How to Install Decals on Your Vehicle

Apply Your Sticker Like A Pro

Have you ever tried to install a car decal or sticker and had it turn into a twisted clump or a wrinkled eyesore? This page provides you all the tips and tricks you need to help you apply stickers and decals to your vehicle perfectly every time. Looking for some of the coolest window decals around? Shop Midwest Sticker Shop today!

Reminder: The technology of today’s waxes and polymers contain Nanoparticles that are designed to bead up water and make it dissipate from the surface. What does this mean for car decals? It means they will not stick to the window or surface if ANY residue from wax or Rain-X or other chemicals remain on the window.

Window or surface must be completely clean from these chemicals and waxes before installation.

10 Key Tips for Applying Your New Sticker

  1. Apply out of direct sunlight for best results
  2. Clean surface thoroughly with alcohol (do not use Windex, as it leaves behind a film residue that can keep the decal from sticking completely)
  3. Place decal on a hard smooth surface face up and firmly rub over it with a credit card or squeegee.
  4. SLOWLY peel off the backing away from the installation tape. If any part of the decal remains attached to the backing paper as you are peeling it away, lay the tape back down onto the backing and firmly re-rub over the decal with a credit card or squeegee.
  5. Once the decal is removed from the backing paper, move on to the next step.
  6. Place the decal on the glass or another smooth surface where you want it to stick.
  7. Run over the installation tape with a credit card or squeegee, working out any bubbles that may have formed while placing the decal on the surface.
  8. Wait a minute or two to let the adhesive bond
  9. Slowly peel off the installation tape, pulling gently and at an angle (if the decal tries to stay attached to the installation tape, lay the tape back down and apply heavy pressure using a credit card or squeegee}
  10. Wait a few days before washing the vehicle to allow time for a good bond (DO NOT POWER WASH).
  11. To remove in the future, heat slightly with a hairdryer and peel.

Find the Perfect Decal for Your Vehicle!

Tips for Installing Different Types of Car Decals


Installing Large Decals

It is recommended for large decals and windshield decals be installed by a professional. They can be time-consuming and require patience to install properly to get the decal straight and prevent air bubbles.


Windshield Decal Installation Instructions

Applying your custom vinyl graphic is easy enough to do by yourself. The following tools are recommended when applying vinyl decals or lettering:

  • Masking tape
  • A level
  • A squeegee
  • A pin or exacto knife (optional)

Decals are not designed to be left rolled for long periods of time. Please install your decals as quickly as possible to prevent wrinkles that may occur in the shipping process.


Cleaning Procedure

All surfaces are contaminated to some degree. To ensure good adhesion to any vehicle surface it is critical that you follow these recommended procedures in decontaminating and preparing the surface prior to any vinyl product installation. 

  1. Wash and rinse the area with liquid dish detergent and warm water. Then dry the vehicle surface with a clean, lint-free towel or cloth.
  2. Finish up the cleaning process by wiping down the entire area with Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol). To avoid recontamination during the final cleaning step, wipe the surface in just one direction, using a clean, lint-free towel or cloth. You are now ready to apply the vinyl.

Temperature Recommendations

Surface temperatures should be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit before attempting the installation. As a general rule, if the surface is hot to the touch, it’s over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Adhesive becomes brittle when it gets too cold and gummy when it gets too hot. Applications outside the recommended range of 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit reduce the adhesives’ ability to perform.


Application Procedures

The base material is vinyl. Because vinyl is a pressure-sensitive product, direct pressure to the product is very important. Please use your thumb or a soft, non-marring tool to apply pressure such as a squeegee or credit card.


After removing the decal from the box, and prior to installation, lay the decal on a hard smooth surface and apply pressure swiping across the decal starting in the center and working your way outward to assure proper adhesion of the decal to the transfer tape and to remove any roll patterns that may be in the application tape from shipping.

Learn How to Install Your Decals

Watch this video to learn how to install your new car or truck decal.

Illustrated Installation Procedures


After thoroughly cleaning the windshield surface, find and mark it’s center with a small piece of tape or white grease pencil. Take care not to use the rear view mirror mount for reference, as not all mirrors are placed at exactly the windshield’s center.


Locate and mark the center of the Windshield Decal. Center can easily be found by folding the decal lengthwise in two . The resulting crease is center.


Once the center is found, place decal onto the windshield so as to become familiar with desired placement.


Recommended method of installation is the Center Hinge. This is achieved by carefully removing a 2”-3″ portion of the backing paper from the center as shown.


Once a portion of the center is removed, simply fold back each side of the backing paper approximately 1″ (25.4mm) onto itself.


Then, turn the decal over and carefully set it in the desired location, making sure it’s centered. When placed correctly, stick the center exposed area down with your thumb.


Apply each side of the sticker, starting from the center.

Install Your New Car or Truck Sticker Like a Pro!

Now that you know the tricks experts use to install stickers and decals on vehicles, you should have what it takes to get it right every time! If you want more help installing, feel free to reach out to Midwest Sticker Shop’s team! We’d be happy to help. Want to find the perfect sticker for your vehicle?

Contact Us

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid phone number.
Please enter a message.

- or -