How to Put Reflective Tape on Cars

Reflective tape for cars allows you to increase visibility for customization and safety purposes. Here's how to apply reflective tape.
Written by Rochelle Miller-Hernandez
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
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You can increase the visibility of your car and make it more noticeable by applying reflective tape.
The cost to
your vehicle with reflective tape is fairly low if you do it yourself.
Knowing how to apply the tape gives you the flexibility to personalize your car in a variety of ways. It can also be an added safety feature as it makes your car more distinct.

Deciding where to apply the reflective tape

When considering where you want to put the reflective tape on your car, you have to think about why you want to apply it. Are you putting it on for decorative or safety purposes?
If you are looking to customize your car but are unsure of what you want, you can look at different designs online for inspiration. If you want to add reflective tape as a safety measure, consider applying it to the read and sides of your vehicle to enhance visibility.
Make sure that you're not putting reflective tape anywhere that might cause legal issues or concern
insurance agents

Preparing your car for application

Materials Needed
A clean car will help reflective tape adhere better to the surface. Add car-wash soap to a pail of water according to the directions on the soap packaging. Using a sponge, wash away all the dirt and grime from your car. Next, rinse the car with clean water and dry it with a clean cloth. Let your car air dry.

How to do a temporary placement of the reflective tape

Once the car is dry, you can temporarily apply the reflective tape. A trial run can let you see how the design is going to look.
Simply use masking tape to hold the ends of the reflective tape to the car. Adjust the placement as you see fit. Make sure to place a third piece of masking tape across the middle of the strip for guidance later during the final application.

Completing the application of reflective tape

Remove the protective cover on the adhesive side. The protective cover must be removed to expose the sticky backing of the reflective tape.
It is important to remove the protective cover slowly and carefully. You do not want to bunch up the reflective tape. You want to remove the masking tape from one end and peel back the protective cover until you have almost reached the middle of the reflective tape, which is marked by another piece of masking tape.
Apply the reflective tape with a squeegee. Hold the end of the reflective tape with one hand. While pushing firmly with the other hand with the squeegee, move along the tape from the middle section out to the end you are holding.
This will push out air bubbles and allow for a smooth application. Repeat on the other side, but this time make sure to take off the center piece of masking tape as well. Otherwise, the process is the same.
Key Takeaway: Carefully remove half of the protective cover from the tape and apply it using the squeegee. Make sure you push out all bubbles, then repeat the process with the other half.
Applying reflective tape to your car is a good way to customize the look of your vehicle and affordably add safety features. It can easily be purchased in store or
, and the most inexpensive options will cost you less than $10.
Like other kinds of safety features, applying reflective tape can lower the cost of your insurance, giving you even more value for your money. To make sure you're getting savings, and to find a better plan if you aren't, let
check your plan for you and get you estimates from top providers, all in under a minute!


Is putting reflective tape on your car illegal?

Putting reflective tape on your car is generally legal. However, you might be breaking the law if you apply reflective in certain spots, such as windows (which decreases driver visibility), on manufacturer reflective spots like tail lights, or if you show red on the front of your vehicle or white on the back.
Be sure to check your state's specific laws, as well as any local code or ordinance.

How do I remove reflective tape from a vehicle?

To remove reflective tape from your vehicle, apply a blow dryer to the area until the tape begins to loosen a little. When it does, use a sharp object to lift the tape up, then peel it off carefully.
Scrape any remaining adhesive off, but don't scrape too hard, as you don't want to damage the car's surface. If any adhesive remains, you can use vegetable oil to get the adhesive off.
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