One of the joys of owning a Jeep is getting to customize it exactly the way you want. There are more ways to customize a Jeep than just about any other type of vehicle. This is due to the widespread availability of after-market Jeep products.
As you work to make your Jeep its own unique vehicle, one customization opportunity that you shouldn’t ignore is decals. They’re the finishing touch that can turn your Jeep into a ride that is truly one of a kind.
Below, you’ll find all of the information that you need to know about decals. You’ll learn what they are, how they work, and much more. Keep reading to find the information you need to find the right decals for your Jeep.
What’s the difference between a sticker and a decal?
Many people use the terms sticker and decal interchangeably. However, that isn’t exactly accurate. There are a few differences between these two products that are worth exploring. The best way to do that is by defining each term.
A sticker can be either printed, made out of vinyl, or made by hand. They usually have two layers. The first, outer layer, is the decorative part of the sticker. This is the part of the sticker that will be displayed. This decorative layer has another layer behind it, which is the adhesive layer. This is what enables a sticker to stick.
Technically speaking, all decals are stickers. However, not all stickers are decals. Essentially, a decal is a decorative sticker that is meant for outdoor use. Decals differ from stickers in that they’re meant to be transferable from surface to surface. Additionally, decals have usually have three layers. They have paper on the back, the decal itself, and paper on the front.
What are decals made from?
Decals can be made from several different materials. These materials are designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor driving. Usually, decals are made by using an eco-solvent printing process. This can be done with latex inks by using a thermal color printer.
Most of the time decals are either printed vinyl or made out of clear polyester material. Car decals need to be both removable and weather-resistant. These two materials can provide that functionality, which is why they’re the most commonly used options.
Are decals permanent?
Generally speaking, no, decals are not meant to be permanent. This can be both good news and bad news for Jeep owners. You may see this as a positive because it allows you to experiment with adding various decals to your ride without having to worry about how difficult it will be to get them off one day. At the same time, if you find a decal that you really like, you will probably need to purchase a replacement for it at some point, adding an extra expense to consider while customizing your Jeep.
That being said, most Jeep decals are guaranteed to last at least two years when used normally. Some decals can last five years or even longer than that as well. This strikes a good balance between durability and ease of changing out decals as often as you wish.
Where do people usually put Jeep decals?
The beauty of decals is that you can place one virtually anywhere on your Jeep that you want. This provides a nearly endless amount of opportunities for customizing your vehicle. That being said, there are a few spots that are more common than others.
Some people like to place decals near the Jeep brand mark. Others place their decals on the sides and rears of their rides. Ultimately, your imagination is the only limiting factor in where you can place a Jeep decal.
What’s the best way to apply decals?
Nailing the application process is an important step in ensuring that your Jeep decals last as long as possible. To do this, you’ll want to follow the following five-step process.
- Begin with a clean surface
The decal will stick to your Jeep better if there isn’t any debris in its way when you apply it. With that in mind, you should pre-wash the area that you plan to place your decal on. You can do this with a simple mixture of soap and water. You can also use a bit of rubbing alcohol to get a slightly deeper clean.
- Wait for moderate temperatures
The adhesive that makes decals stick works best in moderate temperatures. To ensure the best results, you should wait to apply the decal until temperatures in your area are between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, try to apply the decal in a shaded area rather than in direct sunlight.
- Use masking tape
This will help to ensure that your decal is going to be exactly where you want it to be. Leave the backing paper in place, but place the decal where you want it to go on your Jeep. Then, place pieces of masking tape on the edges of the decal.
Once you’ve done that, you can peel off the backing paper and slowly lower the decal into place. As you do, use your free thumb to press on the decal, starting in the center and slowly working outwards from top to bottom.
- Try the wet method (optional)
This is only really necessary for decals that are very large. If you have one of those, then use a spray bottle to dampen the surface that you plan to stick your decal to. Then, apply that decal while the area is still wet. This will prevent the decal from sticking to the surface immediately, giving you time to fine-tune its placement without having to start the process over from scratch again.
- Tend to the transfer tape
Most decals are composed of three separate layers. It’s important that you make sure these layers are all pressed firmly together before beginning the process. Simply press down hard on the entire decal to accomplish this. Once you do, you’ll have made sure that the decal doesn’t come up with the backing paper during the application process.
Do decals make my Jeep look tacky?
This is a question that’s pretty divisive in the Jeep owner community. On one side, there are Jeep owners who think that decals ruin the appearance of an otherwise beautiful vehicle. One of the most commonly used words that these folks use to describe the appearance of decals is tacky.
However, there’s also a group of Jeep owners who believe that the right decals can enhance the appearance of a Jeep. These folks enjoy being able to customize their vehicles as much as possible and love the way that decals help them accomplish this.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer here. Only you can decide whether you believe that Jeep decals are tacky or add something unique to the appearance of a Jeep.
What kinds of decals are out there?
There are hundreds of different Jeep decals for you to choose from. Some companies let you create your own decals. You can come up with a custom phrase or a custom design that one of these businesses will turn into a Jeep decal for you.
There are also individual creators who have already done the challenging design work for you. These decals can turn your Jeep into basically a work of art.
Finally, there also many popular brands that sell their own Jeep decals. Adding one of these to your vehicle could be a great way to represent one of your favorite companies while on the road.
Do Decals Ruin Paint?
This is one of the biggest concerns that Jeep owners have before applying decals to their vehicles. The good news is that the answer to this question is a resounding no. Decals can be placed on Jeeps quite easily without ruining your paint job.
This is because decals are designed to be semi-permanent rather than permanent. In fact, when you apply a decal to your Jeep, it will actually protect the paint that lies underneath it. For these reasons, there’s really no reason whatsoever to worry about your paint if you want to place a decal on your Jeep.
Can you get Jeep decals for free?
It’s difficult to get anything for free. However, there are methods you can use to try to get a free decal. A company might be willing to give you one if they saw doing so as an opportunity to advertise their brand. You could approach your favorite company and frame the discussion you have about getting a free decal in those terms. It’s certainly worth trying at the very least.
Can I get my own custom Jeep decals?
You can absolutely get your own custom Jeep decals. There are several different options you have for this. First, you can hire a company online to create a custom decal for you. All you need to do is tell the company what you want and they’ll bring your vision to life for you.
The other option that you have is to print a custom decal on your own. You would just need to design the decal on your computer and then take that design to a local print shop. If you’re going to use this method, you will need to find a print shop that has a printable vinyl station. This option will likely save you money versus buying online as well.