How to Put Reflective Tape on Cars

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You can increase the visibility of your car and make it more noticeable by applying reflective tape inconspicuously. The cost to customize your vehicle with reflective tape is fairly inexpensive if you do it yourself. Knowing how to apply the tape gives you the flexibility to personalize your car in a wide variety of ways. It can also be an added safety feature, as it makes your car more distinct.
In this article, Step 1 describes how to decide where to apply the reflective tape, Step 2 explains how to prepare your car, Step 3 describes how to do a temporary placement of the tape, and Step 4 explains how to complete the application of the reflective tape to your car.

Step 1 of 4: How to decide 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 online at different designs for inspiration. If you want to add reflective tape as a safety feature, you can find information online as well on the best application sites on your car.

Step 2 of 4: How to prepare your car for application

Materials Needed
  • Car wash soap
  • Clean cloth
  • Sponge
  • Water
A clean car will help reflective tape adhere. Add car wash soap to a pail of water according the soap’s directions. Using a sponge, wash away all the dirt and grime from your car. Rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cloth. Let your car air dry as well.

Step 3 of 4: Do a temporary placement of the reflective tape

Materials Needed
  • Masking tape
  • Reflective tape
Step 1: Temporarily apply the reflective tape to your car. A trial-run can let you see how the design is going to look.
Because it is only temporary, you can make revisions or changes as you see fit before the reflective tape has been permanently applied. Simply use the help of masking tape to hold the ends of reflective tape where you plan on putting it. 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 final application.

Step 4 of 4: Complete the application of the reflective tape

Material Needed
  • Squeegee
Step 1: Remove the protective cover to adhesive side. The protective cover must be removed to expose the adhesive 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 strip of reflective tape, which is marked by another piece of masking tape.
Step 2: Apply the reflective tape with squeegee. Push firmly, moving from the middle of the tape to the end.
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.
Applying reflective tape to your car is a good way to inconspicuously customize the look of your vehicle and add safety features in a way that is affordable if you do it yourself. The first step is figuring out why you want to apply the tape and where you want to put it, then you have to prepare your car, next move on to the temporary placement of the tape so you can evaluate the design, and then finally completing the application of the reflective tape to your car.

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