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It is important to choose a decal that is made with the proper vinyl. Most decals are made from out door vinyl with a self adhesive. They are usually made to last between 5-9 years before they fade or peel. It is best to chose at least a 5 year vinyl even if you do not plan on keeping the decal on the car that long.

Make sure when buying graphics that they come with a backing and a transparent top layer also. Smaller ones, center cap decals for example, do not need the top layer because they can be installed by simply lining them up and putting them like a sticker. The larger ones require a lot more attention to detail if you will and should always come with the top layer. There two ways to install these larger decals with the top layer. The first way, is the best for beginners. It involves making a soap solution and peeling the backing away from the decal all at once. Use these materials and follow these instructions for a wet application.

Tools Required For a Wet Installation

* Soap solution- roughly 4-5oz of clear dish soap to 1qt of water
* Scissors
* Firm plastic squeegee- usually provided by decal manufacturer
* Ruler
* Rubbing alcohol

Installation Process

* Trim the excess paper away from around the decal
* Clean the surface with rubbing alcohol and dry it
* Spray it heavily with the soap solution
* Peel the backing away from the decal. Be sure to leave the translucent top layer in place
* Put the decal in place as close as possible to where you want it to be
* Using a ruler, get the decal exactly where you want it to stay
* Carefully use the squeegee to get the solution out from under the decal. You will have to use a good deal of force but do not go crazy with it
* Allow the decal to sit for about 10 minutes once there is not solution left behind the decal and it is completely dry
* Slowly peel back the top layer now. Do not pull up away from the car. Instead pull back parallel to the car. This helps to make sure the decal does not come up with the backing.

Next, Iíll explain how to install a decal using the dry technique. Collect these tools first.

Tools Required For a Dry Installation

* Scissors
* Masking tape
* Ruler
* Rubbing alcohol
* Firm plastic squeegee

Installation Process

* Trim away any excess paper from the decal. Try to get as close to the edges of the decal as possible
* Clean the surface with rubbing alcohol and dry it
* Set the decal in place with both the top and bottom layers still in place
* Using the ruler, put the decal in the exact spot you want it to stick and tape it down with the masking tape
* Tape down from the center to the end of one half of the decal really well
* Lift up the other end of the decal and peel off the backing-use scissors to cut it at about half way
* Use the squeegee to apply the decal to the car
* Hold the squeegee in one hand and hold the decal away from the car in the other. Do not lay it down. Let the squeegee do all the work
* Leave the top layer on. Un-tape the other half of the decal and peel away the backing
* Using the squeegee in the same way, put this half down on the car
* Go over the whole decal with the squeegee to get rid of any tiny bubbles
* Peel away the top layer

Sometimes, even after using the squeegee, there will still be some tiny bubble. Poke them with a fine pin and use your finger to push the air out. If the bubbles are very small, they will go away after the sun hits them for a while. You can wash and wax these decals just like the rest of your car. Do not use car washes though. They can peel the decal off. Windshield wipers very rarely hurt windshield decals as long as the decal was installed properly.

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