if the wax contains any petroleum or silicone distillates. Car wax will not improve the ?nish of graphics and can damage the surface of vinyl graphics after repeated exposure. If you do wax your vehicle, wax that has dried along the edge of the graphic can be removed by ?rst softening it with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. Be sure to rinse the area after cleaning.

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