How Long Do Bumper Stickers Last On Cars? (We Checked)

Bumper stickers come in different materials, and they are not all equally durable. So, in this article, we look at how long different bumper stickers last, and what impacts their durability.

Not only that, we also delve into whether or not the state you live in will affect the longevity of the bumper sticker you use.

Let’s check them out!

Bumper sticker

How Long Do Each Bumper Sticker Material Last?

Bumper stickers can last up to 5 years, depending on the materials used in making them. The following are different materials used in making these stickers:

1. Decal Paper

This is a translucent paper that bears prints on one of its surface, with the other surface having a film of adhesive.

Decals tend to offer more color options, but they have less durable properties.

Actually, decals can last up to 3 years, since they fade more quickly. This is unlike vinyls that typically last longer.

2. Vinyl (or polyvinylchloride [PVC])

Vinyls are usually 9-millimeter thick, and they are typically universal. This material is highly durable and reliable. They are waterproof and can withstand ultraviolet rays.

Mind you, vinyls come in different forms and they are all capable of lasting, at least, 5 years if well-maintained. However, a particular kind, known as Glow in the Dark Vinyl, is best used indoor, not outdoor.

A notable advantage of the vinyl bumper sticker is that you can paste them on almost everything, unlike several other materials with limited application.

To use the vinyl bumper stickers on the windshield, you simply have to get the print in reverse.

3. Cling

Cling also performs the same print functions as vinyl. However, it can come with a front-facing design to make it function effectively on the windshield. Note that bumper stickers made from clings are best applied on flat glass, like the windshield.

Unlike vinyls, clings do not typically come with strong tack adhesive on the other side. Rather, they work with low adhesive, which is why they last for a shorter while, just around 6 months.

4. Permanent Adhesive

As the name implies, permanent adhesive is a strong sticker material used with a long-lasting intention. They are highly durable, water-resistant, snow-resistant, and can withstand UV rays.

Mind you, this material has a big downside; it is very difficult to remove.

In fact, extra care is required when using it because it leaves an adhesive residue on the vehicle’s surface when you attempt to remove it from the position you’ve pasted it on.

Because permanent adhesive is really a type of adhesive, it can work with vinyl and other sticker materials. As for its longevity, permanent adhesive vinyl bumper sticker material can last, at least, five years.

Here is a table that state how long different bumper materials last:

Vinyl 5 – 10 years Indoor and Outdoor
· Clear Vinyl 5 – 10 years Indoor and Outdoor
· White Vinyl 5 – 10 years Indoor and Outdoor
· Matte Vinyl 5 – 10 years Indoor and Outdoor
· Glossy Vinyl 5 – 10 years Indoor and Outdoor
· Glow in the Dark Vinyl 5 – 10 years Indoor
Decal Paper 3 – 5 years Indoor and Outdoor
Cling 6 months Indoor and Outdoor

What Are the Most Durable Materials for Bumper Stickers?

The white vinyl is the most durable material for bumper sticker. Vinyls are of various types; some of which are clear vinyl, reflective vinyl, holographic vinyl, glow in the dark vinyl, and white vinyl.

White vinyls are about 9mm thick, and they can be used both indoor and outdoor. While they can withstand UV rays, they are also water-resistant.

This bumper material is not only durable, it is also the most popularly used. If well-maintained, white vinyls can last more than 5 years.

What Impacts How Long a Bumper Sticker Last?

Here are 3 factors that impact how long a bumper sticker will last:

1. Installation

As simple as it may sound, whether or not a bumper sticker will last will first be determined by how well you paste it on your car. Before fixing a sticker, it is important to clean the surface you want to apply it on.

Pasting a sticker on a rough surface will not only affect how well it will rest on the surface, it can also affect how long the sticker will last. That said, check out the 5 best places for bumper stickers on cars here.

Depending on how neat or rough the surface you’re applying the sticker on is, you can use an alcohol or ordinary clean cloth to wipe it before placing the sticker on it.

Note that if you paste the sticker on a rough surface, it creates rough spots on the sticker, which may eventually puncture it. When the sticker has holes, water may creep into the adhesive surface, causing it to lose its sticky hold over time.

2. Temperature

Aside from making the sticker lose some of its graphic properties over time, a hot temperature has a way of impacting how long a bumper sticker will last.

Some vinyls, especially the ones with a permanent adhesive, take a little while to fully settle and stay effectively glued to the vehicle’s surface. Well, that’s when you apply the sticker under cool temperature.

To ensure the sticker stays glued faster, it is best to apply it under a warmer temperature. This is because warm temperature helps to thin and soften the permanent adhesive on time to make it glue strongly on the vehicle’s surface.

You’ll agree that when a sticker doesn’t settle strongly on a surface, its chance of falling off or being tampered with is higher than when it does settle effectively.

3. Material

Without mincing word, the material used in making the sticker is the major factor that impacts how long it’ll last.

As stated earlier, there are different materials used in making stickers, and each of them has their distinct strength and longevity.

For example, whereas decal papers do not last long as the PVC, they are more durable than cling, which doesn’t last beyond 6 months.

Depending on your goal or purpose, you might want to leave a sticker on your vehicle for just a short while, and you might even love to remove it easily when it’s time. The truth is, these materials are not all easier to remove.

Make sure you check out 11 best methods you can use to remove bumper stickers here.

Still, whether you intend to use a sticker for just 6 months or want it visible on your car for as long as it exists, you won’t love to see them off unexpectedly. This is why you should be mindful of the materials used in making a sticker before buying one.

Does the Print or the Sticker Itself Deteriorate First?

Unless the material itself is very poor, the print is usually the first to deteriorate on a bumper sticker. This is because of the sticker’s long exposure to direct sunlight.

Besides, the print on a sticker is just a transferred ink, which can fade over time, especially when exposed to heat or UV light.

Mind you, while the print on a bumper sticker eventually fades, you can improve its longevity when you go for UV protected ones, like the special ones laminated with a UV protectant.

It is also important to note that sticker materials like glossy and matte surface are removable. So, these materials may peel off if carelessly handled, even before the print gets to start succumbing to the pressure of sunlight.

In all, the material used in making a bumper sticker and how well you maintain the sticker will determine whether the sticker or the print will deteriorate first. What we mean is, either of them can actually lose its efficacy first.

Do Bumper Stickers Last Longer in Some States?

The truth is, the state you live in might actually impact how long your bumper sticker will last. Well, that’s if we treat all stickers equally, assuming they all come with the same material. In that case, the contributive factor of quality deterioration will be put into test.

How do we mean?

In states, like Texas and Arizona, that have a hotter climate, bumper stickers will deteriorate faster there compared to states like Alaska, North Dakota, and Maine which are notable for more moderate weather condition.

Final Thoughts

Bumper stickers have become so popular in the US, especially amongst women. As more people tend to use these stickers on their vehicle, it is best to know how long they last before buying one.


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