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Custom Graphics Installation
Please read directions carefully.
The following are application instructions for
custom graphics. These procedures must be followed prior to any
consideration by HCA and/or it’s graphic manufacturers in regard
to replacement or credit.
Failure to follow instructions listed below in bold red letters
may result in product failure and be considered non-warrantable.
Please note that for any
horizontal application of vinyl graphic products, such as a
vehicle hood or roof, Warranty coverage is reduced by 50%.
Storage and Rotation:
Stock rotation and climate-controlled storage are important. Age
and temperature extremes degrade the adhesive
and can dramatically reduce its effectiveness.
Product should be used within the recommended storage life of
two years. In addition, product should be stored in an
environment between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Surface temperature 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.
Note about Cleaning. Please Read.****
Why Surface Preparation is More
Important Than Ever Before!
Due to an increased usage of
silicone based additives in automotive paint that traditionally
contained only solvents or oil derivatives, the
pressure-sensitive graphics industry is facing adhesion
challenges. The result of these changes is the need for
increased awareness towards surface preparation and application
To reduce the amount of solvents
in some of the newer "heavy solids" paint and clearcoat
products, silicone-based additives are used as flow agents. As
the solvents evaporate during the curing process, silicone
particles migrate to the surface, leaving a silicone residue. In
fiberglass manufacturing, mold release agents may also leave a
Traditional surface preparation
for graphics application has consisted of chemical washing. Most
cleaners contain a hydroxyl compound (acetone, alcohol) or a
petroleum base (kerosene, zylene) solvent. These solvents work
by dissolving oil-based impurities that are on the surface.
Silicone, however, does not
dissolve. Removal of siliconates occurs through emulsification
(suspension of small globules within the liquid, like oil in
water). Soap and water will generally outperform solvent for
silicone emulsification. However, an extra wash process costs
applicator time and it may not always be necessary.
The application process noted
herein, when followed, will effectively prepare the surface to
bond with the adhesive. We recommend this process for all
striping and graphics, regardless of who manufactured them.
FAILURE TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS IN RED MAY RESULT IN ADHESION
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. A clean,
lint free towel or cloth must be used between each of the
cleaning steps to prevent cross-contamination.
Remove heavy road grime or tar using our
Rapid Prep cleaning solution.
When a silicone substance or residue is suspected, wash and
rinse the contaminated area with liquid dish detergent and
Dry the surface with a clean, lint free towel
After the detergent wash simply finish the process by wiping
down the entire area with our Rapid Tac or Rapid Tac II
Again use a clean, lint-free towel or cloth.
Do not excessively
stretch pin stripe during the application. This is the main
cause of end lift. Pull the stripe only as taut as necessary
to keep a straight line.
Because vinyl is a
pressure-sensitive product, a squeegee must be used for all
- Apply graphics using a squeegee. After the application
tape/premask is removed, squeegee a second time, focusing
mainly on the edges and tips.
You may want to
use a protective sleeve, such as a soft folded paper towel,
on the squeegee to avoid damage to the paint and/or vinyl
- Pin stripe can be laid down initially using your thumb.
However, after the application tape is removed, a squeegee
must be used on all cut ends including door breaks as well
as the ends of the stripe.
When removing the
application tape/premask, always pull it slowly, back onto
itself, at a 180-degree angle.
Bubbles should be punctured using a sharp air release tool.
Do not slit the vinyl to release the air. If the vinyl is
slit it will spread or gap.
The cutting or trimming of any
stripe or graphic should be done using a very sharp knife
and very little pressure. Any openings, such as
doors, should be trimmed back away from edges at least 1/8
of an inch. Do not wrap the vinyl around door edges.
Clean the surface with our Rapid Prep Pre-Cleaner or a few drops
of grease-cutting liquid detergent in water (do not use a
petroleum base cleaner). Rinse clean with fresh water then dry
with a lint-free cloth. Wiping surface with our Rapid Tac, Rapid
Tac II or alcohol will also help remove any contamination and
enhance the adhesion process.
Put a piece of masking tape on each end of your vinyl transfer
in the area where you plan to apply it and anchor each end to
the application surface with masking tape.
Estimate the center of your vinyl transfer and place two
vertical lengths of masking tape to secure the vinyl transfer
and create a center hinge as shown in the illustration. This
step allows you to apply half of the vinyl transfer at a time.
Remove the masking tape anchor from one end of your vinyl
transfer and SLOWLY peel the release liner away towards the
center masking hinge. Be careful not to touch the adhesive side
of the vinyl transfer. Use scissors to cut away the excess
release liner and discard.
Hold your vinyl transfer by the application tape, careful not to
touch the vinyl adhesive to the application surface until you
are ready to squeegee. Beginning at the center hinge, make easy
overlapping, pushing strokes with your squeegee. Remove the
center hinge tape and slowly peel the remaining release liner
away. Squeegee the other half of the vinyl transfer, working
from the center to the edges.
To remove the application tape, peel SLOWLY at a sharp (180°)
angle. If the vinyl appears to be lifting, gently push the
application tape in the opposite direction from which you were
pulling and re-squeegee that area. If after removing the
application tape, air bubbles are apparent, puncture the vinyl
with a pin or needle (DO NOT USE a knife or razor blade) and
squeegee out the air towards the puncture.
Spraying a light mist of our Rapid Tac or Rapid Tac II
application solution onto your application surface will delay
the adhesive activation between the bonding surface and vinyl
transfer, resulting in a bubble-free, wrinkle-free application.
CAUTION: Wet application may
delay the immediate removal of the application tape. A waiting
period of up to 30 minutes may be necessary.
pressure-sensitive vinyl materials have been used to create your
new graphics. These graphics require little maintenance and
should be treated similarly to a painted surface.
Do wash your graphics
with plain soap and water or any commercially made car wash
soap. Rinse thoroughly.
Do keep high pressure
nozzles at least 18 inches from the edge of the graphics.
High pressure spray may cause the edge of the graphic to
Do test any cleaning
solution on a small section of the decal before using. Be
sure to read the solution's directions and warning notices
that may apply to Vinyl Graphics.
Don't use any aromatic
solvents such as acetone, M.E.K., toluene, paint thinner, or
lacquer thinner on your graphics. Any solvent may soften the
vinyl material or smear colors.
Don't overcoat the
graphics with clear paint (voids manufacturer's warranty).
Don't let gasoline or
other fuels drip or stay on graphics for any length of time.
If a spill occurs, wipe off and rinse with water
Don't paint over the
Don't apply wax over
graphics. Wax products generally contain petroleum
distillates, which can damage vinyl graphics. The only
products we suggest for use on vinyl graphics is RejeX® High
Gloss Polish or Rod & Custom Show Gloss Creme.
Care and caution
should be taken when storing your vehicle. Vinyl graphics
and other items such as dashboards, tires and flexible
rubber products will have a shorter life expectancy when
exposed to severe heat and sunlight. Protection of graphics
from prolonged direct sunlight will insure an extended life.